how much exercise do dogs need

By Andrew Fischer

Best dog breeds for long-distance and short-distance runners

In this article we will discover how many miles/kilometers should a healthy active dog run. Our goal is to describe the ideal activity and distance profile of some of the most common dog breeds. 

Some dogs should run more than others. Average active middle sized dogs usually run around 30 miles (50 km) a week, which is around 4,3 miles (7 km) a day. 

Some super sporty dogs can run up to 100 miles (160 km) a week, which is around 14 miles (23 km) a day. 

Best breeds for long-distance runners

Golden Retrievers, Weimaraners, Australian Shepherds, Dalmatians, Vizslas, Labrador Retrievers, Siberian Huskies, Malamutes, and Border Collies are usually considered the best running companions for those who like to run a lot. 

These breeds are known for having a great endurance. Plus they are very suitable dogs for families thanks to their friendly nature and loyalty. They can easily cover a distance of at least 20 miles (30 km) a day, but that doesn’t mean you should force them to run this distance every day. 

Some of these dogs are also great sprinters. Vizslas can run up to 40 miles (64 km) per hour. Weimaraners can reach some 35 miles (56 km) per hour. Dalmatians can run up to 38 miles (61 km) per hour. 

Husky

husky dog for jogging

Husky is a member of the working group and was bred to pull sleds in a harsh climate over long distances. 

Husky is a great running companion for those who live in colder areas. However, if you live in Texas or somewhere in Death Valley you may find other dog breeds more suitable for you. Huskies are very prone to overheating due to their dense double coat. 

Huskies can easily cover a distance of around 40 miles (64 km) a day.

Border Collies

border collie running dog for joggers

Border Collies are very active and intelligent dogs and they definitely have the endurance to accompany you on your long runs. There are many Border Collies that run around 100 miles (160 km) per week.

Border Collies that have a good physical health and are trained to run are able to cover a distance of around 30 miles (50 km) a day.

Vizslas (Hungarian Short-haired Pointing Dog)

vizslas running dog for jogging

Vizslas are great running companions for those who practice for a marathon. They are most suited to run in a mild or warm climate.

Vizslas can run around 30 miles (48 km) a day. They can run even more after proper training.

Dalmatian

dalmatian running dog

Dalmatians have an athletic build and need plenty of exercise to thrive. 

They were used as fire brigade dogs. Dalmatians used to run in front of horse-drawn fire carriages or cars barking to clear the path ahead.

Weimaraner

weimaraner

Weimaraners are hunting dogs that are also great running companions.

They are very good off-leash dogs but due to their hunting instincts, they may occasionally chase other animals. Weimaraners can also cover distances of around 30 miles (48 km) a day.

German Shorthaired Pointers

German shorthaired pointers are medium-sized dogs. They have high energy levels and need plenty of vigorous exercise.

At least one hour of intensive exercise, including running, each day is recommended.

Labrador Retrievers

Labradors are outdoor dogs bred to accompany hunters, retrieving fallen birds and returning them to their owners. Therefore, they also have great endurance and are able to run for several miles a day. With the proper training, Labrador Retrievers can run up to 20 miles (30 km) per day. 

Labradors are also one of the best sprinters out there and can reach speeds of around 35 miles (55 km) per hour.

Australian Shepherd

australian shepherd

Australian Shepherds are very agile and athletic dogs who enjoy long-distance jogs. Avoid jogging with them on very hot days since Aussies have a thick long coat. They tolerate cooler temperatures much better. 

Rhodesian Ridgeback

rhodesian ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a great sporting dog that is famous for its endurance and athleticism. 

This dog can handle warmer temperatures and is very suitable for long-distance runners. 

Worst breeds for long-distance runners

Short-nosed breeds usually have respiratory issues and are therefore not suitable as running companions. 

For bad runners are usually considered Bulldogs, Boxers, Pugs, French Bulldogs, Pekingese, Chihuahuas, Mastiffs, etc. 

Generally speaking, any short-nosed breeds have respiratory issues and are not ideal for running. This includes Pugs, Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Boxers, Chihuahua, Boston Terriers, Llhasa Apsos, Pekingese, Mastiffs, and Shih Tzus.

Best breeds for sprinters

Some dogs are more suitable for all-out sprinting. Their streamlined bodies are perfect for sprinting and they also love this form of exercise. 

Sprinter dogs often have very little fat and therefore don’t tolerate cold temperatures very well.

Grehounds

greyhound sprinting dog running

Greyhounds are the fastest dog breed in the world and can reach speeds of around 45 miles (73 km) per hour. 

Greyhounds are therefore great companions for sprinters. They shouldn’t run long distances because they are very prone to overheating.

Whippets

whippet dog running fast sprint

Whippets descended from Greyhounds and are very similar to them.

They make a good running partner for people who enjoy shorter and faster runs. 

Whippets can reach speeds of up to 37 miles (59 km) per hour. 

Are small dogs good running companions?

Many small breeds are surprisingly suitable companions for people who like to run a lot. 

Remember small short-nosed breeds such as Bulldogs or Pugs are not good for runners. On the other hand, some small long-nosed breeds like Jack Russel Terriers, Beagles, Welsh Corgis or Poodles are great runners. 

Obviously, keep an eye on the distance you run with smaller dogs because they have to work more to cover the same distance as bigger breeds. 

How to start running with your dog?

Larger dog breeds like Labradors, Weimaraners, Vizslas etc. are slow to mature. You shouldn’t run long distances with these breeds until they are fully mature and their growth plates have closed. 

You should start only with short walks and short runs before your dog matures fully. 

Always begin with slow and short jogs even when you start running with adult dogs. First when your dog becomes accustomed to shorter jogs you can gradually increase the distance.

Also, you should vary the distance and speed. For example, if you run fast 10 miles on Monday, you should follow that up on Tuesday with a slower 2 mile walk. 

Always keep an eye on the state of your dog. Many dogs love to follow their running mate even if they are very tired, overheated or injured. Take some breaks during your jogging session to check on the state of your dog.