Dogs are amazing creatures that come in all shapes and sizes. Each dog breed was bred for a specific purpose, resulting in some needing more exercise than others.

When high-energy dogs don’t get the exercise they need, bad behavior can soon follow. They can also struggle with obesity and the health risks of obesity that comes along with it.

Hunting dogs need a lot of space to run, while guard dogs need extra interaction with their owners. These 12 dog breeds are an excellent place to start when searching for a companion you can run and hike with.

12 popular dog breeds that need the most exercise:

By the end of this article, you’ll understand why some breeds require more exercise than others, the job each dog was bred for, and if that breed is right for you.

Why some dog breeds are more energetic than others.

The answer lies in their history. Dogs have different energy levels because they were bred for specific jobs, like chasing hare and herding sheep.

For example, herding dogs need to be able to run for long periods, while hunting dogs love bursts of energy to help them track down prey.

Dogs bred for jobs that require high energy levels tend to be more energetic as adults. However, even dog breeds that weren’t bred for physical labor will benefit from regular exercise.

Herding Breeds: Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd, Bearded Collie, Border Collie, Beauceron.

These dog breeds were bred to herd animals all day long. They have an incredible amount of stamina and need to be able to run for long periods of time.

If you’re looking for a dog you can take on long runs or hikes, herding breeds are an excellent option.

Hunting and Sporting Breeds:  American Foxhound, Beagle, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Jack Russell Terrier, Labrador Retriever, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Siberian Husky, Weimaraner

Bred to hunt and retrieve animals like birds or rabbits, these dogs need quick bursts of energy to help them chase down their prey.

Hunting dogs are an excellent choice if you’re looking for an active dog that loves to play fetch or go for long walks.

Hound Dogs: Basset Hound, Beagles, Bloodhound, Greyhound, Petite Basset Griffon Vendeen

Hound dogs were bred to track down animals by scent. They need to be able to run for long periods and have a ton of energy.

Hound dogs love long walks and playing.

Large working dogs: Great Dane, Bernese Mountain Dog, Doberman, Boxer, St. Bernard

Bred for large jobs like pulling carts, guarding property, or rescuing people, this dog breed requires extra exercise to stay healthy and happy. 

Large working dogs make excellent loyal companions. 

12 Dog breeds that need the most exercise.

Australian Cattle Dog

Also known as Cattle Dog, Red Heeler, or Blue Heeler.

The Cattle Dog is a breed of herding dog originally developed in Australia. Australian Cattle Dogs are high-energy dogs bred initially for droving cattle over long distances across rough terrain.

Positive attributes: Loves to play fetch and go on long walks, responds well to structured training, and is easy to groom and maintain.

Negative Attributes: Known to nip at running children.

Lifespan: 12 to 16 years

Australian Shepherd

The Australian Shepherd is a breed of herding dog. Australian Shepherds are high-energy dogs bred for herding sheep, cattle, and other livestock. Despite its namesake, this Shepherd was initially developed in the United States.

Positive attributes: Loves to play fetch and go on long walks, is obedient and has excellent agility. Australian Shepherds are known to love dock jumping and catching frisbees.

Negative attributes: Known to herd children or other pets. Vision problems and epilepsy are concerns.

Lifespan: 11 to 13 years

Bearded Collie

The Bearded Collie is a breed of herding dog originally developed in Scotland. Bearded Collies are high-energy dogs bred from Polish and Scottish sheepdogs. Enthusiastic and bouncy, these dogs are high-energy and require a lot of exercise.

Positive attributes: Loyal and an excellent family-friendly dog. Great at obedience trials and dog agility, with excellent problem-solving skills making them entertaining to watch.

Negative attributes: Independent and challenging to train, Beardie’s intelligence can cause them to get quickly fed up with repetitive training. Require regular grooming and weekly brushing.

Lifespan: 11 to 13 years


The Beagle is a breed of dog originally developed in England. Originally bred for hunting rabbits and other small game, Beagles are small-sized hounds with a lot of energy and stamina.

Positive attributes: Loves to play fetch and go on long walks. Easy to train and great with children.

Negative attributes: Beagles can be difficult to housebreak. Some health concerns include cherry eye, epilepsy, intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), glaucoma, and hypothyroidism.

Lifespan: 12 to 16 years

Border Collie

The Border Collie is a breed of herding dog originally developed in Scotland and England. Border Collies are high-energy dogs bred from Scottish and Welsh sheepdogs. They are considered the most intelligent dog breed and require exercise and attention.

Positive attributes: Loves to play fetch and go on long walks and responds well to structured training.

Negative attributes: Border Collies can be challenging to train without enough exercise. Some health concerns include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and Collie eye anomaly (CEA).

Lifespan: 12 to 15 years


The Dalmatian is a breed of dog developed initially in Croatia. They were bred for hunting and used as carriage dogs, trotting alongside to protect a carriage from bandits. Dalmatians are large-sized dogs with a lot of energy and stamina.

Positive attributes: Loves to play fetch, complete obstacle courses, and go on long walks, jogs, and hikes. Dalmatians respond well to structured training.

Negative attributes: Dalmatians can be challenging to train with destructive behavior if not given enough exercise. Dalmatians are heavy shedders and are prone to urinary stones, especially dangerous in males.

Lifespan: 11 to 13 years

German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is a breed of herding dog originally developed in Germany. The German Shepherd was bred for herding sheep. Excellent companion dogs, they are often used for police work, at war, search-and-rescue, and for disability assistance.

Positive attributes: Curious and eager to learn, Greman Shepherds love to have a purpose. Easy to train dogs who are great at following instructions and performing tasks. 

