Dog Activities, Pets and Family

The Best Running and Hiking Dogs for Your Outdoor Adventures

Are you a pet parent who loves the outdoors? There’s nothing better than exploring nature with your furry best friend by your side. But not all dog breeds are created equal when it comes to running and hiking. So, we’ve rounded up the best dog breeds for running and hiking based on their size and exercise needs. Running and hiking with your furry friend can be a fun and rewarding experience, but choosing the right dog breed is key to ensuring a safe and enjoyable time for both of you.

Lady walking away near cactus with a small grey dog on her leash.

Get ready to lace up those sneakers and hit the trails with your four-legged friend since we have explored the best dog breeds for running and hiking based on their size and exercise needs.

Best Small Dogs for Running

Who says small dogs are just for snuggling? These pint-sized pups pack a punch when it comes to energy levels and make great running companions. Look no further than the Jack Russell Terrier, Rat Terrier, and the Miniature Schnauzer. These little guys are quick on their feet and can keep up with your pace during a run.

A jack Russel terrier, a rat terrier and a minature schnauzer showing some great small dogs to run with.
These little pups are great running companions when healthy and old enough to run with you.

Best Small Dogs for Hiking

If you’re planning a hike with your small furry friend, keep in mind that short legs may not always keep up. But don’t worry, there are still some small dog breeds that are well-suited for hiking, such as the Mini Goldendoodle, French Bulldog, the Boston Terrier, and the Chihuahua. These breeds may not be able to tackle long hikes, or make great running dogs but they can handle short hikes and trails with ease.

Best Medium Dogs for Hiking

Medium-sized dog breeds are the Goldilocks of hiking companions—not too small and not too big. If you’re hitting the trails for a day trip, consider bringing along an Australian Cattle Dog, certain Doodle dogs, a Border Collie, or an American Staffordshire Terrier. These breeds have the energy levels and endurance to handle long hikes and challenging terrain.

Small brown and white Staffordshire terrier looking into the camera
Ace, a rescue Staffordshire terrier, is the newest member of The Popular Pets family and has made a great hiking companion thus far.

Best Medium Dogs for Running

Looking for a running buddy that’s not too big or too small? Medium-sized dog breeds are a great option, such as the Dalmatian, the Siberian Husky, and the Vizsla. These breeds are energetic and can keep up with your pace during a run. Plus, their sleek builds make them perfect for sprinting alongside you.

A Vizsla, Dalmatian and Husky dog showing good medium dogs for running on white background.
A Vizsla, Dalmatian and Husky dog are good medium dogs for running.

Best Large Dogs for Hiking

When it comes to hiking, bigger can be better. Large dog breeds have the size and strength to handle challenging terrain, making them perfect for longer hikes. Bring along a Bernese Mountain Dog, a German Shepherd, or a Labrador Retriever for a day of adventure. These breeds are intelligent, energetic, and can handle even the most rugged trails.

Some of these pups top the list of Dog Breeds that Families Love

Best Large Dogs for Running

Think big dogs can’t keep up with your pace during a run? Think again. Large dog breeds like, the Doberman Pinscher, and the Rhodesian Ridgeback may not be as fast as smaller breeds, but they have the strength and endurance to keep up with you on a long-distance run.

Best Dogs to Run and Hike Off Leash

If you prefer to run or hike with your furry friend off-leash, make sure you choose a breed with good recall and obedience. Try out an Australian Shepherd, a Weimaraner, or a Golden Retriever for a loyal and trainable companion. These breeds have a strong desire to please their owners and will happily stick by your side during your outdoor adventures. I love to take my dog off leash on runs when I know it is safe and I have found that dogs without a hunting instinct like German Shorthair Pointers are better and tend to naturally stay with you.

A middle aged golden retriever running outside on the grass towards the camera with ears flapping.
Golden Retrievers make great running companions.

Best Long Distance Running Dogs

Are you a marathon runner looking for a furry training partner? Look no further than the Alaskan Malamute, the Saluki, or the Belgian Malinois. These breeds have the energy and endurance to keep up with you on long-distance runs. Just be prepared for some serious exercise!

Best Dog for Hot Weather Exercise

Exercising with your dog in hot weather can be dangerous, especially for breeds that are prone to heat stroke. So, choose a dog breed that can handle the heat, such as the Australian Cattle Dog, the Boxer, or the Greyhound. These breeds have short coats and move easily across the ground which causes them to be less fatigued.


In conclusion, the best dog breed for running and hiking depends on a variety of factors such as size, energy level, and exercise needs. Small dogs like the Jack Russell Terrier and French Bulldog are great for short runs and hikes, while medium and large breeds such as the Australian Cattle Dog and Bernese Mountain Dog are ideal for longer hikes and runs.

Always remember to consider your dog’s individual needs and exercise level before embarking on any outdoor adventure. With the right breed and preparation, running and hiking with your furry friend can be an unforgettable experience for both of you.

FAQ Dog Breeds for Running and Hiking

What is the best dog for hiking and running?

The best dog for hiking and running will depend a little bit on you and the terrain you choose and the endurance you need but amazing active dogs that can keep up with you on your next run or hike is the Belgian Malinois, Labrador, and Golden Retrievers.

What dog breed can run the longest?

The Siberian Husky is known for being one of the dog breeds that can run the longest distances due to their endurance, strength, and ability to withstand harsh weather conditions. Other dog breeds that are known for their running abilities include the Greyhound, Weimaraner, and Vizsla. However, it’s important to note that each dog is unique, and their ability to run long distances may also depend on their individual health and training.

Which dogs are good for trail running?

Several breeds make good trail running partners due to their athleticism, endurance, and love for the great outdoors. Here are some of the top dog breeds that are great for trail running:
Australian Cattle Dog
German Shorthaired Pointer
Siberian Husky
Border Collie
Rhodesian Ridgeback
Alaskan Malamute
Belgian Malinois
Bernese Mountain Dog
These breeds are known for their energy, agility, and endurance, which make them ideal companions for long runs on rugged terrain. Keep in mind that each dog is unique, and you should always assess your dog’s fitness and abilities before embarking on a trail run. Mixed breed dogs can also make great trail running companions, as long as they have the necessary traits for endurance and athleticism. Some common mixed breeds that may be well-suited for trail running include the Labradoodle (Labrador Retriever and Poodle mix), Goldendoodle (Golden Retriever and Poodle mix), and the Australian Shepherd mix.

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