I recently had a familiar conversation with a friend about life as a single professional and being a dog owner. Adults who don’t have a family or a significant other are in a unique class of pet ownership, as the job of caretaker and all the responsibilities that come with it fall on one person: all the morning and afternoon walks, no long weekends away unless your four-legged friend can come along or you have trusted friends willing to sub in for a couple of days, and everything you can imagine in between.
For some this is a blessing, having something to care for and never coming home to an empty house or apartment. For others, shouldering all the responsibility solo is a deterrent from getting a dog altogether. The conversation soon went down the road of why it’s so important to then find a dog that fits an individual’s lifestyle. Rather than looking at it from the perspective of needing to stop and take care of a pet, we talked about having a permanent partner in crime for camping, hiking, and all the fun things active individuals enjoy. Do you like to spend weekends away in the mountains, on the beach, or out having brunch and cocktails with friends? Do you live in the thick of a busy city, out in the suburbs, somewhere near the ocean? Do you live in a cramped apartment building with little personal space or a solitary house with its own yard? Is your ideal way to unwind after a workday grabbing a glass of wine and watching TV on the sofa until bedtime or are you lacing up a pair of sneakers and going for a sunset run?
There’s probably a breed that fits best with any of those lifestyles, I imagined. Pretty much any dog will be excited to spend time with you no matter what, but not all of them are genetically capable of keeping up with the most active of us. So I decided to ask the internet which dogs fit the most active lifestyle? Whether it’s wanting a dog that can keep up on long runs or just one with so much energy that you’ll always want to be outdoors. Here’s what I learned:
The American Kennel Club says the Border Collie is “a remarkably bright workaholic” and warns that” this breed may be “a bit too amazing for owners without the time, energy, or means to keep it occupied.”
So to the contrary, because Border Collies love to play and run pretty much nonstop, they’re the perfect pet for a person who likes to do the same.
"You want these guys on ultra long hikes, trail runs, multi-day treks and cold-weather camping trips," according to Active.com. "They're smart as heck and can fend for themselves in the wild.”
If you live in an area with a cold climate then Siberian Huskies are great outdoor dogs for you, as they were bred for enjoying the outdoors in harsh, cold weather. You might not want to consider this breed if you do live or plan to live in an area with a warmer climate, though. Their thick coat makes hot summer days pretty unbearable for huskies.
"I'd say pound for pound the best running dogs for any type of running," Bryan Barrera, founder of D.C. Dog Runner, tells Runner's World about the breed. "They are so versatile; they can cover a ton of ground because of their long gait and can cruise on autopilot as long as you want."
The first thing we all think of when we hear the name Greyhound is running, and that’s for good reason. They’re known as sprinters, hitting speeds of up to 35 and 45 mph at their most fit — speeds of which you’ll never reach. They are good dogs for settling into lower speeds and running long distances, though, making them a great jogging partner.
Funny enough, Greyhounds are also pretty good at winding down and appearing to be complete south potatoes. Maybe it’s because they’re capable of operating to such extreme points of physical exertion, but either way, the good news is that this is a breed that doesn’t require you to be out running 40 miles an hour every day.
Bernese mountain dog
Another pooch made for the cold outdoors, the Bernese mountain dog is about as friendly of a dog as you’re going to find. Bred for working in the Swiss Alps, they make for perfect hiking partners in cooler climates and great lounge mates any other time. But mostly, you’ll just fall in love with how happy and loving these dogs can be.
Can you think of a more obvious choice for a family dog? These animals are so friendly that anybody and everybody welcomes them into their family because they can be trusted with small children, but those same traits make them a great pet for the single active adult. Labs love to run, swim, hike and pretty much prance around doing anything that burns calories, so gear up.
German shorthaired pointer
Dogs most often used for and trained for hunting are great choices for outdoor lovers. The German shorthaired pointer is one of these breeds.
"GSPs make happy, trainable pets who bond firmly to their family,” says the American Kennel Club. “They are always up for physical activities like running, swimming, organized dog sports — in fact, anything that will burn some of their boundless energy while spending outdoors time with a human buddy."
The perfect trail running companion, Dalmatians have a long history of being used to scout danger and be on alert for everything from firefighters to running along horse drawn carriages. They have a great deal of physical endurance and can be trusted to enjoy the outdoors independently without straying off on their own. On top of that, they’re known for being a loving and loyal friend, which is exactly what you’re really looking for in the first place, right?