Best Dog Breeds For Running

More on PawNation: Dogs, Exercise, Lifestyle, Running
Sure, most fit canines could thump us in a 5-K, but anyone who has ever watched leashed runners at a local park knows that some animals are better athletes than others. But how does your dog rate? Or if you're searching for a perfect running partner, what kind should you pick?

Not surprisingly, it depends. There's no perfect running breed for all conditions, and a dog's personality and temperament are as important as its pedigree, says Susan Dicks, D.V.M., an Albuquerque-based veterinarian and marathoner. Mongrels can make fine runners, espeically if they're medium-sized, alert, and eager.

Some breeds, such as huskies and greyhounds, were bred to run, and most working dogs are naturally suited to running. By contrast, squishy-nosed dogs, such as pugs and bulldogs, don't make good distance athletes, because they're prone to overheating. That's not to say your pug can't run, but he probably shouldn't join you for a late-summer 15-miler. If you want to go long, run in the snow, or hit technical trails, some breeds definitely rise to the top. So say Liz Devitt and professional dog trainer JT Clough, who cowrote a book about training dogs to run. Here, they pick their top running breeds in eight categories.

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Long, Steady Runs (More Than 10 Miles)

Breeds: Weimaraners, Goldendoodles, German shorthaired pointers, Vizlas, Jack Russell terriers

Key Traits: A medium build, well-muscled hind quarters, not too heavy

Brisk Shorter Runs (Less Than 10-K)

Breeds: Greyhounds, Pit bulls, English setters, Beagles, Golden and Labrador retrievers

Key Traits: A Muscular and lean build, and a mind for sprinting rather than slogging

Going Fast (7-Minute Miles or Faster)

Breeds: Vizlas, German shorthaired pointers, Weimeraners, Greyhounds, Whippets

Key Traits: A medium-size, lean build, and a mental aptitude for running

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Long, Slow Runs

Breeds: Catahoulas, Labrador retrievers, Standard poodles, Dalmations

Key Traits: A bigger body that can handle the distance, if you go slow

Running in the Heat

Breeds: Rhodesian ridgebacks, Vizslas, Airedale terriers, Fox terriers

Key Traits: A long nose, a short sleek coat, and a svelte body

Running in the Cold

Breeds: Malamutes, German shepherds, Swiss mountain dogs, Siberian huskies

Key Traits: A thick coat and a stockier body type

Running on Trails With Obstacles

Breeds: German shorthaired pointers, Vizslas, Weimeraners, Border collies, Belgian sheepdogs

Key Traits: Sure-footed and quick to react (such as herding and hunting dogs)

Most Obedient on Heavily Used Trails

Breeds: Golden and Labrador retrievers, Standard poodles, Labradoodles, Border collies

Key Traits: Nonaggressive, people-oriented, and obedient; has a calm personality

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