Small dogs are well known to be calm, affectionate, and easy to cuddle. However, many high-energy toy breeds would be love to run all day long. If you’re an active person, doing physical activity with your companion could be an excellent way to keep you both healthy and happy. But you might wonder if your small dog can be a good running partner?
Some little furry friends are very well-suited for intense sports. Even with their small legs and fragile structure, most of them can enjoy moderate physical activity. Actually, running with your fido is one of the best way to spend is energy and prevent boredom! Nevertheless, endurance runners might wonder: Can small dogs run long distances?
Depending on their breed, energy level, and athletic aptitudes, some small dogs can run very long distances! However, the majority of little dogs aren’t suitable for endurance running. Short jogs would be more appropriate to exercise this type of companion safely. Most active small dogs should be able to run a few miles (or km), but they aren’t built for long distances!
Is Your Small Dog Suitable To Run?
Unfortunately, not every dog is suitable to enjoy intense physical activity. Ultra-small dogs are more likely to have restrictions about running even if they are active and healthy. However, they should be fine for regular short jogging sessions with proper preparation and training!
Normally, running isn’t an issue in itself for small dogs. The real problem is the way their owner wants them to perform. Don’t have too high expectations from an animal that’s 10 times (or more) shorter than you.
Practically every companion can run safely, as long as you respect his limits and physical conditions. Thus, here are some things to consider before running with your small dog!
The breed will definitely influence what type of running partner your dog is. I learn a lot of useful things by doing some research on my companion’s breed. That’s why I highly recommend you do the same!
There are natural runners such as Huskies, Border Collies, or Jack Russell Terriers. These high-energy dogs were bred to run long distances, so it isn’t a surprise that they are good partners for this purpose. However, the breed isn’t the only element to look at to tell if your dog is suitable for running!
Like humans, dogs need to be active and healthy to hit the trails safely. Good nutrition, proper exercise, and mental stimulation are some ways to keep your dog in good shape. Nonetheless, small dogs are still prone to many health conditions that could restrict them to run!
Every breed is susceptible to different health problems. In general, smaller pets are more likely to develop illnesses or injuries than larger ones. Their fragility isn’t an interesting trait for long-distance running.
Thus, your dog might suffer from Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome (Short-nosed dogs), Hypoglycemia, IVDD, or other medical issues. Unfortunately, this type of health condition can make your dog not suitable to run!
Structural problems could also hurt your companion while doing intense physical activity. Active or unproportionate breeds regularly suffer from hip dysplasia or other joint issues. Believe me, this type of condition won’t help your small dog to be an ideal jogging partner. That’s why it’s so important to visit your vet before considering to run with him!
Running might seem like a good solution to lose weight, but your dog shouldn’t run if he’s overweight. His extra pounds (or kg) will put too much pressure on his joints, and it could be quite dangerous for him!
Dogs in recovery from an injury shouldn’t do intense exercise. Toy breeds are especially fragile so they can hurt themselves quite easily. Therefore, your dog needs to fully recover before he can start running again. Once he’s ready to get back in shape, he needs to begin with moderate physical activity to lower the risk of pain or re-injury!
Medium-sized dogs are normally the best to run with. On the other hand, giant and ultra-small breeds are rarely suitable to run. However, some exceptions such as Jack Russell Terriers are well-suited to be excellent running partners in spite of their size!
Active small dogs are can be very interesting to run with. If they have more energy to spend, there are more likely to enjoy intense sports. Furthermore, their enthusiasm to move is perfect to compensate for their small size!
Puppies are too fragile to run especially for small toy breeds. Nonetheless, they grow much faster than larger ones. On average, small dogs stop growing anywhere between 6 and 12 months. Therefore, you shouldn’t run with your pup if he’s younger than 8 months of age!
Senior dogs can also have issues with intense sports such as running. Some very active and healthy companions can jog until their golden age. However, most small dogs should find more moderate physical activity to do around 7 to 9 years old!
Making sure your dog is suitable is crucial for their safety. However, if you’re still not sure if your companion can jog with you or not, just give it a try. It’s the fastest way to know if your dog can be good for running. Unfortunately, this method only gives you an overview of his fitness level, so it’s not the safest option!
Can Small Dogs Run Long Distances With You?
Breeds such as Border Collies, Labradors, Huskies, or Vizslas are well known to be awesome endurance running partners. Unfortunately, small dogs aren’t often seen on trails. That might be disappointing, but most of them were not originally bred as active working dogs!
With their sedentary lifestyle, most small dog breeds can’t run long distances (more than 5 miles or 8 km). Their short legs and weak structure don’t help them to be performant athletes. However, some small dogs are well suited for relatively long-distance (around 2 miles or 3.2 km) running!
What Is Endurance Running?
It’s very interesting to answer this question because what’s considered as long distances will vary according to your perception. Some marathon runners that have impressive stamina might think 5 or 10 miles (8 or 16 km) is quite short. On the contrary, 2 or 3 miles (3-5 km) could seem very long to run for beginners and sprinters!
