Can you find a better running partner than your dog? To be honest, dogs make ideal running buddies. They never bail on you because of bad weather and always let you set the running pace and route.
Plus, they can run at any time, any place, and for any distance.
What is more, their competitive nature will inspire you and make you run faster and further. Not to mention how much safer you would feel with your bodyguard running beside you.
So, a human-canine running partnership definitely benefits you… but about your dog? Do dogs like running, or are they just pleasing you? What are the dog’s benefits from this activity? And which dogs make the best running partners?
The Benefits Of Running For Dogs
Dogs are naturally and genetically wired to run. In the past, the dog’s wild ancestor was required to run distances of over 100 kilometers per day to pursue food.
Our now spoiled, modern furry friends have different lifestyles than their ancestors, and the only space they need to cross is from the couch to the food bowl.
This genetic drift may have reduced our dogs’ physical ability to run, but their running instinct is still present.
Running is good for the dog’s physical and mental well-being.
From a physical point of view, running helps maintain healthy body weight, thus reducing the risk of certain obesity-related health conditions.
It also promotes a healthy heart, proper muscle development and increases the dog’s endurance and stamina.
From a mental point of view, running is a good challenge. While running, the dog is exposed to new sounds, sights, smells, and experiences.
These environmental stimuli trigger the dog’s senses and improve its mental sharpness.
Top Running Dog Breeds
Although all dogs like to run, some are better equipped and suited for this challenge. Here are the dog breeds that make excellent running companions.
Weimaraners are highly energetic dogs with go-all-day stamina. They are robust and well-muscled, which makes them the perfect companions for steady and long runs in nature.
For them, the running session is more of a play rather than a real physical challenge.
Weimaraners have a strong, pleasing desire and thrive on human companionship, which means they will happily follow the running route you chose.
Dalmatians are active, healthy, and athletically built dogs. They are packed with energy, and their unmatched stamina makes them ideal running partners.
If running with a Dalmatian by your side, you will have to struggle to keep up the pace.
When planning a long-distance running tour, stick to soft trails as these dogs are known for pounding the pavement. If instead of running, you decide to go on a hike, the Dalmatian will happily escort you.
For years, Hungarian sportspeople are bragging about their Vizsla’s highly athletic yet elegant performance, and they are not to blame; this sleek, red-coated dog is pure grace in motion. Well, in fast motion, to be honest.
Robust and impressively athletic, Vizslas enjoy all day long vigorous physical activities. Plus, they do not mind jogging in warm climates, which makes them even better-running partners.
The Saluki’s physical appearance may radiate grace and fragility, but on the running tracks, their stamina is remarkable.
Listed as one of the fastest dog breeds in the world, the adult Saluki achieves speeds of over 40 miles per hour.
Although Salukis prefer sprint runs over long-distance tours, they will happily challenge your running endurance for about two to three miles. What is more, the climate does not affect their running potential.
Well-muscled and highly-energetic, the Belgian Malinois is the ideal running partner. It can run on different types of terrains and regardless of the weather conditions.
The Belgian Malinois is best suited for brisk and medium-length runs and long, slow runs.
In addition to running beside you, with its dignified appearance and intimidating bark, the Belgian Malinois will be your personal bodyguard while running.
Huskies are quintessential runners. They may not be the fastest dog on this list, but when it comes to endurance, they are definitely at the top.
Bred to run and pull heavyweights, members of this breed enjoy accompanying you on running sessions. Well, as long as it is cold outside. Because of their plush, long coats, Huskies prefer long winter runs.
The German Pointer has long, graceful legs built specifically for high-mileage runs. It prefers fast runs on hilly trails but excels on short runs as well.
Based on coat type, there are two German Pointer varieties – shorthaired and wirehaired. The wirehaired type has a burr-repellent coat.
Both types thrive on vigorous physical activities and enjoy spending time outdoors. This combination makes them the ideal running partner choices.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks are not just fast runners. They are potent athletes. Their natural gait combined with mental motivation and internal “go-go-go” engine makes them superb running dogs.
Equipped with strong and muscular legs, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are fit to run for long distances and can perform equally well regardless of the weather conditions.
Overly muscular bodies, broad grins, athletic mindset, and unparalleled determination – Pit Bulls possess all qualities necessary for an excellent running partner. They enjoy getting rid of the extra energy by running at your side.
Pit Bulls can run in warmer climates and make amazing stranger-repellants. This strangers-repelling factor makes them a popular choice among female daily joggers.
Do not be fooled by the lustrous curls and aristocratic demeanor. Behind the Poodle’s fancy appearance, there is a real athlete. The long legs, protective coat, and high-stamina are good running attributes.
The coat provides adequate insulation for cold weather, and if it is too warm, it can simply be shaved. All in all, Poodles make exceptional all-purpose jogging partners for both hot and cold climates.
Parson Russell Terrier
Sweet and spunky, energetic and cuddly, the Parson Russell Terrier the larger and more energetic Jack Russell Terrier’s cousin. Something like a Jack Russell but with an extra battery included.
Vigorous physical challenges are mandatory on this dog’s daily to-do list. Parson Russell Terriers are quick and small, which makes them ideal partners for urban joggers.
Is there something Labrador Retrievers are not good at? From all-around family companions through affectionate snuggle buddies to superb running partners, Labs excel in all fields.
Eager to please and even more eager to spend time with you, your Labrador Retriever will follow wherever you go, including slow jogs in the park, intense hikes in the woods, or simply runs around the block.
