pet owners make sure this dog breed's daily exercise requirements are met

Active Dog Month: Dog Breed Exercise Requirements


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Dogs may all be the same species, but when it comes to dog breed exercise requirements that’s where the similarity ends. For instance, your German Shepherd’s fitness regime will vary enormously from that of your Pug‘s.

Knowing your breed’s fitness needs is essential for keeping a happy healthy pet… In fact, it’s a crucial must-know for choosing the perfect family pet before becoming a first time pet owner.

Because this month is Active Dog Month, we’ve dug up everything you need to know about dog breed exercise requirements. This will also help prevent your dog from digging up stuff to burn off unwanted energy!

What is Active Dog Month?

Easy. Active Dog Month is all about celebrating keeping your dog healthy and vice versa. It’s about celebrating not just the bond we share, but also the physical benefits of owning a dog for us humans. Like, for example, decreased cholesterol, lowered stress levels and reduced blood pressure.

Our furry friends get us up in the morning. They get us out the door when we might have stayed in. They increase our daily step count. And what’s more, they often improve our social interactions too!

In other words, they’re the best BFF a gal or guy could possibly wish for. Find out how Active Dog Month started here but first, read the below…

gundogs dog breed exercise requirements are relatively high

Dog breed exercise requirements 101

As mentioned, all canines are created equal, but their dog breed exercise requirements aren’t. Different breeds have different needs and, other than many-breed mongrels and hybrid dog breeds, they all fall into seven dog groups.

PS: A dog DNA test can be a fun way to find out what breed your dog is but you could also make an educated guess based on their energy levels and features. After all, as their pet parent, you know them best!

Check out the seven dog groups before we jump to their fitness needs:

1Toy Group
2Terrier Group
3Gundog Group
4Hound Group
5 Working Dog Group
6Utility Group
7Non-Sporting Group

Dog breed exercise requirements by group

If you want a pet dog you can lounge on the couch with, broken only by a short walk around the block, then Toys are an ideal dog. But they’re not your only choice. In this article we’re covering all the groups recognised by Dogs New Zealand, the New Zealand dog registry.

Starting with the cutie pies that adore sleeping on your lap and leading to the giant dogs that have saved lives as rescue workers… Without further ado, let’s get started!

Toy dog group

dog breed exercise requirements are low for brachycephalic and toy breeds

Toys are small dogs who make great indoor companions because they’re virtually ‘living’ plush toys with low energy levels and exercise needs. To sum it up, all you should need to do is give your toy a 10 minute session of fetch daily, or a short walk.

AffenpinscherCoton De TulearMaltese
Australian Silky TerrierEnglish Toy Terrier (black & tan)Miniature Pinscher
Bichon FriseGriffon BruxelloisPapillon
Biewer TerrierHavanesePekingese
BologneseItalian GreyhoundPomeranian
Cavalier King Charles SpanielJapanese ChinPug
ChihuahuaKing Charles SpanielRussian Toy (Russkiy Toy)
Chinese Crested DogLowchenYorkshire Terrier

Terrier dog group

dog breed exercise requirements for terriers range 30 - 60 minutes daily

If you live with a Terrier you’ll know how lively these guys can be and that’s because of their history. Terriers were originally bred to sniff and dig down into the dens of prey, so they could help their humans on hunting expeditions. As a result, they have built-in dig and sniff instincts.

Back home though you don’t want them digging up your rose garden or your couch stuffing. In other words, make sure to allocate 30 minutes to an hour of play or exercise daily. A walk will do the trick, which of course is good for you too!

Also consider giving your Terrier toys to help them burn up their energy physically and mentally. Check out some quality gifts for dogs so that you can help them burn those zoomies!

Here’s a list of terriers:

Airedale TerrierFox Terrier (smooth) Parson Russell Terrier
American Staffordshire TerrierGerman Hunting TerrierScottish Terrier
Australian TerrierGlen Of Imaal TerrierSealyham Terrier
Bedlington TerrierIrish TerrierSkye Terrier
Border TerrierJack Russell TerrierSoft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Bull TerrierKerry Blue TerrierStaffordshire Bull Terrier
Bull Terrier (miniature)Lakeland TerrierTenterfield Terrier
Cairn TerrierManchester TerrierWelsh Terrier
Cesky TerrierNorfolk TerrierWest Highland White Terrier
Dandie Dinmont TerrierNorwich Terrier

Gundog group

Golden retrievers need 1 - 2 hours daily

Gundogs (e.g. Golden Retriever and Labrador) are highly trainable and intelligent. They’ve been bred to work alongside humans. In fact, they get their name from their original job: helping gun-toting hunters to bring down prey.

