Yellow Lab playing ball on the coast

Yellow Lab playing ball on the coast (Photo by Andrew Patrick on Pixels)

From running to hiking and everything in between, these athletic dog breeds will not only keep pace with you but will show you who is boss in athletics. When choosing a breed, it is important to consider how they will fit into your lifestyle. Some of these dogs are more active than others, and some need a certain level of exercise to be at optimal health. If you are looking for a pooch to keep up with your fit lifestyle, the most athletic dog breeds can do just that while doubling as affectionate pets.

Generally known for their loyalty, affection, and playfulness, dogs make great family pets. And research shows that loving people is in their blood! When choosing the right breed, it’s important to consider the size of your home and yard. Other factors you might think about include lifespan, general breed health, and what they will need to live a happy and healthy life.

If a pooch with a little bit more pep in their step matches your personality, doing so can also be beneficial to your health. Getting an athletic dog can bring numerous benefits to both the owner and the dog itself. These breeds often require regular exercise and playtime, which can motivate their owners to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. Additionally, athletic dogs tend to be highly trainable, making them excellent companions for various activities such as hiking, running, or agility training, fostering a strong and enjoyable bond between the owner and the dog while ensuring the pet remains physically and mentally stimulated.

With that being said, getting a dog can improve your life in more ways than one. As adorable as all the breeds are, the most athletic dog breeds listed below have a natural knack for being physically fit. Don’t see your furry friend on the list? Let us know in the comments below which breed is your number one pick!

Four Australian Sheperd puppies on window (Photo by Jametlene Reskp on Unsplash) 

The List: Most Athletic Dog Breeds, According to Experts

1. Border Collie

Border Collies, also known as, the Einstein of dogs, are highly intelligent workers used for everything from herding sheep to detecting narcotics. “Border Collies need more mental and physical exercise than your average mutt. If not properly stimulated, Border Collies are known to become very destructive to alleviate their boredom. If you live an active lifestyle, these little geniuses won’t have any trouble keeping up,” informs Canna-pet.

Border Collie running with a ball
Border Collie playing ball (Photo by Anna Dudkova on Unsplash)

The Border Collie continues to top each list as one of the most athletic and intelligent dog breeds. “Originally bred for herding sheep, Border Collies require ample physical and mental stimulation due to their high energy levels and keen intellect. They excel in various dog sports, such as agility, obedience, and flyball, making them the epitome of canine athleticism,” says Newsbreak.

To put things more in perspective, Border Collies enjoy an average of 79.5 minutes per day being active. “Originating from Scottish & English Shepherds bred for their herding skills, many believe Collies to be the most intelligent dogs in the world. To keep this breed from getting bored, take them to the park to burn off their energy with flyball, frisbee, and other running games that take full advantage of their wit,” states whistle.com.

2. Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherds are the cuties you see at rodeos and horse shows. They average out at a little under 80.5 minutes of activity per day. “These loyal pets will follow you to the ends of the earth (and back!), but they are also prone to their herding instincts. To help them get their energy out, take them on longer runs or play sports that put their natural endurance to the test,” says whistle.com.

Australian Shepherd playing frisbee
Australian Shepherd playing frisbee (Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash)

Aussies are at the top of most lists of athletic dog breeds. “Traditionally bred for herding, these dogs are famous for their high energy levels and incredible intelligence. They need a job to do, so Aussies often excel in herding, agility, and obedience competitions,” states ElleVet.

Aussies are quick learners making them easy to train, so this, combined with their high energy levels makes them a wonderful exercise companion.  “Because Australian Shepherds are so intelligent, they also thrive on brain games for dogs, and activities that allow them to work out both their minds and bodies, such as agility courses or obedience training,” explains petsradar.com.

3. Labrador Retreiver

Labrador Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds in the world. They are known for their love of the water. “Labs have great endurance and can be very agile. With a natural inclination to please their owners, they respond very well to challenges and positive training methods,” says Canna-pet.

Brown lab playing fetch at the beach
Brown Lab playing fetch at the beach (Photo by Diana Parkhouse on Unsplash)

Labrador Retrievers enjoy an average of 70 minutes of activity per day amongst all Labrador Retrievers. “It’s safe to say that a walk around the block is not likely to satiate this pup. Labs are typically easy-going dogs, and they enjoy sports like agility, tracking, swimming, hunting, and—you guessed it—retrieving. If your Lab is looking bored, a nice game of fetch will be easy entertainment,” informs whistle.com.

