For how long do you really need to walk different breeds of dog?

Latino woman dog walker
Some dogs prefer longer walks than others (Picture: Getty Images)
You might have heard last week that authorities in Germany have proposed a law that requires dog owners to walk their pets for at least two hours a day – or face steep fines. Many dog-owners were in uproar at the idea that the government could legislate on how active our fur-babies are, while others hailed the German agriculture minister for putting a stop to owners who don’t take animals’ health seriously.

While it’s an admirable effort to make sure that people don’t take on pets lightly, it’s actually not true that dogs necessarily need two one-hour walks per day.

It’s also not specifically true that all big dogs need more walking and all small dogs just need a short walk around the block.

In fact, a dog’s activity needs varies with their temperament and breed.

Regarding their temperament, you should be able to tell if your dog prefers more or less walking: Are they tired by the end of the walk? Do they appear bored or anxious? Do they simple refuse to walk once you’ve hit a certain point?

These will all be things you can work out (or ask your vet about if you’re worried they aren’t getting enough exercise or are having behavioural problems), but it’s handy to have an idea of the needs of the breed.

Invest in an escape-prevention harness if you have a small dog and a fenced-in yard. A little silly looking, but safer than risking a runaway dog. Buy it here.

The PDSA and Tractive have general guides on how long you should be walking your dog, which we’ve compiled. Of course this isn’t exhaustive, but it should give you a rough time for popular breeds.
Young Black Woman Walking Dogs with Smartphone
Keep an eye on them to see if they’re tired or bored (Picture: Getty Images)

Walk for 30+ minutes a day (on top of playtime)

  • Bichon frise
  • Yorkshire terrier
  • Miniature dachshund
  • King Charles spaniel
  • Chihuahua
  • Maltese
  • Papillion
  • Pekingese
  • Pomeranian
  • Miniature pinscher

Walk for one hour or more a day (on top of playtime)

  • Staffordshire bull terrier
  • Border terrier
  • Bull terrier
  • Saint Bernard
  • Bassett hound
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • Tibetan terrier
  • West Highland terrier
  • Whippet
  • Pug
  • Cairn terrier
  • Cocker spaniel
  • Miniature schnauzer
  • Miniature or toy poodle
  • Shetland sheepdog
  • English bulldog
  • Shih tzu
  • Beagle
  • Greyhound
  • Lhasa Apso
Dog walker in Buenos Aires
Most bigger breeds need more time out walking (Picture: Getty Images)

Walk for two hours or more a day (on top of playtime

  • Siberian husky
  • Golden retriever
  • Samoyed
  • Alaskan malamute
  • Border collie
  • Boxer
  • Dalmatian
  • English springer spaniel
  • German shepherd
  • Labrador retriever
  • Weimaraner
  • Irish setter
  • Rhodesian ridgeback
  • Australian shepherd
As mentioned, this isn’t an exhaustive list. However, the PDSA found that thousands of dogs aren’t walked at all, which shows there’s more needed when it comes to ensuring they don’t succumb so obesity or boredom.

You can split the walks into two or more if it’s easier for them and you, but just make sure to give them activity and stimulation.

We love them so much, and it’s only fair that we show them that by giving them the best lives possible.

Here's an ingenious leash that has a built-in waste-bag dispenser and a compartment for keys, cards, phone, and treats.

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