Every dog, just like every person, is unique. Every single one has different needs, wants, and different likes and dislikes. Some prefer to lounge in the sun, while others have no off switch — it’s just go go go! For dogs, this is highly dependent on their breed (but it’s not a guarantee!). Because they’re so different, we at Doggy Brace thought it would be helpful to provide a quick guide on how long each size of dog should play/exercise every day. Grab their toys; It’s dog playtime!
Toy/Small Breeds (Less Than 30 pounds)
Smaller dogs need less exercise than most, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get any. It just means they’re going to get tired a lot faster, which is perfectly fine! As their owner, you’ll need to be aware of how tired and overheated they’re getting, and let them rest when they need to. It’s important to not overdo it, after all.
You’re probably familiar with most small dog breeds. They include dogs from the Chihuahua to the Bichon or Shih Tzu. They’re breeds like:
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Toy Poodle
- Shih Tzu
- Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie)
When they’re this little, dogs usually need a daily walk of 20 to 30 minutes. The exception would be the toy and miniature poodle which are more active and also intelligent, so require a little more physical activity and plenty of mental stimulation.
Terriers are also an exception. Some need about 60-90 minutes of playtime every day. They’re very energetic dogs and are built to run and hunt, so a little extra playtime will do them good.
Medium and Large Dogs (30-90 pounds)
Medium and large breeds are harder to break down due to the different types of dogs housed within these sizes. They follow the same trends as each other, which is why we’re clumping them together. For example, a bulldog is going to need much less exercise and playtime than a retriever or a Greyhound, but a retriever can be both a medium and a large dog, depending on the gender and breed.
For dogs in the herding, sporting, or working group, they’ll need about 1-2 hours of exercise or play time each day to stay mentally and physically sharp. These are the dogs that love to run, tug, pull, and play fetch, so you shouldn’t need to motivate them to be active. You also don’t need to take them on an hour-long walk every day either. You can break it up with games, such as tug-of-war, agility “training” around the backyard, running up the stairs with them, playing “Hide-and-Seek,” or going swimming.
Other breeds though, are fine with just 30 minutes. These are going to be your snub-nosed breeds like bulldogs. Snubnose exceptions: most snub nosed dogs fall within the medium and small category. Such as pugs and bulldogs. These dogs are not built for exercise. They’re not bred to breathe well enough to keep up on longer walks, or even light jogs. Keep that limitation in mind if you want a hiking buddy.
Massive Dog Breeds (90+ pounds)
The bigger the dog, the more exercise they need, right? Well…maybe not. It’s actually the reverse in this case. You see, massive dogs are just that — massive. They have a lot of muscle, fat, and fluff to support all day, every day, and running around isn’t the easiest for some of them.
A 30-to-45 minute walk is sufficient. Also, many of the giant breed dogs are keen swimmers, so swimming is a great exercise for them because it’s low weight-bearing.
Take the Great Dane, for example. They’re the World’s Tallest Dog breed and usually weigh around 130 pounds. Their length is what hurts them the most — their hips have a ton of pressure on them because of their height, which leads to hip dysplasia and joint issues later in life.
Other breeds, like Newfoundlands and Saint Bernards, need even less exercise as puppies. They grow so quickly that their body can’t keep up. That means their joints are going to be more prone to injuries when they’re younger. So no running with them, no long hikes, and no pushing them past their limits until they’re 2 years old — it could severely impact their adult life.
Massive breeds can benefit the most from a little extra support, especially when they’re growing up and when they’re seniors. Look for hip slings, CCL braces, and elbow braces to help support their joints. Your dog will thank you for it!