Labs are smart but know that they need to be mentally and physically engaged otherwise they can be destructive. “Besides their adaptable nature and athleticism, the Labrador Retriever is also known to be America’s most popular breed. There is very little not to like about this athletic hound,” states Wag Walking.

4. Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russells are highly driven and can have a fearless streak, making leash training essential. “These dogs make great running and cycling partners, and you’ll be more often left struggling to keep up with them than they will with you,” shares Pet Keen.

Jack Russel running outside
Jack Russel running outside (Photo by Vitalie Sitnic on Unsplash)

Jack Russell Terriers are traditionally bred to hunt foxes and other burrowing animals. They are known to be quick and never get tired. “Jack Russels have both high energy levels and a strong prey drive. Jack Russells can keep moving long after their owners have called it quits, so they are definitely not suited for a couch potato lifestyle,” informs ElleVet.

Jack Russels are spirited and have always been a favorite amongst dog lovers. Lively, inquisitive, and alert, these pups are small, but they come packed with a ton of energy. “Whether it’s running or cycling, the Jack Russell Terrier is more than up for the task and while they may be petite, don’t let that fool you – they have excellent endurance despite their short stature and will have no problem keeping up with you,” shares petsradar.com.

5. Vizsla

Known as the “Hungarian Pointer,” the Vizsla is a versatile dog breed that can be used both on land and water in hunting, tracking, and retrieving. “This breed is characterized by its lean body, boundless energy, and love of physical activity. Vizslas are swift and agile, making them a top choice for those seeking an athletic dog breed,” shares Newsbreak.

brown short coated dog on brown sand during daytime
Vizsla (Photo by Cole Wyland on Unsplash)

Also known as the red-coated Hungarian gundog, the Vizsla adores people. This makes them a wonderful active companion for outdoorsy individuals and families. “Intense when out and about but sensitive and loving at home, the Vizsla hates to be left alone, so you’ll need to be in a position to ensure you can take them with you wherever you go or that there’s someone around to watch over them while you’re away. You’ll also want to ensure that you’re offering them a variety of activities that engage all parts of their brain, as when they’re not getting enough mental and physical stimulation they will often end up resorting to destructive behaviors in an attempt to alleviate boredom,” says petsradar.com.

You can’t help but love a dog who is highly affectionate and energetic and wants nothing more than to spend time exercising with his family. “This breed was built for long days outdoors working, so they make excellent running, backpacking, and biking partners. Endurance is a strong point in this breed, so owners should prepare to provide adequate exercise, thus making them the perfect dog for athletes,” informs the American Kennel Club.

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.

About Janelle Davis

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6 Comments

  1. Matt says:

    I swear some ppl should not write articles regarding dog breeds. The Belgian Malinois should be at the top of the list yet the Mal did not even make this list. Please show me videos of any of the dogs on this list doing what a Mal can do. I won’t hold my breath because none of those dogs can match the athleticism of the Mal.

  2. Debbie Illario says:

    I have one each of those top 3 breeds and they’re all 3 crashed out on my bed right now. lol!

  3. Darrell DeBurkarte says:

    We now have our second rescued Treeing Walker Coon Hound. Fortunately we were able to adopt both of them at a young age before any bad habits set in. These are some of the most athletic, loving and loyal freinds we have ever had the pleasure of raising. Not to mention how beautiful the tri-colored Hounds are too. They never fail to draw compliments or attention whenever they accompany us. They have never met a stranger and absolutely adore children. Probably because they act so much like them. Unfortunately many are abandoned after hunting season and either end up in shelters or left to die. And those are the lucky ones. It would be great if more attention could be given to this beautiful breed to help eliminate some of the negative stereotypes given to working Hounds.

  4. Debi says:

    The fact the the Rhodesian Ridgeback, known as the Navy Seal of dogs, is not listed first tells me your study is not a real study.

  5. Carter Roesch says:

    Blue Ghost and German Shorthaired Pointers. Missed it.

  6. Bob Murf says:

    These lists are foolish and written by people who just don’t know. I have 2 German shepherds, a golden retriever and a Belgium malinois. The malinois is the most athletic dog I have ever seen. Here’s a comparison, it’s like a 5’10” dunking a basketball. They have explosive power. Raw power. Pound for pound the strongest dog I’ve ever been around. Absolutely more athletic than every dog on this list, not even close