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The best dog breeds for running and hiking

The 21 Best Dog Breeds for Running and Hiking

The only thing better than getting out and enjoying the great outdoors is having your four-legged friend come along too. Dogs make great companions for exploring but are some breeds more suitable than others? Check out our list of the best dog breeds for running and hiking. Whether you enjoy short and sweet runs, are training for a marathon, or love to hike, there is a perfect dog breed for you.

Dogs make a great running buddy because they are always raring to go. You're also guaranteed to commit to your running goals because if you miss a run, your dog is sure to let you know about it.

Get off the beaten trail and enjoy some hikes with your canine companion. 

The Best Dog Breeds For Running and Hiking

1. German Shorthaired Pointer

German Shorthair Pointer Running

Known for their speed and endurance, German Shorthaired Pointers, or GSPs as they are fondly referred to, make ideal running or hiking companions. GSPs are hunting dogs but with lots of daily exercise make great family pets. They love spending time outdoors, as well as playing with people and other dogs. This breed is known for its liver or liver and white colored coat which has short, sleek hair.

2. Siberian Husky

Siberian huskies pulling sled and running

You'll probably be familiar with huskies pulling sleds so it's no surprise that they also have incredible endurance. They'll be happy to hike all day long or join you for a run. Their thick coat makes them a great partner for winter adventures in the cold weather. As the name of the breed suggests, they originated from Siberia where they were bred to be the perfect sled dog and companion. They were then brought to Alaska in the early 1900s where they were very successful in sled dog races.

3. Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback running in water

Originally bred in southern Africa as a hunting dog, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are a fantastic family dog. They used to track lions in the past so it's unlikely that they will be afraid of anything you encounter on your hike. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are also known for the iconic stripe of backward growing hair along their back.

They are very athletic and good with people so are a perfect running companion.

4. Border Collie

Border Collie on a run with owner

Border Collies have boundless energy and love to run. They are a herding dog and often used on farms or ranches to round up livestock. Border collies are highly intelligent and need lots of exercise to keep them entertained as they enjoy working.

A border collie would be an excellent partner for anyone active.

This lovable breed was also the favorite of Queen Victoria. She owned several Border Collies over the years but one of them, known as 'Sharp', was her constant companion. He is buried on the grounds of Windsor Home Park. Queen Victoria's support of Border Collies led to their popularity increasing as a pet and show dog, rather than just a working breed.

5. German Shepherd

German Shepherd running in race

Tough, strong, and fast, German Shepherds are high energy dogs. They are a working breed and very versatile. German Shepherds were introduced to the US by soldiers returning from World War I. They became the military's choice of dog by World War II.

Thanks to their trainable attitude, German Shepherds are still used by the military, as well as the police, and in search and rescue missions. They are now a popular breed as a pet and would love to accompany you on runs or hikes.

6. Jack Russell

Jack Russell dog hiking

Don't let their size fool you, Jack Russells can keep up with the big dogs! Full of energy, the Jack Russell is a working terrier dog. This small dog was originally bred for fox hunting in England so they are used to running long distances.

Their petite size also means they make great lap dogs for after run snuggles. Jack Russells have one of the longest dog lifespans, living between 13 and 16 years on average.

7. Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherds running together

Similar to the Border Collie, the Australian Shepherd is a herding dog so needs lots of physical and mental stimulation. They are energetic dogs so are perfectly suited to high-intensity activities like running. Despite being called Australian Shepherds, they are not actually Australian.

Aussies are thought to have originated from Spain where shepherds brought the dogs across to the United States via Australia. As a result, Americans called them Australian Shepherds. They featured a lot in rodeos, performing tricks as well as helping to herd bulls, which has led to them becoming a popular breed.

8. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever running in lake

Arguably one of the most beloved breeds, Labrador Retrievers are a great all-round dog. They are working dogs and enjoy exercise but also love attention - so they are perfect to cuddle up with on rest days.

The Labrador Retriever has large, webbed feet which makes them excellent swimmers so if there's any kind of water on your run or hike they'll love to splash around!

9. Dalmatian

Dalmation dogs on a hike

This eye-catching dog breed makes a great running companion as historically they used to run alongside carriages and horse riders. Dalmatians are both athletic and protective which enabled them to ward off trouble on the roads.

Whilst you might not be encountering highwaymen on your run or hike, it's still nice to know that your Dalmatian will not only be able to keep up but look after you too.

10. Weimaraner

Weimaraner running in field

Weimaraners have a distinctive silvery coat and light-colored eyes. Did you know that Weimaraner puppies are born with stripes? After a few days, the tiger-like stripes fade away.

