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.