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15 Energetic Dog Breeds for People With an Active Lifestyle

These bundles of energy will keep you on the move all day long.
By Faith Brar
January 21, 2021

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Part of successful dog ownership is choosing a breed that complements your lifestyle. If you think of yourself as active and have a love for the outdoors, you might be looking for a four-legged-friend that can keep up with you. In that case, you might want to consider one of these active dogs as your lifelong running, hiking, or yoga companion.

If you're thinking about owning an active dog, it's important that you're able to carve out extra time for your furry friend and create an environment where you can enrich their needs. Caring for these animals will be an unending, lifetime activity, but the love and joy you'll receive in return will be worth it.

Keep scrolling to learn about 15 of the best active dogs—both big and small—that are ideal for families and lone wolves alike.

black and white border collie smiling at the camera
With ears standing at attention, the bright border collie is always alert.
| Credit: Purple Collar Pet Photography / Getty

Border Collie

Often ranked as one of the most intelligent dog breeds, border collies are happiest when they have a job to do. Not only are they top-of-the-line herders, but they also love canine sports and have a serious knack for training, flyball, agility, and tracking. You're not alone if you think the term "active" refers to physical exertion. But most active dog breeds need equal parts mental stimulation as well. Border collies require at least an hour of exercise a day along with plenty of psychological stimulation and are great for owners who love spending their free time adventuring in the outdoors.

Portrait of golden retriever
Credit: Mikkel Bigandt / Adobe Stock

Golden Retriever

Amongst the most popular dog breeds, golden retrievers are a true family-favorite. Needing at least an hour of exercise a day, these beloved pups are great companions for owners who enjoy walking, running, hiking, and being outdoors. They also have an instinctive love of water and are happy to get wet while playing fetch. If you're a city dweller, goldens can survive in an apartment setting, but it's key that you get them outside regularly to ensure they live a fit, happy, and fulfilling life, especially since they're prone to obesity and other weight-related health problems.

Brown and white pointer tilts head to the left in close-up
Credit: Westend61 / Getty

German Shorthaired Pointer

Quintessential hunting dogs, German shorthaired pointers are brown-and-white bundles of energy, meaning short walks around the block simply won't cut it. With a huge love for the outdoors, German shorthaired pointers are happiest when they're running, hiking, swimming, or competing in agility and field events. Daily exercise is a must for these pups, and activities like nosework and learning new tricks are great ways to keep their brains engaged, too.

merle Australian shepherd standing in woods
Blue merle Australian shepherds have a mottled coat with black spots against a gray base.
| Credit: Eudyptula / Getty

Australian Shepherd

These intelligent, loyal, and energetic dogs were originally bred for their herding instincts, and their eager-to-please personalities mean they're always game for a romp outside. Australian shepherds, affectionately dubbed Aussies, need to stay busy and stimulated with daily exercise. They thrive in a working environment and are the perfect companion for owners who enjoy high-energy activities like playing Frisbee and long walks or hikes. Australian shepherds also tend to live a long time (12–15 years!), so with proper exercise, diet, and veterinary care, you will have your adventure buddy by your side for years to come.

Keep in mind that while easily trainable, Aussies are not usually recommended for families with small children as their herding instincts mean they may nip at heels of youngsters—something you might want to keep in mind when deciding whether these lovely dogs are right for your family.

Portrait of Vizla dog standing on a meadow.
Credit: Mint Images / Getty

Vizsla

Pawsitively majestic, Vizslas are smart, active, loyal family dogs who love burning their energy outdoors. There's almost nothing a Vizsla can't do, whether that's hunt, track, swim, complete an agility course, or go for a long jaunt with you in the woods. Ideally, they should get at least an hour of exercise a day, which is why it's preferable that they have ample running space. That said, these affectionate pups can be perfect for city dwellers, as long as they're getting plenty of long walks and runs outdoors.

light brown standard poodle standing on path in woods
Credit: Teemu Tretjakov / EyeEm / Getty

Poodle

Best known for their poof-ball haircuts, poodles are extremely energetic and active dogs. Exceptionally clever and easy to train, it's important that they're mentally and physically stimulated in order to keep their anxiety at bay—and that goes for standard, miniature, and toy poodles. On top of playing fetch in a big fenced backyard, these dogs enjoy long walks, visits to the dog park, and are always down to go for a swim. The main thing that makes this breed stand out from many of the others on this list is their low-allergen coat, which means these dogs don't shed much and tend to be a better option for active allergy sufferers.

