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The Right Amount of Exercise for Fido’s Breed, Part One

dog health ecotreats


Everyone has that one friend who always seems to be active and running around getting things done. Some of us enjoy a little TV, or we want to sit in the garden and catch some rays. But that one friend, hard as they might try, only lasts a few minutes before they surrender to the call of some to-do item or project. It isn’t because they can’t relax. They aren’t hyperactive. They are just high-performance people. The same can be said of some dog breeds. Being highly intelligent and needing lots of stimulation and activity is just in their genes.

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Exercise for Fido’s Size and Breed, Part One | Vet Organics

Energetic vs. Non-energetic Breeds

Energetic dogs are bred for all-day stamina. This means they’ll need tons of physical and mental stimulation through exercise and play. These dogs are also naturally curious, playful, excitable, and are often called overly active. Running, swimming, hiking, and activities that require jumping, chasing, and finding or catching stuff are great ways to keep an energetic Fido happy and healthy.

They need lots of room to play, so taking them outside is the best option for those of us with limited space at home. Providing an outlet for their high energy is also important to tire them out and get them to relax and behave. Having other high-energy dog companions is also a good idea, as long as we can still keep up with their exercise demands.

Keep in mind the mental stimulation is just as important as physical exercise for high-energy breeds. That means putting them on a doggy treadmill only does so much. In fact, because it only partially addresses their needs, these breeds can often end up being misunderstood as being poorly trained or exhibiting bad behavior when, in fact, they just need more mental stimulation.  

In contrast, less energetic breeds often spend much of the day dozing. They’re basically couch potatoes. They still need regular walks and playtime for their overall well-being, but they are more relaxed and less demanding when it comes to physical activity. These dogs do well inside apartments and are great companions for only one or two humans instead of a whole family or several roommates. The important thing to remember is, just like shelter, food, clean water, and companionship, dogs need a way to stay fit for mental health, bone health, cardiac health, and more.

Exercise for Fido’s Size and Breed, Part One | Vet Organics

High-Energy Breeds

The size of a dog, however, does not always determine their energy level. These breeds are well-known for their intelligence and intensity. They need more than a walk once or twice a day. For those dog guardians with one of these breeds at home, consider agility training, search-and-rescue, dog shows, and other training that will keep them busy, entertained, and active. Many of these dogs fall into the working dog category because while everyone needs breaks, they like to stay busy and have a job to do. They may also benefit from doggy daycare one or two days a week if their human companion needs to pull long hours at work. Just remember that training and the ability to get along with other dogs is essential. This list isn’t comprehensive but represents common breeds people take home as pets without realizing the activity level their new canine companion will need.

  • Akita
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • American Foxhound
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Basenji
  • Beauceron
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Black and Tan Coonhound
  • Bluetick Hound
  • Border Collie
  • Boston Terrier
  • Boxer
  • Brittany Spaniel
  • Dalmatian
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Flat-Coated Retriever
  • German Shepherd
  • Irish Setter
  • Labradoodle
  • Pointer
  • Poodle
  • Pyrenean Shepherd
  • Russell Terrier
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Siberian Husky
  • Viszla
  • Weimaraner
Exercise for Fido’s Size and Breed, Part One | Vet Organics

Low-Energy Breeds

For those of us looking for a canine companion to binge-watch Netflix and snuggle in for an afternoon nap, check out these lower-energy breeds. They still require exercise for a healthy heart, joints, and muscles. And they still need regular, daily playtime for mental stimulation and bonding. But they won’t need all-day entertainment and jobs to do like those working dogs in the last list.

  • Afghan Hound
  • Anatolian Shepherd
  • Basset hound
  • Bergamasco Sheepdog
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Black Russian Terrier
  • Bolognese
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Bullmastiff
  • Bulldog
  • Bullmastiff
  • Cardigan Welsh Corgi
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Chinese Crested
  • Chow Chow
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • English Bulldog
  • English Toy Spaniel
  • French bulldog
  • Great Dane
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Greyhound
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Japanese Chin
  • Leonberger
  • Maltese
  • Neapolitan Mastiff
  • Newfoundland
  • Pekingese
  • Pharaoh Hound
  • Pug
  • Saint Bernard
  • Scottish Deerhound
  • Shih Tzu
  • Skye Terrier
  • Sussex Spaniel
  • Tibetan Mastiff
  • Whippet

Remember to check-out Part Two in this series where we discuss your pup’s age and how that affects their need for exercise, Hint: it’s not what you think. And check out Part Three for surmising answers to body size and every dog's exercise needs.


Further Reading:

Michelle Lievense

Michelle is a writer and ghostwriter, specializing in wellness, sustainability, and global social change. She is particularly fond of serving ethical organizations who contribute to a better life for people and animals through humane and environmentally responsible missions. At Vet Organics, Michelle uses her time as a vet tech, her academic studies in animal science and behavior, and nearly a decade working on a ranch teaching animal husbandry to write on a variety of cat and canine health topics. When she isn't writing, Michelle can be found hiking in the mountains of Colorado with her dogs or snuggled up with a good book and her cats.

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