Just so you know, this post may contain affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through links on this page, Canine Weekly may collect a share of the sale or other compensation. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
There are a vast number of athletic dog breeds, but some take the description to a completely new level. If one is looking for the most athletic dogs, he or she needs to consider every aspect of athleticism, size, speed, explosiveness, jumping ability, and even flexibility.
Below are 10 dogs that are among the most athletic dogs in the world, in need of constant attention and desire to run, to work, and to thrive. They make the perfect companion for outdoor enthusiasts.
10 Most Athletic Dog Breeds
One of the most ancient and the fastest of all dog breeds, Greyhounds have been around for thousands of years. They were primarily used for hunting, and they’ve remained one of the most active and athletic dog breeds throughout the millennia. They have a short coat that can come in virtually any typical dog color.
The males weigh between 65 and 70 pounds, whereas the females are smaller, weighing between 60 and 65 pounds on average. They are aerodynamic and love to chase the critters around. If their master doesn’t teach them otherwise, they also have a tendency to kill smaller creatures.
Once the chase is on, they concentrate on the prey with every fiber of their being. Just like a cheetah, they don’t have great stamina, but they are amazingly quick in short bursts. Their height at the shoulders is 25 to 30 inches.
They are excellent runners and trackers, and very obedient when trained well. They recognize one or two masters and remain loyal throughout their lives.
Greyhounds need frequent training and physical exercise to thrive.
2. Labrador Retriever
The Labrador retriever is a high-energy breed that was developed in Newfoundland during the 19th century. These dogs have an outgoing nature, they love water, and they love to hunt. The males weigh between 65 and 80 pounds, about 10-15 pounds more than the females.
They are very friendly and make excellent family dogs, but they are at their happiest when they can have joint adventures with their loved ones.
Their dense, water-resistant coat makes them amazing swimmers, and they handle extreme temperatures fairly well. That is the main reason why they are one of the more athletic dog breeds.
The height of the males at the shoulder is 22.5 to 24.5 inches, 2-3 inches taller than the females. They are large-sized dogs that cannot really thrive in a city environment unless they can live in a large apartment and get regular walks in the park.
Their coat, which can be yellow, black or chocolate color, needs frequent grooming.
3. Standard Poodle
Those who’ve had poodles in the past understand just how athletic that breed is. Their all-fluff appearance can be misleading, these are some of the quickest, most capable dog breeds in the world. They enjoy being outside and running around all day, chasing any animal that dares to come or fly their way.
They have a medium coat that requires frequent grooming, in fact, that’s what makes poodles famous. There are at least ten if not twenty or thirty popular poodle cuts.
Standard Poodles have a tendency to look majestic and are often showcased in movies. They are otherwise medium-energy dogs.
Unlike their toy and miniature cousins, standard poodles are quite big, weighing 40 to 70 pounds. Their musculature allows them to reach top speeds effortlessly in a couple of seconds, making them very talented chasers not be underestimated.
They are an affectionate breed originally from Germany, where they were used as retriever dogs, tasked with going into the water and bringing back the prey.
If they receive daily exercise and frequent care with special emphasis on their hypoallergenic coating, they can thrive.
Vizslas are often seen as hyperactive, almost frantic dogs. These dogs are only truly happy when they can run and be in nature. They are a medium-sized breed from Hungary, weighing 40 to 65 pounds, and they are arguably the most energetic dogs in the world.
They have one color, golden rust, with some lighter shades in certain areas of their body. The males are 22 to 24 inches tall at their shoulder, 2-3 inches bigger than the females. They are extremely agile and athletic dogs that need frequent training and exercise.
They are hunting dogs, so one has to pay attention to their instinctual behavior. They are prone to catching and killing critters and even birds if they can get to them in time. Areas with fowl will make them anxious.
As far as their social behavior goes, Vizslas are amazing creatures. They love their masters with all of their being, and make excellent family pets. They adore children and guard them with their life.
5. Jack Russell Terrier
Jack Russell terriers are often seen as extra hyper dogs, but that is not always their nature. They are a small-sized breed developed to hunt vermin, and they do an excellent job at it. They are at their happiest when they can run around and chase mice, rats, or smaller field animals.
The owner has to be mindful of these characteristics though because if a Jack Russell terrier catches such an animal, they usually go for the instant kill.
Jack Russell terriers are very small dogs, only weighing about 11 to 13 pounds, with 10 to 12 inches height. They are white with tan or black markings on their coat.
They are very confident dogs with less of a reputation for affection.
As far as coat varieties go, the Jack Russell terrier has three variants, flat, broken, and jagged. These dogs love being outdoors and running around all day; it’s almost as if their tiny bodies were battery-powered. With their speed, jumping ability and stamina, there is no question they’re among the most athletic.
