How Old Should A Dog Be To Start Running

I’ve always been an avid runner and I love taking my furry companion with me on my daily jogs. But when it comes to the question of how old a dog should be to start running, I’ve done a lot of research to ensure I’m providing the best care for my four-legged running buddy. It’s important to consider the impact that running can have on a dog’s growing body, so let’s delve into the details.

Understanding the Basics

Before lacing up my running shoes and hitting the pavement with my dog, I wanted to make sure I understood the basics. Dogs, just like humans, have different physical capabilities and grow at different rates depending on their breed and size. It’s crucial to consider the breed, size, and overall health of the dog when determining the right age to start running.

Small and Toy Breeds

For small and toy breeds such as Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, or Toy Poodles, it’s generally recommended to wait until they are at least 9 to 12 months old before starting a running routine. Their bones and joints are still developing during the first year, and too much impact from running can potentially lead to musculoskeletal issues.

Medium to Large Breeds

Medium to large breeds, like Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds, can usually start running at around 12 to 18 months of age. Waiting until they reach this age allows their bodies to develop properly, reducing the risk of joint and bone problems later in life.

Giant Breeds

For giant breeds such as Great Danes, Saint Bernards, and Mastiffs, it’s advisable to wait until they are at least 18 to 24 months old before introducing them to a running regimen. These gentle giants take longer to reach physical maturity, and early running could put excessive strain on their developing bones and joints.

Assessing Individual Health

While age can be a good guideline, it’s also essential to assess the individual dog’s health and physical condition. Before starting a running routine, I always check with a veterinarian to ensure that my dog’s bone structure, muscle development, and overall health are suitable for the activity.

Starting Slowly

When my dog reached the appropriate age and was given the green light by the vet, I started our running routine slowly. Just like humans, dogs need to build up their endurance and stamina gradually. I began with short runs and incorporated plenty of walking breaks to prevent fatigue and joint stress.


When it comes to deciding how old a dog should be to start running, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Each dog is unique, so it’s crucial to consider their breed, size, and overall health. Waiting until a dog’s bones and joints have fully developed reduces the risk of long-term musculoskeletal issues. Always consult a veterinarian before starting a running routine to ensure it’s the right choice for your canine companion.