What 7 Breeds of Dog Exercise the Most? A List of the Most Active Dogs with Pictures

Two Australian Shepherds Running Through a Field

Whether you live an active lifestyle or not, if you're in the market for a dog, it pays to know which breeds are the most active. For a list of dogs that are sure to give you a real workout, look no further.

All dogs need exercise in order to be healthy. However, some dogs require more than others. There are dogs that can get by with just a short jaunt around the block once or twice a day, whereas other breeds need to run and play for hours. It helps to get a dog that meshes well with your daily routine. For those people out there who simply canโ€™t stop moving, these are some breeds that are guaranteed to keep up with your cardio-centric lifestyle.


Originally used for their boundless energy, keen intelligence, and ability to help during a hunt, these dogs were a staple for large game and bird hunters the world over. Easy to train (assuming the training doesnโ€™t become repetitive), these dogs require hours of engaging activity every day, otherwise they might get destructive. Superb with kids, the Weimaraner is a natural fit in any outdoorsy family.

Canaan Dog

Thought to have helped the ancient Israelites herd goats, this breed is a natural working breed that has been assisting people for thousands of years. Extremely loyal, obedient, and intelligent, Canaan Dogs are quite headstrong and need a family that's able to actively assert their dominance, otherwise they might think that they are running the show. Also, this a breed that requires an ample amount of time every day to burn through their seemingly bottomless well of energy.

Australian Shepherd

A natural herding dog, this breed is one with boundless amounts of energy and a keen intelligence. Making for a great family dog (assuming the family is active) Australian Shepherds are great with children, although their herding instincts may kick in, causing them to attempt to corral the kids, but this behavior can be broken. Thanks to their limitless energy, these dogs perform very well in competitive training arenas.

Belgian Shepherd Dog

A classic working dog, the Belgian Shepherd Dog is known for being territorial and protective, making them a natural for guarding. Also a terrific herding dog, this breed has a tendency toward aggressive behavior and should be socialized early. Requiring hours of exercise every day, this dog was made to work hard for the better part of the day, so if you are thinking about getting a Belgian Shepherd, make sure you have the time to help them burn through their deep reserves of energy.

Belgian Tervuren

A wicked smart, highly loyal, and deeply dedicated breed, the Belgian Tervuren is highly trainable and well suited to a number of different tasks, such as watching, guarding, or herding. Because of their innate herding nature, socialization should begin early to prevent the development of a protective, aggressive nature. While they are easy to train, they do require a strong minded, decidedly superior trainer, otherwise they may ignore the instruction. Also, being such a natural working breed, these dogs need tons of exercise every day to avoid destructive behavior.

Gordon Setter

A loyal, friendly, obedient, loving breed, the Gordon Setter is a natural hunting companion, helping on countless bird hunts over the years. However, due to their innate hunting nature, this breed requires hours of engaging activity every day to keep from becoming restless. Also, because of their nature, this breed should be socialized early to prevent aggressive behaviors toward other animals.

Irish Water Spaniel

A clever breed, the Irish Water Spaniel has been considered a โ€œfreethinkingโ€ dog, known to refuse directions given by someone they view as weak willed. Great with kids and other pets (if introduced early on), this dog is a natural fit for an active family, assuming their ample need for engaging activity is met. This dog is known to display mischievous behavior, or act protective of their own volition. To limit their unwanted behaviors, they should be trained and socialized early, as well as have loads of opportunities to run and play every day.

The Most Active Dog Breeds for Your Lifestyle

Do you like to camp? How about hike? Fish? Hunt? Canoe? If youโ€™re a real outdoors-person, the type that thinks a quiet weekend at home is the worst way to spend your time, then you need a dog that loves the great outdoors as much as you do.

The following breeds were created for a sporty, active life. These dogs will accompany their people on adventures with gusto, and may even help you to maintain your active lifestyle.

Australian Shepherd

If hiking is your thing, especially mountain hiking or over steep, rough terrain, then the Australian Shepherd is your dog. Bred to herd cattle in the Western U.S., these dogs are as agile and long-winded as you can get. They love to climb and run, and can negotiate even the toughest terrain. This breed is also smart and loyal and will keep close to you in the wild.

Portuguese Water Dog

What better companion could the boat or water lover have than a dog bred to herd fish into nets? The Portuguese Water Dog loves the water in all its forms, whether lakes, rivers, or even the rough and tumble of the sea. Those who canoe or regularly spend time at the shore will find this dog an eager mate.

Siberian Husky

Some folks canโ€™t get enough of the cold. If you are a winter person who hikes, camps, or plays in the snow, the Siberian Husky will love and cherish you. While they may look like ferocious wolves, this breed is 100% domesticated, first bred to pull sleds in the great white north. Frigid temperatures are in the Huskyโ€™s wheelhouse. Theyโ€™ll eagerly carry a pack of provisions through the snow as well.

Labrador Retriever

The Lab is the ultimate hunterโ€™s companion. Easy going and water loving, this breed will wait patiently for the marksperson to get his or her game and then go headlong into the water to retrieve it. Whatโ€™s more, the Retriever is also the ultimate family dog. Time spent with kids and parents around the old campfire will please the Lab to no end.

Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese isnโ€™t a high-endurance dog, but will work well for those who like to take regular moderate hikes. Your Bernese can also help carry gear, if you donโ€™t ask them to go too far for too long, as they were bred to pull small farm carts. Friendly and good-natured to a fault, the Mountain Dog is a great breed for the family. He or she will also stick close by, even off the leash, making hiking a worry free pastime.

Border Collie

The Border Collie is another dog that was bred to herd and thus loves the challenge of the outdoors. These dogs are smart and agile, and so can handle almost any hike, even deep into the forest or up the mountainside. In fact, all of the Collie breeds, including the Rough and Smooth Collies and the Shetland Sheepdog, are all great companions for the active pet parent.

Standard Poodle

These curly headed pooches may have gotten the reputation for being the companions of New York dandies and ladies who lunch, but the Poodle was bred, in fact, as a hunting dog. True to form, the Poodle is still favored in the role of retriever by many hunters because of their keen intelligence, obedience, and love of the water. These dogs are also great sniffers, and as such are used widely in Europe for truffle hunting.

Keep an eye on your active companion as they begin to age. Joints can become arthritic, and the old ticker wonโ€™t maintain its hearty endurance forever. Be patient as your dog ages, and respect their limits as you would any elderly or aging family member.

More on Active Dog Breeds

7 Ways to Exercise Your Dog in Cold Weather
The Benefits of an Active Dog
Agility Training for Australian Shepherds

Was this article helpful?
Australian Shepherd Belgian Shepherd Dog Belgian Tervuren Canaan Dog Gordon Setter Irish Water Spaniel Weimaraner

You May Also Like

Image for The Best Outdoor Dog Gear - Dog Activity Essentials
The Best Outdoor Dog Gear - Dog Activity Essentials

From Dog Mountain Hikes to Swimming With Your Pooch - Everything You'd Need

Read More
Image for The 7 Breeds Most Likely to Become Fat Dogs
The 7 Breeds Most Likely to Become Fat Dogs

If You Have One of These Dogs, Be Sure to Watch Their Weight!

Read More
Image for What Is a Therapy Dog?
What Is a Therapy Dog?

Helping Patients Recover Physically and Emotionally

Read More