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Ask AKC: Walking Big and Small Dogs Together

American Kennel Club, Inc. (c) 2011

Dear Lisa: I have a German Shepherd Dog and a Pomeranian. I walk both dogs at the same time but I wonder how much is too much of a long walk for the Pomeranian. The German Shepherd Dog seems unfazed by the time and length of the walk. My Pomeranian seems OK, but she will sit down on the walk if it gets to be too much for her. What amount of exercise in the form of a walk should be the maximum for the Pomeranian? --Walking With Worries
Each breed was originally bred for a specific purpose. The German Shepherd Dog (GSD) used for herding was developed for long hours on the farm and in the field. According to the German Shepherd Dog Club of America standard for the breed, "At a trot the dog covers still more ground with even longer stride, and moves powerfully but easily, with coordination and balance so that the gait appears to be the steady motion of a well-lubricated machine." This dog was made to keep moving over long distances.

The Pomeranian on the other hand, with an average weight being from 4 to 6 pounds, is a toy breed with a little quick stride compared to the GSD. But the Pom is unaware of his small size and will try to keep up with his bigger buddy. It will take this diminutive dog many more strides to equal one of the GSD, thus he would be working harder to cover the same ground. His sitting down during the walk means he has had enough and needs to rest. Picking up the pooped-out Pom while you finish walking the GSD is an option, but not very practical.

A better alternative might be to walk each dog separately. This will give the GSD a vigorous trot that he needs to keep in shape, and give the Pomeranian a shorter version suited for his needs. By taking separate walks, each dog gets his own special time with his master and that will also create a deeper bond with you and each of your dogs.

 

If you have a question, send it to Lisa at lxp@akc.org and she may select it for a future column. Due to the high volume of questions she cannot offer individual responses.