May 10, 2019 3 min read

Dogs tend to take the personality and habits of their owners. If their human friend stays in front of the television all day, that’s probably what they will want to do, too. However, owning a pet comes with certain responsibilities, despite your own personal habits. One of those is to exercise your four-legged friend on a regular basis.

The American Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals explains that pets are also prone to obesity, heart diseases, diabetes, and even emotional problems. Dr. Kat Miller of ASPCA adds that unwanted behavioral tendencies, such as chewing on household items, jumping up on humans, or general aggression, can stem from the lack of physical activity. Through daily walks, runs, playing fetch, and other outlets for excess energy, you can easily get Fido to stop displaying bad conduct and ensure a loving home for your pet.

To help you out, we’ve come up with a general guideline on how much of and what kind of exercise each dog needs per day, based on the American Kennel Club’s list of most popular dog breeds in the U.S. Note that each pair of dogs represents a particular size from big to small.

Beagle and Yorkshire Terrier (Small)


Beagles and Yorkshire Terriers are easier to maintain due to their size. A busy owner can squeeze in a 20-30 minute walk with their pooch before they head off to work and another session before bedtime. While Beagles might be more amenable to running or hiking, Yorkies typically don’t like strenuous exercises. Nevertheless, both will enjoy a leisurely walk in the park. Even smaller dogs (Mini Dachshunds, Chihuahuas) are prescribed the same amount of physical activity.

Bulldog and French Bulldog (Medium)

Due to their small noses and oversized palates, Bullies, Frenchies, and other short-nosed pups are prone to a variety of respiratory problems, mainly brachycephalic airway obstruction syndromeThe American College of Veterinary Surgeons explains that these breeds might experience obstructions in breathing, swallowing, and are even intolerant to exercise. Avoid putting these breeds under a fast-paced, high-impact routine; 15-30 minutes of walking or play under the sun will suffice. However, the bigger end of medium-sized dogs (Siberian Husky, Border Collie) will need the same amount of exercise as large dogs.

Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever (Large)

With a Lab being a working breed and a Golden Retriever being a sporting breed, these large dogs are extremely active in nature. A general rule of thumb for Retrievers is that more relaxed ones require about 45 minutes of exercise every day, while the more energetic dogs need to move around for 1-2 hours. They enjoy almost all types of training from hiking to swimming and are very playful and loving companions.

German Shepherd and Rottweiler (Extra Large)

Known for being great guard dogs, German Shepherds and Rottweilers can weigh as much as 130 pounds and stand at 2-3 feet. These extra-large dogs are also extra energetic and require a vigorous exercise routine as they are originally bred for hunting or herding. The average adult Rottweiler should be walked at a fast pace for half an hour or an hour of moderately paced walking on a lead while a German Shepherd will require an additional session.


Apart from sizes, there are other factors that will determine how much exercise canines need. A senior pet health and wellness guide by Maryville Univesity suggests that age is also a consideration as older pets require less exercise due to skeletal issues or a general lack of energy. Pets with special medical conditions, such as short-faced breeds or female dogs who just gave birth, will also have different needs from other dogs of the same size. Knowing these will help you make certain decisions like planning a routine or activity around a beloved pet.

Jolly Pets previously noted that size also matters in choosing the kind of toy appropriate for a pup. Small balls might be a choking hazard for a German Shepherd, while a Yorkie might ignore a bone that is too big. All of these are things that you have to think about when incorporating toys into your dog's exercise routine. It's our hope that this guide will help you as an owner to become more responsible in caring for your pet and catering to their needs.

Author - PetPassion

PetPassion is a professional dog trainer who advocates the use of positive reinforcement. She has two Border Collies, Max and Bart.