If you’re a keen runner who’s looking for a furry companion to take out on the road, or you’re already the owner of a dog and you’re considering taking up jogging, then it’s worth investigating which breeds are the most suitable for this pastime.
Some breeds of dogs have been specifically designed and evolved using artificial (rather than natural) selection to possess certain qualities. To provide pest control around medieval villages, for example, terriers were created to be small, curious, self-sufficient and full of energy.For hunting purposes, on the other hand, bloodhounds were adapted for stamina, intelligence and their sense of smell.
It follows, then, that certain breeds of dog will be better suited to running than others.Let’s take a look at some of the breeds which are best suited, and those which probably should be restricted to a walking pace.
This breed, which is formally identified as the Parson Russell Terrier but still goes by the familiar label ‘Jack Russell’, is known for its high-energy levels.As such, it’ll benefit from being frequently worn out – and indeed, failing to tire them sufficiently could lead to boredom and behavioural problems.Being a terrier, it’s in the nature of a Jack Russel to run off and look for small rodents in the undergrowth, and so you’ll need to be firm when you take it out for a run for the first time in order to keep it running beside you.Keep a bag of treats with you and reward good behaviour, and in time you’ll have your dog suitably trained.
If there’s one breed of dog that’s associated with running, it’s a greyhound.These dogs are capable of tremendous speed – or, at least, over short distances.But if you’re into jogging for miles on end, the chances are that they’ll tire – and forcing them to keep up the pace for long can cause them distress.If you’re running with a greyhound, then, the best approach is high-intensity interval training.Alternate a minute or so of walking with a minute or so of fast running.You can adjust these ratios (or your speed) to find a level that’s right for you.Y ou’re not going to outpace a greyhound, so don’t worry about it!
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Staffordshire bull terriers have something of a bad press. They’re extremely strong and powerful animals, with an overwhelming desire to please. As such, it’s easy for an unscrupulous or demented owner to train them to be aggressive. They’re great for brisk, short runs, but they need to be trained not to pull on the lead when you’re running (as, if you’re not careful, they might pull you off your feet!)
Labradors (and golden retrievers) possess similar qualities when it comes to running. They’re able to run for a long way, but they’re also capable of running shorter distances. They’re easy to train and make for excellent running partners. You might even trust them off the lead!
Alsatians are great dogs for running in the cold – as are fluffier breeds like the Samoyed and Siberian Huskie.Breeds of this sort tend to bear a great deal in common with their Grey Wolf ancestors, and as such they possess excellent stamina and are able to run at all times of the year.
The poodle is built for long distance running. They’re descended from hunting dogs, but they’ve been repurposed for their distinctive fluffy coats. They’re playful, and can help to inject a little bit of extra fun into your running experience. They’re able to cope with muddy environments capably, but they’ll need to be patiently trained in order to achieve the best results.
What do I need to go running with my dog?
If you’ve got a dog and the will to run, then you’re almost ready to go – you’ll just need a few choice pieces of technology before you can start running. The first of these is a suitable pair of trainers – get one that’s matched to your feet and running style. The second is a decent quality lead and harness. Get something that straps around your dog’s upper body to avoid putting undue strain on its neck. You’ll also need to protect your car against the mud that your dog will accumulate during your exploits. Car boot mats will offer the necessary protection; the best are tailor made for a given boot, and you’ll find Audi, BMW and Ford boot liners available from online stores.