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November 28, 2011 at 6:13 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Activity Level by the Breed

By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Purebred Star Blog Series

Whether you're considering a mix-breed or purebred, understanding a dog's energy level will help you decide if the breed is going to match your lifestyle.

What Do I Mean by "Activity Level?"

Simply put, the "activity level" is designed to help you to understand a dog's exercise requirements. Do you thrive with a daily 5-mile run with 30 minutes of ball playing included? Or are you more of a couple of 10-minute walks a day and chilling out sort of person? Take a look at what your "real" day is like. Do you get home from work and hit the gym, or do you barely have enough time to take a quick walk around the block?

Your answers to these types of questions should be taken into consideration when selecting a new dog. It's important to ask the rescue organization, shelter, or breeder you are getting your dog from what their personality and activity level is like, as different breeds have different exercise requirements.

The Right Breed for YOUR Activity Level

If you enjoy running 3-5 miles a day, and are looking for a running mate, then the Australian Shepherd will be a good fit, but don't expect them to be happy snuggling all day long while you read a book. For a more "laid back" lifestyle, a Havanese will be a better match. Be honest with yourself: Are you willing to commit the appropriate time necessary for a specific breed?

Too many owner/dog relationships go sour because of incompatible activity needs/wants. If a dog's exercise needs and wants are not met, behavioral issues are likely to develop. A dog whose energy needs are not being met will become destructive - digging, barking, chewing, and chasing. They're trying to let you know they are unhappy and bored! It's our job to make sure the breed we choose to live with matches our lifestyle.

Below are a variety of breeds in each Activity Level (low, medium, and high) to match your lifestyle.

Activity Level - HIGH

Needs: 45 minutes to 1 hour of rigorous activity, plus 30 minutes or more of continuous playtime during the day.

Enjoys: Running, Tracking, Field Competition, Agility, Herding Competition, Flyball, Dock Diving (if the breed LOVES water), Bicycling


Activity Level - MODERATE

Needs: One leisurely 30-minute walk per day, plus 30 minutes of more rigorous activity.

Enjoys: Playing in the back yard, Fetch


Activity Level - LOW

Needs: 10-minute walk 3x per day

Enjoys: Snuggling on the couch with you


  • Northern - Chow Chow (There is no Northern Dog that perfectly falls under this category. However, this breed is considered to be in the Low-Moderate category)
  • Herding - No Herding Breed falls in this category
  • Gun Dog - No Gun Dog falls in this category
  • Guardian Dog - Bull Mastiff
  • Scenthound - No Scenthound falls in this category
  • Sighthound & Pariah - Italian Greyhound
  • Terrier - Skye Terrier
  • Companion Dog - English Bulldog

TRAINER TIP: Don't pick a high energy dog thinking this will help you get motivated to start that exercise program that you keep putting off! When meeting your dog's needs becomes a chore, you may begin to resent your dog, and your dog may start to develop unwanted behavioral problems due to boredom - not the way either of you want to spend 10-15 years of your lives!

Take the requisite time to find a breed that will match who and what you are all about. It's worth it!

Photo Credit:

Francisco M., MsNina, dennis and luba, sabian maggy


Dog Bible, Edited by Kristin Mehus-Roe, 2005, Dog Fancy Magazine, 2011

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