A Golden Retriever outside.

The 10 Most Active (And Least) Dog Breeds

If you’re thinking about adopting a dog it can be good to know how active your new friend will be. This is especially true if you’re a first-time dog owner.

Dogs make great companions and can even become your best friend. You want to be sure your new addition to the family is happy. 

You want to be sure you find a dog that’s the perfect fit for you. If you’re an active person, you probably want an active dog. You want a dog that will go on a run with you, a hike with you, and a bicycle ride with you. 

If you are less than an active person, you don’t want a dog that’s going to drive you crazy. You would probably rather have a dog who is more than okay with staying inside, eating treats, and watching new seasons of your favorite shows.

That’s why we’re here. Dogs are all different. They have different personalities, different temperaments, and enjoy different ways of life.

Here, we’re going to talk about the 10 most active, and least active dog breeds. These are in no particular order. First up is the 10 most active dog breeds.

The 10 Most Active Dog Breeds

  1. Belgian Malinois
  2. Golden Retrievers
  3. Poodles
  4. Dalmatians
  5. Siberian Huskies
  6. Border Collies
  7. Jack Russell Terriers
  8. Australian Shepherds
  9. Miniature Pinschers
  10. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
A Belgian Malinois jumping into a lake.

The Belgian Malinois is known for being one of the most active breeds of dogs.

 

1. Belgian Malinois

If you’re truly looking for an active dog breed, you can’t go wrong with a Belgian Malinois.

Originally developed in Malines, Belgium, this canine was initially bred to be a herding dog. Today, they can often be found working as police and military dogs. Those that are unfamiliar with this dog breed can easily confuse them with German Shepherds.

Because of their boundless energy, the Belgian Malinois may not be a good choice for a first-time dog owner, and due to their exercise needs, they may not enjoy living in small places like an apartment. They are athletic dogs who would never say no to the hiking trails or long walks.

2. Golden Retrievers

Next up on the list is the Golden Retrievers. When you think of a Golden Retriever, the first thing that may come to mind is the baseball catching and basketball shooting Air Bud. 

Originally thought to be descendants of the Russian sheepdog, they were actually developed in Scotland. When you think of a golden retriever, the first thing that may come to your mind

The epitome of a family dog, these pups love the outdoors and require daily exercise. 

3. Poodles

The Poodle can often be described as a fun-loving, intelligent, and active member of the family. These loyal canines come in three different forms: Standard, Miniature, and Toy.

The Standard Poodle is typically the most active of the three but is slightly more reserved. Miniatures and Toys are often found to be a little mischievous.

Aside from being good-natured, these pups are incredibly easy to train. They are a perfect fit for you if you’ve never owned a dog before.

4. Dalmations

Like the Golden Retriever, the Dalmation is best known for a popular film: Disney’s 101 Dalmations. Dalmations were originally bred as coach dogs so they could follow horse-drawn carriages.

They require a significant amount of exercise as they are a high-energy dog.

Dog owners who live an active lifestyle can’t go wrong with a Dalmation. They are also excellent family dogs who get along great with children and even other pets.

The enthusiasm of the Dalmation makes this dog breed a great backpacking and hiking companion. He will also never tire of dog sports, such as frisbee and flyball.

5. Siberian Huskies

The Siberian Husky is an agile type of dog who is playful and dynamic. A working dog, the Siberian Husky was originally developed as a sled dog. Siberian Huskies rank among the most beautiful dogs there are.

With these dogs, a daily walk won’t cut it. They have remarkable endurance and would be a perfect fit for an owner who is an avid hiker, backpacker, or biker.

A Border Collie outside.

Border Collies are extremely active and can make great pets.

 

6. Border Collies

Border Collies were originally bred to be shepherd dogs. A Border Collie is a highly intelligent and graceful dog who never runs out of energy. 

If they’re trained well, they respond great. They are very agile and remarkably quick. 

A Border Collie could make a great pet. You have to keep in mind, however, that they are a working dog. They need at least two hours of exercise per day. Without this, they may easily become bored, and their behavior may turn destructive.

