Sprints, Distance, and Trails: The Best Dogs for Runners

Running shoes? Check. Headphones? Got ‘em. Furry friend? We’re here to help you find one!

If you’re a runner searching for a new dog to fit your active lifestyle, choosing a pup who is as eager as you are to hit the road or trail is a great idea. Running is one of the best cardio exercises for dogs and people, and it also offers some quality bonding time.

Whether you enjoy quick laps through your neighborhood or prefer to explore off the beaten path, there’s a pooch who’s up for the activity. Explore the best dogs for runners of all kinds.



Best Dogs for Distance Running

Woman running with dog

The only thing more dependable than a daily running route is a furry friend who will join you! If you prefer to run for miles at a time, these breeds make great sidekicks.

Labrador Retrievers

Not only are Labrador Retrievers among the most popular dog breeds in America, they also excel at covering long distances. While Labs are not particularly fast, they have excellent stamina and will be happy to join you on runs of virtually any length. Their kind temperament also makes them a highly trainable breed, which always comes in handy when teaching your dog to walk or run on a leash.


German Shorthaired Pointers

Few breeds can tack on miles as quickly as German Shorthaired Pointers. While these dogs are great at sprinting, they really thrive when they run long distances. They were originally bred for hunting, giving them plenty of endurance for extra-long routes. German Shorthaired Pointers are so efficient at running, they can make an extensive jog look easy.



Gentle Vizslas might not come to mind when you think of the best running dogs, but they require vigorous outdoor exercise. In fact, these dogs need at least one hour of exercise every day, according to Dogtime. Vizslas have a long, quick gait that lets them run fast for extended periods. If you like to navigate your route at a faster-than-average pace, a Vizsla can go the distance with you!


Belgian Malinois

Born with a love for completing tasks and spending time with their human family members, Belgian Malinois are a natural fit for any distance runner. These strong dogs are known for their sheepherding abilities, and their fantastic work ethic is just as important to running. Belgian Malinois are tough to wear out, so a long run might be just what your furry friend needs to get their fix.


Brittany Spaniel

With their high energy and long legs, Brittany Spaniels are well-suited for running moderately long distances! Plus, their eagerness to please and high intelligence make it easy to train them to run alongside you. However, they may get distracted by interesting outside scents or birds. It is also important to gradually increase distances as they age to avoid injuries.


Best Dogs for Trail Running

Person running with dog on grass

For trailblazers, factors such as terrain and endurance are important considerations when choosing the best running dogs. The following breeds are well equipped to handle nature’s challenges.


Border Collies

Border Collies are among the fastest breeds on our list, and they are also some of the most intelligent dogs. These traits, combined with great energy and trainability, make them exceptional companions for off-leash trail running. Just be sure your Border Collie knows the “drop it” command in case they get their mouth on plants, sticks, or other objects in nature.


Australian Shepherds

Does your favorite trail have lots of obstacles along the path? Australian Shepherds will gladly accept the challenge! Like many of the good running dogs on this list, Australian Shepherds have a rich working history and need demanding physical activity to scratch their exercise itch. These dogs are spry and agile enough to master some of the most difficult routes, and their energetic personality will keep them happy along the way.


Jack Russell Terriers

That’s right; Jack Russell Terriers may be small, but they are very capable of joining you on an up-tempo hike! These active dogs for runners can manage quick routes or extensive trails, making them adaptable to a variety of exercise routines. Given their compact size, Jack Russells are also great for runners who live in apartments or condos.



A very trainable breed, Dalmatians can be taught to run on off-leash trails. Hiking with these dogs is a breeze over long distances due to their high stamina, so you won’t be restricted to the shortest loops available on the trail. Dalmatians prefer running at consistent speeds, so try to keep a steady pace together.




Best Dogs for Sprinting

German Shepherd running

Not every runner is built for distance. Likewise, some dog breeds do best in shorter, all-out bursts of energy. These furry friends can keep up with even the fastest sprinters.



It’s no surprise that Greyhounds make the list of best running dogs for sprinters. After all, they’re the fastest dog breed in the world and can reach a top speed of 45 miles per hour, according to Reader’s Digest. While you won’t be running that fast together, Greyhounds shouldn’t have any trouble matching your pace. These dogs are not ideal partners for distance runs, though, so it’s wise to keep runs short.


Pit Bulls

Another speedy breed, Pit Bulls are good running dogs for covering ground quickly. While they do not have lasting tenacity and should not run more than a few miles at a time, Pit Bulls have strong muscles that are ideal for sprinting. Their close-to-the-ground body type also contributes to their high-speed profile.


German Shepherds

From police work to search & rescue assistance, German Shepherds take on a variety of important, physically demanding jobs. They are tremendous sprinters and highly trainable, making them the perfect package for any fast runner. Make sure you keep your German Shepherd physically and mentally stimulated throughout the day to keep up with their needs!



Active pet parents are a smart match for Weimaraners. These lively pooches need copious amounts of exercise, so a daily sprint can help check this box. Their long, muscular legs fit the bill for fast and long-distance running, opening up many routes for you and your Weimaraner.



Ready to Run?

Whether you prefer slow, long runs or more brisk routes, there are many great dogs for runners to match your style. Once you teach your dog how to run with you, you’ll be ready to explore the park, neighborhood, or trail together. Enjoy the exercise! 

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