Dog Exercise Needs by Breed

We take a look at how much exercise your dog needs according to its breed. We’re looking at a handful of popular dog breeds here, so if you’re unsure how much exercise your dog needs, make sure to consult your vet for specific advice. 

Yorkshire Terriers

Yorkshire Terriers do well with 30 minutes of exercise a day. They love to go for walks, so walking is an ideal choice of exercise — but not too fast as they only have little legs. Your dog should be walking pretty quickly, but not struggling to keep up with you as this will ensure they avoid overheating. Yorkies love to hunt, so on top of walking, make sure they get ample playtime. Seeking out toys in the garden is a great way to get additional activity into their routine. 

Cocker Spaniel

A minimum of one hour is the ideal amount of time a cocker spaniel should exercise in a day. It’s better to break this up into two sessions, like a walk in the morning and again in the evening. Cocker spaniels are intelligent, so a good amount of exercise will keep them entertained and keep their minds active. They are a lively and friendly breed, so they want plenty of playtime as well as exercise. 

Labrador Retriever

Labrador retrievers are very high energy, so they will need upwards of two hours of exercise per day. You want to give your dog plenty of exercise to keep them mentally and physically fit. Labrador retrievers can be enthusiastic swimmers, so if you’re near water, let them play. This is a great way to encourage extra activity, and you won’t need to walk them for as long if they’ve had an energetic splash along the way. Swimming is a great muscle strengthening and cardiovascular exercise.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The general recommendation for how much exercise a Staffordshire bull terrier needs is around one hour. They are muscular dogs, and they enjoy pulling and strength training games like tug of war. Agility training is also a fun way to add variety to their routine. 

Border Collie

Border collies are very high energy and will need a minimum of two hours of exercise, but they’ll take as much as you can give them. It’s recommended that you break their exercise up throughout the day. Border collies are particularly intelligent, so keeping their minds and bodies stimulated throughout the day will keep them entertained. Being natural herding dogs, they love to run and like plenty of outdoor space. 


Around 30-40 minutes of exercise is most suitable for pugs. As a flat-faced breed, you want to avoid breathing difficulties from too much exercise as they can get out of breath and overheat easily. For this reason, shorter walks and play times are recommended for pugs. They are better suited to gentle play to avoid joint problems, especially as they get older. 

German Shepherd

Originally a working dog, German shepherds have a lot of energy and will happily take upwards of two hours of exercise every day. They’re a very active breed that can walk five to 10 miles in a day, and they make an excellent running companion too. They’re known for being strong, so keeping them active will help keep their joints healthy and supple.

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