Therefore, Wikipedia [Link Will Open In a New Tab] claims that endurance running is every distance over 1.8 miles (3 km). For good runners, that might seem very short because they handle it without too much effort. However, that’s a perfect long-distance for new runners and small dogs!
How Far Can Small Dogs Run?
In general, good endurance running canines should be able to run up to 5 miles (8 km). For small breeds, running for such a long distance is only accessible to a few exceptions. For example, healthy Jack Russell Terriers could run up to 8 or 10 miles (13 or 16 km) with good training and some experience!
Nevertheless, this isn’t representative of all of the little dogs running aptitudes. Most of them should be able to run around 2 or 3 miles maximum. With that information, it’s up to you to consider them as good or bad endurance runners!
Learn more about how far can dogs run!
Which Athletic Qualities Are Needed For Long-Distance Running?
The best running dogs have some elements in common. Apart from their good health and shape, they need other characteristics to perform well on trails!
Jack Russell Terriers, Huskies, or Golden Retrievers aren’t good endurance running partners for no reason. Thus, let me share with you some traits they all share that make them suitable to run longer distances than most other breeds!
This is the most important athletic quality to run long distances. If you think your dog doesn’t have the ability to sustain an intense physical effort for prolonged periods yet, he can still develop it with training and experience.
Unfortunately, toy breeds are generally not well-suited to develop good stamina because of their size. With little lungs, muscles, and legs, they have limited tolerance during an intense workout. However, some small dogs such as Jack Russell Terriers have awesome endurance to keep up with the best long-distance runners!
Again, a high level of energy is essential to be suitable for longer jogs. The best endurance running dogs have limitless energy to enjoy such intense physical efforts. Furthermore, it can be very difficult to run long distances with your inactive companion!
That’s the main reason why most small dogs aren’t able to keep up running with their owner for more than 3 miles (5 km). They would need to have a good balance between their speed, endurance, strength, and other athletic aptitudes.
Unfortunately, toy breeds might be fast on short sprints but speed alone isn’t enough to be suitable for long-distance. Jack Russell Terriers are still an exception because they are strong, though, relatively fast, and have good stamina!
Without any experience, even the most active and athletic breeds can be bad endurance running partners. Just as for any other sport, it will take time to perform well at it. The more you run with your small dog, the better you will both become!
So, there are things such as your dog’s breed, size, energy, and balance that you can’t change. However, you could put more effort into helping him to build up stamina and gain experience to compensate for his poor physical conditions. Thus, nearly any companion can enjoy running safely. You just need to respect his limits and focus on the things you can improve together!
The Best Small Dogs For Endurance Running!
Now that you know what it takes to run long distances, you can analyze your dog’s suitability for this type of physical activity. For my pure pleasure, I’ve searched for the best small furry jogging partners. Even if medium-sized companions are generally better runners, some smaller ones can also be very interesting.
Jack Russell Terriers.
- Running Distance: Up to 10 miles / 16 km.
- Top Running Speed: 25 mph / 40 km/h.
- Running Distance: Between 3 to 5 miles / 5 to 8 km.
- Top Running Speed: 15-20 mph / 24-32 km/h.
Good Jogging Partners.
- Running Distance: Around 2 to 4 miles / 3.2 or 6.4 km.
- Top Running Speed: 20 mph / 32 km/h.
- Running Distance: Between 1 to 3 miles / 1.6 or 5 km.
- Top Running Speed: 10 mph / 16 km/h.
- Running Distance: Around 1 or 2 miles / 1.6 or 3.2 km.
- Top Running Speed: 23 mph / 37 km/h.
- Running Distance: Between 1 to 3 miles / 1.6 or 5 km.
- Top Running Speed: 45 mph / 72 km/h.
- Running Distance: Between 1 to 3 miles / 1.6 or 5 km.
- Top Running Speed: 35 mph / 56 km/h.
Other Interesting Small Breeds For Shorter Distances!
- Miniature Poodles.
- Miniature Pinschers (or Dobermans).
- Miniature Schnauzers.
- Shetland Sheepdogs.
Be Careful Before Running With These Small Dogs!
Some small dogs aren’t well suited at all to run long distances. It doesn’t mean they can’t jog for a few miles with you. However, you should be very careful with brachycephalic, ultra-small, or lazy dogs. Too intense physical effort such as endurance running could seriously hurt or injure them!
- Basset Hounds.
- Shih Tzus.
- Havanese Dogs.
How To Prepare Your Small Dog For Long Distance Running?
Preparation is the key to perform at any kind of physical activity. Running isn’t an exception, so you better train your dog to make sure he’s ready for long distances. There are plenty of things to do with him before you hit the trails together. Here are some of the best ways to prepare your dog (or puppy) for endurance running!
If your puppy is not socialized well, he could be anxious or stressed in new environments or with unfamiliar things. That’s why it is so important to let your small dog explore the outdoors while he’s still young. Exposing him to loud noises, water, other pets, wild animals, strangers, and other things is ideal to help him become an excellent running partner!