7. Jack Russell Terriers

These lively dog breeds are going to have a high energy level inside or out. They’re not a large dog so finding a way to run wild in your house won’t be a problem for them.

As the American Kennel Club puts it: “The Russell Terrier is not a breed for a couch-potato family.” This is yet another perfect dog for a family who loves the outdoors. 

Russell Terriers also can get along well with children. Not only can it be the perfect hiking companion and long-distance jogging buddy, but it can also be a great family dog.

8. Australian Shepherds

As with Russell Terriers, these Aussies are high energy dogs who need to live with a high energy family. Aussies were developed for herding and still have herding instincts as pups. They are closely related to Border Collies and Australian Cattle Dogs.

When they’re puppies they may try to herd you or your children. It’s an instinct for them. As they mature, however, they’ll grow out of this.

Energetic, they need at least one hour of exercise every day. It would be preferred for this to be an off-leash type of exercise. 

9. Miniature Pinschers

Developed in Germany, this guy was developed to be a vermin hunter. These fearless creatures have grown into one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. Some say their closest relative is the Doberman Pinscher but this isn’t the case.

They’re funny dogs because they think they’re much bigger than they actually are. They tend to bark and may drive you crazy when you first bring him home. However, they calm down over time and learn to become very affectionate, making them great family dogs. 

Although they have a high energy level, they can adapt to living in smaller places such as apartments. Known for escaping, however, this is a dog you don’t want to let out of your sight for too long or off the leash.

10. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

These guys may be short, but they are incredibly strong and athletic. You may have spotted one winning a canine athletic event such as herding and tracking events. 

Bred to herd cattle and sheep, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi loves having a job to fulfill. Your Pembroke would love going on walks and maybe light jogs. 

This may not be the perfect choice for a biker. Due to Pembroke’s short legs, he wouldn’t be able to keep up.

If you’re not a biker, however, then your Pembroke will never run out of energy. 

If you are an active individual or have an active family, it really doesn’t matter which dog you opt for. They all have high energy levels and will never tire of being on the move. 

Whether you like to hike, run, or bike, you can take all of the pups above (minus the Pembroke for biking) with you and they’ll have the time of their lives.

Let’s flip that coin.

Let’s say you don’t want an active dog at all. You want a dog you can sit in the house all day with and binge Netflix. 

We have that covered too. It wouldn’t be fair to dogs if we talked about the 10 most active without even a whisper of the 10 least active. Below are 10 dogs you are more likely to find sleeping on the couch than running around the house in circles.

The 10 Least Active Dog Breeds

  1. English Bulldog
  2. Basset Hound
  3. Great Dane
  4. Bernese Mountain Dog
  5. Chow Chow
  6. Shih Tzu
  7. Pekingese
  8. Chinese Crested
  9. Tibetan Spaniel
  10. Clumber Spaniel
An English Bulldog running outside.

While English Bulldogs might not be as active as Golden Retrievers, they still make excellent companions.

 

1. English Bulldog

It should come as no surprise that the first dog on the list of “10 Least Active” is the English Bulldog. The Bulldog’s lazy face matches its physical activity.

However, it’s not entirely his fault. See, Bulldogs have respiratory issues. The results of these issues can be shortness of breath, low stamina, and may require more rest than other dogs. 

They’re great indoor pets, though. They’re good-natured and low maintenance. 

They’re super chill. Just don’t expect them to accompany you on a hike any time soon.

2. Basset Hound

Perhaps the most famous Basset Hound of all is Tex Avery’s Droopy Dog. 

They’re short, stocky, and bulky. They were originally developed as hunting dogs but I suppose the times have changed. Basset Hounds are easygoing and calm.

Also low maintenance, the only thing Basset Hounds require is a daily walk. This is because if they don’t, they will become overweight. You don’t want an obese Basset Hound.

3. Great Dane

This may come as a shock to some of you. There’s no way these massive dogs can be anything but active, right? Wrong.

