Do Different Dogs Have Different Exercise Needs?

March 20, 2014

By Langley Cornwell

When we adopted our shy, fearful pup, we learned that one of the things which would be vital for her is to have a solid routine she could count on that included plenty of exercise. We have done a fairly good job in this area, especially the exercise part, and it has helped her with some of her quirky behavior.

Dogs that are well-adjusted need real exercise too. Access to a large backyard doesn’t count as exercise; most dogs just find a sunny spot where they can lounge. And for some dogs, a few short walks around the block may not be enough. Different dogs do have different exercise needs and as a responsible pet owner, it’s important to know what your dog needs so he can thrive.

Lack of Exercise

If a dog isn’t exercised enough, bad behaviors may arise, including destroying things in your house. Early on, our dog had a penchant for shoes, which was a real drag. We had to remember to keep our closet door shut at all times. I’ve known dogs that have destroyed furniture, and my husband claims he once had a dog that chewed through drywall. Other examples of bad behavior include jumping on people, obsessively begging for attention or asking for playtime, digging, running around and excessively barking. Neurotic tendencies can develop as well, including self-licking or chasing their own tail.

When your dog resorts to behaviors like this, he isn’t trying to annoy you. The destructive behaviors are entertaining to him. He is just releasing pent-up energy that he didn’t have an opportunity to release in a more human-friendly manner.

Breed Generalizations

The amount of exercise a dog requires basically depends on what the dog was originally bred for. Working dogs that are bred for jobs that demand stamina need a lot of exercise. For example, herding breeds like Border Collies and German Shepherds were bred to work all day and never leave their herds. Bird dogs like Cocker Spaniels, English Pointers and Golden Retrievers were bred to work in the fields with a hunter all day long. These types of dogs require a great deal of exercise; they need something that mentally and physically challenges them every day.

On the other hand, English Bulldogs and other brachycephalic, short and stocky breeds are not built for vigorous or excessive exercise. They will appreciate a few walks around the neighborhood but most will tire out easily and shouldn’t be pushed.

Giant breeds like the Newfoundland, Mastiff and Great Pyrenees, although massive in size, normally have reduced exercise requirements. Interestingly, racing Greyhounds are quite calm and make wonderful house pets. Dogs like Greyhounds were bred for hunting by sight. They are excellent sprinters that can quickly chase and catch prey but they exert a lot of energy in short bursts, so their exercise needs are vastly different from herding breeds.

Individual Dogs

Exercise requirements are different for every animal. There are some breed generalizations that can be made but it goes further than that; each dog is an individual and, even though they belong to a specific breed, they must be treated as such.

The amount and type of exercise you offer your dog should take his individuality into consideration. Some dogs, regardless of what they were bred for, have a high energy level individual and require more physical exercise and mental stimulation. Other dogs are laid back and are perfectly content with a low-key lifestyle. They enjoy simply hanging out with you and perhaps performing a few tricks for some CANIDAE Grain Free Pure Heaven treats.

Get to know your dog. Consider your lifestyle and your dog’s exercise needs and create a routine that satisfies both of you. In every case, the goal should be the same: to provide your pet with enough physical exercise and mental stimulation so that he is tired by the end of every day.

Top photo by thefixer
Bottom photo by TC7

Read more articles by Langley Cornwell

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