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Best running dogs: 12 breeds that are natural runners

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Beautiful australian shepherd smiling and running in nature in spring

Working dogs are the best running dogs. They are bred to perform tasks such as herding, guarding, rescue operations etc. They are natural runners and with training can accompany you on those long runs.

Running is good for you and your dog

There are many benefits to running including improving your cardiovascular health, building muscle strength and bone density and most of all, it’s a stress buster.

Running is also good for your dog. It helps to keep his weight in check, helps to redirect excess energy, enhances muscle tone, builds stamina, and ensures his heart and lungs stay in good shape.

In any case you need to walk your dog, so why not get your workout for the day by running instead of walking with your dog.

Make sure that your dog is ready for running

However, before running ensure that your dog is capable of long physical activity.

The tolerance levels for different weather conditions and surfaces vary among dog breeds, so try to understand what is acceptable for your dog.

Consult your vet before getting started. 

Though all dogs can train to run, some breeds are genetically more predisposed to running than others and can tolerate longer physical activity.

Choosing the right running partner

When selecting the right breed of dog to run with you, you need to keep the following in mind:

  1. The distance that you want to run
  2. The running surface (grass, asphalt, sand etc)
  3. Type of running (base run, speed running, interval running and slow running)

Dogs suited to running

The dogs in our list below are mostly working dogs bred to perform tasks such as hunting or herding. They are natural runners who can handle long distance running and enjoy time outside.

Which dogs are not suitable for running?

Short nosed or flat faced dogs (brachycephalic dog breeds) are not good running partners. These include breeds such as pugs and French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers and English Bulldogs. Their short muzzles restrict airflow, causing them to overheat.

Below is our list of the best running dogs

We do not claim our list is comprehensive and there are surely other breeds that can do well as running partners.

1. Vizsla

Vizsla - best running dogs

Vizslas are high energy dogs that are medium to large. They are athletic and well suited to endurance running. Muscular with short-haired coat, the Vizslas can tolerate mild to warm weather conditions. They can tolerate different terrains but running on asphalt or concrete can lead to pain in the paws or joint problems. It is best to have them run on medium soft mud or grass.

The Vizsla can run several miles at a stretch once you have built up their stamina over a period. In the beginning start with short distances of not more than 2 miles (3 KM) with a lot of breaks in between.

Distance that a Vizsla can run at a time:

  • Adult dogs with running experience: Around 7 to 9 miles (11-14 KM)
  • Vizsla that are new to running: 2 miles (3 KM)

Don’t start running until your Vizsla is at least 14 months to ensure that their bones, joints and muscles can withstand the stress of running.

Avoid long distance running with your Vizsla when the temperature is over 20C (70F) to prevent heatstroke or dehydration.

They require at least one hour of exercise daily.

2. Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog - best running dogs

Australian Cattle Dogs are natural runners. These athletic dogs enjoy running and can run 10 to 15 miles (16 to 24 KM). However, you need to build up their stamina over a period.

In the beginning run short distances with breaks and build their endurance gradually.

Always watch out for signs of overexertion.

They can also comfortably do half or full day hikes with a few breaks in between.

They need one to two hours of daily exercise.

3. Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd - best running dogs

These energetic dogs can run between 4 to 6 miles (6 to 9 KM) once you have built up their endurance gradually. 

Running with your Australian Shepherd on a regular basis will help to keep you pet mentally and physically stimulated.

They require about 2 hours of daily exercise.

Avoid running on hot days as their long coats are more suited for cooler weather.

Ensure your dog is healthy to go on the long runs. If you are not sure, check with your veterinarian first.

4. Border Collie

Border Collie - best running dogs

A medium sized dog, the Border Collie is athletic with boundless energy and stamina.

This breed requires plenty of exercise to be happy. In the absence of adequate exercise, the Border Collie may exhibit negative behavior traits.  

They are well suited to a family that leads an active lifestyle. Their intelligence and high trainability make them perfect for off-leash running.

One of the leading sheepdogs in the world, the Border Collie can run up to 49 miles (78 KM) in a day.

The Border collie is happiest when working.

5. Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky - best running dogs

Siberian Huskies can run long distances in cold conditions.

They are the preferred breed for sled racing due to their ability to run long distances in freezing temperatures.

As a dog bred for endurance, the Siberian Husky can run 10 to 20 miles (16 to 32 KM) at a stretch.

Your Siberian Husky would be happy to run the whole day, but you should aim for a minimum of 80 minutes of exercise every day, which also include running.

You can introduce your Siberian Husky to running after they reach the age of one. To avoid injuries, your dog should start running only after their bones and joints are developed.

Like all exercise start with short sessions and build up their endurance overtime.

6. Weimaraner

best running dogs

As natural runners, the Weimaraner can be an excellent running companion. Their high energy and long limbs are well suited to running.

A Weimaraner can run up to 10 miles once their endurance has been built over time. As hunting dogs, the Weimaraner can reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour.

Wait till your Weimaraner is at least a year or even 18 months before you start running with them.

This breed can become an excellent pet to an active family. Friendly and loyal, the Weimaraner can also function as an efficient watchdog.

7. German Shorthaired Pointers

German Shorthaired Pointers - best running dogs

The German Short-Haired Pointer is a high energy dog that can be an excellent running companion.

Strong and friendly, the German Short-Haired Pointer with its lean and muscular build, requires at least one hour of vigorous exercise daily.

As a working dog bred for endurance, the German Short-Haired Pointer can easily handle a 3 to 4 mile (4 to 6 KM) run once conditioned gradually.

Don’t start the running program until your pet is at least 18 months.  

8. Rhodesian Ridgebacks

best running dogs

The Rhodesian Ridgeback loves to run and will be an excellent pet for an active family. Bred in Africa, they can handle warm weather.

This breed can run 6 to 8 miles (9 to 12 KM) at a stretch once they are conditioned.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback will require at least 2 hours of exercise daily. They can run at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour.

9. Standard Poodles

best running dogs

Endowed with plenty of energy and stamina, the Standard Poodles are great running dogs.

This breed can run up to 5 miles (8 KM) once conditioned.

Make sure to start the run always with a brisk walk to warm up before getting into the run. 

Due to their intelligence, you can easily train them to run on a leash without pulling.

10. German Shepherd Dog

best running dogs

German Shepherds make excellent running buddies. They enjoy having something to do as herding dogs. Running is actually a very effective way to satisfy this breed’s high energy needs for exercise.

They need to exercise for roughly 90 minutes per day, which can be split up among a variety of high-intensity activities like running or playing.

They can run at rates of up to 30 miles per hour and are frequently used in police and military jobs due to their sprinting ability.

11. Golden Retriever

best running dogs

They make excellent running buddies.

An adult Golden Retriever in good health and conditioning can run 3 to 4 miles (4 to 6 KM).

They are high-energy pets bred to run and retrieve objects.

The Golden Retriever’s well-balanced frame, deep chest, and strong, muscled legs make them perfect for running.

This breed has a top speed of 35 miles per hour.

12. Labrador Retriever

best running dogs

The Labrador’s athletic frame, strong levels of energy, and natural affinity for running and playing make it a great running companion. In addition, the breed has exceptional stamina and can labor for extended periods. With adequate conditioning, they can run up to 10 miles (16 KM) at a time.