As a result these perky pups are inquisitive, have a great sense of smell and can easily pinpoint where the prey (or frisbee) lands.

Dog breed exercise requirements for this group is one to two hours of exercise daily. They love a brisk walk and you can also take them hiking and camping in the great outdoors. If you’re keen for that, read our guide on travelling with pets and top tips for pet safety at the beach, river and lakeside.

Here’s a list of gundogs:

American Cocker Spaniel Field Spaniel Italian Spinone
Bracco ItalianoFlat-coated RetrieverLabrador Retriever
BrittanyGerman Shorthaired PointerLagotto Romagnolo
Cesky FousekGerman Wirehaired PointerLarge Munsterlander
Chesapeake Bay RetrieverGolden RetrieverNova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Clumber SpanielGordon SetterPointer
Cocker SpanielHungarian VizslaSpanish Water Dog
Curly Coated RetrieverHungarian Wire Haired VizslaSussex Spaniel
Deutsch LanghaarIrish Red & White SetterWeimaraner
English SetterIrish SetterWelsh Springer Spaniel
English Springer SpanielIrish Water SpanielWirehaired Slovakian Pointer

Hound dog group

dog breed exercise requirements for this Dachshund are fairly low

One hound in particular – the Greyhound – has a rep for racing which might create the image of being energetic 24/7, but this isn’t true at all. In fact, Greyhounds and other sighthounds only have brief spurts of energy and then they just want to chill.

BTW, find out why New Zealand has an unusually high rate of retired greyhounds (especially if you’re thinking of dog adoption).

Hounds fall into two sub-groups: firstly, scent-hounds (like the neighbour in Lady and the Tramp) and secondly, sighthounds (like Greyhounds that go ga-ga for that electronic racing rabbit).

  • Sighthounds. All these pups need is 20-30 minutes of exercise daily such as a walk in the park or around your neighbourhood. Then you can both tuck in for some quality couch time watching dog movies. Ahhh, now that’s the life!
  • Scent-hounds. On the other hand, scent-hounds need more exercise to tucker them out than sighthounds. You’ll need to schedule one hour each day to exercise your hound but that can be broken into two 30 minute sessions.

Here’s a list of hounds:

Afghan Hound Dachshund  Otterhound
AzawakhDeerhoundPeruvian Hairless 
BasenjiFinnish SpitzPetit Basset Griffon Vendeen
Basset Fauve De BretagneFoxhoundPharaoh Hound
Basset HoundGrand Basset Griffon VendeenPortuguese Podengo 
BeagleGreyhoundRedbone Coonhound
Black And Tan CoonhoundHamiltonstovareRhodesian Ridgeback
Bluetick CoonhoundIbizan HoundSloughi
BorzoiIrish WolfhoundThai Ridgeback Dog
Cirneco Dell EtnaNorwegian ElkhoundWhippet

Working dog group

dog breed exercise requirements are high for this dog

Working dogs have some of the highest dog breed exercise requirements on the planet so if you’re an indoorsy type they might not be your ideal choice.

On the other hand if you love lonnnng jogs and hiking (or you’re a sheep farmer in need of a herder) this is your pup. Also known as herding dogs, this group is another that is historically bred to work with humans, keeping our livestock safe and stopping them from wandering.

Back then, this would have meant hours and hours and hours of running and herding tirelessly each day. And although these same dogs now live happily as pets, they still need to burn that energy.

Working dogs need one to two hours of exercise daily, and three quarters of this time needs to be spent doing high-energy exercise, like running or agility sports. Plus, in addition to their dog breed exercise requirements, this group has a high mental exercise requirement. Training and puzzle games are good options.

Here’s a list of working dogs:

Australian Cattle DogCollieMiniature American Shepherd
Australian KelpieCzechoslovakian Wolfdog New Zealand Huntaway
Australian ShepherdDutch Shepherd DogNorwegian Buhund
Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle DogFinnish LapphundOld English Sheepdog
Bearded CollieGerman Shepherd Dog Polish Lowland Sheepdog
BeauceronHungarian PuliPumi
Belgian Shepherd Icelandic SheepdogPyrenean Sheepdog – Long Haired
BergamascoKomondorShetland Sheepdog
Border CollieKuvaszSwedish Lapphund
Bouvier Des FlandresMaremma SheepdogSwedish Vallhund

Utility dog group

owner ensures her Doberman's dog breed exercise requirements are fulfilled daily

Because utility dogs have high stamina they can really go the extra mile. They’re famous for helping people in trying times, like how the Saint Bernard rescues lost hikers in snowy mountains. Or huskies that work as sled dogs to help us travel in arctic conditions without a single woof of complaint.

