14 of the Most Active Dog Breeds

group of dogs running across grass

There are a lot of factors to consider when determining whether a dog breed is right for you and the activity level is one of them. If you lead an active lifestyle and you want a canine companion that is just as active, there are plenty of high-energy dog breeds to choose from. Here are a few of the most active dog breeds to help you start your search for an energetic dog that can keep up with you:

1. Alaskan Malamute

Sometimes described as looking like a larger, fluffier Siberian Husky, the Alaskan Malamute is another one of the classic sled dog breeds that is also a high-energy dog breed. Malamutes were bred to pull heavy loads across snowy, rough terrain and they are working dogs through and through.

One of the most well-known snow dog breeds, Alaskan Malamutes love the snow, love being active unless it’s hot, and love having a job to do. These dogs are versatile, task-oriented, and can adapt to a variety of activities.

When it’s hot outside, these dogs will often plop into a puddle in front of the air conditioner. When there is snow on the ground, good luck getting them to come inside. In addition to loving the snow, one of the facts about Alaskan Malamutes is that they are often prone to digging. If they ever stop running and playing in the snow, these dogs will often dig a burrow into the snow, curl up in it, and take nap.

2. Australian Shepherd

The Australian Shepherd is a medium-sized herding dog breed with a lot of energy. They are intelligent, affectionate dogs that love their families and tend to get along well with children.

Aussies also tend to pick up on training quickly, which makes them a good fit for owners who can provide positive, consistent, and interesting training and who can handle a high-energy dog. First-time dog owners may want to consider puppy training classes.

Like many other high-energy breeds, an Australian Shepherd needs a lot of daily exercise to be happy and healthy. One of the facts about Australian Shepherds is that you will likely run out of energy before they do! Thankfully, these dogs are versatile and can tackle a variety of activities.

3. Belgian Malinois

The Belgian Malinois was originally bred to be a herding dog, but they are more of an all-purpose working breed today. This breed is one of four Belgian sheepdogs all of which have a lot of energy.

One of the facts about Belgian Malinois is that they tend to have an extended puppyhood and will exhibit that playful high energy until at least three years old. This makes training them and directing that energy toward constructive activities essential. They will still be a high-energy working dog after that, but will also gain some maturity.

These dogs thrive with a confident owner who can provide plenty of structure and consistency during training and even more exercise outside of that. They are fast, athletic, and agile dogs that are a top choice for police and military work and are happiest when they are working hard and being active.

4. Belgian Tervuren

Like the Belgian Malinois, the Belgian Tervuren, or Terv, is also a high-energy dog that is a popular choice for military and police work. Although they don’t tend to be hyperactive, provided they get enough exercise and mental stimulation, they do require a lot of daily activity.

Daily walks and some playtime are not enough for this dog breed. They need more activity than that and also need a job to do to be happy and healthy. One of the facts about Belgian Tervuren is that these multi-faceted working dogs were originally farm dogs.

These dogs are determined, focused, and task-oriented, and require a more experienced owner. They are also one of the smartest dog breeds and get bored easily, which means they will find ways to entertain themselves if you don’t provide enough of an outlet for them.

5. Blue Heeler

The Blue Heeler, or Australian Cattle Dog, is a high-energy herding dog that is used to working with livestock, working around the farm, and working all day. These dogs originated in Australia where they were bred to drive livestock over long distances.

This meant they were bred to be sturdy dogs that could handle the rugged terrain of the Australian outback and have the endurance and stamina to keep up. Aside from being known as high-energy working dogs, one of the facts about Blue Heelers is that they can trace their ancestry back to wild Dingoes.

6. Border Collie

A Border Collie is one of the most active dog breeds that is also prized for their agility, intelligence, and herding skills. Not only do they excel in herding competitions and on the farm, but they also fit right in at home with their families.

Some facts about Border Collies are that they may have a lot of energy and prefer to be active, but they are also affectionate with their families. They tend to get along with other dogs and children and thrive on affection and attention from their owners.

Although Border Collies are intelligent and pick up on things quickly, their energy can be an obstacle for first-time or novice dog owners to handle on their own. As such, puppy training classes are recommended.

7. Catahoula Leopard Dog

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is a high-energy, versatile hunting dog that hails from what would become Louisiana. These dogs are highly intelligent. Despite being naturally curious, they are known to be serious working dogs that are determined, focused, and well-balanced, provided they are well-socialized and trained.

Despite their intelligence and capability of picking up on things easily, they are not recommended for novice dog owners. These dogs require a lot of structure, variation to keep them from getting bored, and a lot of activity.

If not given enough exercise, a useful enough job, or enough mental stimulation, these dogs will entertain themselves. They also take “escape artist” to the next level because some facts about Catahoula Leopard Dogs are that they have webbed toes and some of them can climb trees!

