Dogs need daily exercise. That statement sounds obvious, but what constitutes daily exercise can vary vastly from one dog breed to another.
If you are considering adding a dog to your family, there are a few things you should know before you decide on your canine companion. For example:
- What energy level dog will fit in best with your family?
- What are the dog’s natural traits? For example, was the dog explicitly bred for hunting or guarding?
- Is the breed or mix of breeds known for their friendliness toward people and love of small children?
- What are the particular dog’s exercise needs?
- What do the specific dog’s needs mean for you and the health and well-being of your dog?
- Will you have to walk your dog around the block once in the morning and again after dinner? Or will you be hiking 20 miles uphill alongside your pup each day?
The answer to most of the above questions depends largely on the breed or mixed-breed dog you choose to add to your family.
If you are drawn to bigger dogs, keep in mind that while not all larger breed dogs are high energy, their size alone requires additional space for them to live comfortably.
Different organizations define dog sizes differently. For example, some say large dog breeds weigh between 55 and 85 pounds, while giant breeds weigh anywhere from 75 pounds to 120 pounds. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), large dogs can weigh between 45 and 100 lbs., while extra-large breeds may weigh between 85 pounds and 180+ pounds.
In addition to walks for daily exercise, your pup needs space to move around. So you will want to consider the size of your available outdoor space, particularly if you have your heart set on any of the pups listed below!
This breed is a fan of wide-open spaces. Anatolian Shepherds do not enjoy being kept in small yards, largely due to their herding instincts.
Since they were bred to be herding dogs, they need to have a job to keep them occupied. They are rugged dogs who will intensely protect livestock, children, and smaller dogs. This breed likes to keep watch over the borders of the property.
Australian Shepherds are intelligent, hardworking herding dogs who excel at performing jobs on farms and ranches. However, without jobs, they become intelligent, bored dogs - a bad combination.
It is impossible to suppress the Aussie’s natural herding instinct. Without room to roam and a job to do, these pups tend to start herding children, family members, and small animals.
The Belgian Malinois is a bright, eager, and hardworking dog breed, that adore spending time with their owners. However, many people underestimate the enormous amount of exercise these dogs require to keep them healthy and happy. Consequently, many can be found at shelters or breed rescues.
Belgian Malinois were initially bred to be herding dogs. Though they don’t need to herd, they have a high energy level. They excel in many athletic arenas such as agility, tracking, and obedience. Give a Malinois an owner who has time to spend with him, plenty of room to play and exercise, an athletic outlet for his energy. You will indeed have man’s best friend.
This breed is known for its adorable, droopy ears, loose skin, and wrinkled face. They love dogs and children, which makes them good candidates for pets.
True to hound form, this breed will track scents and follow their noses for miles, making them best suited for a home with a large fenced-in yard (and a microchip). Bloodhounds also need significant exercise, so the larger area they have to play, the better.
Boxers make excellent family dogs. They love being with their humans, indoors and out. They also have endless energy. They love to chase balls, sticks, and toys. The bigger outdoor space they have, the happier they will be!
This breed needs a large yard because of its formidable size alone.
The Bullmastiff is a gentle giant who prefers lounging rather than lunging. Most full-grown dogs weigh upwards of 120 pounds!
This breed is super intelligent and well known for its extreme energy and athletic ability. It usually tops any list of most intelligent dog breeds. That being the case, Border Collies are highly entertaining. These are the dogs seen jumping off their owners’ backs, into the air, and catching frisbees!
Despite this breed’s beauty, brains, and athleticism, Border Collies are not for everyone. With all of this energy, Border Collies have high exercise needs. This breed is happiest in a rural setting with plenty of space to run.
As the name suggests, these dogs were bred to literally “point” birds, rabbits, and other small animals. Pointers are affectionate and enjoy being part of a family. They often do well as show dogs or agility dogs because of their intelligence and athleticism.
Here is another positive fun fact: the fun-loving Pointer is easy to groom due to its short coat. However, beware of the high energy level. Pointers have that combination of intelligence and extra energy to burn. If you can't meet their exercise needs, they will attempt to outsmart you.
Pointers need homes and yards with plenty of space to run and play. They also need lots of regular, daily exercise to prevent them from acting out in negative ways.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks have a high energy level and are highly playful dogs. This breed tends to be smart and stubborn, with high exercise needs.
Their energy and desire for exercise are due to genetics. These dogs were initially bred in Africa to hunt lions. While they would prefer to be relaxing with their humans, Ridgebacks are not well suited for apartment living or living in places with small yards. They need regular exercise and do well with ample outdoor space, preferably a fenced-in space.
Before you bring a new dog home, find out all you can about its needs and choose a breed or mixed breed that fits your family’s schedule, lifestyle, and living space. This will make the adjustment period for you and your fur-friend easier. Ultimately, you will have a happy, healthy pup for years to come.
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