Choosing a Small Dog for Running:  Six Excellent Options

Small Dog for Running by Justin Osborne   

Dogs love playing and running. If you love running regularly, it makes sense to think of having a furry companion exercising alongside you.

Running with a furry friend will make your sessions fun and exciting. Plus, you’ll have extra protection if you are afraid of running out there alone. A good dog can challenge and motivate you to perform better. 

A girl is running with her small dogChoose That Special Small Dog for Running

A research conducted by the Journal of Physical Health found out that dog owners tend to exercise more than people who don’t own dogs. People with dogs walk for an average of 160 minutes every week.

You should definitely get a dog if you want to improve your health. However, you should note that not all dog breeds are built for exercise. 

Choosing the right breed to exercise with will definitely help you progress in life. Today, we are going to discuss the process of choosing a small dog for running. Let’s get started!

Important Factors to Consider When Deciding on a Small Dog for Running

Your furry friend should enjoy sustained running – All dogs love playing and exercising with the people they love; however; they don’t always know what they want.

Small Dogs for Running Must Love to Run

Without stating the obvious, the dog you pick should enjoy running.

There are specific breeds that are suited for short running distances. Such dogs don’t enjoy long distance running. You’ll be surprised how adapted you are to running longer distances compared to popular energetic breeds such as the hound.

Lapdogs such as the Chihuahua aren’t good either for long running distances because their body structure is designed for moderate exercise. 

Allow That Puppy To Mature Before Expecting Him to Run

Always run with a fully grown dog – The idea of taking a pup with you might seem fascinating. After all, aren’t all puppies energetic? According to domywriting review, most puppies take about eighteen months to be fully grown and developed.

Taking him out for a run before eighteen months may damage his joints seriously or it may lead to painful conditions such as arthritis in a few years to come.

As a dog owner, it’s your job to protect your furry friend at all costs. This means giving him enough time to grow and develop before taking him out. 

Small Dogs for Running Such be Obedient and Social

Choose an obedient, sociable dog – You need to consider the personality of your dog. If you enjoy running in a populated territory, you should avoid a dog that hates unfamiliar people and children.

Running with a dog that you can control will make your sessions exciting. You don’t want a dog that chases every bird and squirrel he sees.

You don’t want an aggressive dog and dominating dog. If you have a dog with such a personality, then you should leave him behind to guard your home. When choosing a running mate, always go for an obedient and sociable breed.

The Best Small Dogs for Running are NOT Brachycephalic Breeds

Avoid dogs with short noses – The facial structure of a dog determines its running capability. Most breeds with short noses usually have a well-built body structure that will definitely attract you.

However, they don’t make good running companions because the short noses can lead to breathing difficulties even when taking a rest. Any form of intense exercise will make the problem worse. Dog’s with longer faces are generally ideal for long runs. 

Best Small Dogs for Running

Here are six choices if you are looking for that special small dog for running. Do consider their personality traits as well as care needs before adopting or purchasing a dog from a breeder.

1. Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh CorgiPembroke Welsh Corgi
Cardigan Welsh CorgiCardigan Welsh Corgi

Ideal for: light jogging, walking, playing chase

Corgis are short energetic dogs that will make your training sessions interesting. This dog has powerful thighs, which give him power and speed. This is one of the reasons why this dog was used in Medieval times to herd and guard cattle and sheep. 

There are two varieties of Corgis, Pembroke and Cardigan.  The easiest way to tell them apart is to look for a tail. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi has a thick long tail, where the Pembroke has no tail.

These dogs have a strong desire to work or exercise. They are obsessed with playing and having fun all the time. You should always have activities that will occupy this dog’s time when you are busy; otherwise, he won’t let you rest.

Due to his body structure, it might be difficult for him to run for long distances. However, he is perfect for long walks and light jogging.

Read about the Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Read about the Pembroke Welsh Corgi

2. Jack Russell Terrier

An energetic young Jack Russell is running in the grass.Jack Russells are energetic running partners.

Ideal for: light running, playing chase, learning tricks

If you are looking for a dog that doesn’t tire quickly, consider the Jack Russell. This breed is small but full of energy. The Jack Russel is always on.

Similar to the Corgi, he never turns off. He will help you move out of your comfort zone by challenging you to run faster. The one thing you should always remember about this breed is that they require a lot of interaction. 

If you fail to interact with him, he will find other ways of having fun, such as chewing your furniture. Although he is not ideal for long runs, you can exercise and have fun together by playing chase or keeping up with him when running.

You also need to train him to obey you because he has strong hunting skills. You don’t want him to go after mice and squirrels during your training sessions. 

The Parson Russell Terrier is similar to the Jack Russell and is also a good choice for running companion.

