You’ll never walk alone with a dog at your side, but why stop at walking? Natural dog food brand Harringtons has mined Spotify data across thousands of playlists to discover which dog breeds make a good running partner and the best running songs to train to. While you’re reading, see if you can find our sneaky song title…
Dogs have a natural prey drive, a hunting instinct from their ancestry as wild wolves, which gave them the ability to chase down and catch food. Between this and selective breeding for speed and endurance in working dogs that gave us some of our most popular breeds, a dog's paws were made for running.
Whether you regularly run a half marathon or dip your toes into the Couch to 5k, a furry friend can be great extra motivation to up the energy in your daily dog walk – and music is a close second. But if you’re going to share your daily run with your dog, it’s important to pick the right running playlist to give both of you a good workout without getting overworked or injured.
Never run with your dog before? Consider what works for their breed
Most dogs love to run, but not all dogs are bred and built better for regular running. Large and heavy dogs can be more prone to injury, while smaller dogs with short legs can struggle to keep up. Short-snouted and flat-faced dogs are also more prone to breathing problems and overheating.
A sprinting breed might struggle with long distances, while slower breeds could go further for longer. Harringtons’ dog walking guide can give you a good idea of how far your dog can walk, which can help you map out an ideal running distance.
And of course, every individual dog is different; there are definitely dogs bred for activity who would much rather slob it on the couch! You know your dog best, and you’ll know whether they’d prefer an early morning jog, or a mid-day snooze.
Gunna get moving? Remember, safety first
It’s important to keep our dogs safe at all times, especially when we’re out and about. The best running breeds are commonly working and hunting dogs with active prey drives, so effective leash training and good recall are a must. Take a look at Harringtons’ top 10 dog walking tips to stop your dog running off, and avoid other dangers to dogs in the great outdoors.
Helping dogs run at their best also depends on their diet. A natural dry dog food is great for helping your pup get the right nutrition to keep their bones and muscles in ship shape, while grain free dog food trades low-value filler ingredients with yummy, healthy meats and vegetables. It also helps to balance their energy levels to keep them engaged, obedient, and safe.
Give running a go with the internet’s favourite running breeds
The top four dog breeds for long distance running are the Dalmatian, Hungarian Vizsla, German Shorthaired Pointer, and English Springer Spaniel – medium-sized dogs with athletic bodies, combining the perfect balance of size, strength and speed for the ultimate runner.
The most popular breeds for middle-distance running are the Weimaraner and Rhodesian Ridgeback. Large working dogs bred for hunting need lots of exercise and love the mental challenge of keeping pace with their person, but trim down the distances to protect their bones and joints from their own size and strength.
The favoured breeds for sprinting are the Greyhound and Saluki. These are the two fastest breeds in the world, bred purely for speed. You’ll struggle to keep up!
Lastly, the best breeds for short distance jogging are the Jack Russell Terrier and Beagle. Running’s not just for the big boys! Smaller, high-energy breeds can make excellent jogging companions for people who want to stay close to home.
You found your perfect running partner – now how about the music?
Harringtons dug through thousands of Spotify playlists* to understand what makes the perfect running playlist for people and pups.
Beats Per Minute (BPM), or tempo, ranges from 79-186 for human runners and 50-203 for hounds, but both data sets find 120-130 bpm to be the most popular range. Both sets of runners, on average, prefer higher energy music which is easier to dance to, but dog joggers show a broader range of energy levels in their music. Similarly, solo runners like more feel-good vibes from their music, with tracks rating higher for positivity on average; this average for dog joggers was much lower.
Music across both playlists range from the mid-1970s to brand new releases; solo runners like more recent music, while dog joggers throw it back to the 2010s. The favoured genre is pop, but with different flavours; dance pop for solo runs, and folk pop for dog jogs. Both show a preference for male artists, with 83% tracks for solo runners and 74% dog joggers coming from male artists. Curiously though, while 17% of tracks for dog joggers were created by male and female ensembles, solo runners didn’t listen to a single track by a multi-gender duo or band.
One of the biggest differences is in the popularity of the tracks themselves. The range of tracks for solo runners is narrower, but sits much higher in popularity than music listened to by dog joggers. Solo runners also have a much higher popularity score on average. Does this mean dog joggers listen to bad music? Maybe it’s just very niche…
Up your game: building your dog’s perfect running mix
There are some great takeaways here which can help us build the perfect playlist for running with your dog – and not all of them are down to taste.
People are better able to pace ourselves right for the distance, terrain, weather, and terrain on our run. Having a broader BPM range in your running mix can help you keep your dog to a healthy pace throughout the run. Try building out your running soundtrack with some slower, lower energy songs with a steady beat to control your speed – or crank up the tempo to push yourself and your little sprinter over short bursts.
Below are the top ten songs which will meet the preferences of both solo runners, and paw-rents who run with their pooches!
‘Turn me on (feat. Vula)’, Riton
‘Confident’, Demi Lovato
‘Home’, Phillip Phillips
‘Dance, Baby!’, boy Pablo
‘Raise Your Glass’, P!nk
‘Drive By’, Train
‘Giant (with Rag’n’Bone Man)', Calvin Harris
‘Big Parade’, The Lumineers
‘CAN’T STOP THE FEELING! (from DreamWorks Animation’s “TROLLS”)’, Justin Timberlake
‘OUT OUT (feat. Charli XCX & Saweetie)’, Joel Corry
Just remember that music is only one part of what makes a happy and healthy run with your dog – training and nutrition are super important. But getting these three things in harmony means both you and your dog can share the great experience of getting fit together.