9 Best Small Dog Breeds For Runners

Small dogs don’t have to just be a companion in the home. You can take your small pup on a run if they have a good running ability to match your desired speed around the block, or on a 5k run.

According to dog show hosts, small dogs can be great for recreational running because of their sprinting ability. However, they can lose energy pretty quickly so it’s best to bring a puppy out for a jog or sprint, instead of a full-on marathon.

small dog for runners

Here are nine of the best smaller dogs to fulfill your yearning for a furry running buddy. Either adopt, buy, rescue or have your present dog come out with you for some exercise.

Types of Small Dogs For Runners

Below is a list of the ten best small (to medium) types of dogs to become a jogging or sprinting companion:

  • 1. Alaskan Klee Kai
  • 2. Border collie
  • 3. Young Labrador
  • 4. Miniature Schnauzer
  • 5 Jack Russell Terrier
  • 6. Beagle
  • 7. Miniature Poodle
  • 8. Chihuahuas
  • 9. Papillon

1. Alaskan Klee Kai

An Alaskan Klee Kai makes a great running partner for a 5k run. This is because they have great energy to run for a longer distance. However, they shouldn’t be forced to run on a least in the initial stages of growth.

As the Klee Kai is a small dog breed of god that looks just like a husky, it will take less time than the bigger dogs to be taken on a run when they are fully grown. They only weigh up to fifteen to twenty pounds, so they won’t be too heavy to hold on a leach during a run.

It’s advised to go through a responsible breeder that health tests to weed out any problems before taking a Klee Kai out for running purposes.

2. Border Collie

Border collies are known to be energetic, friendly dogs that are highly athletic and aerobic when it comes to physical activity outdoors.

In contradiction, this small breed is ideal for runners running at lower speeds, as they can get worn out pretty quickly after heavy exertion.

But on the flip side, a Border Collie is small enough to be taken out while on a jog or sprint.

This puppy will usually run for a long time, and then stop when they get tired – so it’s best for runners that get tired quickly too so you can stop running when the border collie does.

Better yet,studies showed that Border Collies were deemed healthy based on general history, and a physical examination. This examination included a complete blood count, a serum biochemical profile, electrocardiogram, and blood pressure, with no evidence of hereditary or developed heart disease.

To maintain their good health, runners take the time to bring their pup on a walk or jog as they at least weigh 30 pounds.

3. Young Labrador

Young Labrador For Runners

Labs can grow very large. However, when they are young their size is perfect for new runners that want to get better by taking out their lab in the initial stages of running.

It is best to take a lab out when they are older than nine months old, when they reach their grown weight. A tiny lab won’t run as much, and you shouldn’t to not harm their joints as they are just getting used to walks.

These dogs along with other small dogs require a bit of training, as when you take them out for walks, they like to sniff around and take breaks.

So the more you practice running at a higher speed, without pauses, the little dog will learn a “walk” means a run.

A study showed after the Labrador was neutered, weened at young stages in their life, they participated in daily training and socialization activities. The dogs underwent physical examination and the results concluded in healthy blood cells.

Taking a Labrador out regularly for runs will give you a companion for jogs while keeping up their good health – just enough so you don’t overdo it.

They weigh around 48 pounds at 9 months.

4. Miniature Schnauzers

Miniature Schnauzers are good at running at a sustained pace for thirty minutes, which can get you a 5k run in at most – if they are trained well.

Some of these dogs have high energy, but in short spurts, so it’s likely you’ll have to test it out depending on how long you’d like to run for.

A pet owner can start slow and increase the pace of each walk. It’s good to know they have potential for thirty minutes so this can motivate Miniature Schnauzers’ owners to get the training started!

A study concluded that healthy Miniature Schnauzers have a high prevalence of hypertriglyceridemia, (high blood pressure) in comparison to healthy dogs of other breeds. The presence of hypertriglyceridemia increases with age.

If not coped with, this condition can lead your pup to be at risk for cardiovascular disease.

So, it’s important to take them out for physical activity including light jogs or runs, depending on their running ability. to sustain their health.

They have to engage in more steps, but they weigh little as ten pounds and the highest of eighteen pounds.

5.   Jack Russell Terrier

A Jack Russell Terrier is easy to train as they typically are very independent. Training includes having fun along the way, as Terroirs is known to be a fun-loving and highly energetic small breed dog during physical activity.

Weighing at thirteen pounds to the highest of seventeen pounds, you can take this little guy anywhere while you go on a run without straining your hand muscles while holding on a leach.

They are active dogs and require forty minutes of exercise daily. This means they can sustain a good pace for more than 5k! The only downside of course is their instincts that may interfere with your neighborhood run if you are near other dogs with a dog owner.

The little breed dog will instinctively see the dog and categorize it as prey in his mind.

So, it might be best to find a trail or path without other humans or dogs nearby to clear the way for a long, peaceful run to get both you and your Jack Russell Terrier’s physical activity needs met.

