You Are Here FAQ “Can a Golden Retriever Run a Marathon?”

Can a Golden Retriever Run a Marathon?

I regularly go running; if possible I go every day. I recently started taking my golden retriever running with me because he always seemed excited when I was getting ready to go out.

He has absolutely no problem keeping up with me, and in fact he always seemed to have more energy left by the time I was worn out.

A few months ago I started training for a marathon, which obviously meant I was running greater distances,

And this got me wondering:

“Can a Golden Retriever Run a Marathon?”

The short answer is yes; 

However, just as with humans, I would recommend you give them plenty of training first to improve their stamina.

A golden retriever shouldn’t have any problem running a marathon, providing they take part in your training routine.

There are other factors you need to consider when deciding if you should take your dog running with you, but these are no different from a human.

You should consider things like the dog’s age, weight, general fitness, and speed.

For example, my retriever is only young (about 3), and so had absolutely no problem keeping pace with me on my morning runs.

However, if your dog is older, you should be much more wary of expecting them to expend the amount of energy required to run a marathon.

Goldens make great companions on long runs and bike rides.

American Kennel Club

Running With A Golden RetrieverGolden Retriever running in a cemented walkway with owner

This guide is specific to golden retrievers, because that’s the type of dog I have and so is where I directed most of my research, but there are plenty of other breeds that make good running partners.

As mentioned above, there are many factors you should consider before taking your dog running.

I’ll elaborate on these here, as you need to make sure you’re doing the right thing by taking your dog running.

In some cases, you might actually be doing more harm than good.

Before we go any further, I need to make the most important point: some dogs aren’t designed to run, even short distances.

Small breeds, such as pugs and French bulldogs, are bred to be lap dogs and it can be incredibly dangerous to take them running.

Dogs such as golden retrievers and Labradors were bred for the express purpose of running long distances, and so these make great running companions.

If you’re unsure whether your dog should be running with you, make sure to do plenty of research first.

Age is probably the next most important factor to consider.

Don’t take your dog running long distance before they’re 18 months old, as this can have serious consequences on their health later in life.

Similarly, don’t take your dog running if they’re too old. I wouldn’t really put a maximum age bracket on this, but it’s important to use your common sense.

If your golden retriever is still bouncy and energetic at 10, then try it out.

However, if they struggle to get out of bed in the morning, or you know they have joint problems such as arthritis, then it could be dangerous to take them on long runs.

If you’re unsure about this, speak to your vet for more specific information.
If, like me, you’re happy with the general health and fitness of your retriever, then absolutely consider taking them on the marathon with you.

But make sure you do plenty of training with them first.

Your dog might think it can run a marathon straight away, but it’s very important to improve their stamina first.

As you’ll likely be doing this for yourself before the marathon, then just take them along on your daily runs.

Your dog’s general fitness will improve much faster than yours, so it won’t take them too long to get to the right level of fitness.

When Can I Run With My Golden Retriever?Golden retriever puppy running towards the camera

This question can relate both to the dog’s age and the time of year.

In terms of age, some people will give different answers.

The absolute earliest you can start running with your dog is 6 months, any earlier and their joints might not develop properly.

However, I would consider myself overly cautious, and I wouldn’t take my dog running with me before the age of 18 months.

This is only so their joints are more developed and there’s much less chance of them being injured by running long distance.

This isn’t to say they shouldn’t get any exercise before this age.

On the contrary, exercise them as much as you want, especially while they’re a puppy, but don’t do anything more strenuous than a normal doggy walk.

This will have the benefit of keep them nice and fit, and giving them general preparation for longer distance running in the future.

Is My Dog Too Old To Run?

I’ve found from my many years of owning dogs that in terms of age they’re very much like humans.

I don’t consider there to be a maximum age limit for taking your dog running.

As I said above, use your common sense when it comes to this.

Some dogs, particularly breeds like golden retrievers and Labradors, remain quite spritely into old age.

However, some other breeds are particularly affected by age-related issues like arthritis, and so you should be much more careful about taking them out.

How Fast Can A Golden Retriever Run?Golden retriever dog running on a green surface

Golden retrievers are exceptional animals because they are amazing at both sprinting and long distance running.

In short bursts, a golden retriever’s full speed can be up to 35mph!

I was absolutely blown away by this information, as it means they wouldn’t have any problem keeping up with a car if they really tried.

However, they won’t be able to maintain this for too long, so don’t expect them to run this fast over a long distance.

How Far Can Golden Retrievers Run?

Just as with humans, there isn’t a hard and fast answer to this question.

A retriever’s limit will vary for each dog, and will depend on a wide range of factors.

For example, a dog that’s overweight clearly won’t be able to run as far as a dog at its recommended weight.

Similarly, old dogs won’t be able to run as far as a young dog, but this is exactly the same as with humans.

Considering a marathon is about 26 miles, and I’ve found my dog was able to run this with a bit of training, I wouldn’t even want to guess what its maximum distance would be.

Conclusion:

Taking your golden retriever running a marathon with you is a great idea, providing you give them plenty of training first.

They have the potential to run long distances, but you can’t expect them to do this immediately.

A golden retriever is a good all-around runner, but unlike humans, they have very little concept of their limit until they reach it.

This is where you as the owner need to step in because you probably don’t want them to collapse from exhaustion.

The main thing I found when training for a marathon with my retriever is that he really just loved to be part of the fun.

They’re such happy dogs and you’ll find few things more fun than taking your dog on daily runs.

My final point is to remember to consider things like age and weight, as your dog will have fitness limits, which you obviously don’t want to exceed.

Related Questions:

What Dog Can Run The Longest?

Different dogs are designed for different kinds of running.

For example, breeds such as greyhounds and whippets are incredible at sprinting, and can reach very high speeds over short distances.

On the other hand, breeds such as huskies and malamutes are amazing endurance runners, and can realistically run for days without much rest or food.

Traditional working dogs, such as German Shepherds, retrievers, and Labradors are great all-rounders, and have fair sprinting and distance running abilities.

How Can I Make My Dog Run Faster?

Just as with any other training exercise, you need to develop a good routine.

Research appropriate training practices, and vary your routine between speed and endurance exercises.

Most importantly, make sure you use the right kind of encouragement.

I would avoid using treats, and instead try to promote positive reinforcement.

After all, if you’re training your dog to run faster, you hardly want to fatten them up calorie-rich treats, do you?

How Can I Improve My Dog’s Fitness?

If your dog isn’t very healthy, consider varying their exercise routine.

You shouldn’t try to make them go from short walks to long ones immediately, you need to build it up gradually.

Try taking them for power walks, and essentially get them to walk faster than they would want to.

Also, if your dog is the right shape, take them swimming.

Many dogs are excellent swimmers, and this is one of the best forms of cardio exercise that exists for both dogs and humans.

About The Author: Pablo Pascua created dogbreedsfaq.com because of his interest in all the different breeds, and his desire to learn more. His inspiration comes from the many dogs he has owned throughout his life.

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