Dogs For Active Families.


Choosing the right dog for your family isn’t always easy. Energy levels vary from dog to dog, but some breeds are far more active than others. Knowing the difference can help would-be owners to choose the right breed for their family and their lifestyle. Holidays4Dogs looks at some breeds that are suitable dogs for active families.

In addition to a lot of exercise, active breeds tend to require a good deal of company. They generally don’t fare well being left alone for long periods. Active dogs are usually to be found in herding, working and hunting breeds. If you are a family where someone is at home most of the time, such as home workers, part-time workers or, active retired, here are some suggestions for breeds that may suit.

Border collies.

Border collies are very high energy dogs with a love of adventure and the great outdoors. They are generally good with people and other dogs and amenable to learning new things. They particularly excel in activities such as agility and flyball. As well as physical exercise, they need a great deal of mental stimulation to keep them happy too.

They may not be the best breed for the first time dog owner because, while they are incredibly clever at learning new things, they can be apt to learn undesirable habits too, such as chasing and nipping. They can also display obsessive behaviour at times and they need to learn how to settle calmly when required.

Puppies from pure working stock may test the patience of the most seasoned dog owner. Therefore, for a family pet it is recommended you choose a puppy from dual working stock (working and show lines) and avoid farm bred pups unless you have researched the history, or are interested in using your dog to work with sheep.

Another alternative is to acquire a young dog that has failed as a working sheepdog. These dogs often make very good family pets and house dogs, but still have the energy level to keep up with an active family.

Border Collies do need consistent handling and plenty of socialisation from an early age. However, in active homes, where someone is around for a good part of the day, they make extremely loyal family pets.

Jack Russell terriers.

Despite their stature, JR terriers are generally very high energy dogs and they can be ‘on the go’ for hours. Their size makes them ideal for small homes, but make no mistake, these little dogs – bred to kill rats and vermin – can be formidable characters. Many terriers enjoy agility and flyball, although some would say they are not as easy to train as other breeds.

These are most definitely lively dogs, always on their toes and alert. This means they can be reactive and vocal. However, they should never be aggressive, so it is wise to research breeders carefully. They can be a nuisance with cats and other small furries, but given the right lifestyle, they can be engaging family pets for active families.

German shepherd dogs.


Shepherds are another excellent breed that will fit the bill as dogs for active families. They are highly intelligent dogs which is why they are frequently used in the police and armed forces. They are notoriously loyal, with a natural guarding instinct. In the right environment, they can make extremely dependable family pets.

For families with an interest in formal obedience, working trials, or agility, a German shepherd would make a great choice.  However, they do need careful handling when young. They need plenty of early socialisation and they might not suit the first time dog owner.

Some lines can be very nervous and over reactive which would make them totally unsuitable for family life. Therefore, it is really crucial that would-be purchasers of a GSD puppy research breeders thoroughly. Take time to visit to different breeders to see the dogs in the flesh. Overall, this breed will need an active and varied lifestyle, but as long as you provide enough for him to do, he will be just as happy to relax around the house with you.

Springer spaniels.

Springer spaniels are one of the best choices of dogs for active families. They are a medium sized active breed with a happy-go-lucky nature. No family will be allowed to be down in the dumps with this fellow around! However, they are high energy dogs and require a great deal of exercise and stimulation to ensure they don’t turn into unmanageable hooligans. Spaniels, in general, are usually polite and sociable with strangers and other dogs.

Springers just love company and activity, so without it, they can become noisy and destructive when left for long periods. They very much dote on their owners, although they can sometimes focus on just one member of the family. Springer spaniels are lovable characters with an endearing wiggle when they wag their tails – which is much of the time.

They have a love of water – and will always find a muddy puddle on the hottest of days. For families with a love of the countryside and rural pursuits, the springer spaniel would make an ideal family companion. He can turn his hand to almost anything, from hiking to agility, picking up on the local shoot or, taking part in dock diving events.

Labrador Retrievers.

These cheerful Charlies are also active, fun loving dogs, full of vitality with adaptable and biddable natures. They must be one of the top dogs of choice when it comes to choosing a family pet, but they particularly suit people with an active lifestyle.

Labradors are perhaps rather more adaptable than other breeds, which is a great plus point for families with children, or other pets. While Labradors are strong and lively, they are also happy to settle calmly, when activities are over for the day.

However, without enough exercise, they can become boisterous, which might be an issue if there are toddlers in the house.

Broadly speaking they are also slow to mature, so families need to be aware that patience and consistent training is required. Sociable with people and other dogs, Labradors make superb family companions and they like nothing more to be included in daily activities with their families.


With the exception of a few, almost all dogs enjoy exercise and being active, but the handful of breeds Holidays4Dogs mentions in this article are suitable as dogs for active families. If you’re looking for the more sedate family companion head over to our other article here.