When purchasing a dog, a lot of people are looking for a good companion in things such as company and even a running partner.

Can Labrador’s run long distances?  If you have an adult Labrador that is in good health, they can run long distances and they are great running partners because they love exercise.  It is important to make sure that your Labrador Retriever is the right age, health and fitness level before you begin any type of long-distance running with them.

Labrador Retrievers love to spend time with their humans, and they love running and being active.  Having a healthy Labrador Retriever means that you can spend much more time outside enjoying physical activities such as playing frisbee, walking and even long-distance running.

Working Dogs

Labrador Retrievers are a breed that are considered to be working dogs and therefore, they are fit and strong.  These dogs have been bred to be able to work all day out in the field or to be amazing hunters and this increases their stamina and their strength, making them a great partner for your running time.

What Decides How Far My Labrador Retriever Can Run?

The only thing that decides how far your Labrador Retriever can run is how fit and healthy that your dog is.  If you are prone to taking them outside to play and to be physical, chances are that you have a Labrador that is strong, muscular and a dog that has great endurance. 

If you lack spending time outside with your Labrador, it is a good possibility that your Lab will not be able to run as far or as fast as a dog that gets daily exercise.  You can increase their stamina by beginning a workout regime and take time to build up their muscles and their endurance.  Do this slow, starting with a few minutes throughout the day and keep building until you have your Labrador running as much distance as you do.

Even though knowing how fit your Labrador is as a deciding factor at how far your Labrador can run, it is also important to look at other factors around you to decide how far you should run with your Labrador Retriever such as:

  • How Fit Your Labrador Is.
  • How Hot or Cold it is Outside.
  • How Healthy and How Old Your Labrador Is.

Fitness

Just like a human athlete, it is important to build your dog’s stamina up slowly.  You don’t want to just take your Labrador outside and expect him or her to run 30 miles the first time you go for a run.  Just as you get fit in stages, it is important that you allow your dog to get used to running in stages.  This is very important so that you do not wear your dog out quickly and that you give them a chance to build their strength.

Weather

Once again, just like weather affects us as people, the weather also affects our animals.  It is important that you do not take your Labrador out in really hot or really cold weather to run because this can be unhealthy for your dog.  When you are out running and you begin to get too hot or thirsty, remember that your Lab is probably too hot and thirsty, as well. 

Labrador Retriever’s can overheat if they are running in constant heat.  It is unnatural for your Labrador to run constantly without taking a break, especially when the weather is very warm or hot.

The cold is another thing to consider when running.  Even though your Labrador has a dual coat, they can still get cold if the weather is extremely cold.  When running in the cold, remember it is harder on your lungs and your body and the same goes with your dog.

If you decide that you are going to run in the summer months, remember that you can get up early in the morning or in the evening and the weather will still be cool.  Try not to run at peak sun hours so that your Lab does not overheat.

Age and Health

If you are going to take your dog for long distance runs, remember that going a lot of miles can really put a strain on your Labrador’s bones and muscles.  If you have to run on hard distances such as concrete or black top, it can cause your dog to have joint pain.  Remember that Labrador Retriever’s are known for having hip dysplasia and running long distances on a daily basis can speed up this process on their body. 

Make sure that you see your local vet to make sure that your Labrador is healthy enough to begin a regular running regime and that your dog is healthy enough to run without developing problems in the future. 

Can My Labrador Run Fast?

There are not very many studies on how fast a Labrador Retriever can really run, but we do know that a Labrador that is fit and muscular can outrun a human being easily.  Some believe that a Labrador can run over 40 miles per hour and others believe that the Labrador Retriever can run over 35 miles per hour for short periods of time.

Even though a Labrador Retriever can run faster than a human, the thing that stands out the most about a Labrador is how long and how much endurance they have.  The Labrador is much more likely to be able to run for long distances than to be a fast dog.

How Can I Get My Labrador Retriever Fit for Long Distance Running?

The most important thing to do if you are wanting your dog to run long distances with you is to make sure that you get them checked out thoroughly by your local vet.  Make sure that your Lab does not have any kind of medical conditions that could cause him or her to put added strain on their bodies.

The next important thing is to get your dog in a routine of being active.  It would be extremely unhealthy for you to not do any kind of physical activity with your Lab for a month and then to take him or her out for a five-mile run.  Instead, start slow and work up to the distance that you want to be able to achieve with your Labrador.  Here are some tips on how to do that:

  • Start with Slow, Short Runs.
  • Do These Runs for 3 Days and then Rest.
  • Continue This Routine for a Couple Months.

Start Slow

If you are trying to get your Labrador in shape to do long distance running, it is important to know that it is not natural for your dog to run constantly for long periods of time without slowing down and taking a break.  This is a rule for a fit Lab and a Lab that has worked up their stamina and endurance.

It is important that you start slowing with your Labrador Retriever in order to build up their body and to help them reach a higher endurance.  Start with a short run or a jog, around a half of mile or a mile so that your dog will get used to these distances.  Do these slow runs for the first couple of months so that your dog will get used to running short distances and then you can add more distance as time comes and your dog becomes more fit. 

