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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a passionate runner and I need a running partner! I usually run 7-8 miles a few times a week. I'm a very petite girl so I also want a large dog that can protect me, as well as keep up with me. Does anyone have any advice on what the best running dogs are? I'm thinking about getting a standard poodle or a doberman but I don't know if these are the best options. Thank you!
 

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Any medium sized dog is a deterrent to anyone who would try to mess with you. I'm a petite girl and I run at night with my 60lb mix and I don't get bothered. If someone tries to talk to me or stop me I simply say she isn't a friendly dog (she is friendly) and they leave me alone.

I would suggest a rescue mix, honestly. Any dog 30 lbs or over will be able to run the 7-8 miles so long as you condition them to that distance. No large breed dog under the age of 18 months should be running. So getting a 2-3 year old dog would be perfect. They have the energy, they need a home, and there are lots of black dogs (black dogs tend to be adopted less and people tend to be more unsure around dark colored dogs) Black Dogs.

If you were thinking about getting a puppy, keep in mind they are incredibly demanding and you wouldn't be able to run them until they were at least a year old. Do you know what else you want in a dog? What about biddability? Temperament? Let me tell you, you do not want a dog that will bite someone. Bark sure, but not bite. You are looking at a huge liability if your dog did bite someone. Also, energy? Some dogs need more than 8 miles of running a day. Some dogs need less. Some dogs are content with 8 miles a day. How much time can you commit to exercise? Just one run a day?

Both Dobes and Poodles are incredibly different breeds.
 

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Be careful with Dobies if you rent. It's very difficult to rent with any large dog, but Dobies are generally on the "dangerous" list, along with Rottweilers and the pit bull breeds.

As to keeping you safe while you run, I am a small woman and I walk everywhere. (I can't drive.) I get lots of unwanted male attention when I'm alone, and none when I'm with my dog. He's 45 lbs and looks like you made a stuffed animal get up and walk around. He's the least threatening dog you've ever seen, but he wards off attention just fine.
 

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I agree with what everyone has said, and would add that I would recommend getting something like a rescue lab mix that is at least 2 years old (so you can run with him right away) and that doesn't have a short muzzle (can sometimes cause breathing problems or overheating).

I am a small woman living in a very urban area. My dog is a blonde 45 pound flop eared mutt, and is so cute that I have been "pulled over" by a police office while walking so the cop could scratch my dog's ears. I get tons of unwanted attention when I'm walking alone. When I'm with my dog, I still get attention, but it's much less creepy and is generally directed at my dog. Moreover, she makes me feel much safer.

7-8 miles is a lot for any dog. You'll have to work up to it. But cheers to you!
 

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Another thing to keep in mind when runnnig with dogs is that you should train them not to get distracted and run toward another dog or squirell. My 50 pound mutt tripped me twice on runs. He caused some nasty scrapes and my shoulder to nearly dislocate, all because he got distracted and wanted to chase a cat or go meet another dog. I learned quickly to train him against this behavior before trying to run with him again, a painful lesson.
 

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Another thing to keep in mind when runnnig with dogs is that you should train them not to get distracted and run toward another dog or squirell. My 50 pound mutt tripped me twice on runs. He caused some nasty scrapes and my shoulder to nearly dislocate, all because he got distracted and wanted to chase a cat or go meet another dog. I learned quickly to train him against this behavior before trying to run with him again, a painful lesson.
This is a good point. Some dogs take to running in a straight line more earily than others. My dog is much more focused when we're running than when walking - it seems to give her a sense of purpose. But, she is very slow!
 

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Greyhounds are not really distance runners.

To the OP- like others have said, unless you want to wait 18 months+ until a puppy is old enough to run with you (running too young is very damaging to the growing joints), then go for a young adult rescue. About 18 months to 3 years old. Then condition, almost any fit medium to large breed (not giant breed) should be able to run 5-8 miles in good weather. Remember that dogs are more heat sensitive than people so during warmer months, you'll need to run very early or very late or leave the dog at home (maybe running 3 miles with the dog and 3 miles without the dog).

You want to look at your living situation- some breeds, like Dobes, are nearly impossible to rent with. If you plan to use a dog park or doggie daycare, you may want to avoid breeds with a tendency to dog aggression. Basically, there is a lot more to choosing the right dog than picking one that can run, simply because so many of them can run that the other aspects or traits should be the deciding factor.

Some breeds that I think make good running partners (but may or may not fit other parts of your life): Hound dogs like black mouth curs, walker coonhounds and other hounds bred to hunt (run over distance), pit bulls and mixes, labs (especially if kept lean), ACDs, and in general the sporting breeds. Any dog about 50 lbs plus will be a good deterrent, you don't really want an overly protective dog since that can backfire around people in the park for example or even rescue workers if you had an accident. I mean, you don't want to be out jogging and get hurt and have your dog bite the paramedic...

I went to the shelter looking for a running partner, told them that and pointed out a large dog that I'd seen on petfinder. They said he was a very high energy dog that would do great with running. He's a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix and for the 2 years that I was really running hardcore, we did about 3x per week at 4 miles and 2x per week at 8 miles plus daily walks of 30 mins each morning and one day per weekend for a long (2-3 hour) hike in the woods. I have slowed down and he's slowed a little, more to match me than anything and of course, the summer heat right now, so we do a few 30 min walks daily and then aim for a few miles of hiking on a weekend morning when its much cooler. Running alone isn't enough, you have to vary things and also work their minds.
 

