Looking to add a dog to your family? One of the first things new pet parents will want to consider is how their potential pup will fit into their lifestyle. Live in an apartment? Maybe you want to consider a pug or Chihuahua over a blue heeler. Looking for a dog that will join your athletic pursuits? Maybe it’s best to skip over the English bulldog. We learned about some of the most athletic pups and the dog (and human) sports they are best suited to.
10 Most Athletic Dog Breeds
1. Border Collie
From Agility to farm work, there isn’t much the border collie can’t do. These pups are ranked among the most intelligent and you will see them working in many types of jobs and competing in dog sports. The AKC cautions pet parents that these pups can be workaholics and they are best suited for homes where they will have a job and plenty of physical and mental exercise.
2. Jack Russell Terrier
Known for their intelligence and powerful jumping abilities, the Jack Russell terrier packs a lot of athletic prowess into a tiny body. Clocking in around 12 inches tall, these pups are known to attack everything with an intensity that can be overwhelming for some dog owners. Training and socialization are key with these high-energy pups.
3. Siberian Husky
Best known for their sled-pulling abilities, we’d be remiss not to have the Siberian husky on this list. While these pups may prefer winter sports, they need exercise all year round. Consider swimming if your pup enjoys it or another sport to keep these pups engaged throughout the year.
While they don’t actually compete in puppy boxing matches, the boxer is an athletic pup. They run fast and jump high making them candidates for Agility or other fast-paced canine competition.
The greyhounds are best known for their speed and the notorious sport of greyhound racing. Many of these pups find themselves looking for new homes when their days on the track are over. Even in retirement these beautiful dogs can have lots of energy and make great companions for athletic pursuits.
6. Australian Shepherd
While these dogs are known for their herding abilities, they can also make fantastic family pets. If you decide to bring one of these pups home, make sure you have plenty of land for them to run and play on, or that you have a good plan for them to get adequate exercise.
7. German Shepherd
These dogs are commonly used by police departments and the military as working dogs. Their size, temperament, and personality make them ideal for this work. These dogs need to be able to run fast, climb on unstable surfaces, and even swim. Their physical training may be even more demanding than that of some human athletes.
8. Belgian Malinois
Another breed well suited to the working dog life is the Belgian malinois. Even if these dogs are not working dogs, they need plenty of physical activity. Ask any experienced owner if they recommend these pups to first-time dog parents and you’ll almost always hear a resounding no. But don’t worry, there are plenty of athletic dogs suited for new pet owners!
9. Labrador Retriever
From hunting and hiking to more controlled sports like dock diving, agility or rally, these pups are versatile. Clocking in at number one on the American Kennel Club’s most popular breed list these dogs are in high demand. They are also suitable candidates for service dogs as well as great family pets.
10. Standard Poodle
While these dogs are often lauded for their intelligence, they are also athletic. It may surprise you to learn that the standard poodle was bred initially as a duck hunting dog. Today, poodles participate in a wide variety of dog sports and work as service dogs for those who need them. Because of their friendly nature and athletic prowess, they make great pets. We have also seen a growing popularity in crossing poodles with other breeds like golden retrievers, labradors, and even smaller pups like the Maltese.
Depending on the sport you’re most interested in, there are plenty of great choices for athletic dog breeds. Just because your favorite breed isn’t on this list doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t participate in athletic pursuits. Regardless of breed status, it is best to check with your vet before beginning any athletic endeavors with your dog. Make sure they are healthy enough to participate and discuss anything you should watch out for. Remember that dogs under 8 months shouldn’t be doing a lot of jumping, so if you’re considering an agility career, make sure training is age-appropriate to prevent injuries.
Athletic dogs work up big appetites, at Ollie, that’s something we know all about. When you enroll your pup in our easy-to-manage subscription program we make sure to ask about your pup’s activity level (among other things). This is so we can ensure that their meal plan has enough protein and calories to keep them feeling full and energized and help with muscle growth and recovery. If you have any questions about your pup’s activity level or need help adjusting their portions to meet training needs, chat with your dog’s vet and coach as well as our canine support team.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.