Looking for a jogging companion? Here are the best breeds for runners
Are you a keen runner? If you are, consider bringing your dog along on your next outing. Dogs that get regular exercise are likely to be better behaved and happier, and as you pound the roads/trails together, you create a lifelong bond that is worth its weight in gold.
In the article to follow, we outline some great breeds for runners. Start slowly, get them accustomed to the miles, and build from there. Of course, even mixed breed dogs are likely to benefit from a regular running routine, so this article is only a guide, not gospel.
Consider the Vizsla the pound for pound running king (or queen). This breed originated in Hungary, and its name means “searcher” or “tracker” in Hungarian. One of the 50 most popular breeds in America today, you might well have seen them out and about on your own runs.
Get this breed if you’re an experienced runner and want to vary the distance and terrain. Be it roads or trails, a Vizsla will keep pace whether you’re going at a canter or trying to crack a personal best.
In short, Vizslas are outstanding athletes.
For steady runs
Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers
These family-friendly dogs are always happy to head out on a jog. Because they’re so good natured, they’re easy to train, and always appreciative of the structured exercise routine.
Don’t try and push them too hard on the pace-front, though, as they’ve got big bodies to lug around, but if you’re keeping it gentle, they’ll devour the miles.
If you want a dog that’s out the gate like Usain Bolt at the 100m Olympic final, the Greyhound is your best bet. These dogs are bred for speed, but like any sprinter, they tired over longer distances. Keep them to the track, keep the pace high, and minimize the distance.
Best for running in the cold
Malamutes and German Shepherds
The Malamute comes from Alaska and is bred to pull a sled in harsh conditions. Snow and sleet don’t deter this thick-coated breed, so if you’re living in cold, wintry conditions, a Malamute is the perfect companion. But they’re also relatively rare in the United States, so a more popular alternative is the German Shepherd, which loves exercise in all types of weather but is particularly good in the cold.
Running in the heat
This powerful breed comes from Southern Africa and is gifted in the heat. With a body suited to running, and the gas tank to go miles, don’t be scared to take your Ridgeback out into the summer sun. Just be sure to pack plenty of water for you and your furry friend.
Steep, rocky terrain
Portuguese Water Dog
The Portuguese Water Dog loves to work and will have no objection to long runs over the rockiest terrain. They’re also built for the water, so a few wet crossings won’t deter them in the slightest. An all-rounder with a thirst for adventure, give them the gift of the outdoors as often as possible.
It’s a good idea to buy a special running lead before you head out. There are various types available, including those that cater to running with groups of canines, running with a single dog, and running hands-free (with a belt you can firmly attach to your waist).
You might also want to take some treats along for the outing, and a collapsible dog bowl that you can store in a backpack and fill with a bottle of water when you’re out.
For more great tips, check out our companion article covering pointers for running with your pooch.