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Get in Shape With These Athletic Dog Breeds
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Get in Shape With These Athletic Dog Breeds

Critter Culture Staff
Updated Jul 15, 2022

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From Weimaraners and Rhodesian Ridgebacks to Vizslas and the Queen of England's favs, the Pembroke Welsh corgis, there are dozens of impressively athletic dog breeds roaming the earth. Some breeds have a greater aptitude and affinity for jumps and tricks and can participate in elite dog agility contests and obstacle courses. Or they just make the most awesome company on strolls and your weekend preps for that half marathon. Whatever your reasons for wanting a sure-footed and coordinated fur baby, we've got a few picks to inspire your search.

1

Border collies

Close up of a Border Collie playing and jumping in a natural park IonelV / Getty Images

Bred to herd sheep on farms, border collies have the natural toolkit, including intelligence, to get the job done. That's right—these working dogs are jocks with brains. Border collies happily jump through hoops and over hurdles and scurry between weaving poles like Speedy Gonzales. They're obedient, loving, and purposeful dogs that make great running buddies in cold but not snowy conditions.

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2

German shorthaired pointers

German Shorthaired Pointer s5iztok / Getty Images

German shorthaired pointers can dock dive with the best of 'em. These hunting dogs with toned medium-built bodies are dutiful, energetic, smart, and love accompanying their owners on trail runs. They can endure a high mileage and are great sprinters too. GSPs are also one of the strongest swimming breeds and show an appetite for exercise from a young age.

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3

Australian shepherds

Australian Shepherd running for a ball chris-mueller / Getty Images

The medium-sized Australian shepherd actually comes from the U.S. and was bred in the Golden State during the 19th century. They're a herding breed with some serious talent when it comes to playing the relatively new dog sport, flyball, and is highly trainable. Flyball is a team relay sport with lots of jumping and swift retrieving. Australian shepherds are outgoing and inclined to leave your home's confines given any opportunity.

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4

Portuguese water dogs

Portuguese water dog and a man on a beach LynMc42k / Getty Images

Remember Bo, the Obamas' White House pet? Portuguese water dogs aren't just super cute and photogenic enough to feature in First Family portraits. They're sturdy athletes that enjoy endurance runs and trails with obstacles and can handle water like pros. Their mental and physical prowess makes them one of the most versatile working dogs, with stamina that's through the roof. This breed almost went extinct in the 1960s.

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5

Greyhounds

Greyhound

This breed likely comes to mind first when you think of athletic dogs. After all, the greyhound is a reliable mover whose image is emblazoned on buses nationwide, and many a dollar has been won and lost at greyhound races around the world. Bred as sighthounds, greyhounds are not distance runners but lightning-fast on short runs.

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6

Golden and Labrador retrievers

Golden Retriever with a toy ball in their mouth ChrisBoswell / Getty Images

Big-bodied labs and golden retrievers are among the most popular dogs globally. They're friendly, loyal breeds and can play a game of fetch all day, every day, it seems. These social butterflies can be your mascot during long, slow runs and walks at the park. Of course, dogs are individuals, and not all labs are uber agile, but some pups will show their mettle and shape up to be significant competitors in shows.

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7

Pit bulls

Pit Bull Terrier

Pit bulls or Staffordshire bull terriers are the bogeydogs of the canine world. This breed was bred as a bull baiter and fighting dog and is no stranger to Dangerous Dog lists. Often restricted by law, the aggressive image is unfair—adequately trained and socialized pit bulls pose little harm. These brawny dogs can be trained to run with leashes and are solid partners for short jogs around the block.

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8

Siberian huskies

Siberian husky runs on fresh snow. SVPhilon / Getty Images

These gorgeous dogs are not just beauties. In the snowy landscapes, they come from, they're tireless workers, pulling sleds and carting loads. Take your nimble Siberian husky along when you go biking or running during winter and summer's cooler hours—they're made for icy climates and can overheat. You'll need to work towards training your husky off-leash—this breed can be a bit willful.

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9

Poodles

Poodle running on the beach Krisztian Juhasz / Getty Images

Don't judge a canine by its cover. This fluffy show dog isn't an obvious pick for athlete of the year, especially for the uninitiated. But the standard poodle is agile and was bred for hunting. You can take your poodle on a long steady run or a hike if it's leash-trained. Poodles are adventurous and resilient. They are good retrievers and swimmers and don't mind getting dirty.

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10

Parson Russell terrier

Jack Russel Parson Dog Run Toward The Camera

Last but not least, there's the tiny Parson Russell terrier, AKA the Jack Russell. This breed isn't buff, but boy, is it brisk, and it loves chasing objects. Parson Russell terriers prove dynamite comes in small packages. They're active, clever, and perfect if you're looking for a more manageable companion. A hunting dog, you'll need to train your Jack Russell to stay focused.

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