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Dog Breeds and Their Exercise Requirements

Dog size and breed are important factors in determining how much and what kind of exercise your puppy needs. Many breeds have high energy levels, requiring more daily exercise. For example, a German Shorthaired Pointer — a large puppy bred to run around in fields looking for birds — needs more exercise than a teacup-sized Poodle.

Before you decide on the breed of puppy that you want to buy, consider the amount of exercise the new puppy needs. See the following table to find out the energy level of your breed.

Dog Breeds and Their Energy Levels
Breed Bred to . . . Energy Level
Dalmatians Currently bred for companionship Very high
Fighters Originally bred to fight each other or other species Medium
Guard Dogs Guard territory Medium
Large-Game Hounds Challenge large game Medium
Livestock Drivers Move sheep and cattle from field to field High
Non-Sporting Group All vary historically Medium
Pointers Course fields all day, point, and retrieve Very high
Portuguese Water Dogs Retrieve nets from water Medium to high
Rescue/Water dogs Rescue humans Low (in general)
Retrievers Stay by master’s side and retrieve on command High
Scent Hounds Follow and trail game High
Setters Run in the fields, point, flush, and retrieve fowl High
Sheep Herders Herd sheep Medium to high
Sight Hounds Pursue fast-moving game High in spurts and then low
Sled/Draft Dogs Pull sleds or carts long distances Medium to high
Spaniels Flush and retrieve birds High
Toy Group Companionship Low
Vermin Hunters Hunt barn pests Medium to high

Your breed’s energy level determines the amount of interaction needed and how often. The following table takes the next step and translates the energy level into the amount of exercise your dog needs each day. Exercise in the table refers to games that encourage motion and play.

Exercise Needed for Different Energy Levels of Dogs
Energy Level Amount of Exercise/Interaction Needed How Often
Very high 20 minutes to an hour 2 to 4 times daily
High 15 to 30 minutes 2 to 3 times daily
Medium 10 to 20 minutes 2 times daily
Low 5 to 10 minutes 1 to 2 times daily

If your puppy doesn’t work off his energy outside, he’ll work it off inside. Along the same lines, if you don’t run him, he may demolish your couch. No, it’s not spite. It’s just energy coupled with boredom.

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