If you’re looking for a bit more motivation to get out and get running, think about getting a new running companion. Labradoodles and Goldendoodles are great buddies for running. While they are capable of hitting speeds of nearly 40 mph in short bursts, you might wonder, “Can Labradoodles run long distances?”
Actually, Labradoodles and Goldendoodles can run very long distances. Both breeds have an exceptional long-distance ability because they were bred as working dogs. They can run fields and swim all day looking for birds.
In fact, one of the biggest motivating factors when I was training for the local Half Marathon, was my Labradoodle. I knew that he was waiting for our run every day. After about a mile into the run, he ran beside me and stayed there without problems no matter if we ran 4 miles or 10 miles.
Why are Labradoodles’ good running companions?
There are numerous different traits that make these breeds specifically designed as good running buddies. A few of these characteristics that make them one of the best dogs for families also make them incredible mates for running.
Firstly, both of these breeds utterly love being around you.
Taking your dog out for regular runs will not only improve the relationship between the two of you, but your dog’s sense of belonging will also skyrocket with daily interaction at this level.
Not only will your dog greatly benefit from being with you, but you will also end up developing a deeper connection with your furry friend.
There are many studies that talk about the numerous benefits people receive from their relationship with their dog.
The Huffington Post has previously reported that people with a solid relationship with a dog received the following benefits to their health:
- Improved health of the heart
- Increased activity levels and their accompanying benefits
- A better social life
- Lower stress levels
- Increased sense of purpose
- Lower weight
There are also many other benefits mentioned in the article. You can see the full list here.
Things that are invaluable when running with your Labradoodle
There are some running gadgets that might come in handy if you are planning on running with your dog.
The first and probably most important thing that you should consider to purchase if you are going to run long distances with your Doodle is a good jogging harness and leash.
We all like to think that our dog will never run off because we have trained him so well, but when running you might go places where your dog has never been before, with many new temptations.
There are a lot of these on the market, but the one I’ve used for a long time is the RUFFWEAR Front Range Harness. You can usually get this on Amazon for under $45. Click here to check the current price.
Then I combine it with a No-Bounce Bungee Pack from One Trail, that not only allows me to keep my dog in check, but also acts as a great storage device for my phone and keys.
And it also allows me to use it as a treat holder that is not going to be bouncing around while running.
Having a good supply of treats is going to help your run and make sure your dogs’ attention is focused solely on you.
This will make your long runs so much easier as your hands will be free to do what your hands should do when running.
If you find yourself running mostly in the morning or the evening with less than optimal lighting, you should most definitely get a reflective vest.
How else can you make sure that you and your dog will be spotted by other people, and most importantly, cars?
While you yourself should certainly be wearing some sort of reflective clothing, you shouldn’t forget about your dog. He should also be wearing something so drivers can see him just as good as they can see you.
This jacket by SafteyPUP will make sure that both you and your furry friend can be spotted under any circumstance. It is very easy to put on and the color will make your dog visible from dusk till dawn.
Purpose of the Breeding Background
One of the most significant factors in this discussion is the breeding history of both Labradoodles and Goldendoodles.
As both breeds comes from either a Labrador or Golden Retriever, and those breeds were meant to be working dogs, it is not uncommon for a Doodle to spend hours outside, running for miles and miles, searching for birds or other wildlife.
With both Labrador and Golden Retrievers, early breeders looked for endurance as a specific trait. Dogs that didn’t have that trait were not bred and those dogs that excelled in long-distance days were bred more frequently.
This breeding has through many years created a dog that’s perfectly fitted for running.
Anatomy of a Labradoodle
Labradoodles (and Goldendoodles) are anatomically built for running.
While they are not built like the Greyhounds, they still have the muscles in all the right places.
And even though Greyhounds are known as THE running dog breed, they only really excel at quite short distances.
Unlike Greyhounds, Doodles have bigger bodies that allow them to endure the physical “torture” of long, slow runs.
But do keep in mind, while they might have the body to run, their personalities still want those occasional small sprints.
Imagine what the dog is doing when you are playing fetch. Doodles also immensely enjoy these kinds of short, bursts of speed.
So, make sure you not only go on long-distance runs, but also mix in a good amount of fetch as often as possible.
When Should I Start Running with My Labradoodle
A reasonable concern for people is what age is appropriate to start running with your dog.
I’ve had vets tell me that some people expect they can take their small puppies on long endurance runs.
