How much exercise does my dog need?

Confused how much exercise your pet needs? Here's how much physical and mental stimulation your pet requires based on their breed and group.

19th March 2020

Having a canine companion is one of the greatest things. They force us outdoors even on the days we may not want to venture past the front door. When picking a pup or adopting an older dog, their exercise requirements should be considered every step of the way. This will make things easier and fair for you and your pooch. 

A dog’s activity needs vary depending on a few important factors including their breed, age and their medical history. 

Here’s how much exercise a dog needs, based on the group they belong to.

Toy dogs 

Some of the smallest dog breeds belong in the toy dog group. They might have been bred to be a lap dog, but these tiny pooches need to be exercised just like their bigger counterparts. 

It’s recommended that a toy dog receives around 30-60 minutes of moderate exercise a day. Because they’re small, they can be exercised indoors, in the garden or further afield. 

Toy dogs include: 

  • Chihuahua 
  • Cavalier King Charles
  • Spaniel Bichon Frise 


These dogs were originally bred to hunt and kill vermin around their family homes and barns, so it’s fair to say they’re both feisty and energetic. 

They’re moderately active dogs that like anything from 1-3 hours exercise a day. They love a challenge, so keep on top of their training to provide enough mental stimulation, too. 

Terrier dogs include: 

  • Border Terrier 
  • Welsh Terrier 
  • Cairn Terrier 

Hound group 

This diverse group of dogs were originally used for hunting either by scent or sight, and their exercise needs depend on the type of hound you have. A sighthound would be okay with shorter walks with an opportunity to let out some energy with sprints. 

Scent hounds have higher exercise needs and love moderate activities. 

Hound dogs include: 

  • Afghan Hound 
  • Greyhound 
  • Dachshund 

Utility group 

The utility dog group consists of dogs bred for non-sporting purposes. Those dogs are diverse in size, personality and appearance which means their exercise needs are just as varied, too. If your dog belongs to the utility group, you can determine your dog’s exercise needs based on which dog, or group, they are most similar to. 

Utility dogs include: 

  • Shih Tzu 
  • Dalmatian 
  • Boston Terrier 

Working dogs 

Dogs that belong to the working group are typically very high energy dogs that need a lot of exercise for both physical and mental well-being. 

Daily physical workouts and mental stimulation will help keep your dog happy and healthy. 

Working dogs include: 

  • St. Bernard 
  • Siberian Husky 
  • Rottweiler 

Pastoral dogs

Pastoral dogs have been bred for their work with grazing animals like cattle, sheep and even reindeer. Just like working dogs, they are easily bored and need to be exercised daily. Toys like puzzles are great for keeping them occupied indoors as they feel like they have a ‘job’ to do. 

Pastoral dogs include: 

  • Border Collie 
  • Welsh Corgi 
  • Australian Shepherd 

Gun dogs 

These intelligent dogs are both active and high-energy breeds that require moderate daily exercise. These retrievers, spaniels, setters and other breeds love variety, so mixing up their exercise will keep things interesting for both you and them. 

Gun dogs include: 

  • Labrador Retriever 
  • Cocker Spaniel 
  • Irish Setter 

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