6. Beagles

Beagle for runner

Beagles are active, fun-loving dogs good for light runners. They weigh only eighteen to thirty pounds as a highest when they are fully grown.

You can get in a 2k-5k run in as Beagles require at least twenty-forty minutes of physical exercise a day.

They prefer company so it’s great if you want a running buddy to come along with you on a short or long run.

A downside is that this dog is instinctively curious and are also hound dogs. So it is their nature to roam while on a run, especially in the training stages of going on walks.

It may take some extra time to train these small dogs in order for a proper concentrated run for both of you, while diminishing worry the little Beagle will run off or have frequent pauses.

Once out of puppyhood they will gain weight, so take advantage when the pup is lighter and easier to run with.

7. Miniature Poodle

Miniature Poodle

A miniature poodle weighs about fifteen to seventeen pounds. They are easy to train and are generally very active, energetic dogs.

Smaller poodles must be trained and socialized at a young age, as they can bark and become aggressive to people and other pets.

Their instincts are to hunt, so they require forty minutes of exercise a day.

Poodles are also excessive jumpers, so that’s something to watch out for when let out into the backyard and kept the fence up in initial training when they are young.

These pups are a good choice to run with for long distances as their personality reflects in their running – happy, energetic, and love to run!

8. Chihuahuas


Chihuahuas are one of the smallest breeds of dogs – but they are mighty when it comes to running. They can make excellent running partners because they carry less weight for them to run faster and benefits the runner to lessen the arm strain.

They weigh as little as two to six pounds. The only downside is that they have short spurts of energy, meaning they can only run up to twenty minutes per day. So, it is ideal for light runners or joggers to take this tiny dog out around the block.

Better yet, they are companion dogs, so they like to be kept near their owners and engaged in some kind of activity. You can always rely on a chihuahua for light or short-term sprints.

They can be somewhat aggressive at times near other dogs especially if they are big. You can always avoid the dog park or places with walkers with a big dog breed.

9. Papillion

Papillion are happy and outgoing dogs who love running around. They weigh only nine to ten pounds. With a span of twenty minutes of physical exercise needed to keep your pup healthy, you’ll have an energetic companion to keep you company on a jog.

A bonus feature of having a Papillion is that they are not as nearly nervous around other dogs or people as other breeds – so you don’t have to worry about potential threats to affect your dog, and more importantly your run.

A study showed that five fourteen week old Papillion were diagnosed with pelvic limb ataxia, a syndrome that affects all four limbs. Thus, decreasing the ability to walk or run.

Papillons are fragile and can easily be injured, without a syndrome. It’s important to check your Papillion for any underlying health conditions before you take them out running with you.

Small Dog Breed Precautions

The cranial cruciate ligament is one of the four tough bands of tissue that connect each knee together. A torn cranial cruciate ligament is a common injury in active dogs, more specifically in small dogs.

Usually, surgery is usually done to stabilize the knee and prevent the breed to develop arthritis.

Physical therapy and pain management are needed to cope and overcome the torn. By sustaining the puppy’s weight, feeding a nutritious filled diet, and avoiding too much twisting of the knees (playing Frisbee) or sprinting are vital ways to avoid this injury.

Can Dwarfism Dog Breeds Run?

Dwarfism dog breeds are short-limbed, meaning their legs are smaller than an average dog of their breed. They should not run to protect themselves from damaging their limbs. Dwarfism is a syndrome the dog inherits as a genetic base from their breed. This syndrome can be detected as early as fourteen days if the dog isn’t gaining weight.

A loss of weight from dwarfism can lead to bone deformities and lessen your dog’s ability to run, or even function in extreme cases.

A study showed that the blatant abnormalities were small stature and valgus deformity of the carpi. Observed radiographic evidence retarded growth was evident by 12 weeks of age. Ocular defects included cataracts and retinal unattachment.

However, some people like the look of short-limbed dogs, where the dog has been bred through the careful consideration of achondroplasia to achieve short limbs. Including the Dachshund, Skye Terrier and Welsh Corgi.

Dogs with dwarfism or short limbs should not run with you. It can lead to damage of their bone structure or tire out the limbs with less muscle mass to support the rest of their bodies during forceful activity.

One Last Thought

Bringing your small dog out with you on a run can motivate you to enjoy your run even more. Most small dogs highlighted above are companion dogs, so the company can increase your overall happiness levels while releasing enough endorphins after a good run.

Watch out for people on the street walking their dogs, as your breed of dog may not like other dogs and sight and deter your run for the worse.

Train your dog breed as necessary and only bring them out when they reach an appropriate age. Let us know in the comments if you liked these suggestions and feel free to share it with your dog-loving friends.

About Gaurav Dhir

Gaurav Dhir, B. Tech, PGDCM is an engineer and MBA by training. A fitness aficionado, Gaurav follows a strict diet and exercise regimen to keep himself vigorously active. He loves playing sports and being outdoors. Gaurav is responsible for the health and wellness of 4 generations including his son, elderly parents and very elderly grandparents.