Fitness Articles

Sporty Dogs: The Best Breeds for Active People

The Best Dogs for Running, Biking and Other Outdoor Activities

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If you're an active and outdoorsy person who likes running, hiking or boating, it's nice to have some company who shares your passion. When your friends and loved ones aren't available, there's a dog for that.  
 
Before you adopt a cute little puppy, consider your choice carefully. Some dogs love tagging along on your active pursuits and climate, but others, no matter how hard you try, will never be your go-to sporting buddy. While every dog has an individual personality and temperament, certain breeds (or mixes of those breeds) are more likely to enjoy (and keep up with) certain physical pursuits.
 
Find out which breeds are most geared toward specific activities, sports and climates so you can find your perfect match!
 
Long-Distance Walking
Nearly all dogs love to go for walks, but if you plan to cover serious ground (more than a mile or two) the average canine might not be willing to go the distance. These three breeds will walk the line.

Doberman pinscher: This large, energetic dog's behavior improves when he gets plenty of exercise. Long walks are perfect for this breed, which is known to excel in obedience training. Many people are afraid of Dobermans because of their reputation as guard dogs, so be prepared to get some looks on your walks—which could be a good thing if you walk alone and want to feel safer.

Rottweiler: Proper training and early socialization is crucial for this powerful breed. The cute puppy can reach more than 100 pounds in weight in a matter of weeks. Long walks are a healthy choice for these dogs who can easily become overweight if they're given too much food.

Border collie: This herding dog has virtually limitless amounts of energy and curiosity, which can make him a challenging pet to own. Keep him busy or he'll get bored. This is also a perfect breed to explore dog sports like agility and flyball.
 
Running
For running, you'll want a companion who can keep up with you in both speed and distance. A long-legged dog will be better able to match your stride and stay the course. These are the best breeds to consider if you prefer a four-legged running partner.

Rhodesian ridgeback: Bred in Africa to hunt lions, these dogs can be stubborn if not trained early in life. But their stamina will impress even the most avid runners.

Saluki: For fast runners, there's no better companion than this ancient breed. These sleek dogs are difficult to train and tend to be quiet and shy. Always keep this breed on a leash, otherwise their strong prey drive could cause them to chase a squirrel (or a cat) right into the street.

Vizsla: This hunting dog needs an hour of exercise a day to be happy, but he'd rather stick beside you than stray far away. Help him stay warm during winter runs; his short coat won't do the trick. Continued ›
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About The Author

Megan Patrick Megan Patrick
Megan Lane Patrick has been a professional writer and editor for the past 16 years, and was a chronic dieter for at least 30. A combination of weight-loss surgery, mindful eating and daily exercise finally allowed her to maintain a weight loss of more than 100 pounds. When she's not lifting weights at the gym, you can find her walking shelter dogs as a volunteer for the SPCA.

Member Comments

  • AMYPIES
    The best breed of dog for any activity is a RESCUE! - 6/29/2015 9:51:10 AM
  • HAUTRY
    I take my BOYKIN Spaniel on my daily walks. She never tires, stays close without being on a leash, obeys key commands (Stay, Sit) when traffic interferes with out walk. She is a great companion.

    Cliff Autry - 6/28/2015 9:58:55 PM
  • My minature schnauzer is a great walking partner. He does 5 miles without a second thought. - 6/28/2015 7:51:13 PM
  • My husband and I owned 5 greyhounds over the course of several years. They are great on walks, but they are sprinters. They don't have the long-distance stamina other dogs have.

    Never let a greyhound off the leash. They are sight hounds, and if they see something in the distance, they're gone and you will probably never find them.

    Greys are wonderful for breaking the ice when you're in a new location. Everybody wants to pet them and you'll meet a lot of people. - 6/28/2015 5:58:35 PM
  • Pit bulls are great, just need to be careful around other dogs with some. Plus, a lot of people believe the 'evil dog' hype, so watch the humans too. Check out badrap.org for info. Our redbone is a little too erratic to take out without a leash, and when he's done exercising, he's by-dog done!

    Of course, the first choice in an animal companion should always be the one that shows up and needs a home. Rescue, don't purchase, unless you want to get into showing dogs. - 6/28/2015 5:06:09 PM
  • BIG_LOSER_DAWN
    Rat terriers are also a very healthy breed -- average life span is 15-17 years! They have so many breeds mixed in that they tend not to suffer from alot of the allments I have experienced with my other Purebreds (Sammys, shelties, poodles) I would never have adopdted a terrier, but my boy needed a home or he was going down. I have never regretted the decision to adopt him, although he has bit a few power and light people who do not listen when I say wait, I need to pull him in. He is great out and about, but protective at home. He makes me be active! He loves a good run. The puggies are lazy buggers, they like a good walk but not too long or thet resist by laying down and refusing to get up until they are ready, lol My running bud is always my rattie!
    - 6/28/2015 4:53:04 PM
  • BIG_LOSER_DAWN
    Rat Terrier! My Rattie is happiest and most behaved when he has had alot of excercise. It takes about an hour walk, or run at dog park to get him out of his anxiety. But he a great sit home dog too. Ratties are up for whatever you want! My boy encourages me to get out and go :) - 6/28/2015 4:43:06 PM
  • LADYBLUE47
    Its very nice that the author gives a positive plug to aggressive breed dogs, however, being a very seasoned Rottweiler owner, I can tell you that the puppies do NOT achieve more than 100 lbs in a few weeks. They do grow into large, very powerful dogs, being a member of the Mastiff family; they are also referred to as 'gentle giants'.

    Rotties tend to grow for 2 yrs. My boy (RIP) did not hit 100 lbs until he was almost 15 months, & my present little girl who is 15 months, is not quite 60 lbs at this point. They also are pre-disposed to Canine Bone Cancer & will require a lot of veterinary treatment late in life. You should be aware of that going in. Unfortunately, their life-span is only 8 or 9 yrs, but I know of a few who lived well over 15yrs without the cancer attacking them. I have been on cancer journeys with two Rotties over the last 10 yrs. Carrying health insurance on these dogs is essential!

    They can also be very aggressive when you don't keep their minds engaged. They are very intelligent dogs & can out think most humans, they get bored very easily. One needs to be a strong leader type of personality, as these dogs must be lead. Left to their own, they can form very bad habits & become potentially dangerous.

    I think this author, although this is an excellent article, should really have done more in-depth research before writing about any aggressive breed dog.



    - 6/28/2015 12:35:48 PM
  • In 2004 my Ridgeback Honey Girl passed away unexpected with cancer, I was devastated , she was my running, exercise best friend.
    My arthritis was getting worse , thought my activity was ending,
    Got a lovable little Yorkie, Titan.
    He doesn't know he's small.
    He has walked miles with me.
    We have run on the beach, hiked the mountains.
    he might be small but energy is unlimited.
    - 6/28/2015 10:09:42 AM
  • VECHAVARRY
    You forgot the Belgian malinois. This breed looks never get tired. I have one, I jogged with her two miles. - 6/28/2015 8:57:23 AM
  • Absolutely! My standard poodle is also my walking/running partner. Together, we have hiked/walked/ran over 5000 miles over the past several years. Excellent fitness companions, these standard poodles! - 6/28/2015 8:14:08 AM

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