Negative attributes: Can show aggression with a powerful bite. It’s essential to keep them busy. Some health concerns include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, and epilepsy.

Lifespan: 9 to 13 years

Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier is a working terrier developed initially in England. Jack Russells are small-sized dogs bred for hunting foxes and other small game. They are an energetic breed that requires high levels of stimulation and exercise. 

Positive attributes: An agile dog great at sports and obstacle courses. Friendly with children when a family member, Jack Russells will not tolerate abuse, even when playing.

Negative attributes: A stubborn breed that can show aggression towards humans or other animals. Jack Russells are very active and not recommended for those living in apartments or small spaces. Some health concerns include deafness, patellar luxation, and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease.

Lifespan: 13 to 16 years


A mix between a Labrador Retriever and Poodle, the Labradoodle is a breed of dog originally developed in Australia. Labradoodles are medium to large-sized breeds and among one of the most intelligent breeds.

Positive attributes: Labradoodles love to swim and are very intelligent. They respond well to structured training. They are usually low-shedding and hypoallergenic if it receives the poodle’s gene.

Negative attributes: Some health concerns include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and Addison’s disease.

Lifespan: 12 to 14 years

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever is a breed of dog originally developed in the United Kingdom. Labrador Retrievers are medium to large-sized dogs bred for hunting and retrieving game. 

Positive attributes: Loyal, obedient and playful, the Labrador Retriever is an excellent companion and guide dog. Powerful swimmers, they can tolerate cold water for long periods.

Negative attributes: Some health concerns include hip dysplasia, and elbow dysplasia. Labradors are at a high risk of obesity due to a gene mutation causing overeating.

Lifespan: 12 to 14 years

Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a breed of dog originally developed in South Africa. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are large-sized dogs bred for hunting lions and other big game.

Positive attributes: Extremely athletic, loyal, and intelligent with a good temperament. 

Negative attributes: Rhodesians require training and socialization starting young. Despite their size, they are sensitive animals and should not be mistreated. Hypothyroidism is common in Rhodesian Ridgebacks, as well as hip dysplasia.

Lifespan: 11 years

Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky is a breed of dog originally developed in Siberia. Siberian Huskies are medium-sized dogs bred for sledding and other Arctic work.

Positive attributes: Husky’s are good with children, intelligent, friendly, gentle, with no aggression towards people. 

Negative attributes: Huskies are great escape artists jumping over fences, digging under, or chewing through. Prone to destructive behavior without proper exercise. They need training young and have a strong pack mentality.

Lifespan: 12 to 15 years


The Weimaraner is a breed of dog originally developed in Germany. Weimaraners are large-sized dogs bred for hunting deer, boar, and bears. They require a lot of exercise and activity to stay happy and healthy.

Positive attributes: An athletic dog with great stamina, speed, and sense of smell. They are courageous and intelligent animals.

Negative attributes: Weimaraners suffer from severe separation anxiety. The anxiety can lead to destructive behavior and barking. Due to their deep chest, the Weimaraner is prone to bloat, a medical condition that causes painful stretching or twisting of the stomach.

Lifespan: 12 to 14 years

What happens if my high-energy dog doesn’t get enough exercise?

When active dogs become restless, destructive and bad behavior can develop. Bored dogs will dig holes, chew up shoes, damage furniture, and destroy the carpet.

When raising any dog breed, you should have an exercise plan that includes daily walks and fifteen minutes of playtime twice a day. If daily walks aren’t an option, consider games or activities your dog can play to keep themselves entertained.

Besides the basics, like fetch or tug-of-war, here are unique activities to consider:

  • Go swimming
  • Hide a strong-smelling, low-calorie treat so they can work a scent trail.
  • Purchase a treat dispenser toy.
  • Play tag or chase
  • Set up an obstacle course with furniture
  • Play hide-and-seek

Aside from damage, when active dogs don’t receive enough exercise they may become overweight or obese. More than half of the dogs in the U.S. are, and diet and exercise are often the reason. Always watch for weight gain in dogs who don’t receive regular exercise..

Is a high or low-energy dog right for you?

If you’re looking for a dog that will be content lying around the house all day, these breeds are not for you. All of these dog breeds require extra exercise to stay happy and healthy.

If you’re up for the challenge, these dogs make great companions. Please do your research before selecting a breed to ensure they are the right fit for you and your lifestyle.

What should you consider before you get a high-energy dog breed?

  • Location: Extreme heat in Summer and cold in Winter make it challenging to provide your dog with year-round exercise. Before adopting or purchasing a high-energy breed, think about how you can keep them active in extreme weather.
  • Work hours: If you work long hours, it may be difficult to provide your dog with the exercise they need. Consider a dog with lower exercise requirements if you’re gone for more than eight hours a day. Or, you can find a trustworthy dog walker to keep your active dog entertained during the day.
  • Type of home: If you live in a small apartment, a dog that needs a lot of exercise may not be the best fit. A large yard is excellent for high-energy dogs to have more space to run and play.
  • Lifestyle: A high-energy dog may be a good fit if you live an active lifestyle. If you’re more of a homebody, you may want to consider a dog with lower exercise requirements.

Final thoughts.

Which dog breed requires the most exercise?

Like retrievers and cattle dogs, dogs bred for work were designed to run and fetch over long days. While no single breed has been determined as the most active, you can consider hunting and herding breeds to require extra exercise and activity to keep them happy and healthy.

Now that you know which dog breeds need the most exercise, you can decide if one of these breeds is right for you. Just remember to give your dog plenty of exercise to prevent boredom and destructive behavior.

Which high-energy dog breed are you considering? Share this article on social media to let us know.

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