Labradors/dogs and cycling?

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  • Labradors/dogs and cycling?
  • Looking at getting a dog in the next few months to have as a pet and to take riding. A labrador seemed to fitting the bill nicely until someone said to me that labs can only run for relatively short distances (3 or so miles).
    So question is, Does anyone have a lab they take for regular 10/15 or more mile rides?
    Is any dog capable of doing this that doesn't need a small field to live in at all other times (border collie!)?

    Premier Icon valleydaddy

    A lab could do it, just make sure you get one from working dog stock, those are usually the big head, slim bodied labs not the built for comfort massive labs like I used to have.

    My sister has a black lab from working dog stock and is an awesome trail dog, loves it.

    Been on rides with a collie too and that kept up well too.

    could also look at spaniels, lurcher, greyhound,

    I guess like a human, allow the pup to develop, don't do too much too fast and then build the mileage up over a year and I'm sure whatever dog you choose they will become an awesome trail dog.

    I'm thinking of getting a dog for the same purpose too


    This may help

    My dog did just under 30 miles today. Shes a beagle sized Heinz 57 ex stray(Staffy collie terrier X )

    Despite being quite a stocky dog,I started running her, she could only do about half a mile at first, I couldn't even get her around the village. I know its stating the bleeding obvious, but the key is to build them up slowly, the same way a person would have to train for a marathon.

    The more technical rides are better, what knackers her is sustained speed, my local bridleway hack is only 8 miles but quite fast, it wipes her out (being only about an hour and a half). I'd have thought a Lab or any other working type dog would build stamina up to do the distance very well. Get a crossbreed, there the toughest IMO 😀

    Big Pete

    Do NOT take a lab out on the trails until over a year old as bones and joints are still developing, it will lead to hip/joint problems. Agree about working stock avoid stocky build.


    Dalmations are good runners, used to run with horses in the old days, hungarian vistla's are good endurance dogs, I've got a lab, a worker but I think about 5 miles is about the limit, the skinny ones are still pretty big for long distance I would think? "stands back and waits to be shot down"

    Premier Icon Drac

    My old lab, which has some how pushed me off the settee and onto the floor as I type this, would run all day mile after mile. Had to try to avoid fire roads as it cut her feet although she learned to run on the verges, she'd run 18 miles plus then sleep for an hour and then be ready to go again. She's a light weight one, doesn't have much to do with being working stock some for working are built big to push through the brashing, others skinny to move like the wind.


    MMmm, I have a working lab' and still wouldn't go much over 5 miles with her – they're built for comfort not speed, and bred for their intelligence and amazing noses.

    Lab's have dense bones and heavy muscle – they have to work hard to shift muscle and bone, and coupled with well known hip problems makes it a risky bet. Basically they're built for a fast short sprints, bashing through undergrowth followed by a lot of sniffing around. Mine tend towards the throwing herself into any vegetation without any thought to the consquences, whether its gorse, bramble, heather or the odd oak tree trunk!

    If you do decide to go with a Lab', I 2nd the advice above – do not do trails or do anything but short sprinty, play type stuff with one until 12 months+

    Most popular trail dog is a collie.

    Premier Icon Mad Pierre

    Get a cat! You can leave it to its own devices while you go for a ride and save all the hassle (including carrying a bag of dogshit in your Camelbak!)

    Mine regularly run 10-15 miles /week. The bitch is knackered towards the end and only just keeps up, but the dog would do it again. Keeps them very fit, slim, and they look like race horses! They will also bementally and physically drained and you will have a calmer dog.

    Don't run them too far until they're about 12-18 months as they are not fully developed and you may get problems further down the line.

    You will also need to build up the distance rather than taking them first time for 20 miles.

    Take them down the canal towpath to start to get them used to the bike and keeping up with you. Mine hated the bike to start, but once they knew it was fun they loved it!


    Have a look at an Irish Terrier mine loves everything from XC to a afternoons DH, even comes night riding with his led collar on so I can see where he is……..dunno how the **** he can see where he is going mind! * : )

    Premier Icon ampthill

    I think you hit the dilema well

    Our English Springer seems to be able to run forever. I only cycle with her for about an hour but she still has time to explore and zig zag

    But like Collies they need a good amount of excercise every day. Ours is on just under 2 hours a day at the mo. But a good house dog

    Premier Icon momentum

    Collie corss something would be good – good amount of energy but a bit calmer if it's crossed with something sensible! I used to have a collie x lab who could do lots of exercise and wasn't too bonkers after the age of two or so.

    Don't know if I get a pure lab for this unless as said you can get one from good working stock, keep them lean and build them up.

