Active Dogs: 10 High-Energy Dog Breeds For Outdoorsy Folks
Active dogs are the perfect addition to any outdoor adventures. So whether you're naturally sporty or just starting out, here are 10 high-energy dog breeds for your next hike, run, jog, or ski trip - and how you can best keep them safe when adventuring.
Both beginners and veteran exercisers know: there’s nothing more fun than bringing your dog along to your workouts. And if you’ve got an active dog, it’s just that much easier to make regular fitness a part of your lifestyle!
So here are 10 high-energy dog breeds to accompany you for your next jog, hike, walk, swim, or run – and how to best keep them safe on your next outdoor adventure. Let’s get active!
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10 high-energy dog breeds
From hiking through mountains to enjoying a splash in a pond, these active dogs are always ready to go. Here are a couple to accompany you on your next outdoor adventure.
Originating from the snowy plains of Siberia, Malamutes are cousins of other Arctic dogs like Huskies and Samoyeds. With their incredible strength and endurance, Malamutes were originally bred as sled dogs. They’re capable of hauling freights up to 3300 lbs (or 1500 kg) while running through snow!
Because of this, these snow loving dogs are the perfect choice for your next ski trip or hike in the mountains. In fact, Malamutes are popularly used in sledding activities like mushing, skijoring, and canicross.
Just watch out for their prey drive – your Mal might chase down a cat, smaller dogs, or other woodland animals like squirrels. Though they tend to be gentle, patient, and friendly around people, they might just knock you (or one of your kids) over if they get too excited when you announce it’s time for walkies.
Jack Russell Terriers
Small, swift, and packed with energy, Jack Russell terriers are the perfect pup for families with kids aged around 3-4. Originally from Britain, Jack Russells were once bred and used for hunting foxes. And funnily enough, they actually get their name from Reverend John “Jack” Russell, the parishioner and hunting enthusiast who raised them!
Jack Russells need a ton of exercise to stay physically and mentally active. They tend to get bored easily if they don’t have prey to chase down or hold in place. And because of their hunting instincts, they’re likely to run off after a bird, cat, or some other small woodland animal when you’re out jogging or hiking with them.
So make sure your Jack Russell has a ton of playtime and fun activities – both indoors and outdoors. (Or they have a tendency to get moody and destructive instead.)
You might think of German Shepherds first – but turns out, the Shepherd family is bigger than you might think! So besides Germans, here are a couple of active dogs from this clan:
- Dutch Shepherds
- Australian Shepherds
- Belgian Shepherds
- Miniature American Shepherds
- White Swiss Shepherds
Intelligent and highly trainable, Shepherds are famous working dogs who’ve brought their skills to help humans in a bunch of fields. German and Dutch Shepherds make for great police sniffer dogs, while Australian Shepherds are excellent herding dogs in farms around the world.
💡 Meet Opie, a high-energy white Shepherd mix who lives on a farm with his mum, Autumn. From Tractive’s Activity Tracking data, he clocks in a whopping 300-500 minutes of running, walking, and playing per day!
“We thought we were crazy for a while,” Autumn says. “Then, we discovered Tractive and were relieved to find out we weren’t crazy – Opie really was the most active dog around.”
Because much like Jack Russells, Shepherds are also a high-energy dog breed that may chase after a running person or animal. (It’s just their protective instincts kicking in.) So watch out for passing by herds of cattle or sheep on your next ski trip or mountain climbing adventure – your Shepherd might want to go say hi!
You might’ve heard of dogs from Siberia, Canada, and the UK – but how about a dog originating from South Africa? The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a breed of large dog originally bred in Cape Colony. With their powerful builds and alert temperaments, Ridgebacks were historically trained for chasing and hunting down lions!
But despite their fierce appearance, Ridgebacks are just big old softies – also highly intelligent and trainable. While they do take some time to warm up to strangers, they respond well to a patient, loving approach. They also love to run and need a ton of exercise to stay happy.
Just be careful – a Ridgeback with too much pent-up energy might be more likely to run away to let off some steam. But since they’re excellent running dogs, keep them engaged by making exercise a team effort. Make regular playtime a priority and take them along with you on your next hiking trip or morning jog.