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Weimaraners also like to be physically active so make a great partner for long distance running but they can also pick up the speed for shorter, faster sprints. If you enjoy hiking, a Weimaraner will be fantastic company as they like to stay close to their owner.

11. Greyhound

Greyhound dogs

As the fastest dog breed in the world, it's only natural that Greyhounds make a good running partner. They are designed to be sprinters though so are most suited for short, fast runs rather than long hikes. After a run, they love coming home to relax and are a very affectionate, calm dog breed.

12. Golden Retriever

Running with Golden Retriever dog

Friendly and athletic, Golden Retrievers are excellent running companions. They are working breed, so have been bred and trained to run and work all day long.

Golden Retrievers are very social dogs so will enjoy spending time with you whilst using up some energy. You can also encourage the whole family to get active as Golden Retrievers make great family pets.

13. Vizsla

Vizsla dog running in water

Vizslas are very muscular with lots of stamina which makes them perfect for long distances. They originated from Hungary and were bred to be hunting dogs. Vizslas love any opportunity to run off-leash as they are high energy and enjoy playing.

They are also known as a 'Velcro' dog as they like to stick to people, making them the perfect wingman for adventures.

14. English Springer Spaniel

English Springer Spaniel running in field

Obedient yet energetic, English Springer Spaniels love to run and be active. They are a good option for those who prefer small to medium sized dogs but they are tough and very trainable.

The English Springer Spaniel was bred for hunting so they love spending time outside and joining in with their owner's sporting activities.

15. Saluki

Saluki dog running in field

Extremely graceful, you might think Salukis would be more at home on the catwalk than the great outdoors but they love to run.

Salukis are very quick runners, second only to the Greyhound. They have more endurance than Greyhounds though so will be able to keep pace with you on longer routes. Salukis are also one of the oldest known breeds of dog and were known as the 'Royal Dogs of Egypt'.

16. Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher running on hike

Doberman Pinschers are built for running thanks to their lean and muscular physique. They are high energy dogs and need lots of exercise so are always keen to go for a run or hike.

With an obedient nature, a Doberman Pinscher makes a perfect training buddy. Doberman Pinschers were bred to be guard dogs but today they are great companions and family pets.

17. Beagle

Woman running with Beagle

Beagles love to run! They are one of the smaller breeds on this list but are very active and curious.

Do be aware that beagles are a scent hound though which means they can wander off if they pick up a scent. You'll want to keep your beagle on a leash so that you don't end up running after your dog, rather than enjoying a run together.

18. Standard Poodle

Standard Poodle running in the snow

The Standard Poodle is a good all-round dog breed, combining athleticism, intelligence, and playfulness. Historically, they have been hunting dogs so they need a high level of exercise as they like being busy.

Standard Poodles make a great running partner for short and long jogs alike. If you have allergies, a Standard Poodle could be a good option as they have a non-shedding coat.

19. Fox Terrier

Fox Terrier in woods

Small but mighty, the Fox Terrier is full of energy. They were originally bred for fox hunting in England so have lots of stamina to run all day. Similar to the Beagle, they are best kept on-lease while hiking or running to begin with as they can stray if they are curious about something they see or smell.

If you have a Fox Terrier you're in good company - both Charles Darwin and King Edward VII had Fox Terriers as well.

20. American Staffordshire Terrier

American Staffordshire Terrier running on the beach

Whilst the American Stafforshire Terrier isn't built for long distance running, they love shorter jogs.

Staffies are a high energy breed and thrive on attention; letting them into the backyard isn't enough, they love spending time on runs or obedience training with their humans. With a lovable and trainable personality, American Staffordshire Terriers can make a fantastic companion for running.

21. Mixed Breeds

Mixed breed dog running on leash

You don't need a purebred dog as a running or hiking partner, mixed breed dogs can be the best companions of all. If their breeding combines one of the dog breeds listed above then that's great but all they need is a desire to run.

With training and patience, any mixed breed dog can learn to run alongside you and become your go-to running partner.

Which Dog Breeds are Bad Runners?

Short-nosed breeds such as Bulldogs, Boxers, Shih Tzus, and Pugs are at higher risk of having respiratory issues and are not suited for running. These dog breeds are known as brachycephalic dogs due to their very short snouts and flat-faced appearance.

They are still great companions but are not suited to high-intensity exercise such as running or hiking.

Dog Running FAQs

Is Running Good for Dogs?

