The 15 Best Dog Breeds For Runners

While you’d probably be just fine hitting the pavement on your own, sometimes it’s nice to have a companion during your runs. But it isn’t always easy to meet up with a friend, family member, or coworker – since everyone seems to be so busy all the time. Luckily, if you like to run and you also want a loyal companion to join you on your adventures, you can always adopt a dog.

Dogs are superb companions in general. And while you could likely train any breed or mix to go on at least a light jog with you, there are definitely some dogs that are more up to the task than others. Whether you like to hit the rocky trails for a bit of an off-road challenge or you’re headed down to the track for some wind sprints, there’s a dog out there that would be perfectly suited to join you. So if you’re looking to adopt man’s best friend with the hopes of also getting an exercise partner out of it, the following are the 15 best dogs for every run.

Airedale Terrier

Known as the “King of Terriers,” the Airedale is the largest of its breed group. A capable sporting animal – which was originally bred to catch otters and rats in Yorkshire, England – this dog became especially popular after it was used for military purposes in WWI. These pooches are very energetic, love being tasked with activities, and are extremely intelligent. They also make superb family animals when they aren’t running around.

Breed Group: Terrier Dogs
Size: 40-65 LBS
Life Expectancy: 10-13 Years
Run Type: Medium to Long Distance, Uneven Terrain

Adopt: ATRA

Border Collie

One of the most energetic breeds on our list, the Border Collie was originally bred to herd sheep around the border between Scotland and England – hence the name. They are known for having nearly unlimited stamina, drive, and energy – which makes them great as running companions, but also means that they can get a bit restless in the times between jogs. They are also quite smart, are capable of learning a number of complex tasks and are excellent contenders in agility competitions, and are perhaps the most well-suited dogs for trail running. Alternatively, the Australian Shepherd is a similarly capable breed.

Breed Group: Herding Dogs
Size: 30-45 LBS
Life Expectancy: 12-15 Years
Run Type: Long Distance, Uneven Terrain

Adopt: BCRUSA

Dalmatian

Because of their unique and iconic look, Dalmatians have had a long and storied history. They were originally bred as coach dogs and would help scare off highwaymen and bandits. Following that, they were used as firehouse dogs, circus performers, and even tried their hand as hunting partners. These pups are extremely energetic, charming, and can be great pets so long as they are trained properly. One of their downsides, however, is that inbreeding has caused Dalmatians some negative genetic impacts, including a high likelihood of going deaf.

Breed Group: Companion Dogs
Size: 48-55 LBS
Life Expectancy: 13-16 Years
Run Type: Medium to Long Distance, Some Sprints

Adopt: The DCA

Doberman Pinscher

Thanks to their aggressive looks, athletic physique, history as guard dogs, and portrayal in the media, Doberman Pinschers have kind of a bad reputation. But everyone should know – just as is the case with Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and German Shepherds – an aggressive dog is the mark of a bad owner, not a bad breed. If treated and trained right, these dogs have a very calm and loving demeanor, are very athletic, and are loyal nearly to a fault. And, if you have a habit of running in the bad part of town, they aren’t bad as a self-defense option, either.

Breed Group: Working Dogs
Size: 60-80 LBS
Life Expectancy: 10-13 Years
Run Type: Medium Distance, Some Sprints, Warm Weather

Adopt: DPCA

English Setter

Bred as hunting dogs before the development of gunpowder as a weapon, this breed is exceedingly athletic, incredibly loyal, and especially obedient. They’re also fairly friendly and an easy train for owners looking to get their first dog. It’s important to note, however, that these dogs are also prone to barking and jumping over fences if they are not properly coached. Having said that, they are excellent companion dogs, are known for their calm demeanors, and will gladly tag along on just about any adventure.

Breed Group: Sporting Dogs
Size: 45-80 LBS
Life Expectancy: 11-15 Years
Run Type: Medium to Long Distance, Uneven Terrain

Adopt: ESAA

German Shepherd

Another dog that has a reputation for being fairly aggressive, German Shepherds are nonetheless one of the most popular breeds in the United States. That can be credited to their devotion, courage, and intelligence – as well as their easy trainability and versatility as both pets and working animals. There are both American and German-bred varieties and the American type is said to be a bit more easy going than their German counterparts, but that claim can be taken with a grain of salt. In any case, these loyal and adaptable pooches are excellent all-around runners, but are better off in colder environments because of their thick coats.

Breed Group: Herding Dogs
Size: 75-95 LBS
Life Expectancy: 10-14 Years
Run Type: Medium Distance, Uneven Terrain, Cold Weather

Adopt: AGSRA

Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever might actually be the most popular U.S. dog breed of all time. And with good reason: they’re absurdly friendly, loyal, adorable, and are extremely good pets. Which are all things that can probably be said for every retriever breed. They’re also incredibly smart, easy to train, and are arguably more versatile than any other dog out there. If you’re not just looking for a running dog, but an all-around animal companion, this is likely the breed for you.

Breed Group: Sporting Dogs
Size: 45-70 LBS
Life Expectancy: 12-15 Years
Run Type: Medium to Long Distance

Adopt: GRCA

Greyhound

As they are famous for it, Greyhounds are an easy pick for a great running dog. They’re tremendously athletic, have calm and friendly demeanors, and can hit speeds of up to 45 miles per hour – not that any human could keep up with that pace. Still, it is important to note that this ancient breed – which has roots that date back to the Egyptian pharaohs – is best on even terrain and, typically, straight-line runs. Just keep in mind that they have a propensity for chasing and hunting smaller animals, such as squirrels or rabbits. But that behavior can be curbed with discipline.

