The Most Athletic Dog Breeds

The Most Athletic Dog Breeds
March 26, 2019

Looking for the most athletic dog breeds? We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of dog breeds which are at the top of their athletic game!

Of course, athletic dogs are very similar to athletic humans! The sport which they excel in will primarily boil down to their skill! Some dogs are incredible when it comes to high jumps, while others can swim in water for hours in hot pursuit of waterfowl, some are marathon runner, some are better sprinters, some are better rock climbers, some are better herders.

The list really does go on! So, it really isn’t just a case of picking a dog with the most energy! It is about choosing a dog with the appropriate kind of athleticism which will make them desirable to you.

Regardless, each and every dog which has been featured on this list will make for a perfect workout companion if you are looking for a dog to share frequent adventures with! It may come as a surprise that there are no lap dogs on this list!

Top of the Class for Energy:

German Shepherds

Australian Cattle Dogs

Labrador Retriever


Bernese Mountain Dog

German Short Haired Pointer


Jack Russell Terriers


The Long-Distance Runners

Alaskan Malamutes

Siberian Huskies




High Agility Dog Breeds

Australian Shepherd

Sports Super Stars

Border Collies

Water Babies

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers

Portuguese Water Dog

 Dog’s Athleticism Explained

Looking at this list of highly active dog proves that athleticism really doesn’t depend on stature when it comes to dogs. Just look at the difference in appearance when it comes to the Australian Shepherd and the Whippet!

This is why it is incredibly important to consider what kind of athleticism you would like from your pet before you bring a new animal into your home. The same old story of owners not being able to meet the physical demands of their pets due to constraints and having to give them up at a later date is still sadly being told and resulting in thousands, if not millions of abandonments each year across the globe.

Instead of reviewing athleticism as an all-encompassing term, it is important to know which athletic qualities you would like to see from the animal.

Would you like your dog to be swift but small? Or brawny and big?

Endurance, agility, strength, and speed are all very different traits for a dog to have. However, some dog breeds in the list above share more than one of the traits such as the Siberian Husky, they are renowned for their strength, speed and endurance – but not so much their agility. For agility, you’d want to look at breeds which are commonly found protecting and herding livestock animals.

It is also worth noting that the AKC have different standards of athleticism for each of the 180 breeds which are currently recognised on the register. For example, the required athleticism for a Labrador would be different to an Elkhound. However, it is indisputable that there are many dogs breeds which are naturally more athletic. Dogs such as French Bulldogs and Pugs are the perfect examples of dog breeds which were never built to be sporty.

This has a lot to do with how certain dog breeds have been bred in the past. They were purposefully bred so that they would be able to easily finish the task at hand. Whether that was to herd livestock, swim after prey, protect property, or hunt in the field. Some dog breeds have even developed a strong sense of satisfaction whenever they perform and make their owners happy! This kind of drive would never be found with a stubborn-headed dog such as a highland terrier.

Of course, the level of your dog’s athleticism will be highly dependent on how they are treated. Whether they have sufficient amounts of exercise to make sure that they’re always limber will have a big impact on their athletic performance, as will their diet. Of course, this will have to go alongside regular medical care and check-ups.

We all know that no two breeds are the same, this is why it is vitally important that we invest so much time into deciding which the perfect dog is for us. If you would like more information on any of the breeds which we have covered in this list, head on over to our breed descriptions page where we have covered all that you need to know about each and every breed.