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The Best Activities for Dogs Based on Breed Type

Dogs are unique in many ways, with a wide range in level of activity, ease of training, health, and trainability. Before you welcome a new furry friend into your life, you need to know what you’re looking for in your companion and chose accordingly. If you’re a couch potato, you’d do best with a dog who suits a lower activity level. If you love to run, jog, hike, and bike, you should look for a dog who can keep up with you. There are a myriad of dog groups and within them there are various breeds with varying energy levels. Here are FIGO, we love them all, which is why we want to give you all the info you need to identify the energy level of your future dog.

Let’s take a high-level look at some popular groups of dogs, in particular:

  1. Sporting
  2. Working
  3. Toy
  4. Herding
  5. Non-sporting
  6. Terrier

Some of these groups and the breeds within them may enjoy the same level and type of activity, while others will not be able to keep up. For example, a Jack Russell Terrier is more high energy and active than a non-sporting dog like a Pug.

To begin, we’ll look at sporting dogs, working dogs, herding dogs, terriers and hounds. While there are different levels of activity the breeds in these groups could and would enjoy, there are a few activity preferences that may intersect.

Before we dive in, let’s identify some examples of each type of dog. When you think of a sporting dog, you might think of the Spaniel family; herding dogs include border collies; the Jack Russell is a classic example of a terrier; and one recognizable working dog breed is the beloved Newfoundland. A sporting dog is just that – they love to hunt, run, and be active. Terriers, herding, and working dogs adore these activities as well.

If a high-energy terrier isn’t given a job to do or kept busy and active, he or she may just chew your shoes or exhibit other destructive behaviors that emerge when the dog is bored. While you might not expect a Newfoundland or St. Bernard to have the energy level as a terrier, they are breeds of dogs who love a job. A terrier may love long runs or hikes, but a Newfoundland – while they are a working breed – may instead just have the stamina for a nice long walk. Many of the working breeds are among the “slow and steady win the race” pack, but still appreciate a task that provides them with mental and physical stimulation.

Herding dogs, as the name implies, love to herd. If they don’t have livestock to keep them busy, they may start herding their people. Some herding dogs are so instinctively bred to herd that they may nip and nudge to get you to the spot they desire.

Herding dogs and terriers benefit from routine workouts and playtime to keep them both mentally and physically active. These breeds excel at agility or activities like frisbee catching and retrieving. Similarly, sporting dogs thrive when they are in the field working with their owners to hunt and flush out game.

Small dogs may be high energy and/or anxious. Because of that, they do need to be tired out before they are left alone. They may benefit from long walks or runs around the house or yard.

Some toy and non-sporting breeds tend to be smaller in size and may not be as interested in having jobs. They may be perfectly satisfied with short sessions of low-energy playtime during the day. Keep in mind that every dog – no matter the breed – can benefit from physical and mental activity and thrive when they are given a healthy level of activity.

Non-sporting dogs, include Bulldogs, French Bulldogs and Pugs, among others. These breeds, with their “pushed-in” faces, are brachycephalic and are not typically as active as other breeds. Their natural facial structure makes it harder for them to breath, thus they don’t do as well on long runs or with overly intense bouts of activity. Try putting together some fun, indoor games to keep them mentally stimulated without risking their health or comfort in the process.

Other non-sporting breeds include the miniature Poodle, Dalmatian, Keeshond, Lhasa Apso, and Affenpincher. These dogs are all on the higher-energy end of the spectrum and can benefit from long walks or runs.

No matter what group or breed of dog you choose, you are bound to find a companion for a lifetime who gives you joy and unconditional love!


Robbi Hess, award-winning author, is multi-petual: She shares her home with two Devon Rex kittens, three adult rescue cats, a mini poodle, a Goldendoodle, three lizards and two ferrets. When not caring for her pets, she is an editor, speaker, time management and productivity guru, content creator, social media manager and blogger. She writes at All Words MatterMy Divas Dish, and is the story editor and chief cat herder at Positively Woof.

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