And while you certainly want to get your puppy out and let him run around from the time you bring the little guy home, the long runs will have to wait for a bit.
The problem is that the stress on your dog’s bones there are growth plates that need to close before you start to think about doing the long, endurance runs.
Running too early with your puppy can cause different joint disorders like hip dysplasia.
These worries diminish once your dog is pretty much done growing. In Labradoodles and Goldendoodles, this usually happens between 12 and 18 months of age.
How to prepare your puppy for long runs
While your puppy may not be ready for the long runs you need to fit in when preparing for a marathon, there are other things you should be doing while your dog is young to prepare your little Doodle for periods of an hour or longer on the trail.
The first and foremost thing you will need to do to get your puppy ready is socializing him as much as possible.
You can go to this article on socializing puppies for ideas. A summary of what socialization is, it is just the idea of exposing him to as numerous different experiences as possible.
That can be anything from noises, other animals, strangers, and many other new experiences that can make any young dog nervous while on the trail.
Too Old can Also be a Problem
As we’ve now established that you need to be careful with dogs in the puppy phase, age isn’t always on our side either.
As a dog gets older there are numerous things that we have to take into consideration.
First of all, if you have an older Doodle that isn’t accustomed to running long distances, then it is necessary that you ease him into it.
Consider the difficulty of a 50-year-old man who has never run more than a few miles and then decides to get ready for a marathon. How would you recommend him to continue forward? Would it be considered a good idea to run out and start with a 5-mile jog?
Any sensible trainer would in no way possible allow that a new runner to start out like that.
It takes quite some time to get your muscles and tendons ready for long runs. The same also applies to your dog.
You want to let your dog get stronger.
Obesity can also be an issue for some Doodles.
The best thing to do if you have an overweight dog who could use a little help to lose some weight is to start out with some light exercise and a bit of calorie control.
Ensure that you know how much your dog should be eating every day and then watch over him. Make sure that he is not getting any extra calories.
Losing even the first 5 to 10 pounds can help your dog tremendously, and not just to get ready for long runs.
Another thing you need to consider is the overall health of your dog’s joints.
Older Labradoodles and Golden Doodles have a higher probability of moderate stages of hip dysplasia, and going on long runs can certainly exacerbate the effects of this ailment and cause added pain for a dog.
When older Labradoodles run long distances, try to have a talk with a vet about any joint supplements that could extend your dog’s running life.
Other Breeds Bred for Running Long Distances
There are many different breeds that are great long-distance runners.
Here’s just a preview list of some of the dogs that got a special mention in various articles throughout the years:
- Labrador Retrievers
- Golden Retrievers
- German Shorthairs
- Siberian Huskies
- German Shepherds
- Rhodesian Ridgebacks
Training Your Doodle on a Leash
When you plan on going out for your first runs, you want to make sure you do everything to be able to enjoy the experience, so, I would suggest that you already have your dog trained to walk or perhaps even jog beside you on a “loose” leash.
Being dragged by your dog for 5 miles certainly isn’t something I would call fun.
Distractions can also become a problem as well when you start going on longer runs. This is also why I would advise you to take some treats with you in the Bungee Pack I mentioned above.
If your Doodles ends up being distracted, you can get his attention back with some treats and then continue with your run.
The most important command that you can practice with your dog to prepare him for running with you, is the HEEL command.
If you have a dog that is familiar with this command, it will be much easier to be able to keep him by your side when running.
If he doesn’t know this command, you might discover that he prefers to be the engine and start dragging you along the trail, or perhaps the anchor that’s slowing your progress tremendously.
Either way, it is very unlikely you are going to have any fun. You may even come to the conclusion that you don’t believe Labradoodles run long distances.
Conclusions on Can Labradoodles Run Long Distances
After reading this article, you have your answer. Labradoodles (and Golden doodles) can mots certainly run long distances.
As long as you remember that just because the breed is known as an endurance machine, your specific dog may not be in a position where it is possible to go out and run 10 miles in a few days.
There are numerous dog-specific factors for you to consider.
For example, what is your dog’s overall health condition right now? If you have a dog that is 25 pounds overweight, then you should first take some baby steps before you should embark on any high mileage runs.
If you have any doubts, I would suggest that you have a talk with your vet before starting on a new running regimen for your dog.
Your vet will be able to have a look at your specific dog and discuss any concerns he or she might have with it, things such as joint or respiratory problems that could possibly limit your dog’s ability.
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