Breed Group: Hound Dogs
Size: 50-85 LBS
Life Expectancy: 12-15 Years
Run Type: Short to Medium Distance, Flat Terrain, Sprints

Adopt: GPA

Husky

Renowned for their stamina and heartiness, Huskies are probably the ultimate cold weather dog breed. Their thick coats and high athleticism gives them an edge even in sub-zero temperatures. They can, however, be difficult for first-time owners as they are known for being a bit too independent and stubborn and have a habit of escaping from even the most secure yards. Still, when properly cared for and coached, this breed is remarkable. If you like their looks, but you don’t quite have room for a dog of this size, you can also look at the Alaskan Klee Kai, which ranges from about 15 to 25 pounds.

Breed Group: Working Dogs
Size: 35-60 LBS
Life Expectancy: 12-15 Years
Run Type: Long Distance, Uneven Terrain, Cold Weather

Adopt: Husky Rescue

Jack Russell Terrier

Don’t let their size fool you; Jack Russell Terriers have no problem keeping up on a run through just about any terrain. And that’s probably because, as a breed, they have non-stop energy that gives them the ability to rival dogs double their size and gait. And when we say any terrain, we mean it; these little pups can be seen mimicking the behavior of mountain goats, leaping from boulder to bolder on even the rockiest of hikes. But, as is the case with all high-energy dog breeds, they need a lot of activity to keep them busy and a good amount of training.

Breed Group: Terrier Dogs
Size: 13-17 LBS
Life Expectancy: 10-15 Years
Run Type: Short to Medium Distance, Uneven Terrain

Adopt: JRTCA

Saluki

Although with their fur grown out, they can look like stuffy show dogs, Salukis are a lot like their Greyhound cousins. They’re nimble, affectionate, and have a high level of endurance. This breed dates back to ancient times, where they were bred in the middle east. In fact, back then these dogs were viewed as gifts from Allah. Just remember, also like the Greyhound, Salukis can make excellent running dogs – so long as you’re prepared to try and keep up with them.

Breed Group: Hound Dogs
Size: 35-70 LBS
Life Expectancy: 12-14 Years
Run Type: Medium Distance, Flat Terrain, Sprints

Adopt: SCOA

Shetland Sheepdog

More commonly known as the Sheltie, Shetland Sheepdogs bear a striking resemblance to the Rough Collie (you know, Lassie), but are a bit smaller. Still, these combination herding, hunting, and sporting dogs have more than enough energy when properly cared for to more than compensate for their stature. These dogs are renowned for their agility and intelligence, but they can have a tendency to revert to their baser instincts and will try to herd other animals that they come across. That behavior, however, can be curbed with practice.

Breed Group: Herding Dogs
Size: 15-30 LBS
Life Expectancy: 12-15 Years
Run Type: Medium Distance, Uneven Terrain

Adopt: ASSA

Standard Poodle

Although they have a reputation for being a bit ostentatious and snobby, poodles are a much more versatile breed than for which they are given credit. They’re tremendously friendly, playful, and smart. They also have plenty of energy to come along on just about any kind of run, but not without discipline – as sometimes they are quick to assume that they are, in fact, the alpha of your family. If you have to frequently leave your home or apartment for extended periods of time, however, this might not be the right dog for you. Poodles tend to get very attached and will become depressed when left alone for too long.

Breed Group: Companion Dogs
Size: 45-70 LBS
Life Expectancy: 12-15 Years
Run Type: Medium Distance, Uneven Terrain

Adopt: PCA

Vizsla

Originally bred in Hungary as a pointer and retriever, Vizslas are one of the friendliest dog breeds out there. In fact, much of the adorable puppy behaviors they have when they are young, they retain for the rest of their lives. Which is wonderful if you’re looking for an extremely playful animal and don’t mind buying gifts for your dog, but can be annoying to anyone who doesn’t want to give their pet constant affection. Along with their puppy attitude, these dogs have bountiful energy and will happily run just about anywhere with their owner.

Breed Group: Sporting Dogs
Size: 45-65 LBS
Life Expectancy: 10-14 Years
Run Type: Medium Distance, Uneven Terrain, Warm Weather

Adopt: VCA

Weimaraner

Similar in looks and size to the Viszla, Weimaraner’s are perhaps the best all-around running dog for their physical capabilities. They’re obedient (when properly cared for), energetic, versatile, and smart. They do, however, need to be frequently kept busy, as they are prone to getting into trouble when they get bored and have a propensity for nervousness. And it’s best to curb their chasing behaviors early on – remember that these are born-and-bred hunting dogs. Having said that, they are excellent family dogs, love attention, and will return your affections in full.

Breed Group: Sporting Dogs
Size: 55-85 LBS
Life Expectancy: 11-13 Years
Run Type: Medium Distance, Uneven Terrain, Warm Weather

Adopt: WCA

Best Dog Breeds For Hiking

If you prefer your outdoor adventures somewhat less speedy and a bit more vertical, you might want to check out our picks for the best dog breeds for hiking.

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