People are so used to going for a walk with their dogs. But what if you want to see your dog running at full speed and maybe you also want to run? In that case, Golden and Labrador retrievers are the best choice. Both these breeds will give you extra motivation for running.
The running speed of both these dogs (Lab and Golden) can be 35mph so you have to plan accordingly. But today’s topic is Can Golden Retrievers Run for Long Distances?”
The short and sweet answer is Yes, Golden Retrievers can run for long distances without tiring. While running fast is one thing, running for long distances requires stamina and Golden retrievers have that stamina.
I myself have run long distances of about 10 miles (with breaks) during my hunting sessions and also during a marathon with my Golden retriever. Obviously, a puppy won’t be able to do it, he needs to be a grown-up dog.
Why are Golden Retrievers Considered Running Companions?
The characteristics of the retriever breed make them special. They are made to run and receive stuff for you. This retrieval characteristic makes them ideal candidates for running for long intervals.
Even when you have a retriever as a family dog and not as a duck or shed dog then also you can expect them to be your running companions.
It’s a good way to stay healthy when you take your dog out for fast running sprints or for jogging. Spending time with your Golden will also improve your relationship with him.
Daily and frequent interactions make the dogs closer to humans and retrievers are social in nature.
The characteristics listed below make the Golden retriever best for running:
- Social in Nature
- Retrieval instinct
The benefits for their dog owners include:
- Good health
- Low-Stress levels
- Life companion
The Retriever Breed is Special
The history of retriever dogs (Lab and Golden) dates back 150+ years and they have been human’s companions as working dogs. They have been used in the hunting of food, searching of targets, protection of their owners.
Till date, their list of to-do items goes as it is. They have been historically trained for running miles for hunting and this characteristic has bee passed over to them since generations with the genes.
Thus, breeding and training history plays a major role in how a specific dog breed behaves today.
Humans have always been looking for the type of animals that help them in their daily life and Golden retrievers have served that purpose very well.
Golden Retrievers are Made for Running
Though I mention Golden Retriever here, Labradors also fall into the same pack. They are muscular and heavy high stamina.
They have been known as “Running dogs” for multiple decades. They are not too aggressive and they look amazing with that Golden color coat.
However, retrievers do run in small bursts. They can run for long intervals but they run a part of the distance in a burst and then slow down and then again pick up. That is how they are made to run by nature.
At What Age Can Golden Retriever Start to Run for Extended Time
A puppy cannot run for long intervals. When the dog grows up, he gains more stamina to run. The common question asked to me is “At what age are Golden Retrievers ready for long-running sprints?”
The most concerned aspect when a grown-up dog starts to run for long is the stress on paws and bones in legs. The vets would also first inspect his bone strength before giving a go-ahead.
Hip Dysplasia is a condition that occurs when a dog starts to run for an extended time and his body is not ready yet. Some parents won’t even let their puppies climb stairs for the fear of hip dysplasia.
1-1.5 Year is the right age for a Golden Retriever to start running for extended times. The bones are mature by that time to take the stress that comes from continuous running. So my advice is to hold on till that time.
You Can Start Training Golden Retriever Puppy for Runs
Although the puppy cannot run with his little paws, you can always start to train him for the target day when he will run in bursts. This training doesn’t need to be rigorous. You need to start small and slow. The list of things that you can do to better equip the Golden Retriever puppy is:
- Socialize Him: Take your puppy outside and let him explore the outside world. He will learn a lot by experiencing the real world.
- Exposure to Loud Noises: While your grown-up dog will be running, he will encounter loud noises in the outdoor fields. In order to avoid him getting nervous at those times, it is better to have him experience loud noises.
Age is The Biggest Factor: When to Stop Golden Retriever from Running
A grown-up Golden will one day need to stop running too. As the dogs age, their muscles start to get weaker and hence they cannot do those bursts of a run for long intervals.
It is worth mentioning here that dogs age faster than we think hence don’t count their age as you do yours in human years. Use the dog years to decide when to ease your Golden’s running.
Will you ever recommend a 60-year-old person to participate in a marathon without considering his overall health? The same applies to dogs. You need to check their health at regular intervals to make sure that they are not having any issues with their bone strength and stamina.
If the dog is getting tired too early than before then it could be a sign of his aging and becoming a senior dog.
Weight monitoring is also important
While you would be giving a healthy balanced diet to your Golden as recommended by his vet. But some dogs tend to gain more weight than others, their bodies are made like that. So it is so crucial to keep checking their weight time to time.
An overweight dog will have so many issues running in fast and long bursts. In fact, it can cause breathing problems for him. A lean and muscular body is what you need for your running companion.
The dogs who gain more weight due to their genes need special care. They need to stay active more and strictly eat a healthy diet. The two pillars of weight management will help the retriever to stay active and keep his weight in check.
For me, I have prepared a daily routine for my 4 years old retriever. I wake up and daily I will take him out so that he can finish his business and then we walk around. I keep walks lengthy up to 5-6Km. I have my vet prepare a diet plan for him and I stick to it.
Actually, the vet had to modify the diet chart on my intervention because some of the food items that were there in the original plan prepared by him are not easily available in my area.
Similarly, in the evening also someone from my family will take him to the dog park, we will play all kind of fetch related outdoor games. The fetch game keeps his retrieval skills sharpened.
While coming back from the dog park, we will make him run back to the home. And of course, before entering the home, his paws need to be cleaned.
I also have got a recommendation from the vet about a supplement for his bone strength which is rich in calcium and proteins.
Alternative to Golden Retriever for Long Runs
If you need a dog for running for an extended period of times then you are in luck because there are so many options available to you. Many breeds in the USA and around the world are capable of running long distances.
I have the list of such breeds given below for your ready reference.
- German Shorthairs
- Siberian Huskies
- German Shepherds
- Rhodesian Ridgebacks
What Commands to Train Your Retriever for Long Runs
Apart from the fetch command which comes naturally to retrievers, you should also teach him the HEEL command.
This helps you keep in your control while running. You don’t want him to get distracted and HEEL is the best way to achieve that.
The HEEL command is used to keep the dog to your one side. If you lose control over him then he will go zigzag paths and choose his own way to reach any random destination. You don’t want him to give you a trail of the path but rather you want him to stay by your side and follow you where you want him to go.
Conclusion: Yes, Golden Retrievers Run Long Distances
I am quite sure that you have got your questions answered by my article above. Still, I will rephrase it here as concluding remarks that do wait for your retriever to a grown-up and once he is read and gets a green signal from the vet, you are free to take him for long runs.
The only thing is that you need to monitor his overall health including weight and diet.
Whatever I said above also applies to Labrador retrievers and not just Golden retrievers.
In case you see any issues with the dog, it’s always a good idea to consult a vet. This is because he can examine the dog physically and see what is wrong with the dog. I wish you have a great time with your Golden Retriever.