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Top Dog Breeds for Runners

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Active Dog Breeds As Jogging Partners

Running With Your Dog

Running can be a lonely exercise and having someone who's waiting at the door ready to go, who keeps you company mile after mile can be a great boon and good motivation. Such benefits can be easily gained by choosing the right dog.

Just as some dog breeds are suited to children and other breeds would suit the elderly, so there are many dogs that are suitable as running companions. Mixed breed dogs are fine but there are some obvious drawbacks in both purebreds and mutts that will make a dog less than a perfect running companion. In general, a very large or very small breed is rarely suitable. Very small breeds are not built for running long distances and are likely to tire after a while. An exception is the Jack Russell terrier.

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Very large breeds such as mastiffs and St Bernards are not built for speed or endurance and their joints are likely to suffer from long-distance running. Breeds with very short legs such as the Basset Hound or Dachshund are rarely suitable as they are too slow and brachiocephalic dogs (dogs with flat faces) may experience breathing problems.

Sight hounds are a good choice. They have been bred to hunt by sight and have deep chests, long legs and generally a long muzzle. The Greyhound, Whippet, Borzoi, Saluki, Scottish Deerhound, Irish Wolfhound and Afghan Hound are all sight hounds. As these breeds are apt to give chase to any smaller creature which flees from them, they will need to be kept on a lead. Chasing is so inherent in their nature that they will not heed verbal commands once their minds are set on pursuing a quarry.

Dogs bred to herd sheep or cattle can be great running companions. They have high energy and need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation so running is an ideal activity for them. Dogs such as Border Collies, German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Collies and Australian Shepherds are all herding types.

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Sporting breeds also have high exercise requirements. They are usually very adaptable and very intelligent. Examples are Irish Setters, Golden Retriever s, German Shorthairs and Standard Poodles.

Some terrier breeds would have sufficient energy and stamina to accompany a runner. Consideration needs to be taken of the speed and distance expected of the dog. Terriers are feisty, persistent and chockfull of energy so running helps get rid of this excess vigour.

The best running partners will be dogs of medium weight with good, straight legs. The legs need to be longish or the dog will have trouble keeping up. Dogs with brachycephalic noses (pushed in faces such as the pug or bull dog) tend to have respiratory problems especially when pushed as in extended running periods. A short coat will help the dog avoid over-heating problems and a short back is also advisable. Longer backs can be predisposed to disc problems.

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Dalmatian
The Dalmatian was bred to run all day under the back wheels of horse-drawn coaches and wagons. He is a loyal, smart dog, elegant and energetic. He has speed and endurance and will trot all day if necessary. The Dalmatian has a high dump rate. One of the reasons for this is because of his inherent need for so much activity. The Dalmatian is also a great looking dog with his white coat covered with black or brown spots.

Dalmatian Dog

Jack Russell
Did I say longish legs? The Jack Russell is the exception. He is well proportioned and is so energetic and active that he will enjoy plenty of running. Such exercise will keep him healthy and also help prevent him getting obese. The Jack Russell is also a great family dog, good with children and the elderly alike.

Jack Russell Terrier

Boxer
Although the boxer has a shorter muzzle than some breeds, they are energetic and well muscled. They are a very smart dog as well as being very protective and affectionate. They need socialisation and training at a young age as they are inclined to be stubborn. They are great with children as they have plenty of patience and they enjoy pleasing their owners. They get along well with cats and smaller dogs. A boxer may well suit if you're not training for marathons.

Boxer dog

Saluki
The Saluki makes a great running partner but only if you can travel at a reasonable speed. Because they are a sight hound and liable to pursue small, furry creatures, they need to be kept on a leash while running. It doesn't help that they are not particularly obedient! If the runner is too slow, they will become frustrated and bored. They are an elegant dog with great speed and stamina. They have no doggy odour and only needs an occasional brush. They have long legs and may reach up to 28 inches in height.

Saluki 1

Border Collie
The Border Collie is a very active breed and ideal as a running companion. They are high energy dogs and need plenty of mental stimulation. Being a herding dog, they are bred to go all day. They are loyal and protective and well suited as a running partner. They are an excellent family dog provided they have plenty of activity and stimulation. They love working, running and/or any activity which they can be a part of.

Border Collie

German Shepherd
This breed is a working dog and very active. They have been bred for their high level of intelligence. They are easily trained and will like nothing better than to accompany their owner on long runs. As its name suggests, the breed is a working dog with a good work ethic and intensely devoted to their owners. While the temperament was once suspect, more judicious breeding has seen an improvement. German Shepherds like to hang out with their owners and will be only too willing to go running whenever the opportunity arises.

German Shepherd

Many other breeds and crossbreds will make admirable running companions. The six mentioned above are certainly not the only breeds that should be considered.

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