This year, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us were forced to figure out alternate methods of getting our daily workouts in. Some elected for at-home routines, while others took to the streets and started walking, jogging or running.
There are many benefits to starting an outdoor workout regime. The best benefit? You can include your dog in your workout.
Some breeds handle the faster pace of jogging or running better than others. Obviously, you can’t set a blistering running pace and expect a Dachshund to keep up with you, and even among the “longer-legged” set there are some breeds that will absolutely love running and others who will think you’re nuts for even trying (looking at you, Great Danes).
Jogging With Senior Dogs
Senior dogs may not be able to go the speed and distance they once could. They’re not just “being lazy.” Age slows all of us down, including our dogs.
Forcing a dog to push past their limitations turns a daily walk or jog from something fun and special to a dreaded, painful chore. Be mindful of your dog’s limitations due to age or illness.
If you have a senior dog, be sure to read “7 Fun Ways to Get Your Older Dog Moving.”
Jogging With Puppies
Despite their high energy levels, puppies wear out much more quickly than adult dogs. In addition, pushing a puppy past their limitations can cause lifelong damage because their bones and body structure may not be fully developed yet.
“Because their bones and muscles aren’t fully developed, they’re at risk for orthopedic damage,” warns the American Kennel Club (AKC). “Medium-to-large breeds should not be allowed to run on surfaces like concrete or black top until they are at least 18 months old.
“Given that some dogs mature slower than others, check with your veterinarian to make sure your canine companion is ready to start running beside you.”
The Best Dog Breeds for Joggers
It’s a mistake to pigeonhole any dog by their breed — there will always be some pups who are more tolerant than others, and mixed breeds many times get the best of all their forebears in terms of tolerances.
But with that said, here are some of the dog breeds in general that are the best match for certain workout routines.
10 Best Dogs Breeds for Short Jogs
These are the dog breeds that may benefit from a short jog (5 miles or less) or even a quick run, but these dogs can’t always match the endurance for longer jogs or runs due to body structure, joint issues or heavier coats.
- Golden Retriever
- Labrador Retriever
- Doberman Pinscher
- Pit Bulls/Staffordshire Terrier
- German Shorthaired Pointer
10 Best Dog Breeds for Longer Jogs
These are breeds that will run with you until you’re ready to stop, and probably want to keep going!
- Standard Poodle
- Russell Terrier
- Australian Cattle Dog
- Border Collie
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- English Springer Spaniel
Dog Breeds That Do Well on Walks
All of them — exercise your dog! For more, see our article “How to Exercise Your Dog Anytime — Even in the Winter.”
Your dog’s age, medical condition and breed are important considerations when determining if they should run with you and for how long. But you also need to factor in the weather.
Long-coated breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Akitas, huskies, etc. are going to suffer in hot weather. Please don’t shave your long-coated dog.
“Your dog’s coat actually acts as an insulator,” explains Dr. Jerry Klein, DVM, AKC chief veterinary officer. Shaving the coat actually “makes the dog susceptible to heat stroke and can result in improper hair growth and the possibility of follicle damage. A dog’s fur coat protects him from sunburn and decreases his risk of developing skin cancer.”
Proper brushing and grooming will do the most to help your dog stay cool in warm months. You can also adjust the time of day you exercise — move jogging or running to cooler early-morning or evening hours. Always be mindful of your dog’s behavior and stop immediately if they show any signs of heat exhaustion.
Likewise, short-coated dogs will struggle more in cold weather. Provide a jacket or sweater to help them stay warm outside.
In extreme weather — whether it’s very hot or very cold — refrain from long walks, jogs or runs. Keep an eye on your running surface as well. Pavement can easily become blistering hot when it’s exposed to summer sun, and in the winter you’ll have ice and salt to contend with, all of which is hard on dogs’ paws.
Before we jump into the final section of this article, check out this great video from The Run Experience, with tips on how to run with your dog:
When going out on an exercise excursion, be sure you have everything you and your dog will need. That means proper harnesses and leashes, plenty of water for both of you, and keep your phone handy in case of problems. In more rural areas, consider carrying some form of wildlife deterrent, such as a noise making device, bear repellent or pepper spray.
Run with your dog off-leash only if they are 100% voice-command trained. That means your dog should come to you when you ask them to, every single time. As trainer Caitlin Crittenden writes in her article “5 Basic Commands Every Dog Should Know”:
“‘Come’ might be the most critical command you ever teach your dog. You may not use it as often as ‘sit’ or ‘down,’ but it saves many dogs’ lives every year.”
Final Thoughts on the Best Dog Breeds for Joggers
Not only are all breeds different, but all dogs are different and will have a wide range of tolerances. You may have a Xoloitzcuintli who wants to run for 50 miles, or you might have a Komondor you can barely pry off the couch.
The best judge of your dog’s jogging or running limitations is you. So get out there and enjoy your walk, run or jog with your best friend — it’s the best way to exercise!