Best running dogs: Which breeds are the best dogs to run with?

16 March 2021

Dogs can make the best running companions. But are all dogs suited to running? Definitely not! Discover which breeds make the best running dogs, below!

border collie running

All dogs are universally awesome – but not made the same. Some dogs are predisposed to health issues that limit their movement; whereas others are natural athletes that can easily take part in many sports and challenging physical activities. Before you learn how to run with your dog, find out if it’s actually safe to run with your furry friend. You may be better off finding another running partner (and a new hobby to enjoy with your dog). Can you guess which breeds make the best running dogs? Read on to find the answer below.

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What are the best dogs to run with?

First things first; before you learn how to run with your dog safely, you’ll want to make sure that 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
  • age
  • health condition

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. Pugs and bulldogs, for example, are likely to suffer from respiratory and overheating issues. Older dogs may have joint problems that can make running uncomfortable. So, before you make a running schedule for you and your pup, get a health check with your vet. Just like we need to get medical clearance for exercise, our pets need it too.

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

Best Running Dogs by Breed

One of the main indicators you can use to determine if a dog is capable of running safely with you or not is their breed. Some dog breeds find it easy and natural to run, while others simply can’t keep up. Breed typically determines if the dog’s body is anatomically suited for running or not.

In general, large breeds with long legs make the best running dogs.

Considering their size, bone structure, and overall physical disposition, these dog breeds make the best dogs to run with:

  • Huskies
  • Australian Shepherds
  • Greyhounds
  • Labradors
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Dalmatians
  • Poodles
  • Border Collies
  • Weimaraners

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.

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 or slunning – aka slow running (one of our favorite sports at Tractive) at a speed and distance that is comfortable for you both.

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 consideration 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 into their full size before they start jogging, to ensure that they can run safely and their joints are protected. On the other end of the spectrum, senior dogs may suffer from health issues that prevent them from running.

Find out how old your dog really is here.

In general, puppies under one year should also not go for long walks or runs.

Medical Condition & 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. Does your dog have a disability which would prevent them from running? Or could a more subtle disease like dog dementia be affecting them? If you are unsure about your dog’s health condition, then there’s only one thing to do.

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, the age, health condition, and personality of your pooch will all play a role in determining if he or she is fit to by your running buddy.

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

Conclusion: Best Dogs to Run With

So remember, before running with your dog, take their breed, age, and health condition 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 consider, it does matter how fit your dog buddy is! Active dogs will find it easy to adopt a regular running routine. Whereas sick or older dogs who struggle with daily exercise, will likely not make the best running partners. Consider that some 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 checkup 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? Then check out this video:


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