Much like their cousins, the Malamutes, Huskies are another active dog breed from the polar regions. This family includes:
- Siberian Huskies
- Alaskan Huskies
- Labrador Huskies
- Sakhalin Huskies
Unlike Malamutes who were bred for strength, Huskies were bred for speed. In fact, they’re able to run at 30 miles (or nearly 50 km) per hour! Which is why these dogs are right at home during sled-dog racing events – or even transporting goods between communities in remote areas.
You might even have heard of the story of the heroic team of Huskies from the Nome Serum Run – and the lead dog, Balto, who even got his own animated movie. In 1925, a deadly outbreak of diphtheria hit Nome, Alaska, and threatened its 10,000 residents – especially the children. But in just five and a half days, a relay team of sled dogs (including the Huskies Togo and Balto) transported the antitoxin across 674 miles (or almost 1085 km)!
💡Sheba, a Husky-Lab mix, regularly helps Search and Rescue (SAR) teams find missing people (and pets) – with the help of her Tractive GPS tracker. Her dad, Ontario-based SAR expert William Bolton, uses her skills best during water rescues.
“While I’m out there, I don’t have time to be constantly checking my phone – I have to look at Sheba, the boat, and the water,” he explains. “So with Tractive’s Location History, I can go back after the fact to verify and validate our search area.“
Setters are a gorgeous active dog breed originating from Ireland. They’ve been historically trained as gundogs, or dogs who aid hunters in chasing down quail, pheasant, and grouse in the wild. Which makes them another high-energy dog breed perfect for your morning run or hiking trail.
Here are a couple of dog breeds from the Setter family:
- Irish Setters
- Gordon Setters
- Irish red and white Setters
- English Setters
Setters tend to be friendly and affectionate – but a tad too playful around smaller dogs, cats, and children. So it’s always a good idea to ensure you’ve invested in basic obedience training and taught your Setter the most important commands.
💡 Training your Setter to stay within a safe zone (like your backyard) can help prevent them from bolting off to chase “prey”. Like Marnie, an escape artist Irish Setter, whose nighttime adventures led her to chase down a deer into the woods by her family home. Luckily, her mum Melissa was able to find her in no time with a little help from Marnie’s Tractive GPS and its live tracking.
Says Melissa, “I highly recommend Tractive to anyone who has an escape artist dog!”
The classic “detective dog”, Beagles are another intelligent, trainable, high-energy dog breed. Along with Basset Hounds and Bloodhounds, they have one of the most keenly-developed senses of smell among all dog breeds. Making Beagles excellent hunting and tracking dogs, capable of sniffing out prey like hares and rabbits even in densely-forested areas.
Beagles tend to be affectionate with family members – but they do need a little time to warm up to strangers. They’re also vulnerable to separation anxiety, which is one of the key reasons dogs run away. So make sure to give your Beagle plenty of pets and praise before taking them running or hiking with you.
Borzois, or Russian Hunting Sighthounds, are a breed of active dog who were bred to hunt down wolves. Originating from Russia, they were popular dogs among the royal family. In fact, for hundreds of years, only the Tsar of Russia could gift you a Borzoi – you couldn’t just buy one for yourself!
With their slender builds, Borzois are famous for their speed and agility. They can run up to 35 miles (almost 60 km) per hour. (In fact, the word “Borzoi” itself derives from an older Russian word for “fast”.) Which makes them a great choice for dog agility competitions in the Hound groups – or for your next sprint training session.
⚠️ Just watch out for your Borzoi’s tendency to chase down prey smaller than wolves. Like Imogen, a Borzoi who escaped her yard to chase a smaller animal in the bush – and crashed through the ice in a nearby frozen lake.
Luckily, her Tractive GPS helped her mum find and rescue her from freezing and drowning with its Location History feature.
Energetic and friendly, Samoyeds (or Sammies) are another snow loving dog breed who are perfect for your next hiking or skiing adventure. Like Malamutes and Huskies, they’re also originally from Siberia and were bred to help out with herding and sled-pulling. In fact, Sammies are prime competitors at dog agility competitions, including carting, flyball, and tracking events.
