Some dogs are not suited for distance running. This is usually due to certain physical characteristics as well as age and training. Regardless of the type of dog, it is important to bring your dog to a veterinarian's office for a check up before starting him on a new exercise program. When you do start running with your dog, start off slow. Begin with 10- to 15-minute sessions and increase the amount of time slowly each week so your dog is not overwhelmed.
Young Yet Mature Dogs
Your dog should be no younger than 2 years old and no older than middle age. Middle age is often determined by size and breed but most dogs are considered middle age between 5 and 8 years old. Dogs younger than 18 months shouldn't run long distances because their bones and joints have not fully matured and running can lead to joint problems when they get older, according to the ASPCA. Dogs younger than a year old have also not received all of their vaccinations yet and are usually not mentally focused or trained enough to run alongside you without getting distracted.
Dogs with long legs are more suitable distance runners than dogs with short legs. That is because dogs with short legs have to work twice as hard just to keep up with you. Even if they are a high-energy dog they will tire faster and slow you down. Breeds with long legs include greyhounds, Labradors, German shepherds, Doberman pinschers and border collies. Breeds with short legs include chihuahuas, Yorkshire terriers or any type of toy or miniature breed like miniature poodles.
Dogs Bred for Physical Activity
Dogs bred to be lap dogs do not make suitable running partners. These breeds, such as chihuahuas and pugs, are not bred to be physically active and tend to have less energy and move slower. Dogs bred for hunting or performing jobs like sheep herding are better physically suited for running and exercise. Some examples of these breeds include border collies, greyhounds, Labrador retrievers, German shepherds and Australian cattle dogs.
Dogs With Long Snouts
Some dog breeds have a harder time breathing than others due to short snouts and flat faces. Dogs such as pugs, boxers and bulldogs have short snouts and often wheeze and struggle to breathe correctly, especially on hot and humid days, according to an article in the "New York Times." This causes problems when the dog is exercising and needs to breathe deeper to get more oxygen. These dogs have a tendency to pass out and faint due to this problem, making dogs with long snouts more efficient runners. Some examples of breeds with long snouts include German shepherds, border collies, Australian cattle dogs and greyhounds.
By Rebekah Brooks
ASPCA: Exercise for Dogs
Purina One: Health & Wellness Basics
“New York Times”; A Best Friend, Yes. Best Runner, Maybe Not; Douglas Quenqua; January 2010
“Return to Fitness”; Bill Katovsky; 2010
“City Dog: Choosing and Living Well with a Dog in Town”; Patricia Curtis; 2002
About the Author
Rebekah Brooks entered journalism in 2001. She worked as a news correspondent at the "Salem Evenings News" in Massachusetts and freelanced for a small-town newspaper in New Hampshire. Brooks earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of New Hampshire.