10 Best Dog Breeds for Runners


If you are a dog lover and a runner, then you might like the idea of having a canine running partner. Running with a dog can be a lot of fun and a great way to bond with your pooch. For athletic breeds that have a lot of energy, a runner in the house might also be the right fit for a breed that requires a lot of exercise.

Here are the 10 best dog breeds that tend to enjoy frequent runs.


Take care when bringing your dog along on a run. Dogs often need water breaks, so bring water for your dog. Stop running and head home if your dog seems reluctant to run, has trouble breathing, acts pained, begins limping, seems overheated, or appears otherwise distressed.

Breed Characteristics

Many of the best canine runners are part of the sporting, herding, or terrier dog groups. Most of those breeds have been developed over generations for their athleticism and endurance. Some mixed-breed dogs are great runners as well, especially if they are mixed with one or more of the run-loving breeds.

  • 01 of 10


    A Weimaraner puppy sitting up on a bed
    Norah Levine / Getty Images

    As members of the sporting group, Weimaraners are athletes by design. Their speed and endurance make them ideal running partners for both short and long distances. They can tolerate heat fairly well and enjoy lots of exercise. Weimaraners that do not get enough exercise and training may even develop anxiety or behavior issues.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Sporting (AKC)

    Height: 24 to 26 inches

    Weight: 70 to 85 pounds

    Coat and Color: Strong-bodied, streamlined with a short, smooth mouse gray or silver-gray coat; strong head with dropped ears

    Life Expectancy: 11 to 13 years

  • 02 of 10


    Zeynepogan / Getty Images

    The vizsla is a hard-working hunting dog that thrives on exercise. This sporting group dog possesses excellent endurance and speed. The vizsla can tolerate heat well and tends to stay very close to its owner. Some have nicknamed this breed “the Velcro dog.” It is a great loyal companion and running buddy.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Sporting (AKC)

    Height: 22 to 23 inches

    Weight: 45 to 50 pounds

    Coat and Color: Russet-colored short, smooth, dense coat

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

  • 03 of 10


    Image Source / Getty Images

    Although they are in the non-sporting group, Dalmatians are natural athletes that need lots of exercise to thrive. The history of this breed is not well-known, but Dalmatians need to stay active and keep busy. They were once used as carriage or coach dogs that would run alongside horse-drawn carriages. They are also well-known as firehouse dogs. In the days before loud sirens, the dogs would run ahead of horse-drawn fire carriages, barking loudly to clear the path of bystanders.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Non-Sporting (AKC)

    Height: 19 to 23 inches

    Weight: 45 to 60 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short and dense white coat with brown or black spots

    Life Expectancy: 11 to 13 years

  • 04 of 10

    Border Collie

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

    The border collie is one of the most intelligent dog breeds. As a member of the herding group, this breed loves to move. Border collies are incredibly agile dogs that can run fast for a long time. These dogs need to keep active or they can become frustrated. Consider running with your border collie through somewhat dense, winding trails to add a bit of challenge. This breed can tolerate heat but does exceptionally well in cooler temperatures.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Herding (AKC)

    Height: 18 to 22 inches

    Weight: 28 to 48 pounds

    Coat and Color: Rough or smooth medium-length double coat with a coarse outer coat and a soft undercoat that can be a solid color, bicolor, tricolor, merle, or sable

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 17 years

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  • 05 of 10

    Australian Shepherd

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

    Another intelligent member of the herding group, the agile, athletic Aussie enjoys long, challenging runs. This breed craves mental and physical stimulation. Avoid long runs on sweltering days; they have longer coats best suited for cooler temperatures. Aussies are intelligent, loyal, and full of energy, making them great companions and running partners.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Herding (AKC)

    Height: 18 to 23 inches

    Weight: 40 to 65 pounds

    Coat and Color: Medium to long coat in blue merle, red merle, black, or red

    Life Expectancy: 13 to 15 years

  • 06 of 10

    Rhodesian Ridgeback

    Olgagorovenko / Getty Images

    The Rhodesian ridgeback is a member of the hound group but often seems more like a sporting dog. This large, muscular dog was initially bred in Africa to hunt lions. Today, the breed has retained its athleticism and endurance. Most Rhodesian ridgebacks can handle somewhat long runs and warmer temperatures. Avoid running with this large dog breed until fully grown, usually around 2 years of age.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Hound (AKC)

    Height: 25 to 26 inches

    Weight: 65 to 90 pounds

    Coat and Color: Light wheaten to red wheaten with a characteristic ridge of hair formed by the hair growing in the opposite direction of the rest of the coat

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

  • 07 of 10

    Siberian Husky

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

    The Siberian husky is a member of the working group and was developed to haul sleds over long distances in the snow. With seemingly boundless energy, this breed loves to run.​ If you live in a cool climate, this dog can be your daily running partner. However, huskies are not suited for long runs in warmer weather.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Working (AKC)

    Height: 21 to 23 inches

    Weight: 35 to 50 pounds

    Coat and Color: Dense, plush double coat ranging from black to white and other colors; brown or blue eyes or maybe one of each color

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

  • 08 of 10


    Javier Pardina / Stocksy

    Several small, energetic terriers enjoy long runs. These breeds are tenacious and can endure; they were bred to find and kill vermin and to join fox hunts. If you want a smaller dog as your running partner, consider a Jack Russell, a Parson Russell, a rat terrier, or a wire fox terrier. If you prefer to run with a larger terrier, consider an Airedale terrier.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.

  • 09 of 10


    Leah Flores / Stocksy

    Several pointers love to exercise and have the strength, speed, and endurance to make excellent running partners. These breeds include the pointer, ​German shorthaired pointer, and German wirehaired pointer. These dogs tend to do well in warm and cool temperatures and enjoy long-distance runs.

  • 10 of 10


    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

    If shorter, fast-paced runs are your thing, then a sighthound—namely, the greyhound, whippet, borzoi, saluki, Scottish deerhound, and sloughi—may be the perfect running companion for you. Their streamlined bodies are perfectly designed for sprinting, and they love it. However, most sighthounds are ultimately more like couch potatoes than athletes. In general, sighthounds have very little fat and do not tolerate cold temperatures well.

Breeds to Avoid

Puppies of all breeds should not go on regular, routine runs or long runs. Generally, it would be best if you didn’t start running with a puppy before 6 months of age; any earlier, and you could risk affecting its growing joints and muscles.

Many high-energy dogs such as boxers or pit bulls can make excellent running partners but do not tolerate frequent runs well. Pit bull–type terriers such as American Staffordshire terriers, bull terriers, and Staffordshire bull terriers have a lot of energy but not much endurance or heat tolerance; they are suitable only for short runs in cooler weather.

Avoid running long distances with brachycephalic dogs (dogs with short snouts) such as bulldogs, pugs, or other breeds sensitive to heat. They can suffer from exhaustion, overheating, and breathing issues. Although there are exceptions, giant dogs or other dogs prone to orthopedic problems can experience joint pain and injuries if they frequently run long distances. Small, short-legged dogs such as dachshunds or corgis may have trouble keeping up and quickly tire on long runs.

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