11 Best Dog Breeds for Runners

Woman running with Dalmatian
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As a dog who was bred to run alongside coaches or riders on horseback, the Dalmatian can be a great running buddy.

The right dog can be the ultimate running buddy: He’s ready anytime you are, he's probably not bothered by a little rain and he may just push you to your limit — because chances are, you’re going to tire out before he does.

With some common-sense exceptions — short-snouted dogs such as Bulldogs, whose respiratory tracts aren’t built for high-volume airflow; tiny dogs with short strides; dogs with certain pre-existing health conditions (like joint, back or heart problems); and dogs with crooked legs, such as Dachshunds or Basset Hounds — most dogs can be good jogging or running companions. But a few breeds seem to race to the head of the pack when it comes to running ability.

A few words of caution: Before you start running with your dog, check with your veterinarian to be sure he’s fit enough to keep up. Always watch for lagging behind, limping, excessive panting or other signs of distress. Keep an eye on the weather — extreme temperatures (both hot and cold), high humidity and air-quality alerts, as well as dangerous road conditions, are a sign that it's time for you and your pooch to take a rest day. And always keep your dog on a leash during your runs — it’s responsible, safe and polite.

Dog Breeds That Love to Run With People

Jack Russell Terrier

Nick Ridley, Animal Photography

Jack Russell Terrier

Faster than a speeding fox, the Jack loves to run, and he will, indeed, give you a run for your money. He’s another breed that demands plenty of action, so be sure you’re ready to provide it before you bring him home.

Schipperke dog breed

Lee Feldstein, Animal Photography

Schipperke

He might be on the small side, but the Schipperke has enough energy and speed to keep up with a jogger or runner. He’s smart and calm with a distinctive personality and attitude. Bonus: He’s highly portable and fits well in small quarters.

Harrier dog in grass

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

Harrier

Neither a large Beagle nor a small Foxhound, this medium-size scenthound has the speed and stamina to keep up with the best runner — just be sure to give him a little sniffing time before and after your run to satisfy his love of smells. Being a pack hound, he’s best suited to a home where he has other dogs for company or someone at home with him during the day.

Brittany Dog Breed

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

Brittany

They call him the breeze. This mid-size sporting dog's high energy level and light weight make him a great running buddy. If you’re a trail runner, though, make sure he doesn’t veer off to go flush some birds.

Australian Cattle Dog

Tara Gregg, Animal Photography

Australian Cattle Dog

It’s no surprise that a dog born to herd livestock on vast Australian stations (you might know them as ranches) would be a running demon: He can typically go for miles. As a general rule, though, don’t expect him to give you the day off — he’s usually a run-every-day kind of dog. On non-running days, cross-train with him by playing a game of fetch or working on agility training.

Australian Shepherd

Anna Pozzi, Animal Photography

Australian Shepherd

This sturdy and athletic dog likes to have a job and will gladly take on the role of demanding coach. Be prepared to provide him with plenty of daily exercise and mental stimulation to help fend off boredom.

American Pit Bull Terrier

Tara Gregg, Animal Photography

American Pit Bull Terrier

Admit it: This is the last breed you expected to see on our list. But Pit Bulls can make great running partners. These medium-size dogs with their stocky and muscular build love exercise and have great stamina, but unlike some breeds, they are usually willing to give you a day off now and then.

Poodle dog breed

Stephen Taylor, Animal Photography

Standard Poodle

Another unexpected runner, the Standard Poodle originated as a retrieving breed, and that means he tends to be a good runner with plenty of stamina. He's labeled a Non Sporting dog by the American Kennel Club, but this smart, active and athletic dog is certainly sporty. Keep his curly coat trimmed short for easy maintenance.

Dalmatian

Eva Maria Kramer, Animal Photography

Dalmatian

Bred to run alongside coaches or riders on horseback, the Dalmatian can be a great running partner. He’ll even bring you your running shorts as a hint that it’s time to get on the road.

German Shorthaired Pointer running in a field

Sam Clark, Animal Photography

German Shorthaired Pointer

This energetic and challenging Sporting dog is best for committed runners. A possible added bonus — his size and natural protectiveness may help keep you safer on your pre-dawn training runs.

Siberian Husky With Blue Eyes

Leesia Teh, Animal Photography

Siberian Husky

Do you run in cold weather several months out of the year? A Siberian may be the winter running partner for you. He has a dense double coat that’s made for chilly climates. Lean and fast, he was bred to pull sleds over long distances, so he may enjoy being out in the snow more than you do. He's not a summer runner, though, so don’t forget to offer safe, fun cross-training activities during the warmer months to help keep your partner in shape for running.

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