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There is no pet quite like a dog. Sure, they can be a lot of work (puppies are cute but destructive,) but their unconditional love almost makes up for it. Dogs can be amazing companions. When you’re looking for a family dog, there are many things to take into consideration. Things like where you live, how old your kids are, and the level of engagement you will have with your dog are very important .Looking for a dog with a lot of energy? That’s great. If you have a lot of space and time to play, high energy dogs may be right for you.
High energy dogs are great for families who like to be active — spending lots of time outside. Hiking, playing in the park, and going to the beach are all the perfect activities for high energy dogs.These playful pups need a lot of mental and physical activity to keep them fresh and at the top of their game. If you have little ones, for your sanity, you may want to wait on the high energy dogs. Seems like it could be a lot to handle. But, if you’re ready, here are some of the best high energy dogs for families (and a few with slightly less energy.)
Easily one of the most recognizable family dogs, there’s a reason Golden Retrievers are so popular. Goldens are “outgoing, trustworthy, and eager-to-please family dogs, and relatively easy to train. They take a joyous and playful approach to life and maintain this puppyish behavior into adulthood,” per the American Kennel Club (AKC). Golden Retrievers are some of the most high energy dogs, in spite of their docile behavior. Since they were bred to hunt waterfowl, they love swimming and diving. They also need lots of daily activity, such as a long run or a bike ride. Chasing after the kids is also one of their best traits!
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These gentle giants can be big (a male can be upwards of of 115 lbs.) but they’re super playful. Bernese Mountain Dogs are moderate on the scale of high energy dogs. Thankfully, they’re good indoor dogs, but they do need at least a half hour of moderate exercise daily. In describing Berners (as they’re called), the AKC says, “enjoy outdoor activities and make great companions on long walks or hikes. Outdoorsy owners often take their canine companions camping and backpacking. Berners enjoy pulling young children in a cart.” And these high energy dogs are gentle in temperment, so they’re great with kids.
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Frenchies are not exactly the most high energy dogs, but they’re still very playful. Because of their flat faces, they can’t exert too much energy when it’s too hot or humid. And while they only need short periods of daily exercise, you can train them to do canine sports like “obedience, agility, and rally, according to the AKC. Frenchies are cute and love to socialize, but they’re stubborn. Despite their stubborn nature, they are easy to train, kind of like toddlers. Frenchies don’t bark much, which means they won’t wake the little ones from a nap. But they’re still super alert (you’ve seen those little ears!) which is why they’re great family pets.
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Australian Terriers are small (they average between 15 and 20 pounds) but what they lack in size, they make up for in spunk. Much like their fellow terriers, Aussies pack a lot of punch in a small package. Like true working pups, they are quite high energy dogs. True to their history as working dogs, Aussies like to hunt, so if you take them out on a long walk or a hike, you have to keep them on a leash. Especially because they have a soft spot for chasing squirrels and the odd cat. “Upbeat and lively, the self-assured Aussie approaches life with plenty of the old-time terrier curiosity and grit,” says the AKC.
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Labradors are the most popular family dogs in America. Much like Goldens, Labradors are at the top of the high energy dogs. Needing lot of activity every day, Labradors are exuberant and love to hunt (taking them on a long walk and letting them explore would be comparative,) swim, and dive. And they love to play a good game of fetch, which is great for them and their small human family members. The AKC describes them as “companionable housemates who bond with the whole family, and they socialize well with neighbor dogs and humans alike.” They’d make a great addition to any family!
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Much like their fellow terriers, these little nuggets are on the moderate end of high energy dogs. Some will be content with a quick walk around the neighborhood. And others need to run and play with their folks to get some of that excess energy out. But Bostons need engaging play — leaving them to their own devices will make them bored. Boston Terriers are also great for all kind of living situations. “Bostons are no exception: they are sturdy but portable, people-oriented, and always up for a brisk walk to the park or outdoor cafe,” says the AKC. These sweet little puppers are great with kids and families.
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Is anything cuter than a Corgi butt? Not really. But cute butts (and those precious pointy ears!) aside, the Pembroke is a herding dog. Even though they’re close to the ground, they are actually quite strong. Pembroke’s are very smart and surprisingly sensitive little dogs who make attentive watch dogs. They may be small, but their bark equals a big dog. They are active, high energy dogs who love physical activity. Moderate daily exercise is best for these guys — long walks or maybe a slow jog. “Families who can meet their bold but kindly Pembroke’s need for activity and togetherness will never have a more loyal, loving pet,” claims the AKC.
