11 Energetic Dogs for Active People

yellow labrador and black labrador running side by side on the beach

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If you're constantly hiking, running, or exploring, you want a dog who will join you on your adventures. While most dogs are happy to be by your side no matter what you do, not all of them have the stamina to spend the day on the trail or have their heart set on playing catch. Every dog is different, but some have activity and adventure in their genes. Our belief is that rescue dogs are the best dogs, and you'll likely find one that will be your outdoor buddy.

Looking for a high-energy companion to add to your family? Here are 11 energetic dogs for active people.

Millions of pets (including many purebreds) are available to be adopted from shelters. We always recommend adoption as a first choice. If you've decided to buy a pet from a breeder, be sure to choose a responsible breeder, and always avoid puppy mills.

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Border Collie

border collie jumping up from green grass to grab a yellow frisbee in its mouth

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The border collie is an intelligent, high-energy dog that thrives on regular exercise.  That doesn't mean you need to find a flock of sheep for your pup to herd. Border collies just like being active. They can make great running partners and often excel at nabbing Frisbees and catching balls.

Border collies are incredibly bright and trainable, and are at the top of their class in obedience.

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Two vizsla dogs jumping on two legs and playing with a ball on the beach

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Originating in Hungary as a working and hunting dog, the vizsla has incredible stamina and was bred to perform in the field. This lean and muscular athlete has incredible energy, making the vizsla a great choice for a running or biking companion.

With positive training and reinforcement, the vizsla can be an eager and affectionate partner in all sorts of outdoor activities.

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Australian Shepherd

Australian shepherd running outside with a stick in its mouth

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Like the border collie, this herding breed likes to stay busy and it excels in agility and obedience. These cheerful dogs love active sports like Frisbee and anything that involves a ball. The Aussie generally makes a good running companion because it enjoys spending time with its human and takes direction well. 

An intelligent breed, the Australian shepherd is eager to please and easily trained.

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brown greyhound standing on rocky hill above the water

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The greyhound has a reputation for speed and is the fastest dog in the world at an impressive 43 miles per hour. Although sprinting is the greyhound’s forte, this lanky pup can also run long distances. 

But unlike some other energetic dogs, the greyhound definitely knows how to chill. Often nicknamed the "45-mph couch potato," this pup is happy to curl up on the sofa with its favorite human companion.

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Labrador Retriever

yellow Labrador retriever swimming in a swimming pool

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The most popular dog breed in the U.S. for more than two dozen years, the Labrador retriever is playful and loves to be around the whole family. Most Labs can't get enough of chasing tennis balls and are always up for a good swim. They're typically very good-natured and will gladly join their human for a walk, hike, or other outdoor exploration. They are also curious, always ready for an interesting adventure.

Labs are incredibly friendly and social, so you can take them just about anywhere knowing they will make friends.

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Siberian Husky

two Siberian huskies running together in a snow-covered forest

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If you live somewhere it's often cold, the Siberian husky is the perfect pet. Bred to pull sleds over miles of snow, these dense-coated, active dogs have incredible stamina and move effortlessly through snow and trails.

This athletic dog needs plenty of exercise, so it’s a great companion for runners. A loyal and friendly breed, the husky enjoys both physical and mental stimulation.

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Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese mountain dog running with its tongue out on a grassy field

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Originally used for drafting and to drive cattle in the cold Swiss Alps, the Bernese mountain dog makes light of strenuous activity. The hardy, large, tricolored dog thrives in cold weather and makes an excellent hiking companion, especially when temperatures are low.

The Bernese has a gentle, friendly disposition and loves to be with its family. These dogs don't have a ton of endurance, so short hikes are best.

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German Shorthaired Pointer

brown German shorthaired pointer running in snow

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Developed as a hunting dog, the German shorthaired pointer was built to withstand long days in the field or at the lake. These dogs are known for their power, speed, and endurance. They do best with a good amount of exercise at least twice a day.

Because of their energy and stamina, German shorthaired pointers make great partners for hiking, swimming, and running.

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Dalmatian jumping and playing in water

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Dalmatians were originally used as "coach dogs," where they ran alongside horse-drawn carriages to protect the riders. Because of its endurance, this high-energy breed is the perfect running and hiking companion. 

Early socialization and positive reinforcement during training are important for this high-energy breed. Although they can be reserved with strangers, these eye-catching dogs are quite loving and loyal with their people.

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Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell terrier jumping in the air to catch a ball at a park

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This small but mighty pup is the perfect match for those looking for a smaller-scale partner for outdoor adventures. The Jack Russell is crazy cute, but this little terrier is also clever and feisty. They were bred to flush foxes from dens, and they're fast enough to keep up with horses and hounds while hunting.

These dogs are smart, athletic, and trainable. They enjoy participating in a number of sports, including running, surfing, and skateboarding.

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Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian ridgeback playing on a grassy field

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Originally bred in Africa to track lions over long distances, the Rhodesian ridgeback is a fast and powerful athlete. The dog loves to run and has a strong prey instinct, so it’s always up for a good chase. This energetic breed also enjoys long walks and other physically challenging activities.

Rhodesian ridgebacks are loving, loyal, and protective of their family members. The breed's low-maintenance coat — with the hallmark ridge down the back — makes the ridgeback very tolerant of hot climates.

Why Pets Matter to Treehugger

At Treehugger, we are advocates of animal welfare, including our pets and other domestic animals. The better we understand dogs, the better we can support and protect their wellbeing. We hope our readers will adopt rescue pets instead of shopping from breeders or pet stores, and will also consider supporting local animal shelters.