Going for the Gold(en): 5 Athletic Breeds for Active Families
With their undying loyalty and bottomless energy supplies for neighborhood walks and couch cuddle sessions, canine companions rightfully earn their standing as man’s best friend. From snowy giants like the Great Pyrenees to little-but-fierce breeds like the Chihuahua, dogs enrich our lives by providing companionship, protection, and comfort.
When you’re thinking about bringing home a new pet, the research process can be overwhelming. With over 360 dog breeds recognized worldwide, the questions are endless: which dogs are good with kids? Will this breed shed mountains, or are its grooming requirements more lowkey? Are any of these dogs prone to health problems?
If your family loves hiking and playing sports, you probably aren’t looking for a docile lap dog. You want to feel confident that you’re choosing the right breed for your family, and that means cutting out the noise. Whether you’ve got a couple of junior rugby stars or you’re avid sportspeople yourselves, there’s a breed for you. Here are five athletic breeds perfect for keeping up with active families.
The jack-of-trades of dog breeds, Labrador Retrievers are highly intelligent, highly sociable animals with a need to please. Originally bred as hunting dogs, labs love to play and exercise. This affinity, combined with their general affectionate nature, makes them excellent choices for families with energetic children.
Labradors have a double coat that requires grooming about once or twice a month. Their minds need grooming, too: mental enrichment is a must to prevent boredom (read: chewing and barking). You can connect with trusted breeders like Snowy Pines White Labs for ethically raised purebred white English labradors. Don’t forget to check out the puppy live-stream while you’re on their site (purely for research purposes, of course.)
Much like the Labrador Retriever, the Border Collie is another workhorse breed with high intelligence and loyalty. Border Collies are a traditional favorite breed of sheepherders for their fantastic work ethic and trainability. For your family, that means whether you love hunting or hiking, the Border Collie will be right next to you, trotting along.
Border Collies are an excellent choice for families with older children. These dogs have a gorgeous wavy double coat that requires a good brushing two or three times a week to control shedding. Border Collies are bored easily, so try enrichment hacks like hiding treats for them to sniff out or use puzzle toys.
Not only do these golden-coated dogs love exercise, but they also need it to be healthy. Golden Retrievers trace their history back to Scotland, where they were a popular game breed. Far from a couch potato breed, these dogs love to hunt, fetch, and even swim. You may also know Golden Retrievers for their famously soft mouths: most Goldens can carry a raw egg in their mouth without cracking the shell. These playful pups are emotionally soft, too. Golden Retrievers make great therapy animals with their caring, affectionate nature.
Long and skinny, these dogs are known as the cheetahs of the dog world. Greyhounds top out at 40 mph, which means there’s no question that they can keep up with an active lifestyle. These pups are also sweet and tender, making them an excellent pick for families with children. Greyhounds need exercise to stay healthy, but not as much as you might think. A brisk walk or jog is usually enough to set them at ease. Greyhounds are infamously known as “40 mph couch potatoes,” so if you’re looking for a best-of-both-worlds breed, this is it.
Jack Russell Terriers
Finishing out the last with a smaller dog breed, the Jack Russell Terrier is a top-shelf choice if you want a little less dog for your money. These pint-sized pooches weigh in between nine and fifteen pounds, and they love to run and play tug-of-war far beyond their puppy years. Jack Russells are a lovey-dovey breed that stays young at heart forever, making them a good pick for a family with pups of their own. On average, Jack Russells need an hour to an hour and a half of exercise a day, meaning they’ll have no problem keeping up with a family of go-getters.
Whether you’re training a couple of mini-Olympians or just planning your next big hiking expedition, a dog makes a lovable, pettable addition to your family dynamic. With these five athletic dog breeds, you don’t have to let a sleeping dog lie.