In this article, we’re going to explore athletic dogs and talk about the best dogs for running and hiking. We’ve divided it into two categories: best big dogs and medium size dogs for running and hiking.
Do you enjoy long runs and exciting hikes? Are you someone who loves outdoor adventures and wants a faithful companion to join you? If this sounds like you, then you understand how having a furry friend with you can make your outdoor experiences even better. but, for that, you need the best dog for running and hiking
What to Check Before Taking Your Dog Out?
Whether you have a big size dog or a medium-sized dog, there are some important things to consider for their well-being and safety.
1- Health and Fitness
When you take your dog on thrilling adventures or runs, their health and fitness level determine how much they can enjoy the experience alongside you.
Regular physical activity ensures that your dog has strong muscles and bones, reducing the risk of injuries while running or jumping around.
A healthy and fit dog has better endurance. It means that they can keep up with you during those long walks or exciting adventures without getting tired too quickly. Furthermore, a well-exercised dog is generally happier and less prone to behavioral issues.
2- Food and Diet
Providing balanced nutrition to a dog can help provide the necessary energy to sustain a long or intense activity.
On the other hand, if a dog has not had enough nutrients, it may tire easily or experience health problems during or after the adventure.
3- Leash and ID
Having a leash and ID for your dog is super important before setting out on an exciting adventure or run. The leash ensures that your dog stays safe and under control while exploring the great outdoors.
It helps prevent them from wandering off or getting into any mischief. If you have trained your dog to stay under control off-leash then you can take respective steps according to the surrounding environment and your dog’s behavior.
Having an ID tag with your contact information on their collar can be a lifesaver if they happen to get lost. It increases the chances of someone finding them and returning them safely to you.
4- Obedience training
When a dog is properly trained, it understands and responds to commands, making it easier for you to keep it safe during your thrilling escapades.
With obedience training, you can rely on commands like “stay,” “come,” or “heel” to keep them by your side and prevent any unexpected detours.
One more thing, obedience training can also help address any behavioral issues and ensure that your dog is a polite and well-mannered adventurer.
5- Cuts/wounds on paws
Checking your dog’s paws for cuts or wounds before heading out on an adventure is crucial for their comfort and well-being because unnoticed wounds can cause discomfort and even lead to further injury.
If you find anything while checking their paws, you can clean the wound and take appropriate measures to prevent infection or further damage.
Just like us humans, dogs can be affected by different weather conditions. For example, on hot and sunny days, it’s important to make sure your dog doesn’t overheat.
They might get tired more quickly and need plenty of water breaks to stay hydrated. It’s also a good idea to avoid walking or running on hot pavement, as it can burn their paws.
On the other hand, if it’s raining or stormy outside, some dogs might be okay with it while some might feel anxious or scared. Some dogs might hate getting wet. During cold conditions, your dog would need extra warmth especially if he has less or short fur.
Best Big-Sized Dog Breeds for Running and Hiking
Following are the best dog breeds that can prove to be an excellent factor in increasing the thrill of your escapade:
- Labrador Retriever
- German Shepherds
- Siberian Husky
- Australian Shepherd
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Belgian Malinois
1- Labrador Retriever
Labradors have a natural instinct to be active and they absolutely love to run, at field trials as well as during hunting. They’re very energetic, friendly, and social.
Their powerful legs and agile bodies make them super fast and agile, allowing them to keep up with your pace effortlessly.
They are one of the best dogs for camping and running. They can also work as service dogs. They also help in the detection of drugs and bombs, with proper training of course. They require a good level of physical exercise to keep them fit.
As for temperature, Labs can handle a variety of climates. They can survive well in cold and hot environments with proper management However, like any dog, they can get overheated in hot temperatures. So, make sure to bring plenty of water breaks and find shaded spots to rest during warmer hikes or runs.
2- German Shepherds
German Shepherds are one of the best dog breeds for running and hiking. First off, these pups are known for their intelligence and trainability. They’re quick learners and can easily pick up commands, which is super handy when you’re out on the trails.
Also, German Shepherds are loyal and protective, so you’ll always feel safe with them by your side. When it comes to physical qualities, they have a strong and muscular build, making them great for endurance activities like hiking and running. They are used as military and service dogs as well.
In terms of temperature, German Shepherds can handle a wide range of weather conditions. Their thick double coat helps to regulate their body temperature, keeping them comfortable in both hot and cold climates.
