“While it is generally true that all dogs need lots of aerobic exercise,” says veterinarian Nicholas Dodman, BVMS, in The Well-Adjusted Dog, “breed requirements for exercise do differ. The amount of exercise a particular breed requires depends on the purpose for which that breed was developed.
Bernese mountain dogs, Newfoundlands, Shi Tzus, bassett hounds, bulldogs — all of these have low exercise requirements and may get all the exercise they need with a brisk walk around the block each day. Don’t attach them to a bike.
Here are the runners — some of the breeds who might really enjoy going at something of a clip for 20 or 30 minutes — or even a little more.
Siberian huskies (cold weather only)
Alaskan malamutes (cold weather only)
Portuguese water dogs
English springer spaniels
American and Irish water spaniels
Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers
Australian cattle dogs
Parson Russell terriers
These breeds are not engraved in stone as runners. Says Dr. Dodman, “I have met sluggish setters and hyperactive dogs who on paper would be thought to have low exercise requirements.” Your own dog may not fit the stereotype for his breed; you need to make the decision on a dog-by-dog basis.
If running alongside your bike is not for your canine pal, do engage him in some physical activity that he would find vigorous, that would get him panting a bit and make him feel tired afterward. That’s not just for your sake so he’ll be calmer and easier to have around. It’s also for his. Under-exercised dogs are likely to be more moody, aggressive, and fearful and may develop any one of a number of compulsive behaviors, says Dr. Dodman.