Guide to Dog Exercises by Type, Age, and Size (Charts)

woman walking with her small dog outside

Your dog’s breed plays a significant role in how much daily exercise they need. You should also consider your dog’s size and age when determining the appropriate amount of physical activity for your pet. This guide breaks down exercise for your dog based on breed, size, and age.

Dog Exercise Needs by Type (Chart)

Brachycephalic (short-nosed and flat-faced) dogs have trouble breathing. Err on the side of caution when exercising this type of dog, as they can easily suffer heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

Dog breeds that need the least exercise still need some daily activities, so don’t assume that a low-exercise need dog is a low-maintenance breed. Likewise, be careful not to over exert dog breeds with high energy needs. Dogs that need the most exercise still need moderation and do better with several short sessions, rather than one long run.

Dog Group Examples Exercise Level Minimum Exercise per Day Maximum Exercise per Day Exercise Suggestions
Brachycephalic* pug, Boston terrier, boxer, Brussels griffon, bull mastiff, Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Lhasa apso, Pekingese, shih-tzu Low 15 to 20 minutes 30 minutes Simple short walks in the morning to avoid hot weather.  Use a harness, not a leash, to prevent breathing issues. A few minutes of indoor play during inclement weather should suffice.
Sight Hounds Afghan hound, basenji, borzoi, greyhound, Italian greyhound, Irish wolfhound, whippet Low 30 minutes 45 minutes Moderate exercise with intermittent short bursts of running (ensure they run in an enclosed area).
Giant Alaskan malamute, bullmastiff, cane corso, Chesapeake Bay retriever, great Dane, great Pyrenees, Leonberger, Newfoundland, Old English sheepdog, Saint Bernard Low 30 minutes 45 minutes Moderate speed walks, short periods of play, swimming (check if your breed is a swimmer).
Toy Bichon frise, Brussels griffon, Chihuahua, Italian greyhound, Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Lhasa apso, Maltese, Miniature Pinscher, Pekingese, pomeranian, toy fox terrier, shih-tzu, silky terrier, Yorkie Medium 30 minutes 60 minutes Medium energy dog breeds do well with daily walks, fetch, supervised playtime with other dogs.
Terrier Airedale terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, Australian terrier, border terrier, Irish terrier, Jack Russell terrier, Norfolk terrier, Scottish terrier, Westie, Welsh, Yorkshire Medium 60 minutes 90 minutes About 30 minutes should be moderate or intense play. Hide-and-seek, digging in a dirt box.
Scent Hounds American foxhound, beagle, beagle-harrier, Bassett hound, coonhounds, elkhounds, foxhound Medium 60 minutes 90 minutes Long walks or hikes (Bassett hound requires more moderate exercise)
Working Akita, Alaskan malamute, Bernese mountain dog, boxer, bullmastiff, Doberman and German pinschers, standard and giant schnauzers, great Dane, Newfoundland, Portuguese water dog, rottweiler, Saint Bernard, Siberian husky High 60 minutes 120 minutes Hiking (avoid running and high-intensity exercise)
Sporting Boykin setter, cocker spaniel, German shorthaired pointer, German wirehaired pointer, golden retriever, English setter, Irish setter, Labrador retriever, Weimaraner High 60 minutes 120 minutes Brisk walks, long hikes, playing fetch, swimming
Herding Australian shepherd, Belgian sheepdog, German shepherd, Old English sheepdog, Pembroke Welsh corgi, Shetland sheepdog High 60 minutes 120 minutes 60 – 90 minutes should be vigorous exercise. Frisbee or fetch with a ball launcher.

*Brachycephalic dogs are not an official breed group. Rather, the term refers to their facial structures — a brachycephalic dog has, simply, a flat face. There are 24 breeds that fall into this category, including the bulldog, pug, boxer, Lhasa apso, shih-tzu, Pekingese, and Boston terrier.

Dog Walking Chart by Size

Size does matter when it comes to exercising your dog.

Dog Size Recommended Daily Walking Minutes Things to Remember
Toy and Small Breeds 30 minutes Remember that little dogs have to “run” to keep up with your long human legs. Slow down and break their walks into 2 or 3 shorter ones, 10 to 15 minutes each, so they don’t wear out.
Medium Breeds 40 to 80 minutes Medium-size breeds can walk at a comfortable pace for more extended periods.
Large and Giant Breeds 30 to 45 minutes Large and giant breeds are prone to joint issues, so break up exercise into smaller sessions and avoid distance running.

How Much Should You Exercise a Puppy, Adult Dog, and Senior Dog? (Chart)

Regardless of your dog’s age, they need daily exercise, with the exception, perhaps of senior dogs and those with health issues. While we offer exercise suggestions, any physical activity that allows your dog to burn up some energy can help keep him healthy. Changing up their routine can further work muscle groups not used during other activities. Be sure to research your breed and speak with your veterinarian if you have concerns about exercising your pet.

Dog Age Minimum Exercise per Day Maximum Exercise per Day Exercise Suggestions
Puppy 30 minutes 60 minutes Short, frequent walks, taking frequent breaks, and allowing your puppy to sniff, mark and explore. Wrestling, chasing, and tugging.
Adolescent and Adult Dogs 60 minutes 90 minutes Exercises for extra-active adult dogs should include running, playtime with other canines, agility, flyball, or balance work.

Low-energy breeds do best with slow walks or a few rounds of fetch.

Senior Dogs 30 minutes 60 minutes Break exercises for senior dogs into two or more sessions. Short walks and swimming. Mental activities like hide-and-seek, puzzle toys, and nose work. Talk to your veterinarian about how much exercise is too much for a senior dog and whether your dog is getting too old to run.

Dog energy levels can vary from breed to breed, young dog to older dog and also be impacted by your dog’s overall health. How much exercise a dog should get depends on their overall health, so talk to your veterinarian.

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