Running isn’t very complicated to learn for your dog, but it still requires some basic knowledge. For example, obedience training is essential to keep control over him during any type of physical activity. That’s why he should at least master the basic commands and have good leash manners to run long distances!
Puppies are too fragile to run, but you can prepare them physically for future intense effort. Quality food, proper exercising, mental stimulation, and daily walks are all great ways to keep your dog in good shape. Once he will be old enough to start jogging, his healthy habits will help him to hit the trails more easily and safely!
5 Running Tips For Small Dog Owners!
Now, you’re almost ready to go on trails with your buddy. Before you start taking him running with you, I’ve still some helpful advice for both of your safety. There are so many things you should know to run with your dog properly. Thus, here are some of the best tips for runners that own a small dog!
Start Short & Slow!
Beginning with too intense running sessions could easily hurt or injure your companion. That’s why it’s vital to get started with short distances at a slow pace.
An easy approach will help him to gradually build up stamina and improve his fitness level. Even if beating your personal record might be exciting, make sure to respect your dog’s limits and conditions!
The Temperature Matters!
Don’t neglect the weather while doing some physical activity outside with your dog. Running in extreme temperatures can be very dangerous for him. Your companion can’t tolerate the heat as well as you do. It’s the same thing for cold climates; he doesn’t have an extra coat to put on when it’s freezy outside!
How can you know when the weather is OK to run with your small dog?
His temperature tolerance will depend on his breed, coat type, and many other factors. However, he should be able to run in hot temperatures up to 70-75°F (21-24°C). On the other hand, most dogs shouldn’t go out to exercise when it’s below 40-45°F (4-7°C)!
Don’t Forget To Gear Up Properly For Long-Distance Running!
Running doesn’t require a lot of equipment, but there are some things to not forget. A lot of water is the most important item to bring with you for your long outdoor adventures.
Then, the essential running gear includes good shoes, an appropriate leash, and a collar. You maybe also need some snacks, a travel bowl, and some waste bags on trails. For long-distance running, a backpack, a dog harness, a hand-free leash, and more water are awesome equipment to have!
- Water & Food.
- Good Running Shoes.
- Leash That’s Easy To Hold or Hands-Free Setup.
- Comfortable Harness or Collar.
- Optional Gear. (Dog Portable Bowl, Running Backpack, Etc.)
Pay Attention To Your Dog!
Too often, I see runners that don’t pay attention to their four-legged buddies. That’s very bad because they put their health and safety in danger. While running, you should at least take a look at your dog every 1 or 2 minutes. Furthermore, you should learn his language to understand every one of his warning sign!
Oh, I forgot, there’s one more thing you should bring with you for every run; YOUR SMILE! This sport isn’t just an excellent way to exercise your dog; you can have fun while doing it. My dog and I love to go running together. It’s an opportunity to think, spend your energy, and have a good time with someone you love.
Thus, it’s important to enjoy your long-distance running adventures. Don’t forget that the main goal of this activity is to have fun!
Last Thoughts About Running Long Distances With Small Dogs!
You’ve probably learned a lot of things in this article about toy breeds and endurance running. I highly recommend you to get started if you want to benefit from this awesome dog sport to stay both healthy and happy. Even if your little companion isn’t suitable to run long distances, that’s not a problem. You can still find out a solution to adapt this physical activity to his needs and conditions!
In general, most small dogs should be suitable to run at least 1 or 2 miles (1.6 or 3.2 km). For most people, that’s not bad at all for regular exercise. Finally, I hope this blog post answered the questions you had about endurance running with your small buddy. I would be so happy to see you on trails having fun working out together!
5 Cool Things About Small Dogs!
Toy breeds might not be the best running partners but they have plenty of other advantages. Here’s are some fun facts about your small dog that you might not even know!
They Cost Less To Feed!
Did you know that dog food expenses can cost somewhere from $250 to $700 per year? The amount of money will vary a lot depending on the size of your companion and the quality of the food you buy. Therefore, small dogs can make you save a couple of $100 each year!
Easier To Cuddle!
With big furry friends, it’s sometimes difficult to take them in your arms. Dogs with a smaller size can always be ready for a cuddle session. For affectionate people, this can be an important factor!
Small Dogs Are Easy To Walk or Run With!
Smaller companions get tired more quickly because of their short legs. That means shorter walks to keep your dog healthy, happy, and fit. You should also have less difficulty to teach them how to walk the right way!
They Live Longer!
Little dogs usually live longer than large ones. Some toy breeds can have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years. That’s cool to enjoy more time with your small buddy!
Simple To Travel With!
Traveling with a big dog can be very complicated. For example, transporting a Chihuahua would be much easier than if you had a Great Dane. Furthermore, you will have less grooming stuff, food, gear, and a smaller cage to carry with toy breeds. With their body that’s easy to pretty much everywhere, small dogs are awesome travel partners!