papillon running on a board

22 Best Small Dogs Breeds for Active, Outgoing Owners

Do you like going on long walks, jogs, cycling or hikes? Have you ever wondered which small dog breed would fit into your lifestyle? Well, I have done my research and found some of the best small dogs for active, outgoing owners.

Find below, a comprehensive list of the 22 best small dogs for active, outgoing owners:

  1. American Eskimo Dog (Miniature)
  2. Australian Terrier
  3. Beagle
  4. Bedlington Terrier
  5. Basenji
  6. Dachshund
  7. Danish-Swedish Farmdog
  8. English Springer Spaniel
  9. Jack Russell Terrier
  10. Lancashire Heeler
  11. Lowchen
  12. Norrbottenspets
  13. Norwegian Lundehund
  14. Norwich Terrier
  15. Russel Terrier
  16. Scottish Terrier
  17. Shetland Sheepdog
  18. Shiba Inu
  19. Papillon
  20. Parson Russell Terrier
  21. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  22. Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen

Furthermore, I decided to separate them into categories to save you time in your quest to find the best small dog to suit your needs. These categories are as follows:

  1. Best small dogs for Joggers/Runners,
  2. Best small dogs for Long Walks,
  3. Best small dogs for Hikers.

Best Small Dogs for Runners

If you go for a jog or run every morning or at night and you need a small dog that could keep you company on these runs, here are the best small dogs for you:

Beagle

English Beagle on the meadow
Beagle on the meadow

The beagle is an active, high energy, hound dog breed, that are capable of matching your jogging and running needs.

It is important to note that when on walks, a Beagle should always be on a leash. This is due to their hound nature and high hunting instinct, making it difficult for them to resist the urge to chase after a strong scent trail.

Beagle

Two white bedlington terrier
Bedlington terrier dogs on a white background

Like most terriers, the Bedlington terrier is a high energy dog breed that can keep up on your daily or occasional run.

Just like other terriers, they should always be on a leash while out on a run. This is because they were bred to chase after small animals and as such, it would be difficult for them to resist the urge if they see one while on a run.

Jack Russell Terrier

Front view of a Jack Russell Terrier, sitting, isolated on white
Jack Russell Terrier

Just like other terriers, the Jack Russell terrier is a high energy dog breed that can keep up on your daily or occasional run.

It is important to note that when on a run, the Jack Russell terrier should always be on a leash. This is due to their high hunting instinct, making it difficult for them to resist the urge to chase a small animal.

Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland sheepdog set on a white background
Shetland sheepdog

The Shetland Sheepdogs are an intelligent small dog breed that was bred for herding, making them active and athletic in nature. Ever ready to work out their stored energy, as they make great running companions with their human owner.

Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu
Shiba Inu

This is a Japanese bred hunting small dog, well suited to accompany you on your daily running exercise. This is made possible by their energetic and muscular nature.

Parson Russell Terrier

Parson Russell Terrier walking, licking its nose and looking away against a white background
Parson Russell Terrier

Bred partly to chase after horses, the Parson Russell Terrier is not new to your occasional outdoor activities such as running and would keep up with its human companion due to its energetic nature.

It is important to keep the Parson Russell Terrier on a leash while going out on a run. This is due to their hunting instinct as they tend to run after smaller animals.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Corgi on a desk
Photo credit @elvispawsleythecorgi on IG

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is an athletic and energetic small dog breed with short but powerful legs.
They are ever ready and excited to engage in some physical activities such as going for a run with their human owner.

Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen

Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen PBGV approved by Susan Sprung  for American Kennel Club
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen approved by Susan Sprung for American Kennel Club

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen is a curious and energetic small dog breed that takes advantage of its need for adequate exercise to engage in various physical activities with its human owner, such as running

Best Small Dogs for Long Walks

Going for long walks can help clear one’s head while keeping that person exercised and fit. Most people take daily short walks or periodic long walks, regardless of which, if you need a small dog breed that could accompany you while you go for these walks, we have got you covered.
Here are the best small dogs for long walks:

American Eskimo Dog (Miniature)

American Eskimo Dog at Dog Agility Trial
American Eskimo Dog

These cute, white, fluffy dogs are a member of the spitz family and are also high energy and active, making them ideal partners for your daily short or long walks.

They adore the companion of their owners and don’t do so well being left alone for a long period of time as they could become destructive.

Australian Terrier

Australian Terrier with tongue out
Photo credit @dogdaysnz on IG

Just like other terriers, the Australian terrier is a high energy dog breed that can keep up on your daily walks.

It is important to note that when on walks, the Australian terrier should always be on a leash. This is due to their high hunting instinct, making it difficult for them to resist the urge to chase a small animal.

Beagle

English Beagle on the meadow
Beagle on the meadow

The beagle is an active, high energy, hound dog breed, that are capable of meeting your walking needs.

It is important to note that when on walks, the Beagle should always be on a leash. This is due to their high hunting instinct, making it difficult for them to resist the urge to chase after a strong scent trail.

Bedlington Terrier

Like most terriers, the Bedlington terrier is a high energy dog breed that can keep up on your daily long walks.

They should always be on a leash while out on a walk. This is because they were bred to chase after small animals and as such, it would be difficult for them to resist the urge.

Basenji

Basenji dog posing on white background
Basenji dog

Basenjis are famously known to be barkless as well as energetic. They require adequate regular exercise, making them great long-walk partners.

