9 MIN READ

 

The Best Dog Breeds to Have as Your Running Partner.

 

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With 8.9 million UK households now owning a dog, and more people than ever making the effort to get outside and improve their health, could a canine friend be the perfect exercise partner?

 

Finding the perfect running partner can be tough. For some, running is a solo endeavour – using it as a way to clear the mind, as well as push the body. Others join run crews and feed off the energy of the collective. Most find themselves somewhere in between – wishing for extra motivation to get outside and pound the pavements, only to be left hanging by their flaky friend on WhatsApp.

 

We know who won’t let you down.

We’ve collated a list of the top dog breeds and their natural ability for running, to help you decide on the best furry running partner to add to your family. Not only that, we’ve collated the best running gear recommendations to help you keep pace with your four-legged friend.

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To reveal the top dogs, we analysed a variety of metrics including the cost of each breed alongside the types of run they would be suited to, as well as the dog’s temperament, size, life span, friendliness, trainability, popularity and living requirements.

We also looked at the average search volume in November 2021 as well as Instagram to reveal each dog breed’s popularity and worked with City Dog Expert founder, Kimberly Marie Freeman, to get her top tips for working out with your dog safely.

And it’s good for the pooch, too, by the way. If there’s a pup lying with their head on your lap as you read this, they may be itching to get out there just as much as you. We hope that’s what they’re itching, at least.

Not only does running help maintain your dog’s weight and improve muscle tone, but it also provides mental stimulation and an outlet for energy. Because certain breeds can better tolerate different conditions and more strenuous exercise than others, it’s important to be mindful of your dog’s capabilities. Always have your vet perform a physical check-up to ensure running is a safe activity for your dog prior to starting.

 

Top five dog breeds for beginner runners.

 

Labradors are the perfect running companion for beginners because of their friendly temperament and the fact they’re easy to train.

 

  1. Labrador 

  2. Greyhound 

  3. Beagle 

  4. Swiss Mountain Dog 

  5. English Setter 

 

Labradors have several great traits that make them the ideal running companion for those new to the outdoor activity. They’re not only loyal companions, but their patience and enthusiastic temperament can be a great morale boost on longer runs. Their obedience also means that they’re easy to handle in crowded parks – and you can stay focused on the run at-hand. Altogether, this makes the Labrador the best breed for beginner runners.

Greyhounds are renowned for racing, but they are also one of the most independent and gentle dog breeds out there. They love to run alongside people, although they are suited to shorter distances so are a great companion for beginners or those wishing to do short and fast runs – landing them second spot in the top five.

There is, of course, more than just your running partner to think about when taking the first steps towards a new running habit. You need a kit upgrade, too. Baggy old cotton kit gets wet with sweat, it rubs and chafes, plus it smells as soon as you stop. All of these are distractions you don’t need as a runner.

In our complete guide to picking the correct running gear, ambassador Daisy Hughes explains, “You’ve got enough voices and reasons in your head telling you to turn back. You don’t need your clothes to become one of them.” Our pick of the best technical, run-specific kit will shut those voices down.

 

Beginner’s Running Gear for Women

Air Support Bra

Air Support Bra

Next level everything. Powered by Ultralu™ fabric, this running bra has a flexible, lightweight internal structure that controls all the ways your boobs move.
Swiftly Relaxed LS

Swiftly Relaxed LS

The looser fit and seamless construction of this top mean that you can stay comfortable during your run, even on the hilly bits.
Fast and Free Tight

Fast and Free Tight

Powered by Nulux™ fabric, this tight is about unrestricted movement and incredibly lightweight coverage that passes the squat test if you want to take them to the gym, too.

 

Beginner’s Running Gear for Men

Metal Vent Tech 2.0 SS

Metal Vent Tech 2.0 SS

This is the master of all trades. Great if you’re getting in to running, but also has you covered on the yoga mat or at the squat rack. It performs sweat after sweat.
Pacebreaker Short

Pacebreaker Short

Wear this lightweight, multi-sport short for pretty much everything. Zippered storage keeps essentials close – meaning you can open the front door and get to the sofa quickly post-run.
Power Stride Crew Sock Reflective

Power Stride Crew Sock Reflective

Technical socks like these are essential for new runners. Your old cotton socks get wet with sweat, which leads to blister-causing friction. Time to upgrade.

 

Top 5 dog breeds for advanced runners 

 

Weimaraners are the perfect running partner for advanced runners who embark on longer and faster runs.

