A running companion that shows the unconditional love and loyalty of a dog is very hard to beat. If you have owned a dog and run with a dog, you’ll know just how wonderful it can be. Then again, running with a dog can have its trials as well, especially if you have not carefully considered the best dogs for runners.
It is also important to build up your dog’s training before expecting they will run as far or fast as you. Just like we need to follow a trail running programme so as to avoid injury and to gradually and carefully improve fitness, so your pet requires the same focus.
Young dogs should not be pushed to run too far when they still growing. Once they are fully grown and fit, they can be fantastic running friends and will often motivate owners to run more regularly and further.
10 of the best dogs for runners
There are many different dogs that make great running companions. We have picked 10 of the best tried-and-tested breeds for runners.
These medium-sized dogs have a muscled build, which that means they are usually energetic and a great companion for runners.
Because this breed needs lots of exercise, they will suit an owner who is a regular runner. They are loyal dogs and can be trained to run next to their owner, which makes them a good choice if you hope to be able to run with your dog off a lead.
Weimaraners are generally as happy on faster, shorter runs as they are on longer, steady runs, especially when it is trail routes. This breed of dog is popular among canicross runners and competitors, too.
Vizslas are well known for having bags of energy and they enjoy all types of running. They have a long gait, which means they can bound along easily and comfortably with their runner owner.
This breed is happiest running on trails and will enjoy longer, steadier runs, as well as some faster running. When they are in their prime, Vizslas rarely seem to be tired out.
German shorthaired pointers
German shorthaired pointers were bred as hunting dogs and this means that are usually smart and easy to train. They have lots of energy and will happily run with you whatever outing you choose, from shorter and faster to longer and steadier routes.
Pointers are capable of building up to longer trail runs thanks to great stamina. This breed of dog is also popular among canicross runners.
Another great dog for longer trail runs and also for canicross is a Border collie. They are bred as working dogs and like to be busy and active.
In fact, collies need plenty of exercise to burn off energy, otherwise they can become troublesome in the home if they become bored and restless.
Collies are good natured, intelligent and obedient. It is vital that a collie is well trained as a puppy and they can then be trusted off lead while you run.
Jack Russell terriers
Despite being small of stature, this breed is a good running dog. They need to be exercised and once they are over a year old, they will happily accompany you on all types of runs.
Jack Russells do have a high prey instinct so you should spend time and focus on training. Many runners like to have their dogs off the lead when out on the trails but you need to be sure that your Jack Russell will listen to your commands to avoid chasing livestock.
The English setter is a perfect breed if you enjoy regular runs but you are not a runner who goes long distances. This is a fairly active breed that will enjoy faster, shorter runs.
English setters need to be trained well from a young age so that they stay by your side as you run and have good recall.
Whippets are wonderfully versatile. Many people believe that whippets require a lot of walking or running but they are generally very happy with short bursts of action, so long as it is off the lead.
A whippet is great for runners who like shorter and faster laps, yet they will also loyally run with you in the hills and over longer distances.
Whippets are a cross of greyhounds and terriers, which means they are prey driven, so you need to be cautious with this dog around livestock.
Whippets are loyal to an owner and can be trained to have good command range and recall but even then they will chase furry animals given half a chance!
Whippets do get cold easily so you should have a jacket for them in colder seasons.
Golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers
Golden and Labrador retrievers are different breeds but thy have similar characteristics. They are happy on faster, shorter runs and well as longer, slower runs so they suit different types of runner owners.
Retrievers are generally easy to train and very loyal so they make a great running companion whatever your own aspirations.
Huskies have been bred to be sled dogs, so they are natural runners and can run and run far further than you ever will.
In fact, huskies need to be exercised for hours each day otherwise they will have too much spare energy, which is never good in the home.
They are brilliant dogs for winter running and especially in the mountains because they have a good furry coat.
Like huskies, Alaskan malamute have superb endurance and make excellent long distance runners. They also have a good power and turn of speed and they are a popular breed for canicross runners.
They are loyal and clever dogs, too, but owners do need to give the malamute lots of regular exercise.
German shepherd dog
German shepherd dogs are fantastic running dogs, especially if your type of running is in the hills and mountains. This breed is built for strength and durability.
Most German shepherd dogs are eager to learn and can be trained to become a loyal running companion.
Remember that while these dogs are some of the best for runners, they also need to rest and recover just the same as their owner.
Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, who is better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favourite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing, both downhill and back country. Her target for 2021 is to finish the final nine summits in her first round of all 282 Munros, the Scottish mountains of more than 3,000ft high. Aside from being outdoors, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy the great outdoors, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors (opens in new tab).
All the latest inspiration, tips and guides to help you plan your next Advnture!
Thank you for signing up to Advnture. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.