The 8 Types of Running Dogs (Slideshow)

Whether you’re an avid runner or a reluctant walker, there is no question that your outdoor exercise time could be greatly improved by the company and companionship of a dog. But which canines can handle long runs, and which prefer short, fast expeditions?

The Runner’s World article A Breed Apart outlines which dogs can best handle which types of runs. As it turns out, no matter what type of run you want to do, there are several breeds of dog that are an ideal running partner for that run. Similarly, each type of dog has an ideal speed and distance for runs.

If one of these runner breeds catches your eye, we recommend that you visit your local animal shelter to find a mutt or a mix that suits your running lifestyle! Mutts often combine the best characteristics of several breeds, and may be healthier overall than purebred dogs.

Whether you have an athletic canine already or you’re looking to adopt, this guide can help you understand the best ways to approach running with your canine pal. Read on to learn more!


1. Dogs Suited For Long, Steady Runs (over 10 miles)

Runner’s World suggests that the best dog for this type of run is medium build, not too heavy, and with well-muscled hindquarters. Some breed types that match this description:

  • Weimaraners
  • Goldendoodles
  • German shorthaired pointers
  • Vizslas
  • Jack Russell terriers

2. Dogs Suited For Brisk Shorter Runs (less than 10 miles)

The best dog for this type of run is one with a muscular and lean build, who naturally prefers sprinting over slogging. Some examples:

  • Greyhounds
  • Pit bulls
  • English setters
  • Beagles (above)
  • Golden and Labrador retrievers

3. Dogs Suited For Going Fast (e.g. 7-minute miles or faster)

The dogs that will thrive with this type of run, according to Runner’s World, are medium-sized with a lean build. They ought to also have a mental aptitude for running. Examples:

  • Vizslas (above)
  • German shorthaired pointers
  • Weimaraners
  • Greyhounds
  • Whippets

4. Dogs Suited For Long, Slow Runs

The best dogs for this type of run are those that have a bigger body that can handle the distance, as long as you go slow. For instance:

  • Catahoulas
  • Labrador retrievers
  • Standard poodles
  • Dalmatians (above)

5. Dogs Suited For Running in the Heat

Want to spot a heat-tolerant dog? The dogs that can best handle running in the heat are those with a long nose, a short, sleek coat, and a svelte body, says Runner’s World. These include dogs similar to:

  • Rhodesian ridgebacks (above)
  • Vizslas
  • Airedale terriers
  • Fox terriers

6. Dogs Suited For Running in the Cold

On the other end of the spectrum, the dogs that can handle exercise in the cold tend to have a thick coat and a stockier body type. For instance:

  • Malamutes (above)
  • German shepherds
  • Swiss mountain dogs
  • Siberian huskies

7. Dogs Suited For Running on Trails with Obstacles

If you live in a rural area where debris often ends up in your path, this might be a vital consideration for you and your canine running pal. The best types of dog for this activity are sure-footed and quick to react, like many dog breeds who were traditionally employed in herding and hunting. Examples:

  • German shorthaired pointers (above)
  • Vizslas
  • Weimaraners
  • Border collies
  • Belgian sheepdogs

8. Dogs Suited For Running Obediently on Heavily Used Trails

If you’re running in an area where there are lots of other people and dogs crossing your path, you need a dog with an excellent, calm personality, especially one who is nonaggressive, people-oriented, and obedient. Runner’s World suggests some breeds similar to that:

  • Golden and Labrador retrievers
  • Standard poodles
  • Labradoodles
  • Border collies (above)

Remember: if you want to go running with a dog but don’t live with one already, think about the doggie characteristics that best suit your needs, then go to your local animal shelter to find a lovable mutt (or an abandoned purebred) with those characteristics! Happy running.



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Laura Saxon
.5 years ago

Beautiful dogs. Thanks for sharing.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson6 years ago

love dogs! and running!

Lynn D.
Lynn D6 years ago

Lovely, wish there had been pictures of every type mentioned! Thanks!

James Hager
James Hager6 years ago

interesting, thanks for the article!

rene davis
irene davis6 years ago

that was really good to know.

Penny Bacon
.6 years ago

Thanks for the share.

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Beth Wilkerson
Beth Wilkerson6 years ago

I think this is a nice overview.

MaryBeth Pacific
MaryBeth Pacific6 years ago


Past Member
Dolly Navina L6 years ago

I Love Dogs !:)