All dogs are awesome – but not made the same. Some dogs are more likely to have health issues that limit their movement, while others are natural athletes that are just always ready to go! Which makes them the best running dogs – and a great addition to your life no matter if you’re sporty yourself or just getting started with exercise.

But before you learn how to run with your dog, it’s smart to consider the risks.

  • Firstly – is it actually safe for your dog’s health to run with them? In some cases, you may be better off finding another running partner (and a new hobby to enjoy with your dog).
  • Secondly, going for a run with your dog means there’s always a risk that you might lose them. (Whether from running away, getting lost – or even getting dognapped.)

So we’re also going to cover the best way to keep your dog safe while out on a run. Because to ensure your buddy’s safety at every step, you’re best off with the device that might save your dog’s life.

Can you guess which breeds make the best running dogs? Read on to find out the answer.

What to consider before going out for a run with your dog

First things first. Before you learn how to run with your dog safely, you’ll want to make sure your dog is well-suited to your new hobby. Not all dogs are cut out for long runs. There are several factors that go into determining if a dog is well-suited for running. These include:

  • Breed. For example, pugs and bulldogs might be more likely to suffer from respiratory issues, like sleep apnea. So they might overheat as a result. On the other hand, some active dog breeds might be more likely to run away instead.
  • Age. Senior dogs may have joint problems that can make running uncomfortable. On the other hand, high-energy puppies might be more likely to bolt off into the distance because of their curious, excitable temperaments.
  • Health condition. Because of their genetic history, some dogs might be less likely to respond well to strenuous physical activities.
  • Temperament. Got a hyperactive dog at home? They might be more likely to enjoy running with you – and also head off entirely in a new direction when the impulse hits them.
A dog running off into a field

For some breeds, running may actually be bad for their well-being, so before you hit the road, consider your dog’s health, build, and breed. And as always, get a health check from your vet. Because just like humans need a doctor to clear them for exercise, so do our furry friends.

Let’s now look at these factors which can affect a dog’s running ability in more detail.

Best running dogs by breed

In general, large breeds with long legs make the best running dogs. But you do have some smaller exceptions, like Jack Russells, who are just packed with energy and make for excellent running partners too. (Same for medium-sized dogs like Vizlas.) So in general, your dog’s breed plays an important role in how well they respond to physical activities.

A Jack Russell Terrier running in a field with a ball in their mouth

Because while some dog breeds find it easy and natural to run, others simply can’t keep up. Breed typically determines if a dog’s body is suited for running or not.

  • Vizslas and Rhodesian Ridgebacks, for example, have lean, muscular bodies that are well-suited for running and keeping up with you.
  • On the other hand, a brachycephalic dog breed (with an oversized head) might find it difficult to breathe properly while running. So they may be reluctant exercisers in general.

Considering their size, bone structure, and overall physical disposition, here are a couple of dog breeds who make the best dogs to run with:

If you have one of these dog breeds, grab your shoes – its most likely safe to go running with your dog.

Australian Shepherd dog in field
Australian Shepherd – this dog breed typically makes for an ideal running companion.

High-energy dog breeds might be more likely to run away

Many of these high-energy dog breeds have a high prey drive and curious, friendly temperaments. Many of them (like Jack Russells) also bore easily. Which means they’ll keep you on your toes to stay both physically and mentally active.

It’s also why the best running dog breeds might be more likely to:

So rather than enjoying your run, you might actually end up spending more time chasing down your dog instead. Which might be fun – until you realize most of these running dogs easily clock in 30-40 miles per hour (or 46-64 km). Making it more likely you’ll lose them instead.

A dog running away into a forest with a woman standing in the background

💡 So imagine running with your active dog – stress-free?

That’s what Tractive’s DOG XL Adventure Edition was built for. So both you and your high-energy dog can enjoy your runs together – with zero stress, full enjoyment, and the assurance that you can find your dog, no matter where they’re off roaming.

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.

Track Your Dog With Tractive

Tractive Trustpilot review

Read more: Tractive reviews on Trustpilot

Now, on the other hand…

These dog breeds don’t make good runners

On the other hand, dogs with shorter legs and a smaller nose are not well suited to running or jogging. Due to their “smushed” face, they will experience problems breathing while running. Among those are:

  • Pugs
  • Bulldogs
  • French Bulldogs
  • Boxers
  • Pekingese
  • Shih Tzus
  • Corgi
  • Dachshund

If you have one of these breeds, accept the fact that your dog may not be a runner. Instead, try walking, jogging, or slunning – aka slow running – at a speed and distance that is comfortable for you both. Or try some fun indoor games, like tug of war or hide and seek, to get them excited.

infographic - best running dogs by breed and dog breeds not suited to running
Infographic: the best running dogs and their less athletic counterparts (breed chart).

Running with a dog: Age matters

Besides breed, it’s also important to take age into account before running together with a furry friend. Both very young and old dogs may find it challenging to jog.