Jack russell terrier tilts head at the camera
Credit: zhao hui / Getty

Russell Terrier

Russell terriers are the pinnacle of small active dog breeds. Bred as hunting dogs, they are smart, have high energy levels, and are happiest when they are both mentally and physically stimulated. Specifically reared to hunt burrowing animals, Russell terriers love to dig and chase. Long daily walks and playtime in the backyard are great outlets for their energy, but it's also worth noting that Russell terriers are very adept at agility and flyball, making them the perfect companion for engaged, active, and compassionate dog owners.

black portuguese water dog looking up at camera
Despite their energetic nature, Portuguese water dogs have a sweet disposition that makes them excel as therapy and service dogs.
| Credit: Ines Arnshoff / Getty

Portuguese Water Dog

As their name suggests, Portuguese water dogs have an instinctual love for the water and are the perfect fishing and swimming companions. These outgoing dogs are true athletes needing plenty of daily exercise, which can be in the form of long walks and ample one-on-one playtime with their owner. Porties, as they're nicknamed, are also incredibly sharp and get bored easily, which is why it's important to keep them mentally stimulated through activities like training, tracking, dock diving, agility, and water work. With plenty of positive reinforcement, attention, and exercise, you'll have an affectionate and loyal companion for life.

Airedale Terrier lying on floor
Credit: bruev / Getty

Airedale Terrier

Otherwise known as "The King of Terriers", Airedale terriers are loved for their bolstering confidence and unbridled enthusiasm. Airedales are super social animals and love daily play sessions with family members. On top of that, it's recommended that they get long daily walks and a few good runs in the backyard. Another low-allergen breed for families with allergy sufferers, if you choose them as a companion, you're in for a clever, loving, and athletic pup.

lab smiling on bench
Credit: Purple Collar Pet Photography / Getty

Labrador Retriever

Labrador retrievers have been America's most loved dog breed for the past 29 years by families of all kinds. These easy-going yet energetic dogs are down for whatever, whether that's swimming, playing fetch, or learning tricks—and even make fantastic jogging companions. Eager to please and highly-trainable, Labs also need mental stimulation, which is why they're known to be excellent service dogs and top-of-the-line competitors in field tests and dog shows.

Portrait of Greyhound dog
George Fielding / Getty

Greyhound

Greyhounds are essentially the cheetahs of the dog world. Reaching speeds of up to 45 mph, they're best known as racing and hunting dogs, but they're also loved for their sweet and gentle nature, which is why they're considered excellent family pets. It's no secret that greyhounds require regular exercise, but a few brisk walks or an hour of playtime in the back yard is all they need to chill out. They're nicknamed "40-mph-couch potatoes" for a reason.

Portrait of English Spaniel
Credit: martincp / Adobe Stock

English Springer Spaniel

On top of being undeniably eye-catching, English springer spaniels are loved for their friendly nature. Bred as hunting dogs, these pups have high energy level, needing an hour or two of activity per day, making access to a spacious yard ideal. Otherwise, plenty of long walks, visits to the dog park, or off-leash running should do the trick. With a taste for adventure, English springer spaniels are also the perfect hiking, hunting, and running companions. So if you're a nature lover, you've found your pick.

brown and white Siberian husky sitting on chair
Credit: Getty

Siberian Husky

Admired for their beautiful eyes and wolf-like features, Siberian huskies have endless amounts of energy and are great for active pet parents who live in cold weather climates. As with most working dog breeds, Siberians need at least an hour or two of exercise a day, which means playing a few games of fetch in the backyard is not going to cut it. Their unparalleled endurance and irrevocable love for running make them great hiking and running partners and from a mental standpoint, they seriously benefit from training classes and agility training. Other fun exercises to do with your husky include dog sledding, bikejoring (when cool weather permits), teaching them new tricks, and playing fetch or chase.

German shepherd laws on dock by a lake
Credit: Jody Trappe Photography / Getty

German Shepherd

German shepherds are confident, courageous, and loyal dogs with blistering intelligence. Originally bred as working dogs, Germans are ideal for active owners who love spending time outdoors, hitting the trails, and enjoy spending quality one-on-one time with their furry friends. Agility training competitions are also an excellent way to keep them occupied. Keep in mind that these dogs are innately hard-working, which is what allows them to be such excellent police, search, and guide dogs. So if you'd prefer to cozy up on the couch or have small children that take up much of your time, take those things into consideration when choosing this breed as your four-legged friend.

Dalmatian dog in front of blue sky
Credit: Kate / Adobe Stock

Dalmatian

One of the most iconic dog breeds (in part, thanks to the classic Disney movie, 101 Dalmatians) Dalmatians make heads turn wherever they go. But aside from their beautiful spotted black-and-white coats, these dogs have tons of energy and need a lot of physical and mental stimulation. Originally bred to run alongside carriages, Dalmatians love long off-leash walks in the woods and will gladly trot alongside you while you're running or biking. They're also talented athletes who benefit from agility training. Even then, Dalmatians are known for their high energy, which is why mental stimulation is key. Think basic training with positive reinforcement, interactive puzzle toys, and nose work games to find hidden treats.