13 High-Energy Dog Breeds for Active Pet Parents

These dogs have the get-up-and-go to play all day, and they will no doubt beat you to the top of the mountain.

Published July 13, 2023

If you have always dreamed of taking your dog on adventures, like long runs, backpacking trips, or even out onto the water, you need an active breed to keep up with you. These 13 dogs need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy, which means they'll be ready to take on the world. Will one of these active dog breeds be your new best friend?

13. German Shepherd Dog


German Shepherd Dogs are one of the most high-energy breeds out there. Physical endurance is in their blood because the GSDs were traditionally bred to herd sheep. Along with a strong body, they're also incredibly intelligent. Whatever adventure you're heading out on-camping, hiking, runs, or dog sports-your German Shepherd Dog will be happy to tag along.

Quick Tip

German Shepherd Dogs are prone to hip dysplasia. Take precautions to keep your dog's hips healthy and pain-free.

12. American Staffordshire Terrier


With those stocky, strong legs, you can tell the American Staffordshire Terrier is an athletic breed just by looking at them. They're fun-loving and curious dogs that won't hesitate to race you to the peak (and they'll win, of course). But because of their stubborn streak, keeping them on the trail could be a challenge.

Quick Tip

Most active dog breeds need at least two or more hours of exercise each day, so make sure you can handle their needs before deciding to get one.

11. Jack Russell Terrier


Small and mighty, the Jack Russell Terrier is one of the littlest dogs with the most energy. Jack Russells were originally used to hunt small prey like foxes and badgers, and because these critters are quick, this breed evolved to be even faster. Their size makes them a very attractive choice for people who want a smaller adventure dog but know it can also get them into trouble. The curious Jack Russell can squeeze into tight spaces other dogs might not fit through, so keep an eye on this troublemaker.

Quick Tip

Active dogs who don't get enough exercise can turn to destructive behavior like barking, digging, and chewing.

10. Catahoula Leopard Dog


The stunning Catahoula Leopard Dog isn't all good looks. They have the personality and vitality to match. They have loads of energy and never seem to run out of it. Catahoulas are large dogs that need vigorous exercise every day to keep them out of mischief. Even though they're smart, this breed is very independent, so consistent training is also a must.

9. Belgian Malinois


As a breed commonly used as military and law enforcement K9s, the Belgian Malinois is understandably one of the most active and determined breeds you can find. They thrive on having a job, whether that's bomb-sniffing or scoping out the perfect spot to pitch a tent for the night. Intelligence, obedience, and loyalty are some of their other great qualities.

Fast Fact

Belgian Malinois are fantastic jumpers and can reach vertical heights up to 8 feet!

8. Siberian Husky


Even though they're fluffy, the Siberian Husky is anything but a couch potato. This breed is active, playful, and incredibly vocal. It's no wonder they make excellent sled dogs with all that energy. You may want to consider getting your Husky involved in dog sports to give them an outlet. These dogs have so much endurance and drive, they can become more than a handful if you aren't giving them a lot - and we mean a lot- of physical exercise and activity daily.

Fast Fact

Togo, the Siberian Husky, is one of the most famous sled dogs in history who reportedly ran over 75 miles in one day.

7. Vizsla


Vizslas are slender, medium-sized dogs that are a lot more powerful than they appear. This breed is affectionate, social, and absolutely loves being with people and other dogs, so solo adventures aren't their thing. They'll want to be with you wherever you go and protect you from danger. Vizslas can become hyper and/or suffer from separation anxiety if they're not exercised enough.

Quick Tip

Active dogs can easily overwork themselves, so make sure you encourage them to take water and rest breaks during periods of physical exertion.

6. Miniature American Shepherd


The Miniature American Shepherd, more commonly called the Mini Aussie, is nearly as energetic as their larger cousins. They're just a whole lot smaller. These spunky little guys can keep up with you through even the most treacherous terrain, but they're also small enough to be lap dogs. Many of the herding breeds (of which there are more than a couple on this list) need mental stimulation and enrichment just as much as physical exercise.

5. Weimaraner


Looking for an active family dog that's gentle and easy to train? The Weimaraner fulfills all these requests and more. This breed has incredible stamina thanks to their hunting background, so they were made for long, steady activities. Weims are also fantastic swimmers.

Fast Fact

All dogs have some webbing between their toes, but a few breeds, like the Weimaraner, have very webbed feet to help them swim.

4. Irish Setter


The Irish Setter is an active dog breed that seems to have boundless energy. Their original purpose was to help with hunting by locating fowl using their sense of smell. If you're looking for a hardworking breed that'll keep up with you in dry or wet environments, the Irish Setter might just be it.

3. Australian Shepherd


Australian Shepherds are working dogs that naturally have oodles of energy. They were bred to herd sheep and other flocks, so don't be surprised if yours tries to herd you (aka, nip at your heels) if they want to go outside to burn off some energy. Aussies can become a bit of a handful if they don't know where to direct their energy. Keep your cute working dog busy, and you'll both be happy.

Quick Tip

High-energy breeds aren't a good choice for owners who can't dedicate the time and energy it takes to tire these dogs out.

2. Australian Cattle Dog


"High-energy" is an understatement when it comes to the Australian Cattle Dog. They'll enthusiastically follow you to the ends of the Earth. We're kidding, but Cattle dogs are known for being "one-person" dogs and get strongly attached to their person. You can expect a super loyal adventure buddy from this breed.

1. Border Collie


The award for "Most Active Dog Breed" goes to none other than the Border Collie. If you've ever tried to tire out a Border Collie, you know it's next to impossible. Along with being insanely energetic, this breed is also the smartest. Experts say Border Collies are as smart as a 3-year-old child. That means they're easy to train but need tons of mental stimulation to keep them out of trouble.

Active Dog Breeds Still Need Conditioning


Just as you'd work your way up to a 5k by conditioning your body, it's important to do the same with your dog. Yes, even naturally active dog breeds. If your dog has been a couch potato for the last several months, you wouldn't want to take them on a long hike right away. Work your way up to that distance in order to prevent injury and ensure they have a fun time. You'll both be happy you did.

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13 High-Energy Dog Breeds for Active Pet Parents