Whether you love running, hiking, or just taking brisk walks around your neighborhood, it’s always nice to have a dog who wants to go with you. Not every dog wants to make strenuous exercise a part of his day. (Many of the dog breeds we consider the easiest to own don’t need a ton of exercise!) But if you adopt an active, athletic dog, you’ll have a companion who loves getting outside and getting some exercise with you.
Read on to check out the athletic dog breeds who will always want to accompany you on your workouts.
1. Australian cattle dog
According to Outside, the Australian cattle dog is one of the most athletic dog breeds — perfect for active pet owners. The publication characterizes this breed as a “true herding dog: Whip-smart, energetic, strong, and protective.” You can expect this breed “to keep going all day,” according to Outside. That probably sounds perfect if you want a companion for hiking, biking, and other activities outdoors. And even though the Australian cattle dog loves exploring wide open spaces, he’ll also form strong bonds with his owners, which makes him a great choice for active families.
2. Australian shepherd
The AKC reports that an Australian shepherd makes the perfect companion for an athlete, considering this dog also makes a great athlete himself. Australian shepherds especially excel at herding. They also love performance sports such as agility and obedience. However, the AKC also characterizes this breed as “very social.” In fact, the typical Australian shepherd “enjoys getting out, any time, any place.”
3. Bernese mountain dog
Outside reports that the Bernese mountain dog originally acted as a drafting and droving dog, so it’s no surprise that these large dogs will happily accompany you on any walk or hike in the mountains. In fact, these dogs can even carry a pack for you.
Outside characterizes the Bernese mountain dog as “a great dog for hikers.” That’s especially true if you live in a colder climate, or if you don’t want to deal with a leash every time you want to go for a hike. You can easily train a Bernese mountain dog to follow along without a leash.
4. Border collie
The border collie still enjoys popularity as a working dog on farms. (That probably gives you an idea of the breed’s endurance and activity level!) The AKC notes that border collies excel at dog sports such as agility and obedience. They have such high levels of intelligence and energy that performance trainers often love them. But they also make equally great pets for active dog owners who want a pup who can keep up with their endurance training.
Outside aptly points out that if a Dalmatian can keep pace with a horse, he can keep pace with you. The magazine explains, “These large and lean dogs were classically employed to run ahead of firefighting carriages and clear the way, but they’re just as happy running through the park.” They’ll happily accompany you whether you’re jogging around the neighborhood or training for a marathon.
6. Doberman pinscher
The Doberman pinscher has an unfairly intimidating reputation. But once you forget about the stereotypes, the breed has plenty of attributes that should appeal to active dog owners. Dobermans make affectionate and obedient companions. According to Outside, these dogs are always “up for jogs and hikes.” Plus, the magazine says that these large dogs are “as low-maintenance as they come,” which is perfect if you just want a trainable and athletic dog who will want to go with you on walks and runs.
7. German shorthaired pointer
Another AKC pick for people looking for an athletic dog? The German shorthaired pointer. This active, intelligent dog breed can work long hours outdoors. That makes the breed a perfect companion for active, athletic owners, no matter which particular activities they enjoy.
The AKC characterizes German shorthaired pointers as “friendly and willing to please.” That makes this athletic dog a great training partner, too, whether you want to run a marathon, go biking, or hike a mountain.
8. Jack Russell terrier
Because of the Jack Russell terrier’s small size, many people don’t think of the breed as an ideal companion for active pet owners. But you should definitely consider one of these dogs if you’re looking for an energetic and athletic dog breed. According to Outside, the Jack Russell has “boundless energy and can run for surprisingly extended periods of time.” The magazine advises, “If you’re looking for a more compact long-distance running mate, this adventurous breed should be just right.”
9. Labrador retriever
There are many reasons why the Labrador retriever has won the crown of the most popular dog in America. This athletic dog loves children, responds well to training, and also makes an excellent companion for active pet owners. Outside characterizes these dogs as “weatherproof, waterproof, and tenacious.” They’ll love going with you whether you want to take a leisurely walk around the neighborhood or plan to undertake a more strenuous hike in the woods.
10. Parson Russell terrier
This lesser-known breed is pretty small in size but has tons of energy. The AKC characterizes the breed as active, intelligent, and even “clever.” The group also reports that a Parson Russell makes “an excellent companion for someone who is looking for a smaller hiking or running companion, as the breed can keep up both physically and mentally to the challenge of endurance training.” These confident, alert dogs will always want to go with you when you head out for an adventure — or just a walk around the block.
11. Portuguese water dog
According to Outside, the Portuguese water dog’s working history makes them an ideal companion for active owners. They have a strong retrieving instinct and a natural affinity for water, so they’re a particularly good choice if you live near a lake or find that your favorite outdoor activities all happen near water. As Outside puts it, “Bred to herd fish, retrieve broken nets, and swim as couriers, Portuguese water dogs excel in the surf.”
12. Rhodesian ridgeback
Another less-common breed that you should definitely consider if you want an athletic dog? The Rhodesian ridgeback. The AKC reports that this strong, agile dog develops a deep loyalty to his owner. That means he’ll probably act a little reserved with strangers, but he’ll be very affectionate with his family.
According to the AKC, “The breed is very active, known for their endurance as well as their speed. They make great outdoor companions, regardless of activity, and are a popular choice for runners and backpackers.”
13. Shetland sheepdog
The Shetland sheepdog, which Outside counts as one of the most intelligent breeds, makes another tireless companion for active dog owners. Because of their strong herding instinct, these dogs enjoy chasing and herding animals.
But you can get them to channel all that energy into other activities, too. As Outside notes, these playful dogs are highly trainable and can enjoy lots of time outside. Just be sure to keep them away from roads, where their herding instinct may lead them into harm’s way.
14. Siberian husky
Most people know about the Siberian husky’s sledding heritage (and that the breed still performs that job today). But these beautiful dogs are up for lots of other kind of exercise, too. In fact, these active dogs need a lot of mental and physical exercise.
Siberian huskies love meeting new people, and they make great running or biking partners. But the AKC warns that you need to take care when exercising a husky in warm weather because of their thick coats. These dogs still love early morning runs or outings after the sun sets, though — even in hot climates.
The vizsla makes an energetic addition to any household and loves nothing more than exercising with his family. The AKC reports, “This breed was built for long days outdoors working, so they make excellent running, backpacking, and biking partners. Endurance is a strong point in this breed, so owners should be prepared to provide adequate exercise, thus making them a perfect dog for athletes.”
Most people know about the Weimaraner’s heritage as a hunting breed. But what you may not know is that the Weimaraner makes a great companion for any active owner, hunter or not.
The AKC characterizes the breed as “active, intelligent, and fearless.” Additionally, the group reports, “The breed is very social and enjoys spending time with their owner, as well as meeting new friends. They are energetic, but graceful, and make great exercise companions.”
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