When selecting the right dog for you, it’s important to consider which breeds may be more suitable for your lifestyle than others. For example, if you enjoy heading out on jogs and hikes and would like your dog to accompany you on these excursions, choosing an active dog breed is key. While there are always exceptions, there are certain breeds that tend to be more active and energetic than others. This article covers 17 of the best dog breeds for owners who want to include them in their active lifestyle.
Why does breed matter?
All dogs need exercise to thrive. However, some breeds are naturally active and energetic, while others lean more towards the couch potato side of the scale. A dog’s level of desire for exercise and activity often stems from the purpose they were originally bred for, as well as natural athletic abilities. For some owners, a less energetic breed is ideal. For example, elderly people typically choose dogs with lower exercise demands as this suits their lifestyle better.
So, by the same logic, if you want to incorporate your dog into your active lifestyle, choosing a breed that would enjoy this is a smart move. That way, rather than dragging them out for exercise-heavy excursions that they’re not particularly interested in, you’ll have a dog that’s begging to head out on your next active adventure. Meanwhile, less active dogs can find happy, loving homes too with people who are more interested in their favourite things, like long snuggle sessions on the couch.
17 great dog breeds for owners who lead active lifestyles
Below are 17 excellent dog breeds for you to consider if you’re looking for the right dog to fit into your active lifestyle. Once you choose the pooch for you, don’t forget to treat them to our wide range of treats and chews, toys, and keep them sparkling clean with our hygiene products.
1. Border Collie
Border Collies are highly energetic dogs as they’re bred as working animals primarily for herding on farms. A simple walk around the block won’t be enough exercise for this type of pooch. They love to run, so taking them somewhere open and safe where they can release their energy is ideal. Border collies are also highly intelligent, with many regarding them as the smartest of all dog breeds. This allows them to excel in many different activities that include both physical and mental stimulation. If intelligence, agility, and a love for hard work are important to you, this breed is calling your name.
2. Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers are the UK’s favourite dog breed. They make excellent family dogs and have plenty of energy to spend on adventures. This breed has an equally laid back and energetic nature, meaning they’re happy to partake in any activity that comes their way. For example, Labrador Retrievers are known to love to swim, run, and play games with other dogs and their owners. If you’re a runner, a labrador retriever could be a great option as they tend to enjoy jogging alongside their humans. Additionally, for mental stimulation, this breed is great at learning tricks and following commands, hence their use as service dogs all over the world. Looking for a happy-go-lucky pooch with lots of energy that’s eager to please? Look no further than a Labrador Retriever.
3. Jack Russell Terrier
They may be small, especially in comparison to many of the other dogs on this list, but don’t let that fool you. Jack Russell Terriers are full to the brim with energy and love to partake in activities that are reminiscent of the original purpose of their breed. Their job was once to hunt animals that burrow underground, which means they’re happiest when they get to chase and dig. Jack Russel Terriers need both mental and physical stimulation to thrive, meaning they enjoy everything from a walk and a simple game of fetch to higher intensity activities like agility training. If you live in a smaller space but still want a dog that you can bring on your active adventures, this pocket-sized pooch could be the perfect companion for you.
4. Hungarian Vizsla
Hungarian Vizslas are full of energy and enjoy a wide range of activities, making them a great option for any type of active lifestyle. Running in open spaces, swimming, and hiking are a few of many examples. Like all dogs, they also require mental stimulation, so finding ways to weave this into their physical activity is ideal. For example, you may want to try some sort of agility training, tracking activities, or frequently take them to locations where there are lots of new sniffs. Sometimes referred to as ‘velcro dogs’, this breed will want to be by your side as much as possible, whether it’s while swimming, exploring a hiking trail, or anything in between. If you’re on the hunt for a versatile and energetic companion that will never leave your side, this could be the breed you’ve been looking for.
5. German Shepherd
German Shepherds are athletic, versatile, and fiercely protective of their loved ones. Additionally, this breed is incredibly intelligent, which is why they are often used as working dogs in varying capacities, including law enforcement. They make great running partners and enjoy any activities that involve spending time with their humans. Due to their intelligence and hardworking nature, it’s a good idea to mix in a healthy portion of mental stimulation alongside their physical activity. For example, you could set up obstacle courses and teach them tricks that require both mental and physical exertion. If you’re looking for a loyal, protective, and highly energetic dog, this breed could be the perfect fit for you.
6. Siberian Husky
As cold weather and endurance lovers, Siberian Huskies are full of energy. This breed is often used as a working dog, which means they thrive with plenty of daily exercise that goes further than a simple walk and a game of fetch. In particular, they have a soft spot for any type of winter activity, such as sledging in freshly fallen snow. This breed is also excellent at running with incredible levels of endurance, making them perfect running partner candidates. If you’re looking for an athletic breed that can enjoy cold weather activities with you, a Siberian Husky may be exactly the dog you’re looking for.
Weimaraners have a unique grey coat and were originally bred as hunting dogs. These large dogs are packed full of energy and require lots of exercise. This makes them excellent candidates for joining your active household. They’re speedy with lots of stamina, so activities like running, swimming, and agility training can be great options for this breed. In addition to their athleticism, Weimaraners are very loving and loyal, enjoying spending time with their families. If you want a gorgeous breed that can show you love and keep up with your activities, you may have just found the ideal pooch for you.