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I imagine a retired Greyhound would be great. They only thing is that they are notoriously unreliable off lead due to their prey drive. You can train a recall and you can try to find an individual who is more apt to stay with you off leash, but the risk is there. However, from what I know and from those I have met, Greyhounds are low key, easy to care for, great exercise partners when you want to go out but also a great off switch at home. If the OP lives somewhere where it snows and gets cold the dog may need a jacket in the winter. Otherwise I think a Greyhound would be a potentially good candidate.

Greyhounds are not really distance runners.Greyhounds are not really distance runners.
I agree that Greyhounds are bred and raced more for sprint, but they could be acclimated and conditioned to run longer distances at a slower pace, no?
 

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How about a dalmation or a pointer? Rescue is a good idea, you avoid the frustrating puppy training and housebreaking and they're good to go exercise-wise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
thank you everyone for your suggestions. I forgot to mention that due to the fact that I am a college student and will shortly be attending law school, I definitely do not want a puppy! I plan on rescuing a adult dog. Isn't there a breed of dog called a Saluki that is like a greyhound but more suitable to long distance? Does anyone have any experience with these types of breeds? Also, I really would like to have a doberman. I think they are so regal looking and I don't have to be afraid on my runs. But I'm wary of them because of their reputation...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
This was so helpful! I've heard people talk about Rhodesian Ridgebacks before but I didn't know that they are good for running! I live in Texas so its hot, I obviously in the early mornings or late afternoons, but it is still pretty hot outside. Do these dogs do good in hotter climates?
 

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This was so helpful! I've heard people talk about Rhodesian Ridgebacks before but I didn't know that they are good for running! I live in Texas so its hot, I obviously in the early mornings or late afternoons, but it is still pretty hot outside. Do these dogs do good in hotter climates?
No dog can handle truly hot temperatures, their cooling system just isn't designed for it. But Rhodesians were bred for hot climates and bred for endurance, so I find they typically handle hot weather better than average if acclimated.
It was about 85 degrees and sunny this weekend and I hiked for 6 miles with the dogs; we stopped 3 times for water breaks in the shade. We can run in the low 80s and hike up to the mid/upper 80s with enough water breaks. After 90 degrees, it is strictly walking pace for 20-30 minutes before a break in the A/C.

They can be protective dogs but are typically neither human nor dog aggressive. Formidable to strangers certainly, and rare enough that they don't end up on banned breed lists much in apt complexes.
Texas has a very large RR rescue with young adult dogs available. If you can provide enough exercise (which it sounds like you can), then I recommend you look into rescuing a ridgeback. I actually rarely recommend them, not because they aren't great dogs, but because they really do require a lot of exercise. They are quiet though and generally well behaved indoors. They are NOT outdoor dogs, they need to live indoors with their person/family.

Law school is tough- you may find yourself far more short of time and exhausted than you expect. I would HIGHLY recommend completing your first year before getting a dog. After the first year, things are better and you'll have more time and even if you are studying, it is less stressful for most people. Really.... 1st year law is insane... wait on the dog :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Okay I will definitely look into rescuing one! Don't worry I am in no hurry to get a dog, I just want to fully research my options before I can commit to getting one! Thanks again! :)
 

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Law school is tough- you may find yourself far more short of time and exhausted than you expect. I would HIGHLY recommend completing your first year before getting a dog. After the first year, things are better and you'll have more time and even if you are studying, it is less stressful for most people. Really.... 1st year law is insane... wait on the dog :)
Agree with this, although I would note that I found having a dog around to be very therapeutic during final exams. I would wait until after 2L recruiting season is over, though. Things get much easier after that! Good luck!
 

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Be careful with Dobies if you rent. It's very difficult to rent with any large dog, but Dobies are generally on the "dangerous" list, along with Rottweilers and the pit bull breeds.
This truly cannot be stressed enough.

I have a doberman and I love him. That being said, when I moved for school I called every apartment complex, town house, mobile home park, etc in the area and nobody would rent to me with a doberman. You can get lucky renting a house through a private owner as the "aggressive breed" thing has to do with insurance but much of the general public has very negative misconceptions about dobes. I had to buy a house because I could find no other way to live in the city that I go to school in.

Dobes are great dogs but if you are truely considering one PLEASE do your research. They're not the healthiest of breeds, by far, and their health issues are quite expensive. There are also MANY terrible breeders out there and that will just increase the chance of your dog experiencing health issues. I suggest finding a doberman specific forum if you are dead-set on this breed.

Any larger dog, especially a large black dog, will deter an attacter regardless of breed.
 

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I agree 110% with a large black dog, I was never even spoken to when I walked with my 55 lb pure black Shar Pei/Husky at night because everyone in the neighborhood thought he was vicious... My mom always said "Take Padfoot!" to me when I said I was walking... I was around 10 or so if that gives you any idea, up til I moved out at 18. He was actually the sweetest dog in the world, but everyone was completely terrified of him.
 

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Everyone has already said some variation of what I agree with, but I'll reiterate just for the sake of it. I find that any medium-sized dog is a deterrent and you should be able to condition most to run 7-8 miles. If you're renting or planning to rent make sure you don't get a dog that will show up on the "dangerous" dog lists.
 
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