Running With A Golden Retriever: Benefits, Essentials & More

Updated: May 30th, 2022

This article contains affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.

golden retriever running

Can you think of a better exercise that won’t bust your budget or require a trip to the gym? I’ll go first: running with your dog! Anyone who takes their golden retriever running with them will tell you that this is one the best things they have experienced as pet parents.

The list of benefits to running with your pup is long, so the few I’ll look at here are just the tip of the iceberg. Maybe you are wondering if your golden retriever will love this idea, but that should be the least of your worries. In fact, you will be the one playing catch-up because this is what golden retrievers were bred to do.

That said, both you and your dog will definitely need a few items to make your running activities better and more exciting. I’ll be discussing that too in a few.

Meanwhile, let’s begin by finding out all there is to gain from running with your golden retriever.

Benefits Of Taking Your Golden Retriever Running With You

1. Having A Running Buddy

Running alone is fine, but doing so with a partner is even more beneficial. First of all, it’s safer. It will also be easier to hold yourself accountable. Partners are great motivators as well, plus you can have conversations along the way that will make the running more enjoyable.

But there are a number of factors that may stop a human partner from joining you on your next run. It could be work, family stuff, social engagements, and so on. Your dog, on the other hand, will always be available and ready to serve as your running buddy.

Even better, golden retrievers love to go outside and will be happy the entire time you will be running. Isn’t that the kind of running partner we all want? Make your golden retriever a running partner and let me know how it goes.

2. Protection

Not all road running is safe. Some areas are insecure and others potentially dangerous, especially for women. Sexual attacks against women while running are real and not uncommon.

The same applies to trail running. Sometimes it too can be risky. You could be attacked by a wild animal or violent individuals.

It’s not advisable to ignore these threats and put your golden retriever running buddy at risk, too, assuming they will be able to protect you. However, you can have them accompany you on your usual daily runs, during nighttime running, and to less risky areas where they can easily protect you in case of threatening encounters.

3. Improved Mental Health

Improved Mental Health

Running triggers the release of happy hormones, specifically endorphins, and serotonin into your body. Their role is to promote pleasurable feelings such as happiness and love. This explains why your mood gets better when you go on a run with your golden retriever.

Running also increases blood circulation to the brain, specifically to the parts that deal with stress and control your mood. The change that occurs thereafter leads to an improved mood and better reaction to stressful situations.

In the end, you will be able to lower your stress levels, anxiety, and depression. Even your golden will experience these kinds of outcomes and this will make both of you happier.

4. Better Heart Health

Nothing comes as close to taking good care of your heart as running. Those consistent runs with your dog will see your heart reach its highest performance and maintain it as you grow older.

Here’s how running does it: First, it increases your heart’s overall efficiency. You may not know this but your heart is the most significant muscle in your body. Running strengthens it the same way it strengthens other muscles such as hamstrings, calves, glutes, and so on.

Your cholesterol level and blood pressure will also decrease if you run with your dog several times a week. In fact, you will decrease your risk for heart diseases and blood clots by a huge margin.

5. Motivation

One day you will wake up or come from work and the last thing you’ll want to do is run. But your retriever will be right there, staring at you with those big, sad eyes and this will guilt trip you. You will eventually give in and, the next thing you know, both of you are out there having fun on a run and loving it.

6.  Increased Productivity

A short run with your canine friend is often enough to shake off those moods that are hindering your productivity. Productivity actually has very strong ties to your mental health.

Remember the happy hormones I told you about earlier: Endorphins and serotonin? When released into your brain, they will also calm you down and eventually put you in a productive state of mind.

Running alone may raise the level of happy hormones, but if you want to see even greater results, let your dog accompany you. Your golden will increase your motivation to run and eventually get you into a positive mindset.

7. Weight Loss And Maintenance

Losing weight or maintaining it takes willpower and lots of effort. You may have tried it and given up, but maybe there’s one strategy you haven’t explored yet: running with your golden retriever.

Goldens need regular exercise to stay fit and healthy and so do you. It’s now time to go beyond walks and try some running. You could sign up for a running event or activity that allows participants to train together with their dogs. Do this as often as you can.

Remember to choose a pace that’s most comfortable for you and your dog. Those consistent runs will help both of you burn enough calories and stay in good shape.

8. Moderation

It is not uncommon to see those new to running pushing themselves too hard and overdoing it. You will want to be competitive, even with yourself, which is not a bad thing, but it would be great to know the risks as well. For example, when you run too much, you could easily expose yourself to injuries that might prevent you from ever running again.

But this is less likely to happen if you run alongside your golden retriever. No responsible pet parent will be happy to push their dog too hard and watch them suffer after the run. Instead, you will find a pace that’s most comfortable for both of you and only cover a reasonable distance.

Things You Need To Go Running With A Golden Retriever

Things You Need To Go Running With A Golden Retriever

While running, you will obviously figure out ways to look after yourself. Most of us buy gear that makes the running experience better and more beneficial. It could be running shoes, shorts, gloves, hats, tights or a jacket, a fancy water bottle, sports watch, earbuds, armband phone case, a GPS watch—you name it.

Well, your running buddy (golden retriever) deserves such treatment, too. In fact, caring for your golden retriever is not even negotiable. It’s on you to obtain things that will make their running experience just as great as yours.

Here are some recommendations to get you started.

A Great Leash For Running

I know the ultimate wish for most of us is to run with our dogs while they are off the leash, but this may not be possible if they lack proper off-leash training or local laws forbid it. In those cases, you will have to get the best leash for running.

