While you’d be hard pressed to find a dog that doesn’t love a good run, there are certainly breeds designed (be it by build, ability or personality) to keep up with you on a run. Long legged breeds are often good at keeping up on longer distances and faster paced sessions (though there are a few mini exceptions), while cattle dogs and exuberant breeds have stamina on their side. Here are ten types of dogs that make for good running mates.
1. Australian Shepherds
Smart and focused, the Australian Shepherd requires a lot of action, making them natural running partners. They enjoy all kinds of physical activity - agility, flying disc games, herding trials, obedience, and tracking, and ideally need a couple of hour-long daily jaunts, so regular training will be benefit them in general. They are also one of the smarter breeds, meaning they can easily be trained to behave well when out and about (and you won’t spend your training time calling them back!)
2. Labrador Retriever
Both active and obedient, the Lab is a great running partner with strong agility skills. They excel at sprinting, long-distance runs and staying focussed on busy trails, and being keen on company, will blossom undertaking a training program with you.
3. Australian Cattle Dog
It’s no surprise that a dog born to herd livestock on outback stations makes for a brilliant long distance runner. They also score bonus points for being a motivation booster on those days you can’t be bothered to train – they’ll be standing in front of you, leash in mouth if you try to take the day off!
The 10 best dog breeds for running
Boxers have running in their blood; they were used as couriers during wartime, and to chase down large game, such as wild boar and bison, making them natural born runners. If you’ve ever spent time with a boxer, you’ve probably witnessed the ‘Boxer burn’, where they’ll get a burst of energy and zip around the yard or living room as fast as they can until they drop, completely out of puff. One word of warning; due to their ‘squished’ nose, exercise in extremely hot weather can cause breathing problems.
5. German Shepherds
Originally bred to herd sheep. and innately active creatures, German Shepherds are ideal running companions. They have strong legs and a muscular build, partnered with a smooth and rhythmic stride, which allows them to sustain a fast pace, and they have excellent endurance – making them a good pick for long distance runners. They do have a thick coat, so take it easier in the summer months to avoid overheating.
6. Golden Retrievers
Built with powerful legs, the golden retriever can keep up a steady pace for a decent stretch, making them another logical choice for distance runners. They are also one of the more obedient breeds, an important attribute for runners that stick to well populated tracks – they won’t veer off or chase anything that moves.
Long of leg, these Doberman lookalikes are full of energy and love a brisk run. The breed originates from Germany, where they were bred to hunt game. They have an impressive lung capacity and a need for regular exercise, so they are good long distance runners (in fact, training with you means less chewed up ‘presents’ left on your bed!)
8. Border Collies
The world’s best sheep herder, the Border Collie is famed for its ability to switch speeds and direction in a split second. Bred as work dogs, Border Collies are happiest when they have a challenge, so training with you will make for a contented companion. Fiercely protective dogs, the Border Collie is a great choice for night time runners (though you should also take proper precautions when running in the dark.)
9. Jack Russell Terriers
Given small dogs aren’t typically recommended for running as they struggle to keep up, this tiny breed may seem a strange addition, however, Jack Russell’s are characterised by their boundless energy and can keep up a run for a surprisingly long distance.
10. Staffordshire Bull Terriers
Determined, sturdy and full of beans, the staffy makes for an enthusiastic companion on any run. Daily exercise is actually key to a well behaved staffy, as they have a lot of energy that needs to be burned off, so not only do they make a good running partner; training with you will make for a better behaved dog! Staffies also respond well to firm training, and can easily to trained to run alongside you.
Have you registered for the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival? Register now. For helpful tips and videos to improve your training, advice from our physio or trainer and much more, visit Blackmores Running.