Nulo’s Favorite Breeds for the Avid Runner
Why do you decide to get a four legged animal for the family? Are you finally giving in to your kids dreams of having a puppy? Or maybe you think having an adorable puppy will help you find a date. Whatever the reason is, that puppy is going to grow up and it will need exercise.
Exercise is essential for your pet’s health and quality of life. At Nulo, our mission is to be healthier together. Exercising with our pets should be an enjoyable and bonding experience, for both you and your pet. That’s why it’s important to consider your style of exercise and which breeds will be best suited to your favorite activities.
If you’re an avid runner, it’s important to consider these three factors before selecting the dog that’s right for your family:
Energy level and temperament of your dog will have a lot to do with what types of runs their capable of, if any at all. Look for dogs that were bred for hunting or herding. The breeding line will also influence your dogs running behavior and how keen they are to go for a run. Dogs that carry a light extra weight may be more inclined to be lazy.
Your Siberian Husky is not going to bode will running in the Texas heat, but will be perfect for the cold climates in Michigan. Climate can affect when and where you run with your pet, and can also be very dangerous. If you live in a region with extreme climates, cold or hot, please be conscious of running with your pet. (See “How to prepare and keep your dog healthy for running”)
Your Running Style
Do you like to run marathons or are you more of a casual 3 miles a day type? Certain breeds are better equipped for different running styles. For example, a Vizsla will be great if you’re training for a 7 minute pace marathon. A Greyhound, although is extremely fast, will be better for shorter, fast runs. If you’re just a casual jogger, a Golden Retriever could be the perfect fit.
If you’re in the market to bring a new member to your family, here are some of our favorite picks for the runner. Please note: At Nulo, we believe all dogs are athletes. This list highlights our top picks as elite runners, but we encourage you to research your favorite breeds and talk with your veterinarian for advice on the exercise styles they’re best suited for.
Also known as the Hungarian Pointer, Vizslas are medium sized and full of energy. Born a hunter to work closely with humans, Vizslas require large amounts of exercise. Do a quick YouTube search for “Vizsla’s Running” and you will see the several videos about how much exercise a Vizsla requires. If you’re training for a marathon, this lovable and affectionate breed will ensure you success in meeting your goals.
Photo Cred: Eddie Moto
Jack Russell Terrier
Looks can be deceiving, but the Jack Russell Terrier is our pick for a small breed that won’t shy away from a good run. This small breed can keep up with the best and does not back down for any challenge. Better equipped for shorter runs, this breed should have no problem keeping up with a quick pace. Jack Russell Terriers requires large amounts of exercise, companionship, and mental stimulation. Of all the terriers, a Jack Russell is one of the brightest and most trainable.
Photo Cred: Emery Way
Originally bred to hunt lions, Rhodesian Ridgebacks have an effortless stride that would make even the most seasoned runner jealous. The “ridge” down the back is like their racing stripe, because they’re built for both endurance and speed. The Ridgeback will do well in warmer weather, but as with any dog, exercise and high heat can be very harmful. After a good run, a Rhodesian Ridgeback will be happy to spend some recovery time on the couch next to his companion.
Photo Cred: Harold Meerveld
Bred to thrive in colder climates, Siberian Huskies are the ultimate long-distance runner. If you’re looking for a partner for endurance running, this is the breed for you. With their thick coat, colder climates are ideal, but they would still love to run on any cool morning. If you’re in a warmer climate, be very observant to signs of overheating. See How to Prepare and Keep Your Dog Healthy for Running.
Photo Cred: Andrew Zaragoza
The Labrador retriever is on just about every list there is, recently voted “America’s Most Popular Dog” for the 25th consecutive year by the AKC. The breed as a whole is fit, athletic, and is great for the average runner. Labradors love their exercise but they love being with their companion even more. Although they will probably run simply because you are, consult your vet prior to taking your furry family member on runs longer than 4 – 5 miles. As their name suggests, nothing beats a good game of Fetch with a retriever.
Pure-Breeds aren’t the only exceptional running partners out there! Mixed breeds can make for the greatest runners. Look for a mix of breeds that are known to have strong running qualities. Some of the that are great for runners are the Labradoodle and Goldendoodle, a cross of two highly active breeds.
If you’re considering adding a new family member, head to your local shelter for a dog looking for their forever home. Several shelters also offer opportunities for volunteers to take their sheltered pets on daily runs.
Photo Cred: Ed Schipul