Read about the Jack Russell Terrier

3. Vizsla 

A group of Vizsla dogs are jumping into a small river or stream.Vizsla make great running partners, but they are larger than a small breed dog.

Ideal for: hunting, long distance running

If you enjoy long distance running, then the Vizsla is the perfect dog for you. This Hungarian dog is a very active hunting dog. He loves getting out and running for long distances.

As BrillAssignment reports, this breed originated from the Asian tribe of hunters popularly known as Magyars about 1500 years ago. The Vizsla is always ready for any form of exercise. He enjoys sprinting. 

Over the years, this dog has been bred to spend many days in the field. Therefore, you can be sure that this dog will make an excellent training companion, whether it’s over a short or long distance.

The Vizsla has typically a can-do attitude that makes them excel at training and bond with their owners. They are smart and loving. Since this dog is built to exercise, you should also be a real fitness trainer to care for him.

4. Beagle

A Beagle is running towards the camera.If you want a small dog for running, you can't beat the lovable Beagle.

Ideal for – Light jogging, long walks, hunting

The Beagle is a beautiful small breed ideal for light jogging or long walks. He is also a great hunter. This dog can be traced back to the Englishmen in the 1500s where they were used for hunting purposes. Today, people still use them for hunting. 

Though they are not ideal for long-distance running or intense exercises, they need the right amount of exercise regularly. Due to their energy, Beagles are very curious and mischievous.

You should always keep him on a leash when walking in unfamiliar territory because they love following new scents. Beagles are also good for kids because they love socializing and playing. 

Read about the Beagle

5. Poodle

A small white poodle running towards the camera.A Poodle is a Great Small Dog for Running

Ideal for: swimming, light running, walks, training

The looks of the Poodle can be deceiving. Most people usually think that the Poodle is a sissy dog, but this dog can actually do a lot of things with you.

Poodles were used by the Germans to hunt ducks in the 19th century. True to their breeding,  they are not afraid of jumping into the water and getting dirty. In fact, the word Poodle is a German name, which means “splash.” 

Poodles pay attention to the detail due to their retrieving instincts. They are also keen listeners and eager learners. Although Poodles have to be groomed every six weeks, the best part of it is that you are getting a dog that does not shed regularly.

This is because poodles have a single coat of hair and not a thick double coat. If you are up to the game, poodles can be great companions. Due to their size and nature, you can’t go wrong.

Read about the Toy Poodle

6. Papillon

Ideal for: Sprinting, playing outdoors, learning

Dogs, just like human beings, should never be judged by their size. The Papillon is a small dog but a very serious competitor in sporting activities due to his agility. The Papillon is a fantastic dog because he can do almost everything a large dog can do. 

Even though people may consider the Papillon as a toy, he is very energetic and excited when it comes to outdoor activities. He may not be able to run for long distances, but he will compete with you when sprinting for short distances or walking.

Papillons are very playful and alert. He will perform at his best outdoors. If you decide to go for the Papillon, get ready to sweat.

Read about the Papillon

Additional tips:
Caring for Your Running Dog

Provide a clean environment

A hygienic environment is essential for your dog’s wellbeing and your health too. Clean your house and backyard regularly to prevent your dog from chewing and eating harmful objects.

Invest in quality feeds

Your dog’s behavior, performance, and health are hugely determined by the quality of food you serve him. A quality diet will prevent obesity and lengthen his life.

Rember, your peak performance can't be achieved on a diet full of junk food and neither can your small dog for running.

Check out our dog food and nutrition articles

Exercise regularly 

Dogs love playing and having fun every time. Therefore, it is essential for you to to take your dog out for a jog or walk at least thrice a week. Exercising regularly will improve his health, help him bond with you, and improve your health as well.

Bath and groom your dog

You should clean your dog regularly to prevent parasites and skin infections. Invest in high-quality dog shampoos and grooming kits. You can always seek help if you don’t know how to groom your dog.

Visit our Bath and Grooming Resources

Visit the vet regularly

You need to visit the vet regularly for medical checkup. A vet will diagnose and treat diseases and infections early enough before they start spreading. He or she will also advise you on the best ways to care for your dog.


We have discussed in detail how you can choose a small dog for running. With these tips, you cannot make the wrong decision. Now is the time to go and pick your furry friend. Your training sessions will be amazing!

Running with your small dog can be a great way to exercise and bond with your pooch.Small Dog for Running Pin

About the Author (Best Dog for Running)

Justin Osborne is a writer at  He loves to share his thoughts and opinions about education, writing, and blogging with other people on different blogs and forums. 

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About Janice (author and voice behind this site)

Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, Janice served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu, but she has also lived with Poodles, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, Beagles, English Bulldogs, Carin Terriers, and a Cocker Spaniel.

When not writing, reading, and researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, husband, and family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu and Smart-Knit-Crocheting

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