Choosing the Best Dog for Runners

What is the best dog for runners? Whether you’re an avid runner or just enjoy jogging occasionally, you may want to choose a dog to match your activity level. Read on for more information on the best breed dog for running.

Are you a runner? Do you want to adopt a dog that will be your running partner and best friend? A lot of dogs love running so it’s hard to pick out just one breed that best suits an active lifestyle.

If you’re looking to adopt a new pet, consider adopting from your local shelter. Labs can come in all different shapes, sizes and colors so there’s sure to be one that fits into your life if you visit your local shelter today!

Small dog on leash running alongside woman in sneakers

What is the best dog for running?

There are a lot of dog breeds that you could easily say make good running partners, but we wanted to narrow it down to the top dog breeds for runners. For our list, we considered:

  • activity level
  • gait (how they walk and run)
  • size and weight considerations
  • history as an athlete or working dog (i.e., were they bred to run alongside people?)
  • temperament
  • health considerations for the runner and the dog (i.e., what types of conditions can these dogs best handle? are there any health problems associated with this breed?)

Best dog breeds for runners

Labrador retrievers: active, good-natured, easy to train, healthy

Labrador retrievers were originally bred as hunting dogs but have become popular family pets because they are very happy, friendly animals who love being around people. This is in large part due to their even temperaments and gentle natures, which makes them perfect running partners.

Labs don’t mind spending long hours out on a run – in fact they thrive on it! Another bonus: labs make excellent swimmers, so if you’re training for a triathlon, you have a built-in partner who won’t leave your side when its time to swim.

As for their health, labs are generally healthy dogs provided they’re bred from parents with good genetics and raised in healthy homes with plenty of exercise and attention. Like most breeds, there are some hereditary health issues that can be an issue if an affected dog is allowed to reproduce (hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia).

This doesn’t mean the dog will have these problems; it simply means the conditions were present in his family tree. As long as you get your lab from a reputable breeder and take him or her for regular checkups with your vet, you should be fine.

Golden retriever: active, affectionate, easy to train, healthy

Golden retrievers also make good running partners given that they were originally bred as hunting dogs. They have a high energy level and are very active animals. In fact, at one time goldens were ranked the fourth most popular dog breed in the United States!

Golden retrievers are certainly an attractive option as running companions because of their gentle, loving personalities and striking beauty. but what makes them so popular is their gorgeous coat which requires minimal grooming (as opposed to other breeds, like the poodle, for example).

Like labs, golden retrievers do tend to have some hereditary health issues (hip dysplasia) if you don’t deal with them through your breeder or by making sure to choose an adult dog with good health records from a reputable breeder. The other issue with goldens is their size – they are very big dogs and can easily knock over smaller pets or people, so you have to be careful when running with them off-leash (common among golden owners).

man jogging with brown dog - best dogs for runners

Shelties: quiet, energetic, intelligent, healthy

Shelties make for great running partners since they were originally bred as working dogs who walked alongside their masters driving livestock up into the moors of Scotland. This means they’re extremely active and love being on the move. Taken together, this makes them great jogging companions, if you like moving fast! These small but sturdy little guys will gladly accompany you on runs of any distance and are generally happy, affectionate animals.

There is one major health issue you need to take into account with the sheltie: deafness. Most shelties are born deaf or become so as early as six months old when there has been a hereditary degeneration of their ear canals. While this doesn’t make them bad running partners (they aren’t bothered by the sounds around them), it does mean you have to be able to read their body language in order to communicate with your dog. If a sheltie looks at your hand or face, for example, they’re probably trying to lay claim to something like a stuffed animal that’s lying on the floor.

Greyhounds: quiet, graceful, fast, healthy

Greyhounds are another excellent breed for running with due to their history as racing dogs. Greyhounds were first bred in the Irish midlands for hunting and chasing hare on foot (lest we forget) and they’ve been doing so ever since. This means that most greyhounds love being active and will happily run alongside you for hours!

They don’t have the sweet temperaments of labs or shelties which makes them slightly less cuddly, but they do make up for it in speed. Greyhounds can reach speeds of 35 mph given a long enough track! Even if you’re not into competing, it’s worth getting a greyhound just to see him run.

Like shelties, greyhounds are born deaf and about half of them go completely deaf as adults. This doesn’t mean they can’t hear. It just means you have to be able to read their body language so that you know where your dog is going and what he’s trying to communicate.

Brown and black greyhounds running

Australian shepherds: playful, protective and agile

The Aussie was founded in Australia but has since spread throughout the world. This breed is known for its intelligence and agility which makes it the perfect choice for someone who wants to compete or just have fun going on long runs through parks and fields. If you live somewhere with lots of wide open spaces, then it would be a good idea to get an Aussie. They are energetic dogs that will happily run alongside their masters until they drop, so make sure you’ve got enough stamina!

This breed was originally bred as a working dog so shepherds enjoy being active. Much like greyhounds, shepherds were born deaf but most retain at least partial hearing into adulthood. While not the best option for someone who wants a quiet dog to lay around with, shepherds are one of the most energetic breeds and will happily run alongside their master all day long.

Basenjis: quiet, agile, fast, healthy

Basenjis don’t get as much attention as some other breeds, but they are one of only four breeds that are allowed in the fox hunting field. Basenjis were also used as a speedy messenger for the ancient Egyptian army, so you can be sure they know how to run fast and far! Like greyhounds, Basenjis were bred to run free and usually dislike being tied up or confined at home so running is their best outlet.

Basenjis tend to have incredibly long life spans, some living as long as 18 years while still maintaining their youthful spirit (and lack of health problems). This makes them a great choice for a former couch potato who’s looking for a dog who will need exercise every day but won’t get too old to enjoy it. Maybe a Basenji is the best dog for running for you?

Rottweilers: quiet, affectionate, brave and healthy

Rottweilers are a breed that is recognized by many dog lovers as the best choice available when looking for a running partner. This large breed was originally used to herd cattle in Germany, but since then they’ve been employed as police dogs and protectors of their owners making them some of the gentlest yet staunch bodyguards around.

Rottweiler running holding leash - what is the best dog for running

Once you have your running companion, learn about the best harness and leash for running or jogging with your dog. Now you have more information to find the perfect breed for your active lifestyle. There are some breeds that excel at agility, others that need a lot of space to run around in, and some dogs who love nothing more than playing fetch all day long. We’ve compiled this list of best dogs for running based on their energy level so you can choose one best suited for your needs! Which type of personality do you think will work best with yours?

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