How much exercise does your dog need?

While most dogs love their belly rubs, they also need sufficient exercise in order to stay healthy and prevent boredom. But how do you know what is the right level of exercise for your dog?

Exercise is important for all breeds, regardless of size or energy level. Shockingly, an estimated 1.3 million dogs do not get daily exercise. Below is a general guide for the amount of exercise different breeds need per day:

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30 mins – small breeds like Miniature Dachshunds, Chihuahuas and King Charles Spaniels are generally content with one longer walk or two shorter walks.
1 hour – most medium sized dogs such as Terriers, Bulldogs and Pugs, as well as most giant breeds, such as Bernese Mountain Dogs, need about 1 hour of exercise per day, split into two 30 minute sessions.
2 hours – the majority of larger, working group breeds, such as retrievers, shepherds, spaniels and sled dogs need about 2 hours of exercise per day. It is also advisable to supplement your dog’s lead walks with mentally stimulating activities that imitate their original breed purpose – fetch and agility training imitate herding behaviours, swimming is favoured by hunting dogs, and sled dogs can be trained to run alongside a bike.

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If you allow your dog to go off-lead, you need to ensure that you only do so in a safe place, and that your dog has sufficiently good recall. Taking some healthy dog treats with you, such as those supplied by, can assist in getting your dog to come back to you.

The level of exercise your dog needs is also determined by their age:
Puppies – while puppies have high energy needs, their bones and joints are still developing. As a general rule, you should exercise your puppy twice a day for 5 minutes per month of age. Therefore, for a 3-month-old puppy, you should do two 15-minute walks, while for a 6-month-old puppy you should do two 30-minute sessions.
Adults – from about 18 months, until about 7 years of age, provided that your dog is fit and healthy, you can follow the above breed-specific guide for exercise needs.
Seniors – senior dogs need daily exercise, but as you dog ages, you will need to adjust their exercise based on their general health and enjoyment.