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What dog breeds need the most exercise?

Getting enough exercise is crucial for a dog’s health and happiness. Some breeds have higher exercise needs than others. When choosing a canine companion, it’s important to consider your lifestyle and ability to meet the dog’s needs. An under-exercised dog may develop behavioral issues or health problems. Let’s explore dog breeds with the highest exercise requirements.

High Energy Dog Breeds

Certain dogs were historically bred to work all day. These high energy breeds need vigorous activity to be content. Without adequate exercise, they are prone to restlessness, anxiety, excessive barking, and destructive behaviors. On the flip side, a well-exercised dog of one of these breeds will be a delightful and affectionate pet.

Australian Shepherd

The Australian Shepherd was developed in the western United States to herd livestock all day in challenging terrain and climates. This breed has seemingly endless energy reserves. Aussies need at least 60 to 90 minutes of intense exercise every day. They particularly enjoy having a job to do, so activities like agility, flyball, or advanced obedience training are ideal. Without ample exercise, this brilliant breed easily becomes bored and mischievous.

Border Collie

The Border Collie is considered by many to be the world’s premier herding dog. They can nimbly run and cut for hours while managing the movement of sheep or other livestock. Borders have seemingly unlimited energy and stamina. At a minimum, they require 60 to 90 minutes of vigorous daily exercise. Activities that engage their intelligence such as agility, flyball, disc dog, or advanced obedience are best. A Border Collie without an outlet for their energy will often invent their own activities…which the owner may not appreciate!


The Dalmatian is a medium to large breed that was long utilized as a coach dog to trot alongside carriages and guard the horses. They have an almost indefatigable ability to run long distances without tiring. Dalmatians need 60 to 90 minutes of hard exercise daily. Owners should also plan plenty of playtime and brain-stimulating games and toys to prevent boredom in this highly active breed.

Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell was originally developed in England 200 years ago to hunt foxes both above and below ground. This tenacious terrier has seemingly unlimited energy and needs 60 to 90 minutes of vigorous exercise every day. Running, playing fetch, or participating in canine sports are their favorite activities. Without enough exercise, the intelligent Jack Russell can get up to all sorts of mischief.

Labrador Retriever

America’s favorite dog breed, the Labrador Retriever, was bred to work closely with hunters retrieving game over long hours. Labs need at least 60 to 90 minutes of exercise per day to maintain their health and happy disposition. Their perfect activities include swimming, playing fetch, jogging or hiking. Due to their exceptional eagerness to please, they also excel at canine sports like agility, dock diving, and obedience competitions. A tired Lab equals a very good boy!

Moderately Active Breeds

Some breeds have moderate exercise needs. With 30 to 60 minutes of daily activity, they can thrive as both working and family companions. Keep in mind that every dog is an individual, and activity needs can vary.


The Boxer was developed in Germany as an all-purpose utility dog used for hunting, livestock herding, and guarding. Despite their large size, they can happily adapt to apartment living with daily walks and playtime. Plan on providing a Boxer with 30 to 45 minutes of exercise per day.


The Bulldog, England’s iconic symbol, was historically used in bull baiting. Today’s mild-mannered Bulldog retains their strength but is content with moderately-paced walks. Due to their brachycephalic heads, Bulldogs should not be exercised in hot humid weather. Plan for 20 to 30 minutes of daily walks and indoor playtime.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was bred as a lapdog companion for European nobility. They retain their sweet and gentle natures today. A daily 30-minute walk plus playtime is adequate for the Cavalier. Their exercised needs can often be met with shorter but more frequent walks.


The Greyhound is the world’s fastest dog and was carefully bred for coursing and racing. Despite their speed, they are often content to lounge indoors between brief sprints outside. Plan on providing 30 to 45 minutes of daily exercise to keep a Greyhound healthy and trim.


The Pug originated in ancient China and was bred as a faithful companion animal. They are easygoing indoor dogs. Due to their pushed-in faces, Pugs should avoid strenuous exercise in hot humid weather. Plan for 20 to 30 minutes of leisurely daily walks.

Lower Energy Breeds

Some breeds require only minimal exercise to meet their daily needs. These dogs make excellent low-activity companions for less active owners. But don’t assume these pups don’t need walks and playtime. All dogs benefit from some daily activity.

Bassett Hound

The Bassett Hound was bred in France as a slow, tenacious small game hunter. They retain a moderate activity level but tire quickly. Daily walks of 20 to 30 minutes will satisfy most Bassetts. Their nose will keep them mentally stimulated on leisurely strolls.

Bichon Frise

The fluffy Bichon Frise is a descendant of the Water Spaniel bred as a companion dog able to happily adapt to life on a ship. The easygoing Bichon needs 20 to 30 minutes of daily walks plus some active play. Avoid strenuous exercise in hot weather.


Bred as a courageous fighter and companion, the French Bulldog enjoys pottering around the house and short stints outdoors. Don’t over-walk this brachycephalic breed in heat and humidity. Plan for one or two 15-20 minute leisurely walks per day.

Chow Chow

The Chow Chow is an ancient Chinese breed valued as a working dog and guard. Despite their lush coat, Chows have only moderate exercise needs. They thrive on one or two 20-30 minute daily walks and yard playtime.


The Pekingese was treasured for centuries as a companion to Chinese nobility. They have maintained their dignified but charming personality. The Peke’s exercise needs are minimal – one short 15 minute walk per day will usually suffice.


Choosing a dog breed that suits your lifestyle will set both you and your pup up for happiness. High energy dogs demand hard exercise for at least an hour every day. Moderately active breeds need around 30 to 60 minutes of daily activity. Low energy dogs are satisfied with one or two brief walks totalling 30 minutes. With a great exercise and play regimen tailored to their needs, dogs of any breed can thrive!