The truth is that many large breeds have low energy levels. This is the case for Great Danes.

Although they may have had slightly more energy as puppies, they become extremely lazy in adulthood. 

Furthermore, it’s not uncommon for a Great Dane to sleep 16 hours a day. According to PetMD, most dogs spend half the day sleeping, however, large breeds and older dogs tend to sleep more than their smaller counterparts. 

Though his stride may be longer than yours, your Great Dane isn’t running any marathons with you.

4. Bernese Mountain Dog

A few adjectives to describe the Bernese mountain dog are brawny, strong, and nimble. If they weren’t so calm and indifferent, they would make a great watchdog. 

The Bernese mountain dog is mainly a family dog. He’s very gentle and loves to snuggle up with his family. 

They don’t have a lot of energy so they’re an ideal choice for a less active family.

When they are active, however, it can only be for short periods of time. Because they’re a larger breed, they are more susceptible to joint issues due to their bone density. 

5. Chow Chow

Although lazy, Chow Chows aren’t a good choice if you’re looking for an affectionate dog. They tend to be on the independent side and won’t go out of their way to seek your attention.

However, they are still very quiet, slow dogs who don’t need much physical activity. It is recommended that you walk them once a day to avoid behavioral issues.

A Shih Tzu.

Shi Tzus are perfect pets if you are looking for a calmer dog that likes to relax.

 

6. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus are the epitome of a lap dog. If you are lazy yourself and still want a dog, preferably a small dog, a Shih Tzu may be your best bet. 

Naturally, all dogs require at least a little bit of exercise. The good thing about this breed is that they can get the majority of their exercise by running around the house. Other than that, they only require one walk a day. 

7. Pekingese

Although the Pekingese is also a little dog, they tend to fall on the lazy side. This dog will never say no to cuddling with its owner. 

The Pekingese is one dog breed that cannot stand the heat. If you live in Florida, or the Southeastern United States in general, you may want to find a different dog. They are also not the strongest swimmers.

The Pekingese is an independent breed who not only ends up on the “10 Least Active” list but is also no stranger to finding itself on the “Dumbest Dog Breeds” list.

Despite this, they can be amusing. They’re known for just staring at their owner after being given a command. 

8. Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested is an interesting breed. They don’t particularly look like they come from China at all.

This is another breed that is not just okay with–but prefers–to sleep on the couch all day with their owner. These dogs are extremely easy to train and are low maintenance.

They’re defined as hairless, however, they’re not hypoallergenic. This means that if you have allergies you may have a problem with the Chinese Crested.

9. Tibetan Spaniel

The Tibetan Spaniel is by far the laziest dog on the list. You may catch them running around once in a while but it’s nothing to write home about. 

They don’t require much exercise at all and are very easy to train. They love to cuddle with their owners as well as chill with their toys by themselves.

If you want a dog that never moves, the Tibetan Spaniel isn’t for you. If you want a dog that is capable of running around but is also content with chilling on the sofa, you can’t find a better choice.

10. Clumber Spaniel

Known as the “Aristocrat of Spaniels,” the Clumber Spaniel is the most laid back of the sporting group. This is a dog who prefers to lie down and stretch out. He doesn’t care if it’s indoors or outside in the sun. 

This is a perfect fit if you want a bigger breed that doesn’t cause much trouble. He’s rather quiet, so if you live in a place where your neighbors complain about noise, then the Clumber Spaniel is a good option.

Lastly, he doesn’t like being alone. As with most dogs, if your Clumber Spaniel gets bored, his behavior will turn destructive.

Conclusion:

If you’re thinking about adopting a dog it’s good to know just how active they’re going to be. This is oftentimes one of the most overlooked things when it comes to what people look for in a dog.

However, it shouldn’t be. It’s a vitally important element that affects you and the dog.

Ultimately, you want you and your dog to get along. If you’re active and never home, and he’s lazy and always home, he may get distressed. The same is true the other way around.

 

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Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.