If you like to take to the trail, you’re in good company. Running is an excellent workout that offers both physical and mental health benefits. It’s no wonder then that over 57 million American adults have caught the bug.1 The only thing that can make it even better is to have your best friend trotting alongside you.
Not all dogs can handle the physical challenge of running. Breeds prone to bloat, such as German Shepherds and Great Danes, shouldn’t exert themselves too much before eating. Also, flat-faced pups like Pugs may struggle to keep up with you.2 Rest assured that for every pooch that can’t or shouldn’t run, there is another that will gladly jog with you. Here are the 19 best dog breeds for running:
The 19 Best Dog Breeds for Running:
1. German Shorthaired Pointer
The German Shorthaired Pointer has a lot of experience running—fast. While he hunts birds now, his early European ancestors’ prey was boar and deer. The latter can reach top speeds of 30 mph. That may be a lot more horsepower than you need. But if it’s a sprint you want, you needn’t look any further than this energetic and affectionate pup.
2. Brittany Spaniel
The Brittany Spaniel is a high-energy dog that will likely remind you to get your run in every day. He is also a gun dog that is longer-legged than his French cousin, the Epagneul Breton. The great thing about him is his disposition. He is a happy pup that will make your workouts all the more fun. Because he’s such a loyal pet, he’ll adore the extra time with you.
3. Airedale Terrier
The Airedale Terrier is an excellent choice for a running mate. His enthusiasm will keep you going even if you’d rather stay on the couch. Known as the “King of Terriers,” this pup has the endurance to stay with you on your long days. You’ll do him a favor if you bring him along, too. He needs the exercise just as much as you do.
4. Border Collie
If you’re training for a marathon, look no further than the Border Collie. This pup has the stamina and energy to go the distance. He’s intelligent and ready to go whenever you are. Running is an excellent activity to share with your pet, too. It’ll provide him with the vital mental stimulation he needs to stay happy and prevent boredom.
5. Belgian Sheepdog
Like other herding dogs, the Belgian Sheepdog thrives on lots of exercise. His intelligence made this pup a smart choice for other running-related activities, such as work as a message carrier during World War I and II. He has the focus to stay on a mission and will keep on your toes with getting in your weekly workouts.
His cute looks belie the fact that the Weimaraner is born to run. This pup gets his energy from his early days as a hunter of big game. After all, you have to be fast to keep up with deer and bears. While upland game is more his style now, he has retained his speed and endurance. His larger size is also a plus if you want the protection of a guardian on your outings.
Just one look at the long legs and graceful appearance of the Saluki, and you know this pup will make keeping up with him a challenge. His history goes back to the ancient Egyptians, where he was the hunting dog of the pharaohs. Watching a Saluki run is a visual feast. He carries himself so well and with so much agility. Few dogs will make you feel as proud as a pet owner as this one.
8. Siberian Husky
Winter treks are no problem for the Siberian Husky. This pup lives to run. He is no slouch, either. This pooch took third place in his first run in Alaska in 1909. That was even with 100-to-1 odds against him! You might not be up for a 408-mile challenge like he was. However, you’ll have a willing running companion whenever you want to hit the pavement or the trail.
9. English Setter
You know you have a winner whenever you choose a hunting dog as your running buddy. The English Setter is no exception. This pup can get it done and still be ready for more. Dogs with similar jobs have to traverse a lot of ground to find their prey. This pooch goes after upland game birds, which he does with all the grace and elegance only this breed could put on display.
Probably no dog will make running as enjoyable as the Boxer. His fun-loving attitude and cute expressions will cheer you up whenever your mood needs a boost. This pup is a first-class working dog and isn’t afraid to take on any task, even if it’s your regular 5-mile trek on the trail. His agreeable nature comes from the many jobs he’s had from big-game hunter to war hero.
11. Redbone Coonhound
The Redbone Coonhound is a bundle of high energy that may leave you chasing after him. He’s all legs with the endurance to match. This pup is agile and surefooted. He’ll do well running on the pavement or off-road trail. This pooch gets his speed from another active breed, the English Foxhound. His hunting background also gives him an edge.
You may not recognize the Azawakh at first glance, but he’s worth knowing if you’re a runner. This West African sighthound is a tireless companion, hunting game such as gazelles in his native land. His long legs give him a massive stride to cover the ground quickly. His slower-paced gait is just as elegant. He is also tall, with males reaching up to 29 inches. You’ll have a formidable guardian on the trail, too.
13. Shetland Sheepdog
The Shetland Sheepdog might not be as big as some of the dogs on our roundup, but he is well-suited as a running companion. You have to be quick if you’re going to herd livestock. This pup is also surefooted, stemming from his history traipsing through the rugged terrain of the Shetland Islands, which he calls home. This pooch is quite playful and will likely think of your workouts as another game.
The Vizsla is probably one of the sweetest dogs you’ll ever meet. This pup is a lover. He is also an ancient breed, going back hundreds of years. Selective breeding encouraged his speed so that he could accompany the Magyar cavalry. This pooch has an impressive history, with service as a rescue dog following 9/11.
15. Australian Cattle Dog
The breed’s name tells you everything you need to know about the stamina and endurance of the Australian Cattle Dog. Like many working canines, this pup needs a job. Going with you on your runs is just the thing to keep him active and mentally stimulated. His moniker is also a nod to the importance of this pooch to the Australian beef industry.
You’ll have an enthusiastic and energetic companion on your runs with a Dalmatian. He’ll also fill in as a protector, harking back to his history as a guardian of horses. His history goes back to the time of the ancient Egyptians, although the exact origins are lost to time. Suffice to say that this pup will enjoy trotting alongside you on your runs as if you were horseback riding.
17. Rhodesian Ridgeback
What can you say about a dog with a job to hunt lions and leopards? You needn’t worry if you’re alone on the trail with your Rhodesian Ridgeback by your side. While he’s energetic, he is also calm and laid back. If you think he looks like a Greyhound, you’d be right. There is a bit of the racer in his background of selective breeding.
18. Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever is a natural for a running buddy. It fits right in with his hunting background and activity needs. The fact that he is so outgoing is the icing on the cake. This pup will make all your workouts enjoyable. It’s a good thing, too, since this breed has a tendency to gain weight. Your runs will help both of you stay in shape.
19. Golden Retriever
What hasn’t been said about the faithful and adorable Golden Retriever? This pup has it all, from a sweet disposition to steadfast loyalty. It also helps that he’s a charmer. He’ll enjoy the mental stimulation of your runs as much as you will. His playful attitude will make every time fun, too. As a gun dog, this pooch has the endurance for even your longer sessions.
Final Thoughts About the Best Running Dogs
If you’re a runner, you know how great it feels when you’ve finished a workout, with all those endorphins coursing through your body. Having your dog alongside you can only make it better. You may even find that he’s an excellent motivator, too. Who needs a reminder on their smartphone when you have a pup that relishes his time outdoors?
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Featured Image Credit: Khakimullin Aleksandr, Shutterstock