Are Pitbulls Good Running Dogs?A Guide to Running with Pitties

Going for a walk with your dog is the default exercise for both of you, and while it’s not good, it’s not exactly the most efficient way of getting the most exercise and burn the most calories in the least time.

If you want a running partner, your dog may be the perfect one, actually. Who else is going to be right there, excited, and willing to go out with you every single time but your dog? But is this still true for Pitbulls?

In other words; Are Pitbulls good running dogs? Pitbulls are good running dogs, but they are more suited for short sprints than marathons. Pitbulls can run up to 25 to 35 miles per week and an average of 2-3 miles per day with a maximum of 7 miles per day but Pitties don’t have the stamina for longer runs.

They are good running partners, but they are not the best if you are looking to run a 10K with your dog anytime soon. In this guide, I’m going to go through everything you need to know about running with your pitbull, from how to train them, to when to start training them, to how to keep them safe while running.

So, keep reading as I take you through this guide of running with your pitbull..

Are Pitbulls Good Running Dogs?

pittie running with owners to show why are pitbulls good running dogs

While pitbulls are indeed good running dogs, they are not the best. If you just want to lose a few pounds, then you should be fine running with your Pitbull, but if you want to start running marathons and want to practice for a 5K or a 10K anytime soon.

If what you want is a dog that you can train for marathons with, you are better off with other dogs like the endlessly energetic Border collies, the Australian Shepherds, or even Labrador Retrievers which make for surprisingly awesome running dogs.

However, Pitbulls are still good running partners, and much better than smaller or heavier dogs, and I would like to start with why they are actually good.

What makes Pitbulls good running dogs?

There are a few reasons that make Pitbulls good running dogs, here are the most important ones:

Pitbulls are highly energetic

Pitbulls are highly energetic dogs that naturally need a lot of exercise to stay content and happy.

They were originally bred to be sporting dogs, so they are more than happy to go running with you.

You can always count on your Pitbull to get up and go, no matter what breed he or she comes from. Some breeds are less energetic or collaborative by nature, such as Chow Chows or Bulldogs, who might be hesitant to go for a walk.

Short Coat

The short coat of the Pitbull is an advantage when it comes to jogging in the snow if you’re not going for a run. Because of their short coats, which do not insulate them as much as long-coated dogs, they are cooler while working outside.

Because it’s fur, it won’t get entangled. Dogs with long hair that run frequently have problems with hair matting. Hair knotting is caused by the friction, especially in their armpits, but Pitbulls are immune to this.

If you are going running in the cold weather, it may be a good idea to bring a sweater or a jacket for your dog, though. You can learn when (and why) do Pitbulls needs coats in the cold weather here.

They are the perfect size

Pitbulls have the perfect size for jogging companions. On average, pitbulls weigh between 35 and 45 pounds and reach two and a half feet tall at the top of their head.

This makes them highly energetic medium-sized dogs, which is just perfect. Dogs that are smaller than that will have problems keeping up with you, and dogs that are larger than that will be too heavy to keep up with you as well. Another example of why bigger isn’t always better.

Not only that, but these larger canines may be so huge that it’s difficult to keep them close while running, yet not too near that they block your path or actually tremble you.

The size of the pitbull falls just in the sweet spot for joggers.


While it’s true that Pitbulls will be ecstatic to get out the door and start racing, so will a variety of other breeds. Pitbulls are naturally endowed with a lot of endurance due to their history. They’ll be able to keep up with you for the duration of your run (assuming you’re not marathon training).

Some dog breeds, such as Rottweilers or other Terriers, may be enthusiastic to begin running with you but will soon become weary or lose interest.

Now that we have covered what makes pitbulls good running dogs, it’s time to look at why they may not be the best dogs as running companions.

Why Pitbulls are not the best dogs as running companions

While pitbulls are good, no, they are GREAT running partners, they just are not the best.

Here are some of the reasons that Pitbulls are not the best running dogs:

Too Protective

Your pitbull will enjoy running with you, but they never really let their guard dog. Pitbulls are always very aware of their surroundings and keep a close eye on everything going by, and this will make them reactive to their environment and difficult to keep focused only on the run.

While these are all great things that make pitbulls good dogs that can keep your house safe from intruders, it also means it’s going to require some training and effort to keep them from chasing cars, squirrels, or even other runners.

