When it comes to dogs of different sizes, tiny dog breeds often have a number of advantages that makes it easier for them to find homes. Small dogs take up less space and so can live happily in a smaller house or an apartment that might simply be too cramped for a bigger dog, and the cost of providing for the care of a small dog is lower across the board too.
Smaller dogs are also more portable and so can potentially be taken with you to more places, and if your dog gets tired out on a walk, you can always consider carrying them home.
However, small dog breeds also come with some limitations, such as the need to protect them and keep them safe from threats that are less acute for larger dogs, and because some smaller dogs can’t keep up with the average brisk walking pace of a human.
This isn’t the case for all small dogs of course, but many small breeds need to trot along to keep up with us on walks, and so they are apt to get tired out faster and have less powers of endurance.
If you enjoy running or jogging outdoors or are thinking of getting a dog to take running or jogging with you to help you to get fit, you might be wondering if a small breed would be a good choice, or if you’d need to restrict your options to larger dogs with longer legs, which can keep up without a problem.
So, can a small dog breed make for a good jogging or running partner? Read on to find out.
The answer to this question lies in a combination of factors, not all of which relate to your dog’s size. First of all, assess your dog’s walking pace – can they walk along side you at a normal or brisk walk without becoming worn out in a few minutes, lagging behind, struggling, or showing signs of discomfort? This is the first step.
Next, assess how your dog runs and plays off the lead – are they full of beans, lively, and happy to play and hare around for half an hour or so before needing a break to recuperate? Are they ready to go home then or could they carry on for another half hour?
You also need to factor in how fast you intend to jog or run, and for how long – some dogs would thrive if they got a half hour run or jog with you each day, but not be able to manage much longer, whilst others could manage an hour or more comfortably. Your speed is important too, and if you’re planning to run fast or over a long distance, even many larger dogs would struggle and few small ones would be well suited to this type of lifestyle, although there are some exceptions.
Another thing to think about is the type of terrain you will cover. As you will already know if you run or jog at the moment, some surfaces are more forgiving than others. High-impact sports like running or jogging on hard roads and pavements is more jarring to the legs and will be apt to tire you out faster, and also increases the risks of sprains and injuries – and the same is true for your dog. Running or jogging on grass or earth can be more cushioning, but also, can make it harder to pick up speed.
Finally, your dog’s fitness is of course important too, and even a small dog that might potentially make a good running buddy will need to be fit enough to keep up with you, which might mean working on your dog’s fitness before they’re running-ready as well as your own!
If you’re looking for a small dog breed that will make for a good running or jogging partner, some are most definitely better suited to the role than others. Very small, delicate and petite dogs that have to trot to keep up with a walk and that don’t have great endurance (like the Chihuahua) are rarely a good fit, and breeds that tend to be stocky, quiet and sedentary like the pug aren’t likely to be a good fit either.
Dog breeds that are lively and active in general and that have high energy levels and potentially challenging exercise requirements are a good fit, and this often means terrier breeds that possess both great endurance and also, lively natures. The Jack Russell is a very versatile small breed in this respect, and jogging or running with a Jack Russell provides a lot of the exercise your dog will need each day too, and which might otherwise be challenging to provide.
Your small dog also of course needs to be fit, in good health and fully grown but not starting to get older and quieter with age, and they also need to be well trained to walk and run on a lead, follow commands, and display good road sense.
Regardless of your dog’s size, you need to monitor them when running or jogging to look for signs of fatigue, discomfort or even injuries, and be prepared to curtail your walk or run when appropriate as dictated by your dog.
You also need to factor in how you would get your dog home or get help if they became lame while out, or were unable to keep going.
You should also check your dog over after a walk or jog to make sure they’re ok and haven’t strained something, just as you should do when bringing a dog home after any play or exercise.
As long as you choose the right sort of small dog and accommodate for them and follow their cues for safe, happy runs and jogs, there’s no reason why a small dog breed can’t make for a good running partner for people from all walks of life.