3 Days on 1 Day Off

Do your short and slower runs for around 3 or 4 days in a row.  After these 3 or 4 days, take a break and give your dog a rest.  On this day, your Labs muscles are having a chance to repair themselves and to heal so that your dog is not sore or overtired for the next run.

Repeat

Continue this routine with the slow run and the 3 days on and 1 day off routine.  This routine will help to build up your dogs’ muscles and health so that he or she will be able to continue to increase their running and their endurance. 

Repeat this routine for as long as you need to until your Lab seems like he or she is ready to go further distances.  Remember to take as many breaks as needed so that your Labrador Retriever does not overheat when running.  Try to pay special attention to your dogs’ body so that you can see any signs of tiredness or overheating. 

Can I Run My Labrador Puppy?

Labrador puppies are full of energy and they still need a lot of exercise, but long distance running with a Labrador puppy might not be the best idea.  Most Labrador puppies need to have around 5 minutes of walking for each month that your puppy is old. 

So, if your puppy is 4 months old, he or she will need around 20 minutes of exercise.  It is important that you do not even start walking your Labrador puppy until they are at least 3 months of age because they have not had all of their shots and they might not be protected from the elements.

Running your Labrador puppy could over exercise them and cause their muscles and joints to not form correctly.  Since Labradors are prone to things such as hip dysplasia, we want to make sure that their joints and their bones are fully formed and strong before we decide to give them excessive exercise. 

It is important to wait until your Labrador has matured and that their joints and bones have matured before doing long distance running.  When your Labrador’s bones and joints have matured, they will be less likely to have injuries or less likely to have an early onset of bone and joint diseases.  Ask your vet if your Labrador puppy is ready to run before you make the leap and start doing long-distance running with them.

When your Labrador reaches around 10-11 months of age, this is a time that you can start taking your Lab out for small runs.  Going out on a run for around 5 minutes is a great start for a Lab puppy that is this age.  This can get them used to running and help to start building their body for more long-distance running.

Can I Run My Senior Labrador Retriever?

Labrador Retriever’s love to run and even when your Lab gets to be of senior age, he or she will love to go out for a run.  It is important that like a Lab puppy, that your senior dog is taken on shorter runs for less distances. 

It is important to know your Labrador to make sure that taking your senior Lab out is safe for your dog, asking your vet is the best choice before any running is decided on.  If your senior Labrador is tired or is used to laying around, going on longer walks might be better for them than going on runs. 

Pay attention to your senior Labrador and make sure that he or she does not seem too tired, overheated or thirsty.  This can be worse on a senior Labrador than a fit and young Labrador, so make sure that you are paying close attention when going on runs.

How Can My Labrador and I Be Safe When Running?

It is important that you take safety as a number one precaution when taking your Labrador out for a run.  It is important to pay attention to these things:

  • Temperature
  • Health of Your Lab
  • Hydration

Make sure that you pay attention to your dog and make sure that he or she is not getting too hot when running.  If your dog is overweight or is a senior Lab, make sure that they are healthy enough to be out running, especially if it is warmer out and your Lab could overheat.

Bring plenty of water for your Labrador and take breaks so that your Lab can stay hydrated.  It is important that your Lab is able to stop and have a drink between runs so that he or she does not get sick or overheated.

It is important to pay attention to your own body.  If you realize that you are overheated or if you are extremely thirsty, chances are that your Labrador Retriever is overheated and extremely thirsty.  If this happens, take a minute to rest and allow your Labrador to look around and to enjoy their surroundings.  

How Far Should My Labrador Run?

This question once again depends on how healthy your Labrador Retriever really is.  Some Labrador Retriever’s are high strung and have a lot of energy.  If this is the case, you could probably easily take your Labrador out for a run 5-10 miles.  The problem with this is that the added work on the joints and bones may not be good for your Labrador in their later life and could cause them to have unnecessary joint and bone pain.

The best rule of thumb is to not overwork your Labrador.  Going more than 5 miles per day could really be too much for a healthy and fit Labrador due to their underlying health issues that they often times develop. 

Most people feel that as long as your Labrador is getting around an hour to an hour and half of exercise that it is plenty of exercise for them on a daily basis.  Even though some people give their Lab’s this exercise different times throughout the day, if you want your Lab to run long distances, just keep the time at a maximum of an hour and a half, just to play it safe.

Other Things to Remember

Remember that your Labrador is not a human and he or she might need to make extra stops along the way to rest or to go to the bathroom.  Be patient with your Labrador if they want to stop and sniff around the area or if they want to check out the world around them. 

Labrador’s love the companionship and may just want to take extra time around them to enjoy their world and their owner.  Be patient when training your Labrador to run long distances and it will be a partner that you will never be able to replace.

Conclusion

Labrador Retriever’s are dogs that are known to be very fit and athletic.  These dogs are known to be bred to work out in the fields for days at a time and for hours at a time and so they have a lot of stamina and endurance.

If you are looking for a long-distance running partner, your Labrador Retriever could be the perfect partner for you.  Remember when you decide that running is your thing, allow your Labrador to work up to be able to run long distances without being too ready to run long distances immediately.  Allow your Labrador to work up their fitness level so that you both can enjoy your running together.