They overheat quickly

Pitbulls have what is known as a brachycephalic nose and short snouts, meaning they can’t take in as much oxygen as they need for running, meaning they will quickly exert themselves.

Not being able to get enough oxygen also means that your pitbull will feel fatigue, muscle soreness, and can even get cramping more quickly than a dog with a long snout, like a greyhound, would.

They will also overheat rather quickly because they can’t regular their body temperature by panting as heavily as they should. This will also depend mainly on the weather you are running in, and the warmer the weather, the more quickly your pitbull can overheat.

Simply not built for running

Pitbulls are simply not built for running. Dogs that were bred specifically to be fast runners have larger snouts, larger feet that can provide better traction, weigh less, have longer legs, and have deeper chests to accommodate larger lungs.

These dogs will also have hearts that are larger than average and are more efficient.

Pitbulls, on the other hand, have shorter legs, weigh more, and have smaller lungs and less efficient hearts. Their shorter snouts makes it difficult for them to breathe as well as they could.

Now, a lot of these shortcomings can be worked on if you are consistent enough, but your Pitbull will always have some of these limitations. Before we get into how you can start training your pitbull to build their speed and endurance, let’s answer some of the questions that you are probably asking yourself right now.

Can Pitbulls Run Long Distances?

Pitbulls can run long distances up to 7 miles on a good day and cool weather but they are not the best dogs for running long distances and marathons. Pitbulls will start to overheat and get cramps if they run more than 7 miles.

So while they will be fine running short sprints with you, they are not going to be able to run marathons with you.

How Far Can Pitbulls Run?

Pitbulls can run 2-3 miles without a problem, and with good training and conditioning will be able to run up to 7 miles or slightly more, but it’s not recommended to run for more than that as they will overheat and become fatigued quickly.

How Fast Can Pitbulls run?

Pitbulls can run up to 13 miles per hour on average but can sprint with speeds up to 30 miles per hour, but they will quickly run out of breath and be fatigued in a few minutes of running on this pace. Pitbulls can match your speed and you shouldn’t worry about this very much.

Unless you are actually Usain Bolt reading this (in this case, shouldn’t you be training?), then you really shouldn’t be bothered with how fast your pitbull can run. Your pitbull will not be winning any races soon, but they will absolutely be able to keep up with you.

However, you can train your Pit Bull to run more quickly if you want, but you must know what you are doing to avoid your dog getting hurt or burning out. You can learn how to train your Pit Bull to run faster in this step-by-step guide.

When to start running with your pitbull?

You can start running with your pitbull when they are six months old, at this age, you can start going for 1-mile runs and slowly build their stamina and speed, you should start easy and give them rest days when needed.

It’s really important that you keep an eye on the needs and behavior and make sure you don’t overexert your pitbull puppy as they can get fatigued quickly.

It’s also important to note that not all puppies develop at exactly the same rate, so don’t compare them to other puppies or, even worse, try to rush them into running if they are not ready for it.

Now that you know all the basics of running with Pitbulls, it’s time to discuss how to actually train your pitbull to start running.

How to train your pitbull for running (and build their stamina)

Let’s now see how you should train your pitbull. Remember; you can start training them when they are about six months of age.

Before Running: A Vet Checkup

Getting your puppy checked up before you start training them run or do any kind of strenuous activity is a very important step. You don’t want to start anything and then have to stop because of an injury.

Make sure your vet gives them a clean bill of health and are free from any kind of injuries or conditions that could make running dangerous for them.

Start by Running Short Distances With Them

When you first start training, run short distances with them and gradually increase the distance as they get older and more conditioned. Start with a half-mile run and then go up to one or two miles, but remember to take breaks in between running.

If your Pitbull is panting excessively or having any other signs of fatigue, stop running and cool them down slowly. Don’t let them drink too much water right after running either, as they can get stomach cramps.

Conditioning and Endurance Training

In order to condition your Pitbull for running long distances, you need to do endurance training. This can be done by gradually increasing the distance of your runs or having them run through obstacles.

You can also add some weight to their backpacks to increase the resistance and make it harder for them.

Make sure you don’t overdo it, though, as Pitbulls are not used to running with weight and can quickly get injured if you are not careful.

Start Running With Your Pitbull: The Basics

Now that we have discussed all the important information, it’s time to see how you can start running with your Pitbull.

