22 of the most active dog breeds


There are nearly 200 dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club, and many more combinations when you include mixed pups. Each one comes with a very unique personality and different needs. So before you fall in love with a furry face at the local shelter, it’s important to do your research. Because while some breeds are generally perfectly content to laze away the day, others are constantly itching to get a move on.

Here are the most active dogs, in no particular order, according to breed history, American Kennel Club information and recent data collected from Whistle—a GPS and activity-tracking dog collar. Have an active lifestyle? Consider one of these breeds, and get ready to hit all your step-counting goals.

1. Belgian Malinois

These hardworking herding dogs are happiest when they’re on the move and at their owner’s side. Daily walks won’t cut it; they need to be running, hiking and more with their favorite humans. They are active an average of 102.86 minutes a day according to Whistle.

Belgian Malinois photo
Getty Images | Drew Angerer

2. Dalmatians

The Dalmatian is known for its endurance, speed and intelligence. They were bred as coach dogs so they could follow horse-drawn carriages and keep up with the horses. As a result, they are excellent companions for long-distance runs. If they don’t get enough activity, they will quickly turn to mischief making in order to expend pent-up energy.

dalmatian photo
Getty Images | Oli Scarff

3. Russell Terriers

The energizer bunnies of the dog world, these tireless pups are small but mighty. They have a seemingly unending supply of energy. They will easily keep up with the most active families on all outdoor adventures..

russell terrier photo
Getty Images | Adrian Murrell

4. Siberian Husky

Bred as sled dogs, these dogs have incredible endurance and love running. They also don’t mind the cold, since they originally came from northeast Asia.

Siberian Husky photo
Getty Images | Charles McQuillan

5. Golden Retrievers

Goldens are happy-go-lucky and require daily exercise. Generally, they are easy to train, so they’ll grow into loyal companions for whatever your favorite activity is. They will swim, fetch balls or run along for hours.

Golden Retrievers photo
Getty Images | Andrew Burton

6. Labrador Retrievers

These high-energy pups love to run around and swim. They were bred as working dogs, historically helping fishermen with manual labor, and do equally well now using their energy as service, rescue and detection animals.

Labrador Retrievers photo
Getty Images | Jamie McCarthy

7. Border Collies

Border collies are driven, athletic and very intelligent. These workaholics are bred to herd sheep and cattle, and can endure a long day of running in circles. So keep that in mind lest they start running circles around you in your home.

border collie photo
Getty Images | Desiree Navarro

8. Australian Shepherds

Like Border Collies, Aussies of all sizes demand vigorous exercise daily to satiate their herding and guarding instincts. If you let them, they will keep moving all day long.

australian shepherd photo
Getty Images | Sean Gallup

9. English Springer Spaniels

These hunting dogs were bred to keep up with a grueling hunt, and they still require daily exercise. They are tough and muscular and enjoy playing with humans in a large yard.

English Springer Spaniel photo
Getty Images | Andrew Burton

10. Miniature Pinschers

What they lack in size, they make up for in energy. These sturdy pups were bred in Germany to hunt vermin. They are active an average of 72.85 minutes a day.

Miniature Pinscher photo
Getty Images | Andrew Burton

11. Poodles

Don’t be deceived by their coiffed curly coats. Every size of poodle enjoys plenty of activity from running to walking and even swimming. Standard poodles are active an average of 70.51 minutes a day.

poodle photo
Getty Images | Andrew Burton

12. Vizslas

This versatile breed loves to run and needs at least an hour of serious exercise each day. It also has the energy and stamina to keep up with any kind of runner and would love sprinting off-leash. Even as they age, they will remain active and energetic.

Viszla photo
Getty Images | Dan Kitwood

13. Pembroke Welsh Corgis

Four short legs definitely don’t hold these pups back. They are strong, athletic dogs that are always up for running around or working. Legend has it that the corgi pulled fairy carriages and worked fairy cattle. No wonder Queen Elizabeth II is such a big fan.

corgi photo
Getty Images | Matt Cardy

14. Shetland Sheep Dogs

Shelties have strong herding instincts. Today, that translates into lots of energy they will need to run off in a safe area. As long as they get regular exercise, they are content living in the city and will adapt to their family’s routine.

shetland sheep dog photo
Getty Images | Carl Court

15. Beagles

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it only adds fuel to the fire for these high-energy pups. Beagles prefer to run and walk off that energy with their owner. If they don’t get at least an hour of exercise every day, they may follow their nose into the wrong place.

beagle photo
Getty Images | Andrew Burton

16. Irish Setters

It’s hard to beat these dogs as running partners. They have energy to spare and love running. Their long, lean legs and strong back end put them at the front of the sporting group pack.

irish setter photo
Getty Images | Andrew Burton

17. Portuguese Water Dogs

True to their name, Portuguese water dogs love to swim. They were bred to help fisherman herd fish (yes, apparently that is a thing), retrieve broken nets and shuttle items across the water. As a result, Portuguese water dogs can swim all day and will do well in water sports. They also fit right in in the White House as Bo, the Obamas’ family dog, proved.

portuguese water dog photo
Getty Images | Pool

18. Australian Cattle Dog

Similar to Australian shepherds and border collies, the Australian cattle dog has strong herding instincts. Thanks to a dingo ancestor, it has enough energy to keep up with the most active families all day long and can also likely outsmart them.

australian cattle dog photo
Flickr | scottspaeth

19. German Short-Haired Pointers

These enthusiastic pups need ample outlets for their boundless energy. Running, swimming and any outdoor activity will do the trick. Not only do they require vigorous physical activity every day, they also excel at organized dog sports like agility, dock diving and field events.

german short haired pointer photo
Getty Images | Stephanie Keith

20. Brittany

Like the pop star of (almost) the same name, Brittanys are fun-loving and energetic. These pups are totally in sync with an outdoorsy family. They are excellent hunting companions and can channel that skill into dock diving, agility and other canine events.

brittany crufts photo
Getty Images | Leon Neal

21. Weimaraners

This graceful breed will be right at home with active owners, especially runners. Weimaraners need lots of regular exercise for their mental and physical health. Their preferred speed is all-out sprinting, but they will settle for walking occasionally.

weimaraner photo
Getty Images | Matt Cardy

22. Gordon Setter

Don’t be fooled by the Gordon setter’s flowing, shiny coat. This solid dog was bred to withstand harsh weather and tough terrain as a personal hunting dog and needs to run regularly. In fact, they are perfectly content to “self exercise” and run around a yard. However, they prefer trotting alongside their owner on a bike ride or run — followed by a cuddle session.

gordon setter photo
Getty Images | Drew Angerer

Is one of these dogs the right fit for you? If you’re looking for low-energy breeds, we have that list too!

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About the Author
Jennifer Nied
Jennifer Nied is a freelance writer and editor based in New York City. She focuses on beauty, wellness, and travel stories with a background covering the spa industry.

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