A blog by runners. For runners.

The best dogs for runners

the-best-dogs-for-runningI used to run with my dog, Nati, — a black lab/ chow chow mix — all the time. He was the perfect running partner for a few years. Well, if we started the run by 6 a.m. and only ran a few miles, that is. Thanks to the chow in him, my poor furball had an extremely thick coat. He was perpetually hot which didn’t bode well for living in South Carolina (for more on summer running with your dog, check out this article.) After a few years, my pup retired from running and took up swimming instead – and was much happier.

My husband and I always say we will choose our next dog more wisely (we should have known when we adopted a lab mix he would prefer the water!). We both love the idea of having a furry running companion.

So, I’ve been doing my research. Certain dog breeds should avoid strenuous exercise — especially breeds with pushed-in noses, like pugs and Boston terriers. But some breeds are natural born runners.

We plan to adopt our next dog as well (to find rescue dogs by breed in your area, search this website). But next time we’ll keep our eyes peeled for dogs that are predominantly breeds well suited for running.

The best dogs for:

  • Long runs: If you’re looking for a furry friend who can help you hold the pace over miles and miles, consider a weimaraner. This breed is fearless, easily trained, and known for their endurance and ability to hold a consistent pace. If you don’t want a big dog, look into a Jack Russell terrier. Jack Russells can run for an extended period of time before tiring — up to 10 miles or longer!
  • Speed demons: Want a dog who can run 7-minute miles or faster? If so, look into a vizsla. Vizslas are lean, medium-sized, speedy dogs with an innate love of running. They also excel in endurance and hurdling obstacles, and they are easily trained — making them an ideal off-leash running partner. Weimaraners, greyhounds, and whippets are other fast-paced breeds.
  • Trail running: Herding dogs, like border collies or Belgian sheep dogs, are excellent trail running companions. These dogs are quick to react, enjoy running through even the toughest terrain, and love having a job. Hire a herding dog to be your trail running buddy and you’re guaranteed to have a happy pet.
  • Cold climates: Any dog that resembles a sled dog should do well in cooler climates. Search for a dog with a thicker coat, like an Alaskan Malamute or a Siberian husky.
  • Warm climates: Dogs with a long nose, a low-maintenance, short coat, and a lean body do best in hot weather. Vizslas, Airedale terriers, fox terriers, and weimaraners are good breeds for runners who live in warm climates.
  • Protection: Running with a protective dog could put your mind at ease during solo runs. Dalmatians and German shepherds are both known for their protective nature and running ability.

While the above mentioned breeds my excel at certain jobs, they’re all fantastic running companions. Note that you shouldn’t run with your dog until he or she is at least one year old. If you can’t wait to hit the ground running with your new best friend, adopt an older pup.

Do you run with your dog?

Written by Jen Matz.

Photo of Bianca Strzelczyk‘s border collie / lab mix, Peggy Sue. Peggy Sue runs every day — from 3 to 8 miles — and has even done several long runs of 14 miles through the city of Boston. No one loves running (or early mornings) more than Peggy — she’s the ultimate running buddy..