Running with a dog can be really fun and a great way to get some exercise, but it’s important that both you and your pooch are prepared for it.

Before starting any kind of running program with your dog, make sure you take them to the vet for a checkup and get their approval.

Once you have the all-clear, start by running short distances with your pup and gradually increase the distance as they get older and more conditioned.

Take breaks in between runs and make sure your Pitbull isn’t panting excessively or having any other signs of fatigue.

If they are, stop running and cool them down slowly. Don’t let them drink too much water right after running either, as they can get stomach cramps.

Does your Pitbull need running gear?

Yes, your dog does need some running gear. There are a few things you might want to pick up if you’re ready to start jogging with your Pitbull.

A harness is required for your dog so that they don’t put pressure on their neck while they’re running with a leash.

I have this Neewa Sled Pro Harness for my dogs as it is lightweight and low-profile, so it won’t chafe your Pitbull’s skin over time. You can check it out on Amazon here or by clicking on the image below.

You will also need a jogging leash to allow you to keep your hands free and your dog secure.

I use this one from SparklyPets which is a simple belt with a buckle that securely hugs your waist. It’s appropriate with any ordinary leash or harness and is great for walks.

It also has an elastic band attached to the leash, which provides gentle, progressive resistance as one of you approaches the point of no return (versus a sharp snap at the end of standard leashes).

If you’re going for a long run with your dog and want to bring your phone, water, or anything else. This saddlebag fits around your dog and allows you to keep track of your belongings while you exercise.

To keep your dog hydrated, you can take this foldable Water Bowl with you and fill it with water. It is small and light, but it holds enough water for your large Pitbull’s huge mouth to fit if you need to rest while walking.

Finally, while you may be wearing your favorite pair of Nikes that will keep your feet comfortable even while running long distances and on rough terrain, keep in mind that your Pittie is running on their bare paws.

After the run, you should apply a good balm like this one on their paws to moisturize it and allow it to recover while also preventing any cracks from developing in their padding.

You can apply this balm to your dog’s paws to make sure they stay hydrated and moisturized. This will help prevent cracking and keep them nicely padded so your dog does not injure the bones in their feet while they run.

11 Safety Tips for Running with Pitbulls

Here are a few safety tips for running with your dog:

  • Warm-up before running for a minimum of five minutes
  • Start by gradually increasing the distance as your dog gets older and more conditioned
  • Take breaks in between runs
  • Make sure your dog isn’t panting excessively or having any other signs of fatigue
  • If they are, stop running and cool them down slowly
  • Don’t let them drink too much water right after running
  • Make sure your dog has a harness and jog leash
  • Bring water and snacks for you and your pup
  • Apply a good balm to their paws after the run.
  • If your dog seems to be getting tired more quickly, they can be burnt out, so it’s a good idea to take a break from running for a few weeks before getting back to it.
  • If your pitbull starts limping at any time, stop running and take them to the vet to see if they are injured. Overstraining can indeed lead to injuries due to constant stress.

Related questions

Is Running bad for Pitbulls?

Running is not bad for Pitbulls, but it is important to take some things into consideration before starting a running routine with your dog.

You should always warm up your pup for a few minutes before going on a run, and start gradually increasing the distance as they get older and more conditioned.

Remember to take breaks in between runs, and make sure your dog isn’t panting excessively having a limp, or showing any other signs of fatigue. If they are, stop running and cool them down slowly.

Don’t let them drink too much water right after running, and make sure your dog has a harness and jog leash. Bring water and snacks for you and your pup, and apply a good balm to their paws after the run.

Are Pitbulls Fast Runners?

Pitbulls are moderately fast runners and can run with speeds up to 30 miles per hour, but they are not as fast as Greyhounds or Whippets. Because of their muscular build, Pitbulls are great for running long distances and on rough terrain. They are also some of the best dogs for jogging with due to their large size and stamina.

How many miles should a Pitbull walk a day?

Pitbulls should walk 2-3 miles per day, and they can walk up to 7 miles per day but it’s not recommended to walk this far every single day as this will lead to fatigue quickly.

Are Pitbulls Good Exercise dogs?

Pitbulls are excellent exercise dogs because they are so versatile and energetic. They are good for running, playing fetch, hiking, and swimming – making them the perfect dog for an active family.

Helpful Resources

Training your dog to be your running companion – AKC

How to introduce your dog to running – ACTIVE

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