How Much Exercise Does my Dog Really Need?

How Much Exercise Does my Dog Really Need?

Breed Facts

Most people know that regular exercise is essential to a dog's overall health, but in actual fact the amount they get every day can have a serious impact on their behaviour too. This is especially true of younger dogs and puppies because they generally have a lot more energy to burn off which if they do not, can end up with them becoming destructive around the home and in the garden.

If you've come home to find that your dog has been having fun digging up your lawn and flower beds or you're tired of them barking all the time for no reason, the chances are your dog is not getting enough daily exercise and are finding new and ultra creative ways of expending a load of pent up energy.

The Right Amount of Exercise Works Wonders

Sadly a lot of people think they have to give up their pets because of their unwanted behaviours when in fact things can be put right with a little care, attention and the right amount of exercise. If you are thinking about sharing your home with a canine companion and know that you won't be able to take them out for long walks several times a day, then you need to choose a breed that's happy with fewer “walkies”. A high energy, active dog would need a load more exercise and if you don't have the time, you could be in for some destructive behaviour around your home.

The question of how much exercise does a dog really need depends on quite a few things with their breed, health and age being major factors. If you choose to share your home with a young Irish terrier, they will need a whole lot more in the way of exercise than a much older and more mature dog and this includes a breed like the Whippet. Sight hounds need more in the way of physical exercise as compared to a watch dog, but with this said even in particular breeds the amount of exercise needed to keep a dog happy can vary quite a bit. The reason being that where some dogs are concerned they are just more “hyper” than others. You might get one Golden Retriever that's super active, whereas another dog from the same litter is a much calmer character altogether.

Older Dogs Need Exercise

Older dogs in their senior years need to be taken out for walks on a daily basis too and not just let out into the back garden. The walks may have to be shorter than they used to be, but an old dog would enjoy them just as much and the bonus is they remain mentally stimulated in their golden years.

Thirty Minutes a Day is Essential

As a rule of thumb, most dogs need to be given at least 30 minutes of exercise on a daily basis, but 60 minutes would be better. The key to knowing if your dog is tired by the walk is whether or not they've slowed down and if they have, you know they have been given a good amount of exercise, remembering that a tired dog is a happy and contented one. The list below gives a general idea of the amount of exercise a dog would need depending on their energy levels:

  • Active dogs – need at least 30 minutes of exercise on a daily basis and this does not mean just being let out into the back garden to chase their own tails.
  • High-energy characters – need to be given lots of mental and physical exercise on a daily basis with the minimum being around 60 minutes per day.
  • Small breeds – smaller dogs need to be walked as much as their larger counterparts and if they are not given enough exercise, not only could they develop unwanted behavioural issues, but they could plough on the pounds and become obese too!
  • Toy breeds – generally speaking most people think these little guys get loads of exercise just running around the house, but they do enjoy and indeed benefit from being taken out of walks too albeit short ones. The reasons being, that all dogs, no matter how small they are actually like investigating new and interesting smells. However, you need to make sure a very small dog is walked in a very safe environment.

The Cost of Not Giving Your Pooch Enough Regular Exercise

There's a cost to pay when you don't give your dog enough regular daily exercise which not only affects their behaviour but their overall health and well-being too. Dogs that carry far too much weight around are more at risk of developing diabetes. It can affect their breathing and result in them suffering from respiratory disorders, not to mention the impact it can have on their hearts!

Carrying too much weight around puts extra pressure on a dog's bones and joints which can make other disorders like hip dysplasia a lot worse. It can also impact a dog if they happen to suffer from arthritis. In short, dogs need to be kept fit and healthy throughout their lives and the only way of achieving this is to make sure they get regular daily exercise.


If you are just about to get a dog and are unsure of the amount of exercise they would need to be given on a daily basis, the first thing you have to do is as much research on a breed as you can. However, some dogs as naturally more active and hyper than others even within a breed. With this is mind, you need to bear in mind that puppies learn things in the early stages of their lives and that this forms the foundation of how they will turn out as adult dogs. The rule of thumb is that most of our canine companions need at least 30 minutes exercise a day with the more active and high-energy characters needing double that amount to be truly happy.

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