Just like people, some dogs are far more energetic than others. It’s important to know this as a high energy pup will not fit into every lifestyle. For example, if you don’t have a lot of time to walk your pup, or dont have a yard for them to run in, a high energy dog may not be for you. But, if you can keep up with an adventurous new best friend, here are some of the most energetic dog breeds.
Different Breed Of Dog, Different Purpose
Different breeds of dogs have different needs. Fascinatingly, a dog’s breed is so deeply entwined with their genetic code that dogs have instincts based purely on their history.
- Many herding breeds of dogs are high energy breeds. They need to run around and play regularly. They also tend to love agility challenges.
- Hound dogs are curious and intelligent and need to explore.
- Hunting dogs and sporting dogs love an active lifestyle. As many are retrievers they also love to retrieve things.
- Large working dogs who historically pulled sleds or guarded livestock are strong and smart and often love to swim or run long distances.
Some mixed-breed dogs will also end up to be high-energy dogs, but you may not see this side of them until they reach a certain age.1
On the other hand, brachycephalic breeds (bred to be “flat-faced”), tend to be low energy pups because they’re so prone to respiratory issues.2 Such dogs include small dog breeds like bulldogs and pugs. But big dogs can also have lower energy needs too. Great Danes, for example, are big and strong but aren’t as high energy as other dogs and love their couch time.3
The 10 Most Energetic Dog Breeds: Border Collie, Australian Shepherd, Jack Russell Terrier, And More…
1. Border Collie
Collies are among the best herding dogs around. If you ever get the chance to watch them in action you’ll witness stealth-like crouching, followed by massive bursts of energy. These dogs love to run more than anything. The American Kennel Club (AKC) call Border Collies “among the canine kingdom’s most agile, balanced, and durable citizens.”4 Get your collie into agility training and games, and they’ll love you forever.
2. Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherds excel at dog sports. They love agility challenges and playing frisbee. And, because they’re traditionally herding dogs, they love to playfully “herd” other animals and children. They can become grumpy if not given proper exercise but can also make great companions to your own exercise routine.
3. Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese mountain dogs are Swiss icons, bred to haul all sorts of produce through the mountainous farmlands of Switzerland. They have strong, muscular hindquarters and can pull many times their own weight.5 But don’t discount these pets as all business – they’re lovable and playful. But they need to get out often to stretch those epic legs.
4. Jack Russell Terrier
Little dogs can be high energy too. No more so than the Jack Russell who certainly makes up for its size with enormous stamina. Originally a hunting dog, these pups love to run. And, they’re the perfect size to share some high energy playtime with young kids. But they are a little wary of strangers.
In fact, most terriers can be considered energetic: Rat terriers, Wire fox terriers, Yorkshire terriers, Airedale terriers, and even Bull terriers. But be warned, failure to give these dogs the exercise they need can cause them to become frustrated diggers and barkers.
5. Australian Cattle Dog
Australian cattle dogs were developed to herd cattle across vast, remote, Australian properties. And, it can take quite some energy to get slow-plodding cattle moving. These high energy pups are perfect if you need a running companion. While also being exceptionally loyal, affectionate, and smart.
6. Standard Poodle
Poodles were originally bred as water retrievers — to fetch birds and ducks for their hunter owners. And they still love to run around and be useful. In fact, they’re also highly intelligent and can get bored easily. That’s when they may get a little naughty around the home.
So keep your poodle busy and active. And consider some obedience training if necessary. Poodles are also a hypoallergenic dog so they can make great pets for those with allergies.
7. Siberian Husky
Much like the Bernese mountain dog, huskies have been pulling produce (and humans) in overfilled sleds for a very long time. They’re true endurance dogs. Because they’ve been bred in some of the toughest climates, and have the fur to protect them, they can withstand some of the harshest environments on earth. But even if you own a husky in the city, those energy demands won’t go away. These cuddly companions need to be constantly active.
8. Belgian Malinois
The Belgian Malinois is a sturdy working dog, but not out on the fields. These pups are famed for their work with the police force and military. They absolutely love to track and be challenged and can make a good watchdog.
The best thing you can do for your Malinois – to keep them engaged and at their happiest – is to get them into dog sports in which they can thrive with challenges. They also just love a good old-fashioned run.
9. Cocker Spaniel
Another small dog breed, the cocker spaniel (like the springer spaniel) was born to chase game. Spaniels, therefore, require quite a bit of exercise to keep them happy, though they’re also very gentle and love to cuddle. Because they love to swim, be aware that they may take off toward the water.
The Cavalier King Charles spaniel, though slightly smaller, is also included in this high-energy family.
10. Labrador Retriever
Retrievers love to retrieve. It’s a great asset to humans as these pets are exceptional service dogs for those with disabilities. They’re also friendly, good-natured, and full of affection. They work hard and love hard. Like the poodle, they were originally bred to be water dogs, retrieving ducks for hunters, so they love a good swim.
And, special mention to some lesser-known, but equally energetic dogs out there, like the Irish setter, German shorthaired pointer, and Catahoula leopard dog.
Caring For Your High Energy Dog: Food, Exercise, And More
Caring for a high-energy dog needs to be taken seriously. Before adopting one of these breeds or any other high energy pup, stop to think about where you live, the hours you work, and how much activity you can actually provide them with. Running around your backyard once a day doesn’t usually cut it with these breeds.
When their energy requirements are not met, high-energy pets can develop a destructive temperament. They can also suffer physically from not exercising those often strong leg muscles.
Depending on their breed and size, here are some other ideas to help keep an energetic dog happy:
- Take them out as your running or hiking companion
- Enroll them in professionally-run training classes or agility competitions
- Take them for regular trips to the park to play fetch and frisbee
- Take them swimming (if they’re water-loving)
- Make a playdate with other high-energy dogs in your area
- Play hide-and-seek indoors (even with a big dog) by hiding treats for them to find as this can be great mental stimulation for intelligent dogs
- Purchase some treat-dispensing toys to make them work for their food
A high-energy pup also has certain dietary requirements. Speak to your vet about what would make a good nutritious diet for your breed. They may recommend incorporating a diet with plenty of meat and vegetables or a dietary supplement.
Owning A High-Energy Dog
Although they may require more physical activity, a high-energy, active dog may actually keep you fitter and healthier. They can ensure that you’re exercising more and they’ll make it infinitely more enjoyable.