15 Best Dog Breeds for an Active Lifestyle

By: Ellie Marvin | ellie.marvin@activecities.com

Life is just better with a furry companion, and dogs are the best pets for those of us living active lifestyles. Dogs are loyal, compassionate, and happy-go-lucky, earning them the title of man’s best friend. There are lots of fun ways to be active with your dog. With so many kinds of dog breeds out there, and so many different types of active lifestyles, which dog breed best fits your wants and needs? Read this list of the fifteen best dog breeds for an active lifestyle to find out.

15. Dalmatian

The Dalmatian, famous for its beautiful spotted coat and love of fire engines, is a great companion for anyone interested in long-distance runs, hikes, or other tests of endurance. Dalmatians typically weigh between 45 and 70 pounds, making them perfectly balanced for bursts of speed and long, steadily-paced runs. According to the American Kennel Club, “They are strong, active athletes with great stamina—a wonderful partner for runners and hikers.”

14. Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are well known for their African roots, where they were used to track and trap lions. These hounds weigh in around 75 pounds and are known for their brown coat and trademark ridge, a strip of fur along their spine. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are independent dogs who need lots of discipline, but they are incredibly loyal. Ridgebacks love to run, and excel at tracking and agility.

13. Russell Terrier

For those who prefer more compact dogs that can still keep up with their active lifestyles, Russell Terriers are the perfect tiny companions. They weigh between 9 and 15 pounds and are admired for their endurance and tirelessness. They especially love the Automatic Dog Ball Launcher games that have been coming out recently. Their enthusiasm for games is unmatched. They are full of energy and love the outdoors. These tiny terriers are perfect for long walks, hikes, and bike rides.

12. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Another tiny powerhouse, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are energetic, active, and smart. They are a bit bigger (and fluffier) than Russell Terriers and are members of the herding group. Corgis are known for their long figures and muscular legs. According to Puppy Pointers they cannot keep up extreme speeds for very long because of their short legs, but are very agile dogs who love fetch, quick runs, and vigorous walks.

11. Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog is an incredibly recognizable breed from the working group, known for their power and hard-working nature. These fluffy giants thrive in cold weather and can weigh anywhere between 70 to 115 pounds, depending on gender (females are typically smaller). Bernese Mountain Dogs are great for all kinds of active lifestyles, and enjoy long walks, hikes, camping, and backpacking.

10. Weimaraner

Weimaraners are smart dogs who never tire of activity. These beautiful silver/gray dogs hail from Germany and require lots of exercise and play time. They are hard-working and don’t tire quickly. Weimaraners are the perfect dogs for any lifestyle which requires lots of work and endurance, and they also make great family dogs.

9. Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dogs are beautiful, muscular dogs with an appetite for challenges due to their intelligence and natural cleverness. Coming in between 35 and 50 pounds, they have lots of energy and love to run. Australian Cattle Dogs are great for any kind of activity which requires agility, endurance, and mental challenges.

8. German Shorthaired Pointer

German Shorthaired Pointers are incredibly versatile gundogs with lots of energy and enthusiasm. The American Kennel Club says of these dogs, “Built to work long days in the field or at the lake, GSPs are known for power, speed, agility, and endurance.” These medium-sized dogs love spending time with people almost as much as they love being active, making them great companions for runners, swimmers, and people who love to play spots.

7. Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dogs came into the spotlight a few years ago when one took up residence at the White House with the Obamas. Their most notable feature is their dense, curly fur, perfect for swimming because it dries quickly. These dogs love to work, especially if there’s water involved. Portuguese Water Dogs are very energetic and also extremely smart.

6. Vizsla

The increasingly-popular Vizsla is a great companion for someone looking to form a very close bond with their dog. Vizslas are fiercely loyal to their owners and are very active dogs. These gundogs are great athletes and have a lean, semi-muscular build. They have good stamina and are very clever. They are great pets for runners, joggers, and bikers and love off-leash activities.


5. Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherds are intelligent, hard-working, and energetic dogs who need active owners to keep them from boredom. These dogs come in many gorgeous colors and patterns and weigh between 40 to 65 pounds, depending on gender (though there are also Miniature Australian Shepherds). These dogs love to herd and are often linked to cowboys, as they can be found on ranches and at rodeos, even today. Australian Shepherds are eager dogs, making them easy to train, but they are also very clever and will almost always find a way to get what they want.

4. Siberian Husky

Siberian Huskies are known for their sledding origins and their thick coats. These loyal dogs can weigh anywhere between 35 and 60 pounds and typically have a muscular build, perfect for pulling and sledding. These pack dogs work well in groups and have exceptional endurance. They are perfect for long-distance runs, hikes, and pulling, though be sure to keep them on leashes or in fenced yards, as they can be flighty and love to chase.

3. Labrador Retriever

America’s favorite dog breed, Labrador Retrievers are versatile, family-friendly, energetic, and very friendly. Labs can range from 55 to 80 pounds and make superb companions. These eager dogs love long hours of activity like swimming, fetch, and running. They demand daily exercise and make great service dogs of all kinds. These adaptable pups are great for nearly any active lifestyle and are very loyal family dogs.

2. Border Collie

The energetic Border Collie earns its place at number two in this list for its extreme intelligence and work-oriented nature. Because Border Collies are so intelligent, they are easy to train and can be trained to do very complex tasks. They love fetch and frisbee. These herders are extremely agile and have great builds for all kinds of active lifestyles. They love to work and will always keep up, making them great for runners of all kinds.

1. Mixed Breed/Shelter Dog

Adopt, don’t shop! Shelter dogs can be the most loyal and affectionate dogs. While their genetic makeup can sometimes be unknown, a mixed breed can combine the best of two (or more) great dog breeds. As the ever-popular labradoodle has shown us, mixed breeds can sometimes make a new breed even better than the breeds it came from. Mutts and shelter dogs can make great companions for an expansive variety of lifestyles and come in all shapes and sizes.