Tips For Running With Small Dogs.


Jogging or running is a great activity to do with your dog as long as he is fit and healthy. The majority of breeds who run with their owners are medium, working type breeds. However, jogging with small dogs can be fun too and they can enjoy it just as much. Holidays4Dogs asks, is it OK to go jogging with small dogs?

This is an interesting question because my Chihuahua Peggy loves running. Often when runners overtake us while out walking, she will pull ahead and want to run with them.

On the few occasions I feel energetic enough to break into a jog, Peggy happily runs alongside me, tongue lolling, looking very happy to jog along at a quicker and more exciting pace.

Most dogs tend to move at a much faster pace then we do. It’s one of the reasons why some dogs pull on the lead and why many breeds enjoy jogging, or running with their owners – including small breeds. However, there are a few things to consider before you embark on running exercise with your small dog.

Vet check before running with your dog.

The main consideration (with any dog) is to make sure he is old enough and fit enough to begin running.

Dogs shouldn’t probably start running any distance until they are around two and half years old. Before this, build the distance up gradually.

They should not run if they are overweight as this puts too much strain on joints and tendons. Paws can also become injured, especially running on hard surfaces.

A vet check up would be a good idea before you start, especially with small dogs.

Consider your dog’s breed and capabilities.

There are quite a few smaller breeds that will enjoy running. dog sitting, pet sittingHowever, there are possibly a few exceptions. Care should be taken when running with breeds such as short-legged dachshunds or flat-faced breeds, such as pugs.

Similarly, any toy breed of tiny proportions may not be good running candidates.

Of course, smaller breeds won’t be up for a marathon – or even a quarter marathon! – But would probably benefit and enjoy the odd weekly run, or a bit of a ‘yomp’, (walk a few paces, jog a few paces).

Breeds such as Jack Russell Terriers, Border Terriers, Poodles (and poodle crosses), would all enjoy being running partners. Introduce any new physical activity gradually and carefully.

Train and build-up gradually.

It would be sensible to teach your dog to run on one particular side, or out in front. As we have mentioned, smaller dogs are naturally going to pose more of a trip hazard.

It is therefore essential to know where they are underfoot! Equally, try and teach your dog to run a little way to the side of you on a loose lead, rather than too near your feet. You can teach this at a walking pace using positive reinforcement.

Canicross is a popular canine sport where the dog wears a harness attached to a lead which is worn around the handlers waist. The dog runs ahead and pulling is allowed. This is great for high energy dogs, including fit and energetic small breeds.

Weather and terrain factors when running with small dogs.

The weatherjogging with small dogs and terrain is also an important factor. Running on hot tarmac, or pavements during warm weather, isn’t good for any dog, but small dogs will most certainly find this too challenging.

Gradients, or difficult, stony, ground may also be rather too much for dogs of a finer build. Likewise, dogs with small delicate paws will struggle with hard terrain.

A toy dog will have soft and delicate pads, so that even stepping on thistles, or other prickly vegetation can cause discomfort.

Large dogs can wear protective boots, but tiny dogs may find this too cumbersome, which might put them off.


It’s always important to remember not to push your dog too hard, no matter what breed he is. Running is good for mental and physical health – for dogs and people. If your dog is fence running, however, this can be a nuisance. You can read more about that here.

Jogging with small dogs can be done with care, taking into account your dog’s capabilities. It’s certainly a most enjoyable way for you and your four legged friend to bond and keep fit.