  • Puppies, for example, will need to be allowed to grow to their full size before they start jogging, to ensure that they can run safely and their joints are protected. In general, puppies under one year should also not go for long walks or runs.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, senior dogs may suffer from health issues that prevent them from running.

💡 Wondering how to convert dog years into human years? Find out how old your dog really is here.

Dogs with separation anxiety can benefit from running

Separation anxiety in dogs can be debilitating. Plus, some high-energy dog breeds like Beagles and Vizslas might even be more prone to developing it because they hate being left alone.) This is when your dog develops the anxiety that you’ve abandoned them – so they might engage in destructive behavior instead. (Like ripping up your cushions or peeing inappropriately around the house.)

💡 But on the bright side, regular physical activity comes with some major perks for dogs with separation anxiety.

A Beagle on a leash standing in a sunny field outdoors

It’s why vets recommend tiring out your dog before you leave them alone for the day.2 (Like going out for a run together before you head off for work.) This can help a dog with separation anxiety better tolerate your absence.

  • If running outdoors isn’t an option, you could always play with them indoors. (Like playing fetch on an incline or doing some dog-specific exercises, like burpees!)
  • Or keep their brains alert with puzzle toys or hiding one of their favorite toys around the house, to keep them occupied while you’re gone.
  • Revisiting your dog’s training or trying a new, positive reinforcement-based training method (like clicker training) can help keep your dog both physically and mentally active.
  • Can’t run outdoors? Use a few pillows and cushions as props and set up a dog agility obstacle course in your backyard!

Medical condition & other health issues

Finally, you’ll want to consider a dog’s health condition and medical record before taking them out with you on your daily run. For example:

  • Does your dog have a disability which would prevent them from running?
  • Or could a more subtle disease like dog dementia be affecting them? Senior dogs with dementia might be more likely to get disoriented outdoors or wander away. Making them more likely to get lost.

If you’re not sure about your dog’s health condition, then here are a few steps you could take.

Consult your vet

Even if you think your dog might be capable of running with you, it’s a good idea ask your vet first before you get started. In addition to breed, age, health condition, and personality of your dog all play a role in determining if they are fit to be your running buddy.

A vet checking up a dog at their clinic

Once you get the green light from your vet, it’s time to get ready, set, go!

Track your dog’s daily activity

Vets recommend tracking your dog’s daily activity to catch on to health issues early.1 Because if your once active dog can no longer keep up with you, it might indicate sickness, injury, or ageing.

Besides, regular activity tracking comes with a ton of perks for you and your dog both:

  • It helps you ensure your buddy’s getting enough exercise. Keeping them healthy and fit for the long term.
  • You can more quickly catch on to a change in your dog’s behaviors – whether that’s a drop in their activity (from lethargy) or a spike (or increased hyperactivity.) Both of which might indicate sickness, in some cases.
  • Your activity tracking data enables you to take action more quickly and get your dog to a vet for a preventative health checkup.
screenshots from the activity monitoring in the Tractive GPS App

How does it work? Simple. Your Tractive device comes with a built-in motion detector. Which picks up on your dog’s movements throughout the day – and over time. So you can more quickly and easily pick up on your dog’s regular level of activity. (And take action more quickly if you notice a sudden spike or drop.)

Tractive Trustpilot review
Sebastian Raab, Product Manager at Tractive

“Everything we build puts pets and pet parents first. It’s why we’ve built one device that tracks all aspects of your pet’s safety, from location to wellness. So you can holistically keep them both safe and happy.”

– Sebastian Raab, Product Manager at Tractive & occasional pet-sitter

Discover GPS & Health Tracking For Dogs

Stay active & safe with your dog when out on runs

Running with your dogs comes with a ton of perks – and even better if you’ve adopted one of the best running dog breeds. But before getting started, make sure to take their breed, age, and overall health into consideration. Not all dogs are suitable for running, but you might just find the perfect running partner in your furry best friend.

Please also keep in mind that it does matter how fit your dog buddy is.

  • Active dogs will find it easy to pick up a regular running routine. But watch out – they’re also more likely to run away from you while outdoors.
  • On the other hand, sick or senior dogs who struggle with daily exercise will likely not make the best running partners. Consider more gentle, indoor exercises for them instead.
  • Brachycephalic dog breeds are more inclined to develop various diseases. So make sure to check your four-legged friend’s health condition before every dog jog.
  • A complete check-up will determine whether your dog is ready to start running with you or not.

You can always track your dog’s physical activity (and location in real time) using a Tractive GPS dog tracker and activity monitor. This way, you can ensure your beloved canine pal is not being over (or under) challenged, while making sure they stay out of harm’s way at all times.

Want some more tips and info about the best dogs for runners? Check out this video:

Did you like this post? Share it with a fellow dog-loving runner today!