The 7 Worst Trail Running Dog Breeds

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Worst Trail Running Dog Breeds
Caption: Tired basset hounds

Trail running has grown in popularity over recent years. And with a good reason. It’s an excellent way to keep fit while enjoying nature at the same time. It’s also a perfect opportunity to take a break from your busy day-to-day life. What’s even better is that it’s a form of exercise that the whole family can engage in.

However, if you’re planning on taking your dog along with you for a trail running adventure, think again, as not all dogs are great running companions. Imagine how frustrating it is to take breaks only after every few minutes of running for the pup to catch their breath as you try to cover just a few miles.

Remember, jogging or running is an entirely different activity for your furry friend than walking. You need to make sure that they will enjoy it because, if not, they will ruin the experience.

No offense to anyone who owns the below dog breeds, and I mean no disrespect. They are all adorable and cool in their own right, but in my opinion, these dog breeds aren’t the best choices for trail running.

1. Basset Hound

Basset Hound
Caption: Basset Hound

The Basset Hound is one of the most common hound dogs you will see in the United States. They were originally bred for hunting, but that doesn’t mean they make a great running partner.

They have short legs, a long body, and weigh quite a bit. The Basset Hound is more of an indoor type of dog, so don’t even think about taking them along on any running adventures unless you are willing to carry them around in a backpack or slow down every few minutes to allow them to catch their breath.

2. Bulldog

English Bulldog
Caption: Bulldog

The Bulldog is a muscular breed that can weigh up to 55 pounds or more and is definitely not the best trail running dog! They may look like a toughy from afar, but their features suggest otherwise.

Bulldogs have a flat face that can make it hard for them to breathe when engaged in high-intensity activities such as running. Plus, they are typically lazy and can often sleep around 12 to 14 hours a day!

Not to mention, Bulldogs are at a greater risk of overheating than most other dog breeds.

3. Chow Chow

Chow Chow
Caption: Chow Chow

The Chow Chow might look cute and cuddly, but under this exterior lies a stubborn, strong-willed canine who doesn’t like taking orders!

It’s also one of the worst trail running dogs as it has breathing difficulties, which can be dangerous when engaged in strenuous activities such as running and jogging.

Chow Chows are also territorial and not very “social” dogs. In fact, they are pretty much aloof dogs that don’t like too much attention and will not get along well with other dogs. So don’t even think about taking them along on your next trail run!

4. English Mastiff

English Mastiff
Caption: English Mastiff

The English Mastiff is a giant dog breed that makes our list of the worst running dogs for its sheer size alone!

They can weigh up to 230 pounds, making it an absolute challenge to bring them along for any running adventures. I mean, if you plan on going on a 10k trail run with them, consider yourself lucky if they can run alongside you for even one mile!

English Mastiffs are known for their calm and gentle demeanor and would probably make excellent couch potato dogs rather than running buddies. They don’t need much exercise either. As long as they get their daily walk in the park, they’ll be just fine.

5. Dachshund

Caption: Dachshund

The Dachshund might be the cutest looking dog breed in the world (I owned one in the past), but don’t let their looks fool you. They’re pretty stubborn and prone to instigating unwanted fights.

In fact, it is hard to train these guys. They will always keep wandering off, and that’s not something you want when trail running. Not to mention, they have a poor body structure for running as well.

What’s worse, Dachshunds are prone to intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) and other back-related issues, which running can be bad for them.

6. Pug

Caption: Pug

How could we have a list of the worst dogs for running without including Pugs? Yes. I know they are an adorable dog breed that has gained a lot of popularity in recent years.

Many people love the distinctive squashed faces and adorable body shapes, but unfortunately, they are also unsuitable for running activities. Pugs, like Bulldogs, have a very short snout, in which they can suffer from breathing difficulties when engaged in strenuous outdoor activities!

Plus, most Pugs are just too lazy to keep up with you on the trail. They are not exactly known for their high endurance level and need rest every once in a while. I mean, there’s just no way you can take these guys along on a trail run or anything like that! Even if they want to tag along, their little legs will give up after only running for a short while!

7. Chihuahua

Caption: Chihuahua

The Chihuahua is another dog breed that doesn’t really suit trail running well. They are very tiny dogs who can weigh as little as 3 pounds, which is too little to keep pace with you. As much as we love these guys and want to bring them along on runs, they’re just not suited. I mean, they don’t have much energy, and I would rather exercise them indoors.

Also, there is another big issue with Chihuahuas. They love barking at just about everything and won’t hesitate to bark at people on the streets or other joggers when out running. They are tiny dogs with a lot of attitudes! Think of Chihuahuas as the spoiled child who gets away with everything and is always looking for trouble.

So, trail running with Chihuahuas is almost out of the question. But, if you do bring them along, expect them to give up after only running a short distance. Although I’ll admit, bringing this cute little guy out for a run could be pretty fun!

Read More: 5 Best Ultrasonic Dog Bark Control Devices


You see, all breeds in the list have something in common. They either have poor body structure for running (a long body and short legs), prone to breathing difficulties (brachycephalic breeds), or too large or too small in size. That is not something you want in a trail-running canine companion!

You’re pretty much guaranteed to be stuck carrying them around on your back for most of the run or head home after running for a short period if you bring along one of these breeds. None of them have sufficient stamina and will slow you down as well.

In my humble opinion, I would advise against taking any of these dog breeds along for your next trail running adventure! They won’t be able to keep pace with you!

Just stick to canine pals that suit running better, like Border Collies, Vizslas, and German Shepherds. I’ve also written another article about the best small dog breeds for runners. Make sure to check it out if you are interested!