Choose moderately intense sports and give your pooch one to two hours of daily exercise. For example, they’re less about jumping and darting and more about that slow and steady toil up the mountain path.

Here’s a list of utility dogs:

AkitaGerman PinscherRottweiler
Alaskan MalamuteGreat Swiss Mountain DogSamoyed
Anatolian Shepherd Dog Italian Corso DogSchnauzer
Bernese Mountain DogJapanese AkitaSchnauzer (giant)
Black Russian TerrierKangal DogSchnauzer (miniature)
Boxer Landseer (European Continental Type)Shiba Inu
Canadian Eskimo DogMastiffSiberian Husky
Caucasian Shepherd DogNeapolitan MastiffSpanish Mastiff
Central Asian Shepherd DogNewfoundlandSaint Bernard
DobermannPortuguese Water DogTibetan Mastiff
Dogue De BordeauxPyrenean MastiffTornjak
Estrela Mountain DogPyrenean Mountain DogYakutian Laika

Non-sporting dog group

Dalmation swims to exercise

Non sporting dogs are an interesting batch – the group includes the Dalmatian and Great Dane but also the Shih Tzu. As diverse as the non sporting group is, so too are their dog breed exercise requirements.

Giant breeds like the Great Dane, for example, only need 30 to 45 minutes of low energy exercise daily. A stroll on the beach or in the park is enough to do the trick.

On the other hand, dogs like Poodles have more stamina and need up to an hour of exercise daily. This can be broken into two or three sessions, so it’s still a walk in the park.

Here’s a list of non-sporting dogs:

Boston TerrierGerman Spitz (Klein)Poodle
BulldogGerman Spitz (Mittel)Schipperke
Canaan Dog Great DaneShar Pei
Chow Chow Japanese SpitzShih Tzu
DalmatianKarelian Bear DogTibetan Spaniel
EurasierKeeshondTibetan Terrier
French BulldogLhasa ApsoXoloitzcuintle

Still not sure? Then check out these added factors to consider below.

Health and dog breed exercise requirements

Besides being part of a dog breed group, every dog is an individual with individual needs. So in addition to dog breed exercise requirements, here are some factors to consider, pooch by pooch:

  • Brachycephalic breeds. If your dog’s a flat-faced breed this needs to factor into how much and how intensely they exercise. These pups often have breathing syndromes, so can overheat or even asphyxiate from the wrong amount or type of physical exertion. Read about brachycephalic breeds and see why they often have brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome.
  • Puppies. Like humans, dogs don’t need the same type or amount of exercise when they’re young as compared to when they’re adults. Their musculoskeletal system is still developing so mustn’t be put under undue stress or ligaments and joints can suffer later in life. Read about the best puppy games to keep your puppy healthy and happy.
  • Giant dog breeds. The biggest dog breeds naturally have the biggest bones, as well as crazy growth spurts. Because of this, these breeds often have musculoskeletal conditions like hip dysplasia in dogs that limit the type of exercise that’s good for them. Read exercising your dog without walking so you can discover top load-reducing exercises.
  • Musculoskeletal conditions. It’s not only big breeds that can experience bone, joint and muscle issues – they can affect any dog. Read about cruciate disease and IVDD in Dachshunds to understand more and find out ways to reduce physical stress factors.

Also be sure to read our Active Dog Month article for health benefits your dog gets from exercising.

Belgian Malinois is also known as a Belgian Shepherd

Dog insurance for dog breed health requirements

The best time to get dog insurance is when your dog is at its fittest and youngest stage in life. That of course means now because your pooch will never be younger than they are today!

Dog insurance covers your pup for a myriad of known and unexpected medical needs, but serious conditions can’t be covered if you only get insurance after they start. Dog insurance looks forward from the minute you sign up – it can’t cover what’s already happened, nor can it cover the knock-on effects.

Do you want pet insurance that covers your pet, your pocket and your peace of mind? A dog (or cat) plan that includes medicine, surgery, hospitalisation and non-routine vet visits (plus more)? Then click below to start today.

Plus, you’ll also get one or more months of free pet insurance with PD Insurance!

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