Most of them come complete with a harness, a waist belt for you, and a tether that connects the leash to you, meaning the leash is hands-free.

A quick search will yield lots of options. But before you settle on what you believe to be a suitable option for you and your golden, check to see that it’s of proper length and ideal for large breeds.


To save you the trouble of having to search for one, I recommend the following:


It’s not advisable for your leashed golden to run with a collar. The chances of it choking your dog are high, plus it will not offer an immediate response. A collar is only effective during training because there’s better contact with your dog, which makes communication between you and the pup better and more accurate.

A harness, on the other hand, is more versatile and can allow your dog to run with little to no obstruction. If you will be running at night or late in the evening, go for a harness made with reflective material.

It gets even better than that. Some have both front and back clips for leash attachment. A good dog harness also puts less pressure on your dog’s chest, neck, and throat.


Some great options you can’t go wrong with include:

Dog Boots

It wouldn’t be fair for your feet to be protected while your dog’s aren’t. Getting your golden boots for running will help a lot in keeping their paws safe, especially as you run on pavements or rough trails.

For the best running experience, go for dog boots that are breathable/waterproof, anti-slip, and made of reflective material. My favorites are Dimicoo Breathable Mesh Dog Boots and Xanday Breathable Dog Boots.

However, keep in mind that not all golden retrievers will love the idea of wearing boots. Make sure they have gotten used to wearing them before you step out for a run.

GPS Tracker

Pet GPS trackers help you keep tabs on your dog. Let’s not forget that golden retrievers are inherently hunting dogs. That’s what they were originally bred to do.

You could be out there in the wild, trail running, and the next thing you know your canine running buddy is nowhere to be seen. Maybe they chased after prey and in the process ranged far away from you. That’s where a GPS tracker comes in. It will help you trace their exact location.

FITBARK GPS is the best tracker you can ever use for all the running adventures with your golden retriever, but if you want have a more unique and subtle tracking collar, I recommend to check out TryFi. Their trendy collars have an IP 68 Waterproof rating, so it can be the a great option to your water loving pup.

Health Monitor

A dog health monitor keeps an eye on your pet’s everyday activity level and then collects actionable health data and information. It could be the time your dog spends walking, sleeping, running, playing, and so on.

You or your vet can then use the report to make better-informed decisions about your dog’s health and wellness.

FITBARK 2 is one of the best dog activity and sleep monitors you can use when out running with your golden retriever.


Other items you may want to consider include:

Frequently Asked Questions

When can I start running with my golden retriever puppy?

You are not supposed to take your golden retriever puppy running until they are at least 18 months old. This is the time when their muscles and bones are considered strong enough to handle the workload that comes with running.

Any intense exercise, including running, that goldens go through before 18 months of age makes them vulnerable to joint problems later in life.

Just like with young humans, don’t push them too hard. Start with walks and then gradually move to running.

What makes golden retrievers the perfect running partners?

Golden retrievers were originally bred as gun dogs because they could easily retrieve stuff from water, fields, grassland, and many other types of terrain. What’s more, they were able to comfortably run through most areas, had stamina and endurance, and could maintain their agility.

And not much has changed. Your golden is just as athletic as its ancestors. Add to those other inheritable traits such as high energy levels, long, muscular legs, and an eagerness to please people and you have the perfect running partner.

Physical traits aside, goldens are active, playful dogs that need regular exercise such as running to stay fit and healthy. They love it!

Can a golden retriever run long distances?

Just like a human athlete, this athletic breed can run a marathon. But you would have to prepare them for this just as you would prepare yourself for a long-distance run.

You could begin with running short distances and taking your pup through other exercises that can help to build up their endurance. Fail to do that and the next thing you could be dealing with could be serious injuries due to their poor physical condition.

Don’t forget that old goldens cannot run as far as puppies and adolescent retrievers. Also, those that are overweight will struggle to run long distances. That’s why it is best to train them first.

How fast can a golden retriever run?

Just to remind you again, it is best to run at a pace that is most comfortable for you and your pup. Obviously, you are wondering how fast golden retrievers can run. Well, at their best, they can go from 0 mph to 35 mph in a short burst.

But not all golden retrievers are capable of this. It all depends on factors such as physical fitness, age, and overall health. It therefore shouldn’t bother you if your furry pal fails to hit such numbers.

A Last Word About Running With A Golden Retriever

Running with your golden retriever is definitely the trick to both of you living a happier life. Your dog will love it because it makes them feel good and also improves their overall health and wellness.

Just make sure that your pup has everything necessary to make the running experience better and safer. I’m talking about a good leash, harness, health monitor, GPS tracker, boots, raincoat, and so on.

As for you, the pet parent, this is probably the best way to go about your daily runs. It’s like killing two birds with one stone. Your health, both physical and mental, will get better and, at the same time, you will be helping your golden retriever stay fit and healthier.

Better still, you will have a golden retriever as a running partner, and I dare say this is a buddy you can count on to always show up.

Two things to keep in mind as we wind up are:

  • Running with your golden retriever is way better than running alone
  • Both you and your dog need specific gears to make the running experience better

This is the way to go so enjoy it!

Written By

Wendy is a self-employed beauty therapist, mother of two, life-long pet parent and lover of dogs who somehow manages to squeeze in the time to satisfy another of her loves - writing. Wendy is the founder, main contributor to and editor of TotallyGoldens.

Show CommentsClose Comments

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.