Everybody knows a healthy German Shepherd, Weimaraner, or Border Collie are great dog breeds to run with. But with the rise of cross breed dogs like the Cockapoo and Labradoodle people are wondering about what the best cross breed dogs for runners are.
Call them designer dogs, mixed breeds, hybrids, mongrels, or mutts; a good cross can make up some of the best companions and training partners. Although the practice of crossbreeding dogs is controversial, some argue that crossbreeds are healthier due to so-called “hybrid vigor.” In fact, rescued mixed breeds often crop up as some of the best runner’s dogs.
Nevertheless, whether you are only jogging a few blocks, hiking, trail running, or preparing for a marathon, a canine running buddy can help keep you motivated and make the whole experience more fun.
For all of you who enjoy short or long runs these are some of the best cross breed dogs for runners looking for a new running partner.
Here are the best small breeds mixes to cover the shorter distances, medium breeds who can train with you for that half-marathon, and larger dogs who can keep up with every step.
traits of good cross breed dogs for runners
It’s easy to assume that all dogs love running, and most do. But not all breeds have the necessary physicality. The breeds on this list have been chosen for athleticism, stamina, speed over long distances.
A good running companion can easily keep up with its owner and cope with the climate that it is running in. Like most gundogs and hounds, they should be lightly built and evenly proportioned to be built to run.
Smaller breeds such as beagles or fox terriers can also make great running partners but may not cope with the longer distances.
For serious runners who enjoy marathons, trails, or cani cross, working dogs like the Belgian Malinois or Siberian Husky are the best, as few can match them for pure endurance. Gundogs like the Vizsla, Weimaraner, and German Shorthaired Pointer also have the build for long-distance running.
Hounds like the Greyhound, Borzoi, or Afghan are naturally superior runners as well.
A good running dog should be even-tempered. This way you avoid it growing flustered or reactive on the leash, as this can prove to be a problem. They should also be given the all-clear by the vet. Especially when it comes to their hips and elbows.
If your pup is new to running, be sure to wait until they are fully grown, and their growth plates have closed before starting a training program gradually to build fitness. Suppose they have been appropriately socialized and leash trained from a young age. In that case, they should slip naturally into the role with little effort.
Which breeds do not make good running partners?
Almost any cross of the dogs mentioned above and below has the potential to be a good partner. However, there are some breeds to avoid when it comes to extended running programs.
The so-called “teacup” breeds, or toy dogs bred below 7 pounds, frequently have health problems that would complicate running. Likewise, even a healthy toy breed, like a Chihuahua or Yorkie, would have trouble keeping up over longer distances because of its size. Remember, every step you take could be ten for them.
Brachycephalic breeds—breeds with pushed-in noses—like Pugs, Bulldogs, or some Bullmastiffs have shorter airways. They may develop respiratory problems or overheat when running. So it’s best to stick to keep to steady walks with these guys.
Most Giant breeds like the Great Dane, Saint Bernard, or Newfoundland already have too much strain placed on their musculoskeletal system and their hearts just by their sheer size. An intense running program can exacerbate significant health problems down the road.
Also, avoid any dog whose legs are too proportionally short legs such as Dachshunds.
Some breeds like the English Bull Terrier or some kinds of Pit Bulls may have a ton of energy and will tear about your house like a mad hatter when they get the zoomies. Still, their sheer muscle mass often means they struggle to keep up with long distances. These are all things to keep in mind when picking a dog to run with you.
What do you need to run with your dog?
Whenever you bring a dog into your running program, make sure you have the right gear to start off with. We recommend:
- A hands free leash
- A lightweight and breathable harness (a no-pull leash or harness can help with our overeager fur friends)
- A lightweight running backpack (you can also get one for your dog if you prefer them to carry the extra weight.)
- A collapsible water bowl
- Doggy treats
- Water bottle
Once you have your gear, it’s time to pick a dog! Here are 20 of the best mixed-breed running partners you could hope for.
1. Pomsky (Pomeranian & Husky Mix)
The Pomsky is ideal for somebody looking to max out at around 3 to 5 miles. It’s a gorgeous and energetic mix of Husky and Pomeranian.
A plus about this exotic-looking dog is that they are suited to apartment life, provided they get enough exercise. This makes them an excellent choice for city runners who don’t have space for a large breed.
If you decide on a Pomsky, remember these are attention-loving dogs who can become problematic if left alone for long periods. They are ideal for a runner who perhaps works from home or has somebody at home when they are gone to keep them company.
