It seems like this winter is dragging on FURRever, but we’re happy to note that spring is just around the corner. If you’re a runner who likes covering long distances with a furry pal, this is great news (assuming the cold and snow even slowed you down). If you’re a runner who is considering getting a furry pal to bound alongside, allow us to help you narrow down your search with a selection of dog breeds that are perfect for distance runners.
This list is merely a starting point. It is by no means comprehensive, because there are so many dogs who like to get out there and run!
German Shorthaired Pointer
We’ve recently covered why the loyal German shorthaired pointer (GSP) is a perfect dog for all-day endurance activities in the woods, so if you’re into long hustles through the woods or over uneven terrain, the GSP can keep pace in almost any scenario.
Perfect for: Uneven, obstacle-strewn terrain
Endurance running is literally what these extremely energetic dogs were bred for, so it goes without saying that a Siberian would be a great match for your inner marathoner. The big question is whether your runs will be long enough for them! One caveat: Though Siberians need lots of exercise in any climate, they are suited for cold weather. If it’s warm outside, monitor them for heat issues. One consideration when owning a husky is that a husky with too much energy can be destructive. It’s imperative that they have an outlet for that energy.
Perfect for: Cold weather runs, dedicated runners
Dalmatians were bred to protect horses and carriages by running ahead of them and scouting the way, so running for long and unexpected distances is almost literally in their blood. Though they’re more suited for steady, even terrain than over-the-river-and-through-the-woods jaunts, they have a protective instinct that can aid the lone runner. And if they can keep up with horses, they can keep up with you!
Perfect for: Long runs over predictable terrain.
Un. Limited. Energy. Border collies seemingly live to expend that energy, which makes them great companions for long, long runs. Their inherent agility and athleticism make them great partners for almost any type of run, and their thick coats protect them from most types of weather. One caution: snow can build up in the fur on their feet and their long rear-end hair, so pay close attention, especially in loose, fresh snow.
Perfect for: Most terrain, most weather
Portuguese water dogs
These large, hearty dogs need “vigorous exercise every day,” making them perfect companions for daily distance running. They’re built for water, so don’t take the day off just because it’s a little wet. Even though they seem burly, they’re surprisingly agile, so twisty, turny wooded tracks are always on the menu.
Perfect for: Damp, off-road terrain
Aussies never seem to cease their activity, so the more long runs you can take them on, the better. As inherent herding dogs, they may literally run laps around you as they protect you from perceived dangers while matching your pace the whole time. Their darting, jumping nature makes them great trail-running companions.
Perfect for: Off-road runs
Sometimes it can be hard to take a standard poodle seriously as an athletic partner, but make no mistake: these dogs can run. Their long legs and gentle, trainable demeanor mean that running long distances on a leash is no problem at all. The tight coils of their coats repel water and mud, so they do well on smooth off-road courses.
Perfect for: Long runs on smoother terrain
The gold standard for pretty much any activity, the Labrador retriever will run over hill and dale for days at a time. Their sturdy build and eager personality mean that there’s virtually no terrain or distance that they can’t cover. Beware, though. If you skip a day or two, your lab still needs to expend that energy. Like huskies, a lab with too much energy can be destructive.
Perfect for: The woods!
Vizslas are finely tuned athletes that need a lot of exercise to contain their excitement for…anything. Bred as hunting dogs, they’re used to long days on the run. The American Kennel Club recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise every day once they are fully mature, so mileage is no problem. Though they’re hunting dogs, Vizslas have very short fur so they’re better suited for warmer temperatures unless you bundle up.
Perfect for: Long runs, warm climates
They’re muscly but long-legged and can cover a lot of ground once they get a full head of steam. Weimaraners are also extreme “people” dogs who will stick by your side whether you’re chugging through mile eight or zipping up a steep trail. Their short coats are better suited for warm temperatures.
Perfect for: Long runs with short bursts, off-road activity
This list is just a starting point. There are dozens of breeds that could make a runner of any type happy, and let’s not forget mixed-breed pups, who offer a wide-range of energy levels and abilities. No matter your breed or mix, always pay attention to your dog’s behavior on runs. Every dog is different, so make sure to avoid over-exertion, heat exhaustion and hypothermia.
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