The exercise requirements of breeds should be considered as a key factor by prospective puppy owners when choosing a breed they want to go with. This ensures compatibility between owner and dog, and that the dog’s physical and mental demands are met.
The breed of a dog is going to influence its exercise demands more so than its size, which comes from the popular belief, the bigger the dog, the more exercise it will need, which isn’t entirely true. Many breeds like the Greyhound which are a larger sighthound, to the Miniature Schnauzer, can go from lounge lizards to athletes competing in strenuous dog sports like lure coursing or agility, with size being an irrelevant factor.
It’s important to match your exercise needs and capabilities with your chosen breed to ensure your dog won’t be running rings around you, or vice versa!
The exercise demands of a breed should only be applied to an adult dog that has matured physically and not to puppies or adolescent dogs that haven’t physically matured to withstand strenuous exercising.
Let’s take a look at some of the exercise requirements for each of the seven dog groups recognised by Dogs Australia.
The toy group were bred to be companions and are happy to sit on the couch, cuddle up to you, go for a run, play a game, and then sleep on your bed at night. They are friendly and generally calm in a home environment. The toy group generally have a low exercise requirement but they can and will enjoy a brisk walk to keep fit and entertained.
Despite a generally lower exercise demand, it’s important toy breeds are still exercised to keep them at a healthy weight and conditioned.
Terriers were mostly used to hunt vermin and it’s this instinct that makes them a working type of dog that is alert and active.
Terriers benefit from being given a job as they like mental and physical challenges like tug toys, snuffle mats and retrieving balls. They can become bored and exercise themselves by barking and digging. Terriers will enjoy almost as much exercise as they are given, with an hour of exercise generally sufficient.
As retrievers, spaniels, setters and pointers, the gundog group like to work and need to be stimulated and exercised daily or they can become restless. They do enjoy daily walks and a mix of free play, sniffing and exploring to keep them engaged. Gundogs have a higher level of exercise demands, ideally needing two hours of exercise a day and enjoy physical activity.
Historically bred to assist people hunting, hounds don’t need to hunt anymore, but they still have those instincts and enjoy carrying out those behaviours. They need an outlet for these hard-wired instincts to stay healthy and happy.
Sighthounds don’t need as much exercise as thought of but do enjoy free-play exercise. The type and intensity of exercise plays a bigger role than the duration for sighthounds.
Scent hounds enjoy longer periods of exercise with lots of time to use their noses. With a love for the outdoors and lots of stamina, scent hounds are capable of walking alongside their owners steadily for hours at a time.
The working group are considered the brains of the dog world, with strong work ethics and intelligence, they were originally bred to herd, drove, and guard and are capable of working independently or with their owners. It’s no surprise they love to work!
The working group needs lots of physical exercise, ideally two hours a day. Apart from strenuous physical activity they can equally be kept occupied through mental stimulation, exercising their busy brains.
Being bred for a specific job and working with their owners for generations, the utility group are considered to be the “specialists”. The utility group requires daily exercise and stimulation. If these needs aren’t met they can become bored and destructive. They generally need an hour or two of exercising.
The non sporting group is varied and unique which make it difficult to generalise their level of exercise requirements. Historically fulfilling the role of lap dog, guard dog and even running coach dog means exercise requirements for the non sporting group is very much based on the individual breed.
To see all the breeds exercise requirements in full detail, go to the Dogs Australia breeds page.