8. German Shorthaired Pointer
German Shorthaired Pointers may be your first thought when someone mentions the term ‘hunting dog’. This is because they’re known for their identifiable ‘point’ stance when they spot prey, with one front foot cocked in the air. This breed thrives when provided with opportunities for vigorous exercise, particularly outdoors. They love partaking in anything that involves nose work due to their hunting nature, but they also enjoy plenty of other more athletic activities. These include options like swimming, agility training, running, hiking, among many others. German Shorthaired Pointers are powerful, affectionate, and very intelligent. If you’re looking for a medium-sized dog with the energy of a large dog and plenty of endurance, you’ve found it in this breed.
9. Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherd is an odd name for this breed considering they originate from the US. They’re incredibly intelligent, athletic, energetic, and loyal. They were originally bred for herding which means they love working and exerting themselves both mentally and physically. Involving them in activities that require lots of energy and agility is a great way to ensure they are able to thrive. This breed is very trainable, so you can add to their mental stimulation by teaching them tricks, and take them to wide open spaces as they can easily learn excellent recall. Options that involve coordination, such as catching a toy, are also great for Australian Shepherds and provide a perfect bonding opportunity. Looking for an adorably affectionate, highly intelligent, and incredibly energetic dog? No need to look any further.
10. Rhodesian Ridgeback
Did you know this powerful breed was originally bred to hunt LIONS in Africa? That should tell you almost everything you need to know about the strength, athleticism, and endurance that comes naturally to Rhodesian Ridgebacks. This breed is perfect for hiking and jogging with their owners, and their loyal nature means they love sticking by their human’s side. Despite their original purpose in Africa, this breed can be very gentle and make an excellent and affectionate companion in addition to being a family protector. In need of a gentle giant with the endurance to keep up with your activities? We’ve found the breed you’re after.
11. English Springer Spaniel
English Springer Spaniels are kind and loving dogs with bundles of energy. As is the case with many other dogs on this list, they were originally bred for hunting, which is where much of their energy comes from. They love to accompany their owners on adventures and relish any opportunity they get to run and explore the world around them. This breed is another medium sized option that suits owners who cannot accommodate large and XL breeds. If excitable, affectionate, energetic, and friendly are traits you’re looking for in a medium-sized pooch, this breed could be your perfect companion.
12. Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers are known for their happy-go-lucky personalities and sweet, gentle nature. They’re incredibly popular family dogs for these reasons. In addition to their heart-warming personalities, they’re also intelligent and have lots of energy, so they love to accompany their families on all types of adventures. This breed typically loves to swim and play games that involve water, but will also enjoy other activities like running, hiking, and going on walks. Golden Retrievers are very affectionate and loving, and thrive best in a lifestyle that includes plenty of activity and outdoor time. If these traits and interests sound like what you’re looking for, you’ll find an excellent match in this breed.
Dalmatians are of course known for their white coats covered in black spots, but did you know they also have very high energy levels? Long walks and runs are great for this breed, making them the perfect exercise companions. They’re intelligent in addition to being athletic, so activities that engage their minds as well as their bodies are ideal. For example, you could offer them agility and obstacle courses or games that involve nose work. As was demonstrated in the classic film ‘101 Dalmatians’, this breed is up for adventure and makes a brilliant canine companion. If you want a highly energetic and athletic dog that will turn heads wherever you go, this is the showstopper for you.
14. Standard Poodle
While Poodles are best known for their looks, they also have other distinctive traits. They are extremely energetic and respond very well to training. This breed enjoys anything from long walks to playing with other dogs to accompanying their owners on adventures. In fact, as they were originally bred as water-retrievers, they have no natural aversion to water and may enjoy swimming and other water-based activities. It’s worth noting that without enough mental and physical stimulation, this breed can become anxious. However, given the opportunities they need to blow off steam, they make excellent companions with very stylish (and hypoallergenic) hairdos. If you struggle with allergies but still want a dog that can keep up with your highly active lifestyle, you may have been in search of a Poodle all along.
15. Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large breed of dog that requires plenty of exercise. This breed is kind in nature and very easy to train, making them an attractive option for people who can accommodate XL dogs. This is especially true of hikers, as this type of dog’s love for hiking is practically spelled out in its name. In addition to their love of adventure and physical activity, they’re also very loving, affectionate, and are often referred to as ‘gentle giants’. Looking for an enormous ball of fluff that’s as full of love as it is energy? Look no further than these mountain climbing cuties.
People are often frightened of Dobermans due to their striking appearance. In reality, this breed is loving, protective, and affectionate, as well as high energy. They adore running and benefit from being allowed to run freely in open spaces on a regular basis. This breed is also very intelligent and obedient, making them highly trainable. Plenty of exercise and mental stimulation is necessary to ensure Dobermans are happy and able to thrive. If you’re on the lookout for a fiercely loyal companion who loves to exercise and will listen to your commands, a Doberman could be the breed for you.
Last but not least, we’re finishing this list off strong with the lovely Whippet breed. They’re on the smaller side, especially in comparison with many of the other dogs on this list. However, this breed is still brimming with energy and athleticism, allowing them to partake in many different physical activities. Of their versatile abilities, the most notable is their incredible speed, as they can reach up to 35 mph! So, needless to say, this type of dog loves to run and benefits from plenty of exercise. Mental stimulation is also important for this breed, as are plenty of cuddles and snoozes on the couch. So, if you’re after the perfect balance between activity and snuggle sessions, it was definitely worth reading to the end of this list as number 17 seems to be the perfect pooch for you.
This list of dog breeds for active lifestyles is by no means exhaustive, as there are many other breeds that could also make a great addition to your household. However, it offers a great jumping off point and some inspiration to use when selecting the perfect next member of your family. To ensure both you and your pooch are as happy as possible, choosing one that suits your lifestyle is key. So, even if you choose a dog not on this list, if you have an active lifestyle, make sure it’s a breed that will enjoy taking part in your routine and activities.