However, it’s important to be mindful of extreme temperatures and take appropriate precautions. If it’s scorching hot outside, don’t go for the run.
3- Siberian Husky
Siberian Huskies have strong bodies and energy levels that are well-suited for outdoor activities. These dogs are born runners and love the challenge of keeping pace on trails and paths.
If you live in cooler areas they are a great choice for you, Their physiology and genetics are geared toward cooler environments and they stay comfortable on chilly cold days. With their thick fur coat acts as a shield they might struggle in extremely hot weather due to their cold-loving nature. If it is too chill outside you might see alternative exercise to running.
Weimaraners are known for their energetic and athletic nature, making them great companions for outdoor activities like hiking and running.
When it comes to their character and qualities, Weimaraners are generally friendly and intelligent. They’re loyal buddies who enjoy being part of the pack, so they’ll stick by your side during your outdoor escapades.
Also, their hunting background gives them a keen sense of smell and excellent tracking abilities, which can come in handy if you’re exploring new trails or paths.
As for their temperature tolerance, Weimaraners have short coat that doesn’t provide much insulation during colder weather. So, if you plan on hiking or running in chilly conditions, it’s important to keep them warm with a doggy jacket or sweater.
On the flip side, they can handle warmer temperatures pretty well due to their lean physique and ability to regulate body heat.
5- Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherds excel at running and hiking due to their high energy levels, enduring stamina, and innate agility. With robust muscles and a sturdy build, they can comfortably accompany you on lengthy trails without tiring quickly.
They can handle different kinds of paths because they are good at moving around.
Australian Shepherds are most comfortable in moderate temperatures, around 50 to 70 degrees. They have a thick double coat that provides insulation, which helps them tolerate cooler weather, but they may struggle in extreme heat.
6- Rhodesian Ridgeback
Rhodesian Ridgebacks are known to be loyal, confident, and independent. They have a strong sense of self. They are incredibly athletic and have a natural instinct for hunting and tracking, as they were bred for track lions.
Their muscular build and endurance make them excellent companions for long hikes and runs. Plus, they’re highly intelligent and trainable.
As for temperature, Ridgebacks can handle moderate climates quite well. Their short coats provide some insulation against the heat.
The Boxer is a friendly and strong dog breed with a joyful personality. They’re called Boxers because they often play by standing on their hind legs and using their front paws, just like a boxer in a ring.
They have a powerful build and muscular legs, which makes them good companions for outdoor adventures. and, enjoy being with people and can keep up with your pace.
Boxers do better in moderate weather. They have a short coat that doesn’t provide a lot of insulation from extreme cold or heat. So, they prefer running and hiking in temperatures that aren’t too hot or too chilly.
8- Belgian Malinois
The Belgian Malinois is a smart and active dog breed known for its energy and loyalty. it’s a great breed for running and hiking because they have lots of energy to spare. Their strong muscles and agile bodies make them excellent companions for outdoor activities.
They can handle different temperatures, but they are more comfortable in moderate climates. However, in really hot conditions, they might struggle, so it’s important to watch out for signs of overheating and provide them with water and shade.
6 Best Medium-Sized Dogs for Running and Hiking
- Jack Russel Terrier
- Cocker Spaniel
- Rat Terrier
1- Jack Russel Terrier
This dog belongs to a smaller breed but he’s a little bundle of energy when it comes to hiking and running. These feisty pups are known for their lively character and adventurous spirit. They’re super active and always up for a good outdoor escapade with their human pals.
When it comes to qualities, Jack Russells are intelligent, agile, and have a strong prey drive. They were originally bred as fox-hunting dogs, so they’ve got a natural instinct for chasing small critters.
As for temperature, these terriers can handle a wide range of climates, including warm and mildly cold weather conditions.
Vizslas are known to be affectionate, loyal, and energetic. They are known as “Velcro Dogs” as well because they don’t like to be left alone and assist their owner during the hike and hunt.
In addition, Labrador Retrievers are also one of the best dog breeds for camping. When it comes to qualities, Vizslas are intelligent, agile, and highly trainable. Their athleticism and natural instincts make them excellent partners for hiking and running.
As for temperature, Vizslas can handle all kinds of temperature ranges but extremes should be avoided.
3- Cocker Spaniel
Cocker Spaniels are moderately active dogs with a lot of energy. They enjoy being outdoors and participating in activities, including running. However, their smaller size and build might not make them ideal for long-distance running or intense, fast-paced activities.
