Best Dogs For Active Lifestyles: Top 7 Breeds Fit For Fitness, According To Experts

Sometimes it feels great to get up early, go for a jog, and then get on with the day. For folks that like to make this sort of morning into a routine, active dog breeds might be the perfect companion. These energetic dogs love exercise and adventure, and they will love their humans for including them in the activities. Our list of the seven most active dog breeds might not be the best partners for a lazy day, but they will excel when it comes time to burn some calories.

Been working like a dog lately? Turns out you should have been working out like a dog instead. According to a new poll of 2,000 dog owners, 45 percent believe their dog is in better shape than they are. Meanwhile, one in five believe the opposite – that they’re in better shape than their dog. Whoever is in better shape, almost half the poll exercise with their dogs at least once a week on average. Conducted on behalf of Orijen Amazing Grains by OnePoll, the survey also found that 70 percent believe outdoor activities are better when people do them with their four-legged friends.

There are plenty of reasons to own a dog; companionship and exercise are just a few benefits that immediately come to mind. In fact, one study conducted in the Czech Republic reports that owning a pet, especially a dog, can help people maintain a healthy heart and reduce one’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease. After analyzing their findings, researchers say that pet owners in general seemed to be in better cardiovascular health, but dog owners were a cut above the rest. Study authors conclude pet owners enjoy more physical activity, better overall diet and “ideal” blood sugar levels.

Active dogs can be great partners for exercise, adventuring, or a day in the backyard playing games and enjoying the sunshine. Our expert sources helped us discover more information about the most active dog breeds. When it’s time to get up and get moving, active dogs can be a great asset and helpful motivator. Let us know your favorite active dog breeds in the comments below!

short-coated black dog running on shore while biting round red leather textile during daytime
Two dogs at play on the shore photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

The List: Top 7 Active Dog Breeds Most Recommended By Experts

1. Labrador Retriever

Labs are one of America’s favorite dogs, and they are eager to jump into just about any activity. People seeking a workout partner might find a great companion in the Lab. Pedigree says, “It’s no wonder that one of the most common breeds to be found when it comes to professional activities such as policing and airport patrol is also one of the most active ones. These high-stake jobs do require a breed which can handle the heat, figuratively speaking.”

yellow labrador retriever sitting on snow covered ground during daytime
Yellow Labrador Retriever on a snow-covered mountain. (Photo by Ivan Louis on Unsplash)

Parnell Living Science loves Labs for their speed and their ability to hang in there with long distance runners. “This dog is no surprise to make the list. Have you seen them at the dog park? They are sure to be the ones running the fastest and chasing a ball,” their report says. “According to the American Kennel Club, Labradors have been the top dog in America since 1991. Labradors can run 20 to 30 mph, the key is endurance, they can run this fast for many miles. They are a great dog for runners as they have amazing running stamina.”

Daily Paws adds that Labs are tailor-made for fitness fanatics. “These easy-going yet energetic dogs are down for whatever, whether that’s swimming, playing fetch, or learning tricks—and even make fantastic jogging companions,” they write. “Eager to please and highly trainable, Labs also need mental stimulation, which is why they’re known to be excellent service dogs and top-of-the-line competitors in field tests and dog shows.”

2. Dalmatian

Dalmatians are strong, agile, and energetic. These iconic spotted firehouse dogs thrive in homes where they can get plenty of exercise. American Kennel Club raves, “The Dalmatian has a working heritage as a ‘coach dog,’ in which they ran alongside horse-drawn carriages for miles. Today, many Dalmatians take part in an activity called a ‘road trial’ that mimics this historic usage. It requires Dals to run alongside a horse in a staged situation, a perfect environment for this high-energy breed.”

black and white dalmatian dog on green grass field
Beautiful Dalmatian showing off its athleticism. (Photo by Michael Walk on Unsplash

Pedigree notes that Dalmatians were born with the expectations of being fit for outdoor adventures. “These spotted dogs which are synonymous with the number 101 and cause a surge of nostalgia in anyone who sees them, are one of the fittest dog breeds and were bred to be used as guardians that followed horse-drawn carriages on long journeys.”

Daily Paws adds, “Dalmatians love long off-leash walks in the woods and will gladly trot alongside you while you’re running or biking. They’re also talented athletes who benefit from agility training. Even then, Dalmatians are known for their high energy, which is why mental stimulation is key.”

