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Golden Retriever on a walk
Bella on a walk with Golden Days Pet Services

Dogs need exercise every day to keep them healthy, happy and mentally stimulated. A simple walk can improve your furry friend’s social behavior and strengthen the bond that ties you together.

How long should you walk a dog? While breed, age and health conditions are big influencers in how much physical activity your pooch needs, size is also an important factor. A small dog will likely get more benefit out of a short stroll than a large canine. Read our dog walking guide below to learn how often and how long you should walk your pet, depending on its size.

How often should you walk a small dog?

Small breed dogs, such as Chihuahuas, Poodles and Yorkshire Terriers, tend to be less active. However, those little canines still need daily exercise to maintain optimal health. Regular walks could help prevent aggression, anxiety, fear and hyperactivity.

In general, little dogs need about half an hour of walking a day, which can be broken up into two 15-minute segments. Fewer and shorter walks are recommended, since small canines need to trot to keep up with the average human gait. Casual trips around the neighborhood once a day should be sufficient exercise for smaller breeds.

When considering how long or far to walk, remember to keep your pet’s age, health level and physical features in mind. For example, Bulldogs, Pugs and other short-nosed breeds are prone to a variety of respiratory problems. They may easily overheat if exercised too much, so walks should be kept to 20 to 30 minutes.

How often should you walk a medium dog?

Medium-sized dogs can range from low energy to athletic, depending on the breed. These include but are not limited to: Boxers, Chinooks, Whippets and Cocker Spaniels. In general, medium-sized canines need about 40 to 80 minutes of walking every day. Unlike smaller breeds, medium-sized pooches should be able to walk at a comfortable pace alongside you.

How often should you walk a large dog?

Most big breeds are energetic and agile, though some are more laid back. Hunting, sporting and working dogs are extremely active in nature, and you will find that they need longer and more rigorous exercise. Moreover, these types of canines are bred to cover a lot of ground, so they may prefer a long walk rather than a few neighborhood strolls. For this reason, larger dogs can walk up to 10 miles or more.

As a general rule of thumb, most healthy, large-breed canines need a minimum of 30 minutes to two hours of walking every day. If your pooch has high energy levels, however, it may need more than two hours. Some large, active breeds include:

  • Border Collies

  • Australian Shepherds

  • Siberian Huskies

  • Dalmatians

  • Labrador Retrievers

  • Irish Setters

  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks

All dogs regardless of age, breed or size should be walked regularly. If you are still unsure, consult a veterinarian to get personal recommendations for your dog’s walking schedule.

Chart listing amount of exercise a dog needs everyday
Exercise Chart for Dogs

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