Best Dog For Active Family


I don’t know if you’ve heard of the 10,000 hour rule. It’s a rule that stipulates that with 10,000 hours of deliberate practice, you can master any skill. When it comes to dogs, there are two groups you need to focus on: active and inactive. The active dog spends most of his time engaged in games, sports, or other activities where he maintains an active lifestyle. These dogs enjoy chasing after balls, swimming or running for long distances. The inactive dog on the other hand usually prefers spending his time resting or relaxing.

Border Collie

Often ranked as one of the most intelligent dog breeds, border collies are happiest when they have a job to do. Not only are they top-of-the-line herders, but they also love canine sports and have a serious knack for training, flyball, agility, and tracking. You’re not alone if you think the term “active” refers to physical exertion. But most active dog breeds need equal parts mental stimulation as well. Border collies require at least an hour of exercise a day along with plenty of psychological stimulation and are great for owners who love spending their free time adventuring in the outdoors.

Golden Retriever

Amongst the most popular dog breeds, golden retrievers are a true family-favorite. Needing at least an hour of exercise a day, these beloved pups are great companions for owners who enjoy walking, running, hiking, and being outdoors. They also have an instinctive love of water and are happy to get wet while playing fetch. If you’re a city dweller, goldens can survive in an apartment setting, but it’s key that you get them outside regularly to ensure they live a fit, happy, and fulfilling life, especially since they’re prone to obesity and other weight-related health problems.

Brown and white pointer tilts head to the left in close-up

German Shorthaired Pointer

Quintessential hunting dogs, German shorthaired pointers are brown-and-white bundles of energy, meaning short walks around the block simply won’t cut it. With a huge love for the outdoors, German shorthaired pointers are happiest when they’re running, hiking, swimming, or competing in agility and field events. Daily exercise is a must for these pups, and activities like nosework and learning new tricks are great ways to keep their brains engaged, too.

Blue merle Australian shepherds have a mottled coat with black spots against a gray base.

Australian Shepherd

These intelligent, loyal, and energetic dogs were originally bred for their herding instincts, and their eager-to-please personalities mean they’re always game for a romp outside. Australian shepherds, affectionately dubbed Aussies, need to stay busy and stimulated with daily exercise. They thrive in a working environment and are the perfect companion for owners who enjoy high-energy activities like playing Frisbee and long walks or hikes. Australian shepherds also tend to live a long time (12–15 years!), so with proper exercise, diet, and veterinary care, you will have your adventure buddy by your side for years to come.

Keep in mind that while easily trainable, Aussies are not usually recommended for families with small children as their herding instincts mean they may nip at heels of youngsters—something you might want to keep in mind when deciding whether these lovely dogs are right for your family.

Portrait of Vizla dog standing on a meadow.


Pawsitively majestic, Vizslas are smart, active, loyal family dogs who love burning their energy outdoors. There’s almost nothing a Vizsla can’t do, whether that’s hunt, track, swim, complete an agility course, or go for a long jaunt with you in the woods. Ideally, they should get at least an hour of exercise a day, which is why it’s preferable that they have ample running space. That said, these affectionate pups can be perfect for city dwellers, as long as they’re getting plenty of long walks and runs outdoors.


Best known for their poof-ball haircuts, poodles are extremely energetic and active dogs. Exceptionally clever and easy to train, it’s important that they’re mentally and physically stimulated in order to keep their anxiety at bay—and that goes for standard, miniature, and toy poodles. On top of playing fetch in a big fenced backyard, these dogs enjoy long walks, visits to the dog park, and are always down to go for a swim. The main thing that makes this breed stand out from many of the others on this list is their low-allergen coat, which means these dogs don’t shed much and tend to be a better option for active allergy sufferers.

Russell Terrier

Russell terriers are the pinnacle of small active dog breeds. Bred as hunting dogs, they are smart, have high energy levels, and are happiest when they are both mentally and physically stimulated. Specifically reared to hunt burrowing animals, Russell terriers love to dig and chase. Long daily walks and playtime in the backyard are great outlets for their energy, but it’s also worth noting that Russell terriers are very adept at agility and flyball, making them the perfect companion for engaged, active, and compassionate dog owners.

black portuguese water dog looking up at camera

Despite their energetic nature, Portuguese water dogs have a sweet disposition that makes them excel as therapy and service dogs.

Portuguese Water Dog

As their name suggests, Portuguese water dogs have an instinctual love for the water and are the perfect fishing and swimming companions. These outgoing dogs are true athletes needing plenty of daily exercise, which can be in the form of long walks and ample one-on-one playtime with their owner. Porties, as they’re nicknamed, are also incredibly sharp and get bored easily, which is why it’s important to keep them mentally stimulated through activities like training, tracking, dock diving, agility, and water work. With plenty of positive reinforcement, attention, and exercise, you’ll have an affectionate and loyal companion for life.

Airedale Terrier

Otherwise known as “The King of Terriers”, Airedale terriers are loved for their bolstering confidence and unbridled enthusiasm. Airedales are super social animals and love daily play sessions with family members. On top of that, it’s recommended that they get long daily walks and a few good runs in the backyard. Another low-allergen breed for families with allergy sufferers, if you choose them as a companion, you’re in for a clever, loving, and athletic pup.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador retrievers have been America’s most loved dog breed for the past 29 years by families of all kinds. These easy-going yet energetic dogs are down for whatever, whether that’s swimming, playing fetch, or learning tricks—and even make fantastic jogging companions. Eager to please and highly-trainable, Labs also need mental stimulation, which is why they’re known to be excellent service dogs and top-of-the-line competitors in field tests and dog shows.


Let’s start with a list of active dog breeds that are good for children, families and seniors. The Labrador Retriever, Yorkshire Terrier, Jack Russell Terrier and Chihuahua are all great dogs for active families, seniors and young children, providing they get the exercise they need. Beagles are wonderful with families and generally love children but they need plenty of exercise to stay healthy with pampered pets in smaller living spaces such as apartments. The Miniature Schnauzer is another great family dog who is fearless and protective of his territory but needs a lot of exercise in the form of daily walks to stay fit.

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