With their friendly temperaments, Sammies make for excellent family dogs. While they’re most certainly a high-energy dog breed, they’re also quite gentle around kids. But heads up – Sammies also tend to get bored quite easily if they don’t have regular playtime. So they might engage in destructive behaviors like digging.
💡Meet Sally, a cheerful off-leash Samoyed who likes to explore the Scottish countryside with her mum, Claire. Much like other Sammies, Sally needs a ton of exercise and off-leash play to burn off all her energy. So Claire often worries she might lose sight of her in the wilderness.
But thankfully, with Sally’s Tractive GPS, Claire quickly and easily tracks her with LIVE Mode to see exactly where she is.
In her words:
“To us, Sally wearing her Tractive GPS means she spends less time leashed and has more time for off the leash play, which means a happier and more thoroughly exercised pup. Plus, all the extra opportunity we have to practice “come back” has led to Sally having a more dependable recall. This means she can now be safely allowed off leash in new and unfamiliar places.”
Hailing from Hungary, the Vizsla is a type of Pointer dog originally bred to help hunters track down fowl and other wild animals. They’re excellent tracking dogs and love to splash around in water whenever they get the chance!
In fact, vizslas are also known as “velcro” dogs – ever wondered why? Simple: it’s because they’re notoriously clingy. Vizslas are loyal to a fault and highly affectionate. And despite their high energy, they’re quite gentle around children – and respond pretty positively even to strangers.
In fact, Vizslas are likely to whine or cry loudly when they feel neglected or bored. So it’s extra cute when you see them cheer up again the minute you announce, “Time for walkies!”
How to best keep your active dog safe on your outdoor adventures
There’s nothing quite like enjoying quality time with your buddy – especially if you can make exercise a team effort. But no matter how well-trained your active dog might be, there’s always the chance they might run off on your next hike, jog, or ski trip. Maybe even too far away from safety.
For example, your dog might run off because:
- Their hunting instincts drive them to chase another person, animal, or object
- They got spooked by another person, animal, or object
- Another dog entered their “territory”
- They sniffed out a snow pile or water body nearby
- They just needed to burn off some extra energy
- They sniffed out a female in heat nearby
- They just got plain bored!
And we’re no strangers to how rough and tumble outdoorsy active dogs tend to be. Which is why the new Tractive DOG XL Adventure edition comes with reinforced, bite-proof fiberglass casing and a 30-day battery life. So you can track your dog in real-time over an unlimited range – no matter how far they’ve run off to or how wild their terrain is.
Always know where your dog is
Follow every step in real-time with unlimited range. Get alerts if they wander too far. Keep them happy & healthy with Wellness Monitoring. And let others – like walkers or sitters – keep an eye on your dog too.
And the best part? Your Tractive device also helps you pick up on just how active your dog is throughout the day. Which can actually help you take a more active role in your buddy’s health. Aka, by:
- Ensuring they get enough exercise.
- Spotting a spike or a drop in their active minutes. (Which might indicate a sickness, infection, or injury.)
- Getting them to a vet for a preventative health checkup if you notice they’re more lethargic or hyperactive than usual. (Aka, if their active minutes dip or spike more than usual.)
Read more: Tractive reviews on Trustpilot
High-energy dog breeds bring high enjoyment to your life
There’s nothing more motivating than having an active dog in your life. Now you’ve got that much more encouragement to make regular exercise a part of your daily routine too!
- Just remember to keep an eye out for high energy dog breeds that have a high prey drive. They might be more likely to run off when outdoors, chasing down smaller animals or “prey”.
- Besides, dogs with a ton of pent-up energy are more likely to run away to let off some steam – or just get some more zoomies.
So equip your active dog with a GPS tracker that works and plays as hard as you do – and never worry about losing your buddy on your next outdoor adventure again.
Want to see how the Tractive DOG XL Adventure edition works in action? Here it is:
And if you’ve found this post helpful, share it with a fellow adventurous dog parent – and enjoy your outdoor adventures, stress-free.