When people are considering what breed of dog to get they often consider several factors. Most people choose a dog breed for emotional reasons, they love the physical appearance, they think the dog is very smart, or they have a friend who has a dog of the same breed that is absolutely adorable and well-trained. People may also choose a dog for size, coat type or even popularity. Many people don't actually research the breed they are considering, and many find out that quiet, adorable, tiny little puppy has turned into a massive ball of energy that seems to have no off switch.
High energy breeds of dogs range from the toy size through the larger dogs, although typically the larger the breed the more sedate and calm the dog tends to be. All puppies after about the end of the third or fourth month will be typically high energy until they reach maturity at one to two years. However, many breeds, including some of the more popular breeds, continue on with that high level of energy all through their life. Learning what breeds are considered to be high energy and if you are willing to make the commitment to exercise, train and work with these dogs on a regular basis is an important factor in deciding what dog breed is right for you.
Within any breed and even within any litter there will be more and less active dogs. Typically the breeds listed below are going to be highly intelligent, highly trainable and terrific family dogs, but they are high energy. These breeds will need routine exercise, lots of ongoing training and socialization as well as lots of room in order to be happy, content and well behaved companions.
One of the highest energy breeds of dogs is the Dalmatian. These dogs were originally bred to run along beside a carriage, and later on to do the same after the horse drawn fire wagons. The very breeding of these dogs was to create a dog with boundless energy and athletic ability, a trait that continues on until today. While in the movies and on TV this breed is portrayed as a calm and sedate dog, they are only that way when they have lots of routine play time and space to run in a secure, fenced area or beside their owners.
Border Collies are fairly well known for their high activity requirements. What makes Border Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, Australian Cattle Dogs, German Shepherds and many of the other herding breeds more difficult to work with is that they need to have a job to do to be happy. Simple physical exercise, even all day running, is not going to be enough for these dogs. They need to have something to do within the family, even if it is to protect the yard, fetch the paper or herd the children and the other pets. If these dogs don't have both physical and mental activities to do every day they can quickly become destructive, chewing, digging and even barking to extremes.
Labrador Retrievers are typically the top or second from the top most popular dog in the United States every year. They are, however, also a very high energy dog that needs to have regular, intense, routine exercise. As a high energy dog the Lab may not be suited to a completely indoor living arrangement as they really enjoy and seem to need to have time and space outdoors to run. Labs will often be relatively easy to train to be calm in a house, but without exercise they do put on weight quickly and are prone to several obesity related health problems.
Jack Russell Terriers and many of the larger terrier breeds are also very active, high energy dogs. They are a natural hunter and have a very high prey drive, but also love to dig and run. Without regular exercise the Jack Russell, like any dog, will turn his or her energy to negative behaviors. This smaller dog can be very prone to jumping and nipping, plus problem barking is a real issue when these dogs are not trained and routinely provided enough exercise. Keep in mind it is not the dogs that are the issue, it is the owner that is not providing what the dog needs to stay content, happy and relaxed.
Whippets and Greyhounds are the true racers of the dog world, as are many of the sight hounds. These dogs don't need constant activity but they do need lots of space so they can really run on a daily basis. Owners cannot run alongside these dogs to give them all the running space they need as they are incredibly fast. The adult Greyhound can reach speeds of close to 40 miles per hour and the Whippet just slightly under that speed. They can do well in a house or an apartment provided that they have routine off-leash time per day plus at least two or three longer brisk walks or jogs.
Dogs that have been bred specifically for their stamina and endurance are also going to be high energy breeds of dogs. The Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute are two examples of breeds bred to travel over 100 miles per day, pulling a sled, in the most challenging of environmental conditions imaginable. It is therefore not surprising that a walk around the block two or three times a day is not going to provide enough exercise space or intensity for these dogs. These northern spitz type dogs do require regular outside time in a large, securely fenced yard in order to satisfy their need for movement. Like other breeds they can adjust to being inside very happily as long as they get their exercise requirement fulfilled in some fashion each day.
High energy breeds of dogs offer lots of wonderful opportunities for the active owner that is prepared to commit to the time and energy needed to keep up with these breeds. They are typically a great match for children and families, since the added activity is just what these dogs crave.
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