6. Siberian Husky
Weighing between 35 and 66 pounds, Siberian Huskies are agile, obedient creatures that love working hard in the cold. Bred for sledding, they have ridiculously strong legs and core muscles, making them much stronger than their physique and weight would suggest. They are one of the more athletic breeds, and their endurance plays a big part in that.
Judged by his attribute, they are second to none within the dog world, and they can be trained to learn complex tricks. Although they are affectionate around people, they have to be monitored closely when they are around small children and especially smaller animals. Their strong predatory instincts can kick in.
They have a thick coat that requires frequent, preferably weekly grooming. This doesn’t mean their coat has to be cut, but it should be brushed whenever possible.
As a working breed and one of the most athletic dog breeds in the world, huskies need daily exercise.
They thrive when they are kept in cold areas, they hate the heat and cannot really handle it unless they have access to a pool, and an air-conditioned area to sleep in. They are 20 to 23.5 inches tall at their shoulder with a wide variety of different coat colors, including black and pure white.
RELATED: Are Siberian Huskies Hypoallergenic?
Anyone who is familiar with boxers understands just how freakishly athletic they are, especially when judged by their jumping ability. There are numerous clips on video-sharing and social media sites of boxers jumping up and down, sometimes reaching the height of an average human.
That athleticism comes from their roots, going back to 19th century Germany. They were bred for fighting and hunting, specifically against large prey.
They are incredibly affectionate, especially towards children, whom they are willing to guard with their life. Curious dogs by nature, they are not necessarily ideal for guarding property. They will investigate before signaling their master.
They are 21.5 to 24 inches tall at their shoulders and weigh between 55 and 70 pounds. They are very muscular dogs with a short coat that doesn’t require too much grooming. They are either fawn or brindle-colored.
8. Border Collie
Border Collies are medium-sized dogs with an average weight of between 27 and 42 pounds. Their athletic traits are all over the board, ticking all the boxes. They are agile, quick, and fast, and can jump over one’s head with ease.
This is the main reason why they are the favorite breed for agility enthusiasts, and one of the most athletic dogs in general. There is nothing quite like watching a Border Collie soaring through the sky after a ridiculous jump.
That athletic ability and enthusiasm are typical for them throughout the day. They are just as energetic in their home as they are on the agility field. As far as coat colors go, they feature all typical color combinations.
They make great family dogs and are affectionate towards their pack members. They have to be monitored among children, because they have a tendency to herd them, and that can lead to nasty falls.
Dalmatians are known for their interesting, spotty black and white coat and friendly nature. They are a medium, sometimes large breed with a wither height of 19 to 23 inches, and weigh between 50 and 55 pounds. Their coat is predominantly white, with black spots all over.
They are the only spotted breed of dog in the world, that is their trademark, and the main reason why they are so popular. The other reason is their wonderful nature. These short-coated dogs are incredibly affectionate and make great family dogs.
Curiously, they are born with a pure white color, and only about a week after their birth those black dots start to appear. They enjoy running around the field, chasing critters or running after flying discs. They are very fast and agile, and can easily track down smaller animals.
10. German Shepherd
German shepherds are strong and muscular dogs, and one of the more athletic dog breeds in general. They are a large-sized breed with weights between 66 and 79 pounds. Their height at the shoulder ranges from 22 to 26 inches. They are excellent with kids and very protective of their humans.
If they are not taught to be obedient under any circumstances, this protective streak can be problematic. They feature various color combinations from black to the classic tri-color pattern.
Great for agility competitions, they enjoy the attention, and they are excellent trackers. That is the main reason why they make so great military and police dogs.
They are quick and explosive in their movement, can easily chase down smaller animals, including cats and squirrels, so that is something to keep an eye out for.
Once their predation instinct kicks in, they are very hard to stop, and can even ignore the commands of their master. Despite that, they are smart dogs that can be taught relatively easily.
How to Make a Dog More Athletic
Every young and healthy dog has a decent amount of athleticism, and that trait can be developed. No dog should be destined to become a couch potato. When they are active, they are healthier and happier.
If their master is motivated, he or she can maximize their dog’s athletic potential. Good evaluation, weight control, and consistent, varying workouts are the key. The dog should be evaluated from a medical and an athletic viewpoint, and this should be followed up with the right plan.
Weight control is one of the most important factors. No dog should suffer from the effects of obesity. Some Athletic breeds are prone to gain weight when they are forced into a life of inactivity, one should always aim to avoid that. Every healthy, young dog should live an active life with plenty of regular walks and playtime.
When properly cared for, they can thrive emotionally and physically. In trusting their owner, they are more willing to learn new tricks and be obedient.