8. Dalmatian

The Dalmatian is known for their spotted coat and their athleticism. Although they are a member of the Non-Sporting Group, they are one of the most active dog breeds and are prized for their agility and endurance.

These dogs are loyal to their families and are affectionate with them. They tend to get along well with children and other animals in the family, but they are also protective and tend to be more reserved around strangers.

A Dalmatian is intelligent and picks up on things quickly, but first-time dog owners will want to be prepared to enroll in obedience classes to help with consistent and structured training. Dals are happiest when they are being active with their families. They will often be up for more activity as long as you are!

9. German Shepherd

A German Shepherd is a large high-energy working dog. They are highly intelligent, strong-willed, and loyal to their families. They tend to get along well with children and have a playful personality.

As a born protector, these dogs are naturally suspicious of strangers. Because of their protective instinct, early socialization and training are particularly important. Also, they love to learn and are happiest when they have a job to do.

They tend to be a better fit for more experienced owners. Novice owners can be a good fit, but should be prepared to enroll in obedience classes. Making sure this dog gets enough daily exercise, continuing training throughout their life, and ensuring they have a job to do are key to a happy and healthy GSD.

10. Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is a great dog for active families. They are friendly and playful and get along well with children and other dogs. Also, they are a good fit for owners of all experience levels and are considered one of the best dog breeds for first-time owners.

A Golden Retriever tends to be a good fit for anyone who can give them the daily exercise and attention they need to be happy and healthy. These dogs thrive on attention and love spending time with their favorite people. So, they tend to love trips to the dog park, hiking, swimming, and other activities and will likely be up for more activity as long as you are!

11. Irish Setter

The Irish Setter is an affectionate and loving dog with a lot of energy. They get along well with children, other dogs, and other larger pets in the family. But, they have a high prey drive and an urge to chase. So, they will need extra socialization with smaller pets in the household and may not get along as well with them.

Although these dogs are eager to please and intelligent when it comes to training, they also tend to get bored easily. This, and their high energy, can be an obstacle for first-time dog owners, so puppy training classes are recommended.

These dogs love to run, but should only be let off-leash in securely fenced areas until they have absolutely mastered recall commands. In addition to dog sports and running, Irish Setters also tend to enjoy hiking, playing frisbee or fetch, trips to the dog park, and more. More often than not, they will be up for more activity if you are.

12. Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever is a lovable, friendly dog that is a high-energy dog breed. They tend to experience an extended puppyhood until they are about two or three years old. They will remain energetic after that point, but will also gain some maturity that helps them settle a little.

Labs are known for their friendly, energetic personalities. Although they can be boisterous, they tend to get along well with children and other dogs. They also tend to be a good fit for owners of all experience levels, as long as you can keep up with them.

Daily walks plus time to run and play are usually enough for this dog breed. However, they will likely be up for more activity if you are as they love being active with their favorite humans. Swimming with your dog is a great low-impact activity and Labs tend to love the water. You can also take trips to the dog park, train for dog sports, play fetch, and more.

13. Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky is an arctic sled dog known for their endurance and athleticism. These dogs have a lot of energy, will wander, and require a lot of mental stimulation. They are known to be escape artists that are easily bored.

They tend to get along well with children and love their families, but will not hesitate to escape from a yard for a run, especially if they don’t get enough exercise. Their high energy and tendency to get bored means novice owners should be prepared for training classes.

Because these dogs are so energetic, you will likely tire out before they do. Thankfully, they are athletic and versatile, so they will likely enjoy a lot of different activities. Most of the time, they’ll just be happy being active. Off-leash time in a securely fenced backyard or dog park will give them time to run. Outside of that, you can see if they like hiking, swimming, playing frisbee, and other activities.

14. Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a hunting dog that was bred to have seemingly boundless energy. They needed endurance and focus to track and chase down prey on land and also to chase and retrieve them from water. This resulted in a high-energy dog breed that is athletic, versatile, and needs a lot of daily activity to be happy and healthy.

Some facts about Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are that these dogs bond closely with their families and are extremely affectionate with them. They are also known to get along well with children and tend to make excellent family dogs. Their versatility also makes them a great fit for a wide variety of activities. Once they are finished growing and the vet clears them for higher-impact activities, these dogs have been known to excel at dog sports, love swimming, enjoy hiking, and more.

These are just a few of the most active dog breeds. Many of them are also dog breeds that make good running partners and are a great fit for runners, cyclists, and other active owners. But, exercise requirements are just one consideration when you are trying to find the right dog for you. Also consider a dog’s grooming level, trainability, temperament, and more to make sure you will be able to care for them for many years to come.