Border Collies are the overachievers of the canine world. Whip-smart and with go-all-day-stamina, these dogs can outmatch even the most skillful runner.
Border Collie can effortlessly run, regardless of the route’s length and in most weather conditions.
All in all, the Border Collie makes a fantastic running companion, as long as you can keep up. Border Collies are busy dogs, and they do not have the time to wait for you.
Bred explicitly for skijoring, bikejoring, sled racing, and canicross, the Eurohound is both fast and durable. The Eurohound is actually a mix between the German Pointer and the Husky.
The ratio between the two breeds depends on the purpose – sprinters are 50-50 mixes while distance racers are ⅛ Pointer and ⅞ Husky. If choosing a Eurohound for a running partner, go for the Husky percentage compatible with your climate.
Lean, light, and leggy, Whippets are undoubtedly built for speed. In fact, they are so fast; they almost did not make the list – just imagine how disappointed you would be if outpaced by such a fragile-looking dog.
Whippets are ideal running partners for fast runs, even if the temperatures are incredibly high. Just keep in mind that your running partner was bred to chase fast objects, making it flee-risk when off-leash.
Playful, spunky, and highly energetic, the Fox Terrier is a great running buddy as long as leashed. If allowed to run freely, the Fox Terrier will shamelessly quit its job as your running partner and pursue its hunting instincts.
The energetic temperament and cherry spirit make the running session not just physically challenging but also fun, mind-relaxing, and inspiring. Fox Terriers enjoy in short but regular runs.
Bred to race, the Greyhound easily achieves speeds of over 43 miles per hour. Now, that is a record many regular runners want to brag about.
However, the Greyhound’s need for speed is more of an urban myth. Greyhounds are the fastest dog in the world, but they are sprinters, not long-distance runners.
Naturally athletic and genetically wired to run, Greyhounds are excellent running buddies, as long as you do not let them set the running pace.
The medium-sized and feathery Australian Shepherd is an athletic and agile herder. Full of energy and keen on mental challenges, the Aussie will gladly accept to be your loyal running partner.
Australian Shepherds enjoy running as long as the weather is not too hot. Their long coats make them heat-sensitive.
If going for a run with an Aussie, choose a running trail with obstacles – running on simple terrains is just not challenging enough for the Aussie’s competitive spirit.
Portuguese Water Dog
The robust and medium-sized Portuguese Water Dog is immensely energetic and incredibly adventurous. Bred to be an all-purpose working dog, this canine sees running as one of the many tasks on its daily chores list.
Portuguese Water Dogs are keen on running, but they are true to their name – they prefer if there is a damp or swamp somewhere along the running trail.
Portuguese Water Dogs are best suited for long and steady runs as well as obstacle trails.
Traits Of A Good Running Partner
To be an excellent running partner, one must possess a specific and somewhat complex skill set that includes both physical and mental traits.
For example, having long legs and high stamina is not enough if there is no internal motivation. Similarly, having an inner running drive is not enough if the legs are too short or the body too massive.
Basically, these are the traits that make the dog breeds mentioned in this article superb running companions.
Running with the extra short-legged Chihuahua or the massively-built Saint Bernard are nearly impossible missions. The Chihuahua will not be able to keep up, and Saint Bernard will likely develop joint issues soon after starting its career as a runner.
2. Snout Length
Running increases the body temperature, and the dog needs to cool down by panting. Dogs with short snouts like Boxers and Cane Corsos are not as efficient at panting as dogs with long noses like Greyhounds and Weimaraners.
For flat-faced dogs, like the Pug or Pekingese, even a short run can exert their panting capacity and end up fatally.
3. Coat type
Dogs with heavy, double-layered coats do not make right running partners unless you live in a place where the temperatures rarely go above the freezing point.
4. Energy And Desire
Some dogs are physically fit to run but do not find joy in the activity. On the other hand, some dogs want to run but are not physically fit to perform exhausting activities.
5. Your Goal
Finally, before choosing which dog will be your running partner, you need to set your goals and expectations straight.
Are you a cross country runner looking for a speed demon or a recreational runner looking for a jogging buddy?
Even if you run every day, for two hours, the week still has 154 hours. Choose a dog that will fit your lifestyle during those 154 hours you spend on activities other than running.
Running Is Fun But Safety Comes First
Being a responsible dog parent means putting your dog’s safety above everything. That includes having your running partner regularly examined by a vet. It is vital to make sure your buddy is healthy and prepared for running adventures.
Another safety consideration is the leash. Running with a leashed dog is a much safer alternative than letting your dog run around freely.
Even the most well-behaved and obedient dog may get distracted and run away, chasing a squirrel.
The basic running equipment includes a harness instead of a regular collar and a dog-friendly water bottle. If you run at night, choose a reflective leash and harness
Having fresh water on hand is always advisable. Running, especially when it is warmer, triggers thirst.
Finally, once the running session is over and you are home, do not forget to check your running buddy for foxtails, ticks, burrs, and glass fragments. Pay extra attention to the paws and ears.
Have you ever heard of the “runner’s high” phenomenon? That is the overwhelming feeling of joy after a killer workout. Well, dogs experience it too. The chemicals that trigger the runner’s high in humans are present in dogs too.
And not just present, they are responsible for causing runner’s high among canines. All in all, it is safe to assume that, simply put running makes dogs happy…or at least, dogs from certain breeds.