Getting a dog can be fun and exciting, but is also a big responsibility. You need to set aside plenty of time for training, making it feel at home and - of course - exercise. 

Although all dog breeds need exercise, some require much more running around than others. This can vary depending on the individual dog, but those bred specifically to work, for example, tend to need more activity. 

To help you decide which breed best suits your lifestyle, we’ve listed 11 high-energy breeds that are common in the UK. According to veterinary charity PDSA, each of these breeds needs more than two hours of exercise per day.

Labrador Retriever

Britain’s best-loved dog, there are more labrador retrievers registered in the UK than any other breed. They’re friendly and loyal, but can be a lot of work. Besides frequent walks, they can also be tired out by swimming or by playing fetch - hence their name.


If you enjoy running, dalmatians can be excellent exercise partners. While not as fast as, say, a weimaraner, dalmatians can keep their energy going over great distances. They’re better suited to wide-open spaces, ideally in the countryside. And they’re also very intelligent, so mental stimulation is a must.

Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan malamute is a very strong dog, having been bred to haul sleds with heavy loads across long distances. As such, hard work is in its blood, and it needs a lot of exercise to tire out. They’re also a very affectionate, playful and loyal breed, so you might forgive all the times they leave you utterly exhausted.

Border Collie

One of the best breeds for sheep herding, border collies love to work. Set them a task and they’ll see it done in no time. It takes a lot to tire them out, so make sure they have plenty of activity. They’re also very smart dogs, so it’s important to keep them occupied mentally as well as physically.


It’ll come as no surprise that these high-energy dogs need a lot of exercise and attention. Bred as a guard dog, they’re incredibly playful when not on patrol duty. You can expect them to chew their way through a lot of toys, too.

English Springer Spaniel

They may not appear it, but these gun dogs are full of energy. The third most popular breed in the UK, they’re also a lot of fun, and are great companions for energetic children.

German Shepherd

As police and military dogs, German shepherds (also known as Alsatians) are probably the breed we most associate with work today. These strong, intelligent working dogs need a lot of exercise. But, if you’re happy to put the hours in, they’re a lot of fun to train and very loyal companions.

Golden Retriever

A very intelligent breed, golden retrievers are often put to work in search and rescue, as guide dogs and sniffer dogs. They also love to swim. So, if you’re fond of the water yourself, golden retrievers are a great choice for a swimming buddy.


Loyal, affectionate and fluffy, the Samoyed makes a great family dog. But coming from Siberia, they still have a keen hunting instinct. The best way to stop them chasing after small animals is to tire them out with plenty of exercise.

Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky was bred to travel huge distances pulling heavy sleds, often in punishing conditions. For this reason, they need to walk and run frequently. Huskies with too much excess energy are known to dig up gardens or escape, so it’s definitely best to tire them out to avoid this.


Fast, agile and very intelligent, the ‘grey ghost’ needs to be occupied. If not, they’ll seek out their own entertainment, which might not work out well for owners. It’s suggested that they spend plenty of time off-lead, and two hours a day is the minimum recommended exercise for this energetic breed.

Whatever breed you decide to go for, making sure your dog gets the exercise and mental stimulation they need can go a long way in keeping them happy and healthy.

For more tips on keeping your pet happy and healthy, go to Solved.