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How Much Exercise Does Your Dog Need?

Taking care of your dog’s health is a primary concern in making their life as long and enjoyable as possible. Exercise is a key component to keep dogs healthy and happy. Regular activity can keep your dog from becoming stressed, bored, and destructive. In addition, it has been shown to reduce anxiety-driven behaviors.

Some dogs prefer or need more exercise, while some need less. Exercise needs differ between breeds, ages, and temperaments. A 3-year-old poodle with a calmer nature may not need as much as a 5-year-old, wiry poodle. Some breeds range between activity levels, as well. For example, some golden retrievers are quite active and others fall into the averagely active category. Make sure to follow a general rule of thumb but pay close attention to your dog’s personal needs.

Very Active Dogs

Herding, (some) hunting, and sporting breeds have a high need for exercise and activity. This means, at least an hour or two of intense activity daily (if not twice a day). These dogs will become impatient and bored if not stimulated regularly. To keep very active dogs healthy try swimming, visiting a dog park, or going for a quick jog. Very active breeds include:

Border Collie
Brittany Spaniel
Australian Shepherd
Bluetick Hound
Shetland Sheepdog
Jack Russell Terrier

Active Dogs

Terriers, (some) hunting, and other medium size dogs have an average need for exercise. These dogs can get some of their daily exercise from playing in the yard, but should get a minimum of an hour of exercise a day. Some within this range are less active and may only need 45 minutes of activity, while others need up to 1.5 hours. It should also be noted that breeds like German shepherds and greyhounds are prone to bloat and shouldn’t exercise within an hour of mealtime. Take these dogs for walks and play fetch for easy stimulation. Active breeds include:

Golden Retriever
German Shepherd

Least Active Dogs

Many small dogs, bulldog varieties, and those with shortened snouts require less exercise than other breeds. However, many of these breeds are prone to obesity and need activity to stay healthy. These types can be active in a small yard to work their muscles and burn energy. Also, brachycephalic dogs with shorter muzzles can overheat easily because of their unique breathing passages. Be sure to monitor the weather and provide plenty of breaks for them. Finally, some large dog breeds are actually less active as well. Less active breeds include:

Italian Greyhound
French Bulldog
Shih Tzu
Great Dane