It is important to note that when on walks, the Basenji should always be on a leash. This is due to their high hunting instinct, making it difficult for them to resist the urge to chase a small animal.

Danish-Swedish Farmdog

Danish-Swedish Farmdog - American Kennel Club

This is a high energy small dog breed, also known as Little Big Dog, that is ever-ready for a nice walk down the block or to the park to help expend their energy and fulfil their daily exercise needs.

English Springer Spaniel

English Springer Spaniel
English Springer Spaniel

Originally bred for bird hunting and to work closely with humans, the English Springer Spaniel comes with great energy and stamina, making them great companions for long walks.

Lancashire Heeler

Lancashire-heeler on a grass field
Lancashire-heeler – American Kennel CLub

Widely known for their ability to emulate the human smile, the Lancashire Heeler is an energetic dog breed that can efficiently keep up with its human owner when going on a walk. They really love to exercise and play.

Löwchen

Lowchen-On-White

This lively, companion breed is capable of being active and accompanying its human owner on long walks as well as snuggling by the fireside.

Dachshund

Dachshund on a white background
Dachshund

Although the Dachshunds are not built for strenuous activities such as long-distance running, jumping or swimming, they have sufficient energy to accompany their owners on regular walks.

Norrbottenspets

Norrbottenspets  - American Kennel Club
Norrbottenspets – American Kennel Club

These extremely agile, energetic and playful small dog breed is well suited for the occasional or frequent, long and short walks with its human owner.

Norwegian Lundehund

 Norwegian Lundehund – AKC
Norwegian Lundehund – AKC

The Norwegian Lundehund is an athletic and energetic small dog breed that gets excited at the slightest opportunity to play and exercise, making them a prime candidate for your daily brisk walk to stay fit.

Norwich Terrier

Norwich Terrier in front of white background
Norwich Terrier

The Norwich Terrier is a fearless, alert and energetic dog, bred to hunt vermins in the past but now make for a great companion.

Their energetic makes them ideal partners for your daily or occasional walks.

It is important to note that when on walks, the Norwich Terrier should always be on a leash. This is due to their high hunting instinct, making it difficult for them to resist the urge to chase a small animal.

Scottish Terrier

White scottish terrier dog seen from the side isolated on a white background
White Scottish Terrier

This “die-hard” small dog breed, is known to be independent-minded and possess enough energy to keep up with its human companion on those daily walks.

Papillon

Papillon on gray studio background
Papillon

The Papillon is an upbeat, athletic toy dog that is ever ready to engage in some physical activities, disregarding their size. They make great walking partners.

It should be noted that because of the fearless nature of the Papillon and their tendance to disregard their own size, they should be watched around cats and larger dogs while on walks.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is an athletic and energetic, herding small dog breed with short but powerful legs.
They are ever ready and excited to engage in some physical activities such as going for a long walk with their human companion.

Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen is a curious and energetic small dog breed that takes advantage of its need for adequate exercise to engage in various physical activities with its human owner, such as walking.

Best small dogs for Hikers

Nothing says outdoors like going for hikes, the sense of traversing various terrains can be tasking for both humans and dogs alike, requiring stamina as much as strength.
Below are the best small dogs that can accompany you on your hikes.

Australian Terrier

It is important to note that when hiking, the Australian terrier should always be on a leash. This is due to their high hunting instinct, making it difficult for them to resist the urge to chase a small animal.

Like other terriers, the Australian terrier is a high energy dog breed that can keep up while hiking with its human companion.

English Springer Spaniel

Originally bred for bird hunting and to work closely with humans, the English Springer Spaniel comes with great energy and stamina, making them great hiking companions.

Lancashire Heeler

The Lancashire Heeler is an energetic dog breed that can efficiently keep up with its human owner when on a hiking trail. They really love to exercise and play and sure enjoy the outdoors.

It is important to keep the Lancashire Heeler on a leash while going out on a hike. This is due to their hunting instinct as they tend to run after smaller animals.

Norrbottenspets

They are an extremely agile, energetic and playful small dog breed that is well suited for the tasking and uphill hikes with their human owner.

Parson Russell Terrier

Bred to chase after horses and dig in after foxes, the Parson Russell Terrier is not new occasional outdoor activities such as hiking and would keep up on the trail with its human companion due to its energetic nature.

It is important to keep the Parson Russell Terrier on a leash while going out on a hike. This is due to their hunting instinct as they tend to run after smaller animals.

Danish-Swedish Farmdog

This high energy small dog breed, also known as Little Big Dog, ever-ready for a day of hiking, while expending their energy and fulfil their exercise needs.

Russell Terrier

The Russell Terrier and the Parson Russell Terrier share a common history as fox hunting small dog breeds.

They are an awesome dog breed of choice for very outdoorsy families and owners. They also make great hiking companions.

It is important to keep the Russell Terrier on a leash while going out on a hike. This is due to their hunting instinct as they tend to run after smaller animals.

Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen

Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen PBGV approved by Susan Sprung

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen is a curious and energetic small dog breed that takes advantage of its need for adequate exercise to engage in various physical activities with its human owner, such as hiking.


On a final note, just as humans would need to cool off and have some water after exercising or engaging in physical activities, so would dogs.
Therefore, take breaks and provide fresh water for your dog after exercising.

Reference Sources for this article
AKC.org
theKennelClub.org.uk