If you are thinking of getting a new dog then it’s well worth making sure it’s the right breed for you, to avoid any problems later down the line. If you are an active person and looking for a dog that can match that, then you are probably looking at athletic, working type breeds. These tend to have the stamina to keep up on walks, jogs and hikes. This article looks at some of the most popular breeds suitable for energetic owners!

Hungarian Vizslas

Vizslas are attractive looking medium-large sized dogs, with distinctive russet gold coloured fur. They are usually kind and elegant dogs, as well as being very energetic. There are both smooth and wire-haired Hungarian Vizslas, and both are pretty low maintenance in terms of grooming. This breed was originally used for hunting and because of their working background, they require a couple of hours of exercise a day.

Doberman Pinschers

This large dog was originally bred as a fierce-looking dog in 19th Century Germany, by a tax collector called Louis Dobermann, to ward off any would-be robbers. Over the years this dog has been used in many working roles, including the armed forces and police, as well as in a guard dog capacity. Doberman Pinschers can make good family dogs in the right hands, and are usually loyal and obedient.


This breed has an eye-catching silver-grey coat, offset with blue or amber coloured eyes. Weimaraners were originally bred to be excellent all-round hunting/sporting dogs, originally being kept a closely guarded secret by aristocratic Germans in the 19th Century. This dog is athletic and intelligent and will require plenty of mental stimulation, as well as exercise. They can grow up to 70cm in height (from foot to withers) and weigh up to 40kg (females are usually smaller than males). 

Working cocker spaniels

Working cocker spaniels are known as being highly energetic and friendly. They are smaller in stature than many of the other dogs on this list, but this doesn’t stop them – they are always on the go! This breed has a different appearance to the show type cocker spaniel. Working cockers are more athletic with smaller ears and a finer, shorter coat. This breed is a bit more practical in size for owners that want an energetic dog, but don’t necessarily want a large breed.

Rhodesian ridgebacks

This large dog is well known for being loyal and forms close bonds with its owner. It is a powerful muscular dog, with a distinctive ridge in its fur that runs down its spine. This dog is best suited to experienced owners or those that will put plenty of time into socialisation and training. Being short-coated, this dog is low maintenance in terms of grooming and will only need bathing if he gets particularly muddy.

Labrador retrievers

A classic working dog and a family favourite. Labradors are well known for their friendly personality as well as their enthusiasm for play (and treats!). This breed will be great with an active family and should be able to keep up on jogs and hikes as well as plenty of walks. Labradors are prone to weight gain so exercise is important to keep them trim, as well as managing their diet appropriately. Read more about Labrador retrievers in our breed guide.

Border Collies

Border collies are extremely intelligent dogs, and so need to be kept busy. They will be most suited to owners that spend the majority of their time outdoors and can put time into training. This breed will also do well at other active pursuits such as flyball and agility, so would be a good choice if you want to take part in either of these dog based activities. They will require regular grooming to keep their coat in good condition.

Flat-coated retrievers

This breed is usually happy-go-lucky and they make a great family pet. They are bouncy and energetic and need plenty of time off the lead. They also love water, so be prepared for life with a damp dog, after yet another swim! This is a throwback to what he was originally bred for, a gundog with a soft mouth used for retrieving waterfowl and game birds. They are prone to certain cancers though, which gives this breed a lower average life span than some other dogs. Read more about Flat-coated retrievers in our breed guide.

Jack Russell terriers

Perfect if you need a smaller breed of dog, the Jack Russell usually has boundless energy and can keep up on long walks. They were originally bred for ratting, keeping down rodent numbers, so have a high prey drive. This means they may tend to chase things. They love engaging in play and will be good company for many active owners.

Being a small terrier breed they can be a bit yappy at times, so make sure you put plenty of training into socialising him from a young age.


This article only touches on some of the active breeds available, there may be other dogs not featured here that would work better for your family. As well as activity levels you may need to look at how the dog will fit into your lifestyle overall. Other factors such as the level of grooming required and the size of the dog, will all impact your decision.

By doing a bit of research now you are ensuring that you pick the best possible companion. This will pay dividends in years to come. If you are still unsure about what breed is best, you could have a chat with your local veterinary clinic for more advice.

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