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The 11 Best Active Dog Breeds For Families

Written by: Kelli Brinegar
For more than five years, Kelli Brinegar has been using her ability to write and her passion for research to tell the tale of what cats are thinking and why. She has provided care to more than 30 cats in her lifetime.Read more
| Published on August 6, 2014

One of the most important parts of finding the best active dog breed for adventuring families is finding out how well said breed interacts with children. There are many breeds out there that are not the most patient, tolerant, or easily handled – which makes them typically a poor choice for a non-professional family looking for an easy household pet.

But most of the dog breeds out there for kids aren’t typically your active dog companions. They’re good for families that just want a loving and easy going companion, but how about the families that are active? Especially with the importance of exercise, many families are looking for dogs that can run, bike, camp, hike, and even swim with them. So what fun-loving, adventuring dog breeds are the best for children? Find out below!

11 Best Active Dog Breeds for Families

#1 – Australian Shepherd


Australian Shepherds are known for their sweet, loving personalities and have a reputation as one of the most active dog breeds. Bred to herd, they enjoy running and playing with their people and are excellent with children. Be sure to keep them well groomed to avoid coat matting, though they don’t need the constant professional groomer as a good bath will do! He may win for most active, but he also gets points for being one of The 10 Most Cuddly Dog Breeds!

#2 – Beagle

shutterstock_159359150Beagles are an active dog breed good for outdoor adventure. 

Beagles are an excellent family companion for both young and old. He is a loyal dog, and is great to take outdoors despite his smaller stature. Due to their size and wonderful temperaments, they’re easy to take anywhere!

#3 – Bernese Mountain Dog


These gentle giants are excellent family companions, and don’t let their size and fluffy coats deter you from taking them outdoors. While special attention needs to be made for outdoor safety during hot weather, this active dog loves to get outside.

#4 – Boxer

shutterstock_151510514Active dog breeds need lots of exercise. 

Boxers are excellent dogs for children, and they absolutely love to be active. This breed is known for his loyalty and devotion to his entire family. Because of their intelligence and their high energy levels, Boxers can become destructive if inadequately exercised. But if you’re an active family looking for a dog to be your hiking, running, or walking companion, this breed might be for you!

#5 – Collie

best outdoors dog breeds

It’s not surprising that Lassie is a Collie, because these dogs are so wonderful with children of all ages. The Collies is also a very active dog that loves getting out with his people, whether it’s a walk in the park or a hike through the forest. Collies come in a smooth and long-coated variety, so if you don’t feel up to the constant grooming of an active long coat you can enjoy short coated dogs.

#6 – Golden Retriever

best active dog breeds

Perhaps one of the most well-known family dogs, the Golden Retriever can hardly be beat. These dogs have incredible personalities and stable temperaments that allow for safe, easy handling inside and outside of the house. He is the true “take anywhere” type of adventure dog.

#7 – Irish Setter

shutterstock_156760151Irish setters are one of the best outdoor breeds for active families. 

This beautiful dog is an excellent family companion and loves being outdoors. Bred originally as hunting dogs, Irish Setters are well versed in walking and running long distances to find quarry. Adequate exercise is necessary for this breed, so if you’re an active family that wants an active dog, the Irish Setter is a safe bet.

#8 – Labrador Retriever

best active dog breeds

Labradors are right up there with Goldens on their family popularity – and it’s no surprise. They have goofy personalities and can relax in the house while the kids do their homework, or go out with you on your long jogs and family hikes. The Lab is a great dog to have for a family companion.

#9 – Pembroke Welsh Corgi

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi may be small, but the breed has a powerful build which helped these active canines achieve their herding dog status. As vigilant watch dogs who pick up training easily, the Welsh Corgi loves activity and will enjoy playing chase with the kids.

#10 – Portuguese Water Dog

Bred as hunting dogs, this active dog and family companion has a ton of energy and a love for swimming. They will go anywhere with you, whether you’d like to relax at your favorite coffee spot or hike to a waterfall. The Portuguese Water Dog is the one of the best outdoors dog breeds for any adventure!

#11 – Vizsla

best outdoors dog breedRaymond Brow/Flickr

The Vizsla is an intelligent, sensitive and affectionate dog that adores his family. They are great with children and need quite a bit of exercise. They are excellent dogs for very active families that enjoy running, hiking, and swimming. Their docile personalities make them easy to take anywhere you go.

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