If you’re planning shorter runs, jogs, or brisk walks, they can certainly keep up and enjoy the activity. Additionally, their long ears and coats might require some extra attention, especially in warmer weather, to prevent overheating.
Beagles are small to medium-sized dogs that can be good companions for running and hiking, but there are a few considerations to have. They are known for their boundless energy and enthusiasm, making them generally well-suited for outdoor activities. Their natural curiosity and strong sense of smell make hikes an exciting adventure for them.
However, they are not built for endurance like some larger breeds. While they enjoy bursts of activity, they might not have the stamina for extremely long runs or hikes. It’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the distance to avoid overexertion.
Also, they are prone to becoming distracted by scents, so off-leash running in unfamiliar areas should be approached with caution. They have a short coat that provides minimal insulation, so they can be sensitive to extreme weather conditions. Early mornings or late afternoons are often the best times to engage in outdoor activities, as temperatures are usually cooler during these times.
Dachshunds, while small in size and their low-slung build and distinctive elongated body can sometimes lead to misconceptions about their suitability for outdoor activities, but they can surprise you with their endurance.
Indeed they are good companions for outdoor activities. However, they were originally bred for hunting, and they possess a surprisingly high level of energy and determination.
Also, their unique body structure makes them susceptible to certain health issues, particularly in their back and spine. It’s crucial to avoid activities that involve jumping or excessive strain on their backs, such as high jumps or steep inclines.
6- Rat Terrier
Rat Terriers have strong endurance allows them to accompany you on longer runs, while their muscular build ensures they can navigate diverse terrains with ease. Their high intelligence and eagerness to please make them trainable companions, but early socialization and consistent training are vital to channeling their enthusiasm appropriately.
However, proper training, socialization, and gradual conditioning are essential to harness their energy and ensure a positive experience. Look at how to socialize your dogs with others.
Worst Dogs For Running
Certain characteristics in Dogs can show challenges when it comes to running. Breeds with short noses, known as brachycephalic breeds, like Bulldogs and Pugs, can struggle with efficient breathing during intense exercise, leading to quicker fatigue and potential overheating.
Dogs with long bodies and short legs, such as Dachshunds and Basset Hounds, might experience strain on their spine and joints during running.
Large and heavy breeds like Bullmastiffs and Neapolitan Mastiffs have additional weight to carry,
Breeds with excessive coats, such as Chow Chows, may be more prone to overheating, especially in warmer weather.
Dogs with flat faces, like Pekingese and Shih Tzus, often have difficulty breathing properly, especially during exertion, leading to fatigue and potential breathing difficulties.
Additionally, slim breeds like Borzois are built for short bursts of speed rather than sustained running, and their lean bodies might not be well-suited for extended periods of cardio activity. It’s crucial to consider these characteristics and prioritize your dog’s well-being and comfort when engaging in running activities.
What Temperature is Ideal for Dog Running?
When it comes to taking your furry buddy for a run, aim for cooler weather. Studies tell us that the ideal weather for dog running is between 45°F and 70°F (7°C to 21°C). Dogs love these temperatures because they don’t get too hot.
When it gets hotter than that, it’s better to think twice before going out. If it’s too hot outside and you want to exercise your dog, switch to an alternative exercise to running your dog.
Our four-legged pals can overheat easily, and that’s not fun for them. Short-nosed dogs like Bulldogs and Pugs are even more sensitive to heat, so they need it cooler.
Pay attention to your dog’s signals. If they’re panting a lot, drooling like crazy, stumbling, or slowing down, it’s time to take a break. Oh, and keep water handy for them to drink. Hydration is super important!
When it comes to finding the perfect companion for your running and hiking adventures, these dog breeds are truly in a league of their own. It’s clear that these four-legged companions are more than just pets – they’re true adventure buddies. They are good for all the reasons cited above.
Remember, finding the right breed for your active lifestyle is crucial, so consider the above-mentioned factors like size, temperament, and exercise needs before making your decision. Don’t forget to make a veterinary visit before taking your dog out for the thrilling run.
Whether you’re conquering mountain trails or hitting the pavement, these breeds will be by your side, wagging their tails and urging you to go the extra mile.
So grab your leash, lace up those shoes, and embark on countless thrilling adventures with your furry running or hiking partner.
Dr. Haider is a general doctor with a unique level of connection to our four-legged friends. He is a valued contributor to our Website (Leash and Lope). Dedicated to providing accurate to dog owners in understanding and caring for their lovely pets.