Sporting dogs: Top 10 sporty dog breeds

Not every dog is a house pet – some help the police, some work as guide dogs, while these 10 breeds just want to get moving! Here are the sportiest dogs in the world.

Is skateboarding a genuine dog sport? Well, maybe...
Is skateboarding a genuine dog sport? Well, maybe...  © Unsplash/Chuko Cribb

Whether we're talking about dogs specifically bred for sporting purposes, or just pooches that are especially energetic, these breeds are some of the fittest around.

In this dog guide, we'll take a look at our picks for the top 10 sportiest dog breeds in the world.

While many of these sporting dogs are friendly, funny, and full of energy, others can go a bit too far.

Woman selling puppies from sack charged with animal torture in New York City
Dogs Woman selling puppies from sack charged with animal torture in New York City

Here's what you need to know about these breeds!

Top 10 sporting dog breeds

While many of these dogs are defined as "sporting" because they are literally bred to participate in various animal sports (most of which surround gambling and are seriously cruel), others are a little different. Many doggos are highly intelligent and therefore capable of learning to complete all sorts of activities.

These 10 dog breeds have been handpicked by us for being some of the strongest and most capable mutts on the market.

Labrador retrievers are playful and remarkably sporty.
Labrador retrievers are playful and remarkably sporty.  © Unsplash/Fernando Gago

10. Labrador retriever

Strong and agile, the Labrador retriever is a dog breed that's low-key sporty. With its incredibly intelligent and powerful brain, it's a dog breed ripe and ready for all kinds of obedience competitions, freestyle and trick events, and agility trials. There are no mass spectator sports that involve the Labrador retriever, but that's a good thing.

9. Beagle

Is there any dog more happy to run around and jump on things than the humble beagle?
Is there any dog more happy to run around and jump on things than the humble beagle?  © Unsplash/Mark Rimmel

Beagles are small and athletic creatures that love to play chase, fetch, and other similar games. Few sports are better for the humble beagle than tracking tests, ball games, and anything to do with obedience or tricks. They are adorable, smart, and incredibly keen to please their humans, no matter whether they are being watched by a crowd.

8. Bloodhound

Bloodhounds might have a scary name, but they're actually quite docile.
Bloodhounds might have a scary name, but they're actually quite docile.  © IMAGO/Pond5 Images

While not a spectator sport, the bloodhound was bred to hunt for deer, rabbits, and wild boars. They have fulfilled this role since they first appeared in the Middle Ages and are largely successful on account of their speed, strength, and most importantly, their strong sense of smell. While not a sport, that latter talent also makes them perfect for use by police and law enforcement to track people via scent.

7. Jack Russell terrier

Jack Russell Terriers are always ripe and ready to go.
Jack Russell Terriers are always ripe and ready to go.  © Unsplash/Sherry Wright

Due to their history of hunting, the Jack Russell terrier is one of the most energetic and sporty dogs out there. Famous for its ability to enjoy games like fetch, catch, and tug, these little dogs are much stronger and more willful than you'd expect from them when you see them. With short hair and piercing eyes, these wild and wonderful doggos are great pets and make great athletes.

6. Pointer

Pointers are fit and healthy creatures, and incredibly sporty.
Pointers are fit and healthy creatures, and incredibly sporty.  © Unsplash/Nathalie Spehner

Is there any dog that looks the part better than the pointer, when it comes to a conversation around sports? The pointer is one of the sportiest dogs in the world. Strong, lean, and muscular, these doggos are extremely fast and good runners, have a high degree of agility, and a strong hunting drive.

5. Barbet

Barbets like to run around and have fun.
Barbets like to run around and have fun.  © IMAGO/FStop Images

The humble barbet is a curly-haired fluff ball intent on doing anything that revolves around water. It is a breed designed to retrieve game from swamps and marshes and, as such, the barbet is innately sporty in not only its physical characteristics but its original purpose. Joyful and devoted, these are doggos that will always be happy to do for a swim, play catch, and engage in sports.

4. Basset hound

Basset hounds aren't the prettiest doggos in the world, but they are some of the sportiest.
Basset hounds aren't the prettiest doggos in the world, but they are some of the sportiest.  © Unsplash/kyle smith

The basset hound has one of the dog kingdom's most powerful noses and, as such, is the perfect dog for scent tracking. These short-coated doggos have huge ears and powerful muzzles that are capable of picking up smells and following them all the way to the source. As such, they are featured in a variety of competitive tracking sports and have been used in hunting for many years.

3. Golden retriever

Golden retrievers are some of the cutest dogs in the world, but also quite sporty.
Golden retrievers are some of the cutest dogs in the world, but also quite sporty.  © Unsplash/Nicholas Brownlow

Let's be real – it's kind of in the name! The golden retriever is not only one of the sweetest doggos in the world, but also one of the sportiest. Forever keen to play a game of fetch, to practice agility training, go swimming, and perform obedience tests, these fluffy wonders can be extremely loyal and acquiescent if you train them right.

2. Border collie

Border collies are extremely intelligent, and can be great sporting dogs.
Border collies are extremely intelligent, and can be great sporting dogs.  © Unsplash/Alex Bello

One of the smartest dogs to have ever walked the planet, the border collie is a sporty wonder that can be taught many tricks. Due to their incredible intelligence, once fully trained, the border collie can be put to work doing nearly anything you want from them. When then combined with their extremely impressive physique, their sportsmanship is nearly unparalleled.

1. Greyhounds

Few dogs are sportier than the greyhound.
Few dogs are sportier than the greyhound.  © Unsplash/Tonia Kraakman

There's no freedom for the greyhound - just small boxes, gun shots, and racetracks rimmed with cheering spectators. Bet on by the masses and expected to perform to their absolute best (or risk being put down), these skinny creatures are fast, muscular, and possibly the sportiest dogs in the world. Still, that doesn't stop them from also being one of the most unethical dog breeds out there.

Sporting dog breeds often get abused

Sporting dog breeds face many different challenges and, more specifically, abuse at the hands of humans. In many areas of the world, greyhound racing has become highly controversial and something that is being banned, and it's not the only animal sport being outlawed.

But most doggos are sporty because they like to run and exercise, or just simply due to physical traits that give them that extra edge.

Cover photo: Unsplash/Chuko Cribb

More on Dog Guide: