Top 5 Most Athletic Dog Breeds

You might think your Poodle wins the prize when it comes to fetch, or perhaps your Scottish Terrier is an exceptional tugger. But does your dog take top honors as the most athletic breed of them all?

We polled 288 veterinary professionals (including veterinarians, vet techs and office managers) to find out which breeds they think deserve that title — and we're listing their top five responses below.

Veterinary Experts Pick the Most Athletic Breeds

Greyhound Running in Water

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

No. 5: Greyhound

The Greyhound has earned a reputation as a 40-mph couch potato, and for good reason. She's the quickest of all breeds, having been clocked running as fast as 44 miles per hour. But that kind of speed doesn't last long, and once she's done, she's typically content to spend the rest of the day snuggled up on the sofa with her favorite people.

Jack Russell Terrier

Nick Ridley, Animal Photography

No. 4: Jack Russell Terrier

He's superactive and supersmart, and his rallying cry is "born to dig." The Jack Russell Terrier is a natural competitor who generally loves to take part in terrier races, agility competitions and Earthdog tests. He was bred for active work and does best when he has a job to do. When he's bored, all that energy can be channeled into destructive habits, so you'll want to keep him busy!

Labrador Retriever in Water

Tara Gregg, Animal Photography

No. 3: Labrador Retriever

In addition to being the most popular breed in the United States, the Labrador Retriever is incredibly versatile, often excelling as a hunter, service dog, search and rescue dog and competitor in canine sports like agility and dock diving. She typically loves to stay active, both physically and mentally. Like the JRT, if she's left to her own devices, a bored Lab can wreak havoc on a home.

Australian Shepherd in Agility

Nick Ridley, Animal Photography

No. 2: Australian Shepherd

The Aussie is generally focused, devoted and, obviously, very energetic and strong. He was bred to be a hardworking herding dog who can tackle an hour-long run with ease, and he typically thrives in dog sport competitions like tracking, flyball and obedience. He's among the smartest of breeds, and his fans like to say that his affectionate nature is there to make you feel better about the fact that he might actually be more intelligent than you.

Border Collie

Anna Pozzi, Animal Photography

No. 1: Border Collie

She's already known to be a bit of a genius, and when you combine that with her athletic prowess and workhorse ethic, you've got one heck of a canine athlete. The Border Collie is an incredible herder, seeming to direct sheep simply by imposing her will, and she can handle almost anything else you throw her way — flying disc games, obedience, tracking or agility — with equal ease.

What do you think? Do you agree with these five selections? If not, which ones would you have left off the list? And with what breeds would you replace them?

Interested to see what else we've had veterinary professionals share their opinions on? You might enjoy one of these:

Join the Conversation

Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!

/WEB-INF/ui/shared/component/footer.jsp