Dog owners generally walk their dogs in a similar fashion, and as such, there is no set-in-stone formula to inform exactly how often they need a walk, the type of exercise they need or how much any particular breed of dog requires. Your dog may enjoy a five minute walk around the block, or perhaps an energetic run around the park for an hour or more, but it’s usually up to the dog owner to decide on the correct amount of exercise each day.
Factors to consider when you exercise your dog
There are many activities that can be described as exercise – not just walking outside or stretching their legs to go to the toilet. To work out your dog’s activity levels, you need to consider actions like walking on the leash, garden play, agility training, running off the lead and swimming, if your dog is a lover of water. Your dog’s general health and age will also determine how much exercise they should have, and younger dogs as a rule, are more active than older dogs, who may suffer from natural age related ailments like stiff joints. Likewise, if your dog is overweight he will be less adept at exercise, but it is very important to ensure they do keep moving as much as possible, perhaps taking shorter walks, rather than one long walk.
As a professional dog walker in the Finchley area, I have walked many different breeds of dogs, and discovered that each dog enjoys and requires more diverse exercise types. I’ve created this guideline based on my findings and relating to different groups of dog types. Of course, each individual dog has their own requirements.
Labradors, Retrievers, Spaniels, Setters and Pointers. A minimum of 1-2 hours of daily, moderate exercise
Dogs from this group have been used as hunting companions for many years and were bred for working a long day. Being very active and naturally alert, they are full of energy. Sporting dogs make brilliant running partners and enjoy vigorous activities.
Chihuahua, Pugs. Short periods of sedate exercise with quick walks plus playtimes in the home
These dogs are bred as lap dogs, and although some can weigh as little as 6 pounds, pug dogs which are quite stocky, can weigh more and be more prone to obesity. Toy dog breeds love retrieving toys and a game of chase and fetch. They are usually highly loyal and obedient pets.
Bullmastiffs, Doberman Pinschers, Boxers, Rottweilers, Siberian Huskies. Physical exercise on rough terrain. Hiking for longer periods.
With their roots as farm dogs used for pulling carts, this breed have great endurance and intelligence, but can also be very headstrong and focused. Generally bred now as service, police, military and farm dogs, they need to be both mentally and physically occupied.
Collies, Sheepdogs, German Shepherds and Collies. Suggest that they get between 60 and 90 minutes high intensity, agility exercise, daily.
This breed of canines are bred for their herding instincts, and due to their high energy levels and intelligence, need to be both physically and mentally challenged to prevent them becoming bored, which may result in behavioural problems. Herding dogs do very well and enjoy sports and agility activities such as obedience training and even musical freestyle for dogs.
Welsh terrier, Staffordshire terrier, Cairn, Bull and Airedale terriers. Should have around 30 -60 minutes of average speed walking daily.
This very energetic breed were initially bred to sniff and dig out game. Although a much smaller breed of canines, they do love to hunt around objects and through tunnel-like objects for hidden treats.
Sight hounds – Deerhounds, Wolfhounds and Greyhounds. This group require less exercise where a 30 minute walk will suffice, with a couple of sprints during the week.
Scent hounds – Bloodhounds and Beagles. With a requirement for higher exercise and a recommended 60 minutes each day. All hound dogs love chasing objects, so try to include this in their activity and play sessions.
Dalmatian, Bichon Frise, French Bulldog and Poodle. Varying exercise levels depending on their breed and energy levels. A Poodle, a natural athlete, will require more intensive activities than the Bulldog.
Please bear in mind that these are finding based on my own experiences as a Dog Walker. If you have any doubt about exercising your dog, please consult with your Vet to ask for their advice.