2. Jackabee (Jack Russel & Beagle Mix)
The Jackabee has the happy-go-lucky and friendly nature of the Beagle and Jack Russell’s tenacity. Although small, these are lean, robust, and muscled little dogs. They are the perfect athletes for joggers or for more serious runners. Although, their size might make them unsuitable for the genuinely long marathons.
These are loving family dogs that can be given to excessive barking, so be sure to socialize and train them well from a young age.
3. Schnoodle (Schnauzer & Poodle Mix)
As the Poodle is one of the most commonly used breeds in designer dogs, they will come up a lot on this list. Luckily, their intelligence, athleticism, and trainability make many poodle crossbreeds like the Schnoodle an ideal running partner. The boom in designer dogs also means that many poodle crosses can be found in shelters, an added bonus for somebody looking to adopt.
Intelligent and loyal, the Schnoodle will make an excellent watchdog and will adore coming with you on runs. While their size might limit them from Ironman Triathlons, they will undoubtedly keep up with the casual runner. This makes them a great partner for anybody with an eye on a half marathon or two.
4. Whippig or Italian Whippet (Whippet & Italian Greyhound Mix)
The Whippig or Italian Greyhound is a sensitive soul with a natural need to run. Bred from dogs with sighthound heritage, they are perfect for short bursts of speed, just like the Pharaoh Hound. This makes them a great companion for runners who do interval training or enjoy sprints.
The other great thing about the Whippig is that once they have worn off their energy, they love to take a nap with you on the couch and can make great apartment dogs.
5. Cockapoo (Cocker Spaniel & Poodle Mix)
Perhaps one of the most popular designer breeds, the Cockapoo is an intelligent and relatively low-maintenance little dog. However, it loves to be close to its people and thrives on companionship.
Spaniels and Poodles are both athletic dogs, making this a medium-sized breed that should comfortably enjoy runs in the 3 to 5-mile range. If you happen to have a particularly active dog, you may be able to train them to go a bit further.
6. Australian Terrier (Jack Russell & Australian Shepherd Mix)
Whether it’s a light jog or a long trail run, a Rustralian Terrier should be able to keep pace with ease. Bred from two athletic breeds, this unusual mix will have the never-quit terrier attitude, together with the boundless athleticism of the Australian Shepherd.
This is also likely to be an intelligent dog who will thrive on exercise and stimulation. They will make a great partner for a regular or intermediate runner who has already made running a part of their life.
7. Texas Heeler (Blue Heeler & Australian Shepherd Mix)
Bred from two dogs who can work for hours, the Texas Heeler should be able to keep up with experienced long-distance runners.
They should do equally well on trails as they do in the city, but be warned, these are not apartment dogs. Bred for herding, they love to work and need space to romp.
Provided you have a yard, this is the dog that will fetch the leash to remind you it’s time to go out no matter what the weather.
8. Borgi (Corgi & Border Collie Mix)
While Corgis have proportionally smaller legs and may be overlooked as running partners, remember that they are also herding dogs. In fact, for hundreds of years, they herded the cattle of Wales.
When mixed with the Border Collie, the short leg problem should be largely fixed. The result should be a spirited, high-energy, and highly-intelligent working dog that will love running with you. How far the Borgi will go may depend on which parent it takes after the most. Those that look the most like Border Collies will do the best over longer distances.
9. Border Springer (Border Collie & Springer Spaniel Mix)
Another gorgeous medium-sized dog, the Border Springer, combines the relentless work ethic of the Border Collie with the boundless energy of the Springer Spaniel. This makes for a handsome and athletic mixed breed that will make an ideal running partner with enough stamina to cover longer distances.
10. Golden Irish (Golden Retriever & Irish Setter Mix)
Separately, the Golden Retriever and the Irish Setter both make great large dogs for runners. Good-natured, biddable, and friendly, their temperaments are only matched by their stunning looks. Mix them together, and you get a double dose of both qualities.
Aside from looks and charisma, the Golden Irish is a naturally athletic dog that is a good size to keep up with the most dedicated runner.
11. Pooghan (Afghan hound & Poodle Mix)
Hounds like the Afghan make great sprinters. Together with the athleticism and intelligence of the Poodle, the Pooghan is an exceptional running partner.
They should tolerate heat well, although they will need a moderate amount of regular grooming. This is a fantastic, easy-going dog for first-time owners as well, and he enjoys the company of other dogs.