    I have a black lab cross with some hound in him, he is lean and fast and will happily come out for 10-15 miles and then come for a walk with my other dogs. But he is a great calm house dog…almost all the time. Before that I had a springer /collie cross, she was also great but insane till she was 3 years old.

    Really I'd recommend some kind of cross from a rescue home involving parts of spaniel / collie / lab. Any dog is going to need exercise to be well behaved around the house at other times, get them stupidly fit and active and they are going to keep expecting it.

    Zed, Black lab cross, dumped near my house so we took him in.


    I've got a lab/airedale cross who is incredibly fast and agile, pure labs tend to get rather portly!

    One problem is she is very preoccupied with chasing Squirrels 🙂

    Ive got 2 golden retreivers who I take CC. 5/10 miles easy. My cycling pace is obviously closer to their natural pace than walking so they happily pad along in front / beside / behind. They are from "working" stock though – my last one was a softie who preferred the couch to to woods.

    Don't over exercise them when they are under a year: Aside from hip and joint issues, you might also end up with a "leggy" dog, ie: one that looks like its been crossed with a giraffe.

    I take my 6 year old Lab Ella on almost every ride and she is fine. Typically we ride for around 2 to 2.5 hours and she's OK, I'd be pushing it to go further than that because she gets tired.

    She is a working lab, small framed and very lithe, the show labs are useless and can get damaged joints.

    I stop twice on a spin for her (ahem) as she needs about 5 mins to recover and have a drink. I'd say 2 years old before you can do that though as they can be prone to hip issues.

    Greyhounds like a run and there are loads that need good homes. We have a shelter near us with about 50 of them all needing homes, it's dead sad.

    Greyhounds are great pets (I had an ex race one) but I would not get one as trail dog. They are sprinters, not endurance dogs and not very tough and rugged. Beautiful creatures though.

    Mine is a collie, red setter cross and will run for ever given the chance.


    My mates had a Lab that ran long distances due to Bob being a long distance runner. For years he ran and ran. Died, sadly, this year age 13ish. Beware of breed strain and hip probs and get to see the parents hip score and as has been already said, short walks upto age 12 months. I've a Flat Coat retriever (Black) and they love to run and he comes on routes with me, enjoyed Dalbettie very much! Labs vary so much within the breed so do some research. Lurchers are ace!


    Recently took my 8yr old border terrier on a 30 mile ride. I used the singlespeed to keep the pace down, but the dog did the distance and pace no problem. Great exercise for the dog .. it really burns the fat off them.

    Premier Icon jimmy

    Labs are prone to arthritis later on, as witnessed in our two when I was a kid. I wouldn't get one as a serious trail dog, even though they'd have the enthusiasm and energy to do it I'd worry for the long term effects. Occasional shorter rides would be OK, though.

    Having said that, taking our old girl down the park and hitting a tennis ball as far as I could over and over was probably worse – amounted to miles of pure sprinting after a ball. Of course, she loved it 🙂

    Premier Icon Shandy

    Dalmations will keep running and running.

    Away from you.

    I have had 3 mates with Dalmations, all of which have been chronic escape artists.

    action dan

    Border terrier's make great running dogs, as they were bred for hunting fox's and would run along side horses all day long. There also tuff little feckers, just ask any vet!If you train them they will run along side the bike and not cut across in front of you like some stupid dogs, also small enough to put in specially adapted rucksack whilst on road sections.

    Premier Icon smartay

    I've got a black lab. Ex rescue center, full working pedigree. We regularly do Llandegla mid week and he copes well with this sort of distance.Bridleway rides and cheeky rides more difficult with faffing about for leads or getting of bike etc when crossing roads, oh the other thing with a working dog they'll want to hunt so be prepared for enforced stops while the investigate.
    On the subject of pedigree or cross, very active dogs need exercising regularly and how will they fit in with your household. I built a covered run for our dog, so he lives outside during the day.

    If you've got kids your life revolves around them, if you get a dog then your lives revolve around them!!!!

    Premier Icon Drac

    Yeah use to take my Border out with us too he'd run all day non stop.


    whilst there are lots that need homing (make great pets – like cats for dog lovers) don't get a greyhound…

    great for 30sec burst around the field (always anticlock if they were ex racers lol) – catch a rabbit then sleep for the rest of the day!


    my springer had to retire from mountain biking earlier this month on health grounds.(back spasm which could be a sign of arthritus)
    up until then he'd easily run for 20 miles and still want more, when ever we have a break he barks to get going again.

    Premier Icon simonhuscroft

    I have a black Lab (working stock) and he goes everywhere with us. He will happily do 20 mile without a problem.
    Having said that you have to moderate the trail centre and hard pack surfaces to avoid problems with their pads and nails.