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Irish Setters are not only gorgeous dogs, they’re excellent family pets. All Irish Setters want is to please their humans — good natured and fairly easy to train. Plus, they love to run and play fetch with the kids or a good game of chase. These are very high energy dogs who need a lot of exercise. Long daily walks or playing together in the yard or going to the park to run around. The AKC says, “these rambunctious redheads are big kids at heart, but they are eager to please and will respond to patient, positive training.” Irish Setters love their families, and isn’t that the best?
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Beagles are arguably the cutest of the high energy dogs. It’s hard to not automatically say “aww” when you see them. Not only are they flipping adorable, they are great family dogs, the AKC describing them as “loving and lovable, happy, and companionable—all qualities that make them excellent family dogs.” Which is probably why they’re one of the most popular dog breeds. Beagles are small, which means they’re good for families with small children and in smaller homes. But they can’t be left alone for long periods of time. And they need at least an hour of exercise a day in an enclosed space because scents (they’re scenthounds) will distract them.
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Poodles have a bit of a frou-frou quality about them, but really, that’s just their haircut. These dogs come in three different sizes — miniature and standard or even toy if you like them tiny. Poodles are hypoallergenic, which is great for family members who may have an allergy to dander. And poodles are actually quite sporty, with long, muscular bodies and legs. As the AKC points out, “Forget those old stereotypes of Poodles as sissy dogs. Poodles are eager, athletic, and wickedly smart “real dogs” of remarkable versatility.” If you like long walks or jogs, or if the kids like to play catch, you’d probably love having a poodle.
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The Siberian Husky is a gorgeous cold weather dog with thick fur and very often, blue eyes. And apparently, they have very low odor. Huskies are a good example of high energy dogs — very active, and bred to be runners. Taking them outside for a game of chase in the park would make them so very happy. As a working dogs, they love having a task and spending time with their humans doing something brings them a sense of accomplishment. Huskies, who are natural pack dogs, “enjoy family life and get on well with other dogs. The Sibe’s innate friendliness render them indifferent watchdogs,” says the AKC.
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Airedale Terriers have the nickname “king of terriers” for a reason. Not only are they the largest of the breed (a male can be about 23 inches from the shoulder, and females only a little smaller,) but their long legs make them look downright regal. According to the AKC, Airedale Terriers are “docile and patient with kids but won’t back down when protecting hearth and home.” They are on the lower end of the high energy dogs list, but they need a good run around the park (or backyard) and several walks a day to keep up with their energy.
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Border Collie’s are the definition of high energy dogs. These members of the herding group feel the most fulfillment when they’re being useful. Border Collie’s need a lot of exercise — a quick run around the park or the yard may not be enough for them. Border Collie’s do well with agility, so if you have the time to train them for competitions, you will be giving them the outlet they so desperately need. And at the end of the day, they love a good cuddle. But the AKC notes, “amiable among friends, they [Border Collie’s] may be reserved with strangers.”
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Cocker Spaniels have a bit of a reputation as a fancy type dog. But they’re actually sporting dogs, which means they’re quite active. There’s no doubt that they’re absolutely gorgeous with their sleek coats and fluffy ears. As the AKC says, “Cockers are eager playmates for kids and are easily trained as companions and athletes. They are big enough to be sporty, but compact enough to be portable.” Which means they are adaptable for smaller houses or apartments. Cocker Spaniels are on the lower end of high energy dogs, preferring a brisk walk with their people. You can encourage the kids to play fetch with them, which is one of their favorite types of exercise.
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If you have a lot of open space to run and play, may we offer the Australian Shepard.These high energy dogs are members of the herding group, and will herd anything from other dogs to your unruly kiddos. Perfect for families who live on a ranch or farm, but maybe not as much for city dwellers. Australian Shepards are super smart dogs who need a lot of exercise. The AKC explains, “Aussies bond closely with their owners and love to accompany them on long walks—or, better yet, hikes.” And once they’ve matured, they’re great companions for a nice run.
Russell Terriers are well known from being seen as the go to pet on 90s shows like Frasier and Wishbone. Russels are compact dogs who pack a lot of energy into their little 15 pound bodies. And they are insanely smart little dogs who work their way into your heart with that jaunty little head tilt and their triangular ears. According to the AKC, the Russell Terrier is a good “choice of breed for an outdoorsy family who takes lots of hikes, bike rides, and long daily walks. Finding games he loves to play will help keep his brain and his body exercised.” Perfect for families with high energy kids too!