Remember that the Pooghan has both gundog and hound ancestry, which means that it will take off after a squirrel in a blink. So, be sure to keep them leashed on trails.
12. Golden Shepherd (German Shepherd & Golden Retriever Mix)
When it comes to sheer good looks and charisma, the Golden Shepherd would be first on the list. A soft-natured family dog, this elegant large breed is ideal as a running partner as well as a dog who will come home and play with the kids.
They need a bit of space and will do well with a yard, and their energy may be limitless, especially while young. Unfortunately, both parent breeds are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, so be sure to check their parents’ screen tests before buying a Golden Shepherd puppy. If you are lucky enough to find one in a shelter, ask your vet to take a good look at their joints before starting a running program.
13. Shollie (Collie & German Shepherd Mix)
A Shollie sometimes refers to a German Shepherd Border Collie mix or any Shepherd/Collie mix. All of them make excellent large breed running partners with the potential for running long-distance marathons due to their high-energy levels and easy trainability.
The Rough Collie mix is a particularly striking dog that can make an equally charming family dog if its exercise requirements are met.
14. Dalmadoodle (Dalmatian & Poodle Mix)
Almost any Dalmatian crossbreed can be considered as a potential running mate. This is because the Dalmatian is an ancient breed that ran alongside Regency-era carriages for miles to ward off dangerous highwaymen.
Today, they are still known to have an affinity for horses. When mixed with a poodle, the athleticism of both breeds will always be evident. Although they may inherit the Dalmatian’s independent streak, this rare designer dog is still an ideal running mate.
15. Huskmatian (Husky Dalmatian Mix)
Like other spitz breeds such as the Greenland dog, or the Canadian Eskimo dog, the Husky simply has a superior metabolism. In fact, Northern sled dogs can slow their metabolism down to cover such grueling races like the 1 100-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Combined with the Dalmatian’s history as a carriage dog, the Huskmatian is a designer dog that could have been designed purely for running. Ensure you are a committed runner before you get one, though, as this is not a dog that will enjoy any downtime.
16. Goldendoodle (Golden Retriever & Poodle mix)
One of the most popular designer breeds, the Goldendoodle also makes an excellent running partner. While it may not be ideal for ultramarathons, it will comfortably go up to around the 10-mile mark with you, with proper training. Although they lack some of the superior speed and long-distance capabilities of the spitz breeds and the hounds, they make up for it in trainability and general eagerness to please.
17. Greyhound & Rhodesian Ridgeback Mix
A rare mix if you can find it, but in general, any cross with a Ridgeback or with a Greyhound should make a superior dog for runners.
Ridgebacks were built to travel long distances under the harsh African sun and handle heat better than most. Although, one should always keep an eye on the temperature since a dog won’t tell you when it is overheating.
Likewise, the Greyhound loves to run and should handle long distances well. However, it is sprinting over shorter distances where this dog really thrives.
18. Vizmaraner (Weimaraner & Vizsla mix)
Like other gundogs, the Weimaraner Vizsla cross breed loves water and loves to run. With a short smoother coat that often comes in dilute colors like liver or blue and with striking pale eyes, the Vizmaraner makes a dashing running companion.
They are also good family dogs, but their energetic and athletic natures mean that it’s out with you, covering ground, where they will really thrive.
19. Alaskan Shepherd (German Shepherd & Alaskan Malamute Mix)
A large to giant breed, the Alaskan Shepherd is both dignified, noble, and imposing. This is the ideal dog if you don’t want anybody hassling you while running.
Although they are devoted dogs who love their owners, they are not for inexperienced dog parents. Any dog with Malamute in its bloodline might be dominant and even aggressive with other dogs. They need strong leadership, socialization, and clear boundaries from a young age. They are superior runners, though, and natural pullers, so it may be worth investing in a no-pull leash for this one.
20. Alusky (alaskan malamute & siberian husky mix)
Top of our list of cross breed dogs for runners is the Alusky. Combining two spitz breeds, this is also a large dog that will give even a seasoned marathon runner a challenge when it comes to keeping up.
Remember, like the Alaskan Shepherd, the Alusky may come with its challenges, including being a natural escape artist. They are also seasoned pullers, so it’s worth investing in a no-pull harness or leash.
The Alusky can withstand extreme weather in old climates. Still, they do need to be watched in warmer areas for signs of heat exhaustion due to their thick double coats.