Yes, running is great exercise for dogs and most breeds love to run. Lots of dogs don't get enough daily exercise so taking your dog out running with you is a good way to help use up some of their energy. There are a few things you should consider before taking your dog out running though:

  • Fitness: Just like you wouldn't go from a couch potato to running a half marathon immediately, don't expect your dog to. Build up with shorter and slower runs before increasing the speed or distance.
  • Terrain: Lots of running on streets and sidewalks can be harmful to your dog's joints. Try to mix up your routes to include some softer or more varied terrain. Sidewalks can also heat up in warm weather and burn your dog's paws so try to pick a cooler part of the day or find a different place to run.
  • Breed: We have listed some of the best dog breeds for runners above that are most suited to this high-intensity activity. If your dog isn't built for running or is a brachycephalic breed, consider going for walks instead.
  • Weather - consider the temperature in relation to your dog before taking them out running. Even though the Siberian Husky and Australian Shepherd are fantastic running partners, they won't fare well on hot days due to their thick coats, while a breed like Vizslas or Greyhounds will.
  • Health: Running is high-impact so your dog will need a clean bill of health first. Joint problems such as hip dysplasia or arthritis could make running uncomfortable for your dog. Also, dogs that are overweight will find running more difficult than leaner dogs. If your dog is overweight, focus on their diet and building up the length of your walks before attempting any running.

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Which Dog Can Run the Longest?

There are several factors that contribute to how far a dog can run. Breed is a key element and we've listed some of the best breeds for running above.

Many of the breeds listed are hunting dogs. These dogs have been bred for hunting all day which means they have lots of stamina. As such, they are well suited for endurance and long-distance running.

Breeds like the German Shorthaired Pointer and Weimaraner are hunting dogs and they can run long distances.

Long distance running dog Weimaraner

High energy herding dogs such as the Border Collie or Australian Shepherd can also cover considerable distances. These breeds are used to working all day and having a job. They also have a real desire to please and enjoy running which makes them a good endurance running companion.

Training is a huge part of increasing your dog's stamina and ability to run long distances. You will want to start with shorter distances a few times per week before building up to longer runs. Consider mixing up your dog's workout plan with different length runs, hikes, and agility training to keep things interesting.

Something that you can't necessarily specify or train in your dog is temperament. To be a good running partner, your dog not only has to love to run but enjoy running beside you.

Breeds like Border Collies and Siberian Huskies have a natural work ethic and lots of stamina, making them ideal for longer distances. An obedient and trainable nature will make it easier to build up the length of time your dog can run with you.

When running longer distances with your dog it's important to monitor them. Offer them water when you feel thirsty and be sure to take breaks, particularly in warmer weather.

An article in Runner's World revealed some dogs that are ultrarunners. Ben, a German Shorthaired Pointer, runs up to 100 miles per week and sometimes 40 miles in one day with his human. Similarly, Bee, a Border Collier, runs around 90 miles per week, often outrunning her owner.

If you're looking for speed rather than distance, then Greyhounds are the sprinters of the dog world. Greyhounds can reach speeds of 72km/h!

Can I Run with My Puppy?

A cute puppy running

Having a puppy is a really exciting time and it can be tempting to bring your new pup on your running adventures. Puppies are rapidly growing and developing so too much exercise can cause damage. The growth plates are soft while new tissue is forming.

Once the growth plates harden, the puppy has stopped growing in height but will continue to develop fat and muscle.

Smaller breeds take less time to stop growing than their larger counterparts. It is not recommended to start running with your dog until they have reached 18 months old. For very large dogs, you may want to wait until they are closer to two years old before starting any high-intensity exercise as they take longer to develop.

Up Next: What Do Dogs Think About?

It's worth the wait as being patient will reduce the risk of your dog getting joint problems, leading to lots of happy years running together.

When your puppy is old enough to start running, you will want to build up the training slowly. Begin with loose-leash walking. This will help your dog learn to walk beside you without pulling or trailing behind.

Running together won't be much fun unless you work together. You're aiming for your dog to walk calmly next to you without weaving in front of you, getting distracted, or tugging the leash.

Once you've got the hang of loose-leash walking, you can pick up the speed. You might want to use a memorable cue to let your dog know that you're about to start running.

If your dog knows what to listen for, they will be able to respond better. Practice going from a walk to a run and back again, praising your dog as they match their speed to yours.

Then, you just need to build up your dog's endurance. Before you know it, you and your dog will be enjoying lots of runs and hikes together.

If you love being active, it's definitely worth considering one of the dogs listed as your new running or hiking companion. Dogs are a great motivator too; on the days when you're not feeling like lacing up your sneakers, their puppy dog eyes are sure to convince you that going for a run is a good idea.

Plus, who doesn't love a summit selfie with their dog out hiking? If your introverted like me then throw on our anti social dog club shirt and let people leave you alone!

What's your favorite dog running breed? Leave us a comment and let us know!

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