 

  1. Weimaraner 

  2. German Shepherd 

  3. Belgian Sheepdog 

  4. Doberman 

  5. Pointer 

 

For advanced runners, Weimaraners are an ideal dog breed whose muscular build is best suited to more strenuous activity. They need a huge amount of exercise and mental stimulation and have an innate desire to be active for extended periods of time with their owner. 

German Shepherds are strong and energetic, eager to keep pace with even the most advanced of runners, placing them second in the top breeds for this category. However, these intelligent dogs require good training to ensure their safety and avoid unpredictable behaviour around strangers.

And don’t forget – now that you’re running with the best, you need to be running in the best, too. At lululemon we create kit designed to support all levels of athlete, from the recreational to the elite. And for those who really want to stretch their legs, we have the gear capable of propelling you to PBs. 

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Run Times Bra

Run Times Bra

Keep your mind on your stride in this sleek bra that gives you support, separation, and coverage, with perforated panelling for airflow.
Swiftly Tech SS

Swiftly Tech SS

The Swiftly Tech collection is lightweight sweat-wicking and breathable. Plus, the shortened length means no riding up on race day.
Swift Speed Tight

Swift Speed Tight

As reliable as your favourite run route, these tights deliver with lots of pockets and a hit of reflectivity.
Fast and Free SS

Fast and Free SS

Blow through that last mile. Powered by our anti-stink technology, this quick-drying, lightweight run top also stays fresh long after the finish line.
Surge Short 6”

Surge Short 6”

Experience total running freedom. We made these super-lightweight shorts to free your stride.
Surge Warm Tight

Surge Warm Tight

Conquer cold-weather runs at full speed. Wear these warm, brushed tights on their own or layer them under your shorts.

 

Top 10 dog breeds for a running partner

 

Golden Retrievers are the overall top dog breed for runners, followed by Labradors and Poodles. 

 

  1. Golden Retriever 

  2. Labrador 

  3. Poodle 

  4. Boxer 

  5. Greyhound 

  6. Whippet 

  7. Border Collie 

  8. Springer Spaniel 

  9. Australian Shepherd 

  10. Beagle 

 

Not only are they adorable, they can keep up the pace, too. Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds in the UK with an incredible 8,653 registered in the UK in 2020. Their friendly, intelligent, and energetic temperament also makes them ideal running buddies. They’re loyal, are one of the most trainable dog breeds – which means no tugging on the lead constantly over 10k – and they enjoy long and steady runs. Perfect for Sunday Runday. 

According to Freeman: “Some of these breeds are expert long-distance runners with unlimited energy. Greyhounds, for example, are obvious running dogs. They can match your running speed easily and might even find a light jog on lead a little slow for them. 

“While other breeds such as Labradors, Dobermans and Dalmatians are athletic breeds by nature, just like people they need to build up their stamina and endurance. Gradually building up a running plan, increasing time and difficulty is the best way. We do not want to overrun an “unconditioned” dog. They will be prone to injury, just like us.” 

 

Some safety tips before you get started. 

 

It’s crucial to ease any dog into a running program and consult with a vet before you embark on one. While different dog breeds have similar characteristics, the health condition and age will significantly impact its individual running ability and exercise capacity. Keep in mind, it is also strongly recommended to take at least one or two rest days for both you and your dog in a running programme. 

Freeman advises: “From a safety point of view, a harness is best for dogs. Not only does a harness reduce the chances of trachea damage, but it’s also better for their posture and movement. If your dog is not able to be off lead while you are both running, you can purchase specialist leads that allow for more varied movement and less tugging.

“If you are a serious runner, the key things to remember are: slowly introduce running to your adult dog. Keep an eye on their paw health - don’t run on hot surfaces, check for cuts and worn-out paw pads. If you get a puppy with the intention of having them as a running partner, make sure you do not run with them for extended periods until they are fully developed, and their bones set in place. Your vet and breeder will be able to give you more guidelines as to when they will reach full maturity.”

 

Now you’re ready to run.

Whatever your level, you now know the best four-legged running partner to pick. If you want more tips on how to further, faster and have more fun doing it then check out our other running articles here. And if you need to refresh your wardrobe whilst you're at it, take a look at our: women’s leggings, women’s shorts, women’s tops, men’s shorts and men’s tops.

 

Related article: Why you need to master the pre-run warm-up.