3. Siberian Husky

Siberian Huskies are one of the most beautiful dog breeds, often with striking blue eyes. They are also total divas that will tell their owners when it’s time to go out for a jog. Pitpat, makers of a popular dog GPS system, explains how these Huskies are expected to handle active lifestyles. “Siberian Huskies were bred to pull sleds across arctic terrain for hours at a time. Their biology is unique in how they use their energy stores, allowing them to run constantly with little recovery time needed. Any prospective Husky owner needs to be able to offer these high-energy dogs at least 80 minutes of exercise each day to keep them in tip-top shape.”

boy standing beside the husky dog
A cut boy petting his cute Husky. (Photo by 2 Bro’s Media on Unsplash)

Outside adds, “The Husky is a beautiful and independent breed that requires an active lifestyle. After all, this is a breed capable of pulling a sled Iditarod [sled race] distances. An ideal dog if you live in cold weather and want a capable companion on ultra long hikes, trail runs and camping trips—the tough Siberian Husky will keep you safe too.”

Nylabone notes a key feature for Huskies: they love the winter! “When the weather is cold, Siberian Huskies are ready to go,” they write. “Their hearts are as big as the great outdoors, which is where they belong. No dog on earth is a better partner or companion for winter runs, sledding, and skijoring.”

4. Border Collie

Border Collies consistently rank among the most intelligent dogs that can be trained with dramatic results. These dogs also have robust constitutions to match. Border Collies love to play and exercise. According to Daily Paws’ report, “Often ranked as one of the most intelligent dog breeds, Border Collies are happiest when they have a job to do. Not only are they top-of-the-line herders, but they also love canine sports and have a serious knack for training, flyball, agility, and tracking.”

black and white border collie lying on brown grass field during daytime
Border Collie lying on a grass field. (Photo by Sheila Swayze on Unsplash)

Outside emphasizes that Border Collies are perfect for the everyday jogger looking for some companionship: “Herding dogs are agile runners, and the Border Collie is considered one of the most intelligent of the breeds. This dog loves having a job to do… so keep it busy as a faithful and sure-footed running mate.”

American Kennel Club adds, “The high-drive Border Collie would help keep any owner fit, as their energetic nature requires more exercise than just a walk around the block or playing in the yard. If owners don’t have cows or sheep available for Herding practice, running would be a great activity to tire out the Border Collie.”

5. Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd dogs have vast reserves of energy that they love to use up running, jumping, and exploring with their human. According to a report by Nylabone, “Whether you want to play flying disk or a simple game of catch, take up sheepherding or agility, or just go on a long, long hike with a pal who can carry his own gear, the beautiful Aussie is your guy (or gal). This breed will also watch your campsite for you.”

short-coated tan dog
Australian Shepherd (Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash)

“Australian Shepherds, affectionately dubbed Aussies, need to stay busy and stimulated with daily exercise,” writes Daily Paws. “They thrive in a working environment and are the perfect companion for owners who enjoy high-energy activities like playing Frisbee and long walks or hikes.”

“The Australian Shepherd is another busybody herding breed that sets itself apart with its people skills and protective nature,” concludes Outside. “This breed would make a wonderful addition to an active family, and a good companion for anyone who likes to explore different kinds of terrain.”

6. Beagle

Beagles are well loved in many American homes. They are energetic dogs that live their best lives with owners that want to get plenty of exercise. According to Petzyo, “Who could say ‘No’ to those big brown eyes, the hallmark of Beagles? While not the most affectionate dog in the pack, they are great with small children and other dogs. This makes them ideal for family hikes.”

beagle leap on grass field
Beagle leaping on grass field (Photo by Mark Rimmel on Unsplash)

“Great for outdoorsy people, the Beagle is a tracker designed to spend all of its time outdoors,” says Top Dog Tips. “When they weren’t assisting hunters, they were usually kept in kennels. These dogs love to get out where they can use their amazing sense of smell and bay their distinctive howl.”

Adds Parnell Living Science: “Beagles have lots of energy and their hound nose can smell or track anything. They last for hours and hours just following a scent. If you have a beagle, most likely you’ve run a few miles many times over… Beagles are sprinters, rather than distance runners, and they can run about 3 miles before getting fatigued.”

7. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

This herding dog may be small in stature, but they are big when it comes to their love of an active lifestyle. They have great quantities of energy that seems at odds with their stubby frames. Wag! compliments, “The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a dog with a purpose. No matter what you want them to do, they are happy to oblige. This short and sturdy pup can keep up with the big boys with their sassy attitude not far behind. Never wanting to stop, this pawtastic pup will love running errands or get ready for the next adventure.”

Pembroke Welsh corgi walking on snowy field
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi  (Photo by Peter Pryharski on Unsplash)

“Welsh for ‘dwarf dog,’ the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is small but no lap dog,” writes Outside. “Bred for herding, these creatures love to stay active and do well in the outdoors. Despite their short legs, corgis are surprisingly quick and athletic.”

“They are family-oriented and will let you know when strangers are about. They are good with changes in schedule, so you don’t have to worry about the same routine every day,” says Petzyo. “They love to play and are easy to train. Make sure that you have plenty for them to do because they are very active.”

Is there an active pet breed you believe should be on this list? Please share with us in the comments below!

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