    As im sure you are aware they are very obediant. He goes ahead on the climbs and then sits behind me on the decents.

    As has already been mentioned for long distances it would have to be working stock ie the slightly slimmer type.

    He is never happier than when out with us on the bikes!

    Premier Icon Trekster

    Having said that you have to moderate the trail centre and hard pack surfaces to avoid problems with their pads and nails.

    Like slashing pads, not a nice scene………….

    Thats got me in the mood. Taking the day off tomorrow and whacking the bike and the dogs in the pick-up. Just need to think of somewhere semi-dry.


    Most dogs could be a trail dog. Problem is the dog will have back, hip, leg problems a lot earlier in life than normal, as most dogs are not built for running along trails. With pretty much every breed you will be shortening their life expentancy by using them as a trail dog.

    As above, do not let your dog run along side you until at least 12/18 months old. I know a dog that crabs as it walks because the owner couldn't be bothered to walk it, and rode his bike instead. The dog is now 4 years old and has major hip & back problems.

    I would love to run with our Springer, but she has trials during the summer and working the winter and I don't want to ruin her, she's not built for it.


    Passing car driver shouted that I should never cycle with a dog as I'll it a heart attack & then pissed off before I could ask why – I was only cycling gently along a footpath as pooch was on the lead & was on way back from gentle pootle round the woods. Couldn't see any logic in it myself – anyone see any possible truth in it?

    Premier Icon ampthill


    "Most dogs could be a trail dog. Problem is the dog will have back, hip, leg problems a lot earlier in life than normal, as most dogs are not built for running along trails. With pretty much every breed you will be shortening their life expentancy by using them as a trail dog."

    Could you qualify this. I've never heard it before and would hate to be doing the dog harm. I thought that springer spaniels were bread for all day work

    You definitely need to make sure that it's fully grown if you want to take a lab out or as others have said, you'll get hip problems in particular. As a general rule cross breeds are more healthy in this respect but you still need to build up. We've got collie cross labradoodle (lab x poodle). So it's basically a black dog. Intelligent, quick and doesn't bugger off. Not trained to the bikes yet. I'm not sure I'd take a dog on any technical trails in any case. Not sure I want to added distraction.

    I can understand not running them at 20mph for 2 hours but the start stop nature of MTB must be reasonably OK for them ?

    I cant see this sort of thing being generally accepted if running a dog long distances was harmful ?

    Premier Icon Drac

    My dog Lab is 13 years old has no bone problems even the ones that were crushed when she was run over give her very little trouble. She was a regular with us and even took he out again when she was about 10 but sadly as she was a bit plum she struggled but managed.

    Wouldn't take her now she struggles to walk anything more than a couple of miles now without starting to stumble.

    I feel that while of course they could get joint issues dogs are built for running and a lab is a solid pup.

    Let their bones develop peoperly before you start this (2 years) and I think the muscles become strong enough to suppoort their joints correctly and they should be fine and perhaps even fitter in later life.

    I don't let mine run on the road and for the uphills she's walking faster than me most of the time!!

    Do need to do a pad check as some dick left glass on Holmbury and damn near sliced one of hers off.

    I don't reckon excercise is bad for a dog excessive road running could well be though.

    We are very into working labs as Mrs M works and trials them. Would not recommend them as a trail dog as labs are very susceptible to hip problems. They would get fit enough to enjoy running all day, but there would be a very high likelihood of developing arthritic hips at a relatively early age. As others have said, they are not built for continuous running. To use an analogy, they are a bit like rugby backs – fast and fairly strong but have periods of intense activity interspersed with standing still for a while.

    Spaniel would be a better bet

    Current crop although the little one is now 18 months old and in her first season of working

    Premier Icon Drac

    That's some fine looking labs there C'tn.

    Thanks drac. The two old ones in the middle are both 12 and working days now behind them. Young one now 18 months, and the other two 5 and 3

    The one on the far left is a particularly fine beast.

    Premier Icon jimmy

    Aww Cap, stop it…


    I concur.
    Labs have a history of hip, joint, and cartridge issues.
    My present yellow lab is 14 and hobbles about after snapping a tendon two years ago.
    His predecessor had OCD, and aged 2 had 2x major ops on her front knees.
    Such a shame. She recovered but high mileage was not possible.

    Here's my new trail dog to be – just 11 weeks at the moment, so a long time yet before she's out and about for any serious bike following. Spent a long time deciding between a collie and a lab, but opted for the collie in the end.


    A Kelpie was recommended to me by a Kiwi mechanic I worked with in a bike shop.

    It seems a Collie and Australian sheepdog mix would be perfect.

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