Dogs are active by nature, but if they live with a couch potato then this mismatch can make for a strained relationship and a really miserable dog.

When bringing a dog into your home consider the activity level that the dog needs to be physically and emotionally healthy. Some people actually get a pet thinking if they only had a dog to walk then they would get the exercise they need.

These are the same people who are not likely to change their habits enough to make a good fit between them and active dogs. It’s the dog that will suffer as the lazy owner slacks off on walking and the dog fails to get what he needs in regular outdoor time.

The amount of daily activity that a dog needs is not the same as exercise. Every dog needs time each day to walk, run, jump and unwind. That may come with a walk on the leash to the park or around the block.

A dog that lives in a home with a fenced yard can enjoy free running and playing without the constraints of a leash. Older adults who have their own problems with mobility limitations need to choose a dog that requires less daily activity.

People who enjoy spending time outdoors for recreation or to unwind after a day at work are ideal owners for active dogs. Both owner and dog look forward to the end of the day, when they can play chase in the park or go for a run together.

Larger dogs tend to be more physically active. Among those are dogs whose heritage includes being working or hunting dogs. They have an innate desire to be busy and work off energy. Dogs such as Irish Setter, Doberman, Beagle, German Shepherd and Greyhound are built for movement and agility, so they naturally desire daily exercise.

Size can fool you as the extremely large dogs like the St. Bernard and Bull Mastiff, who can easily outweigh their owners, are low activity dogs. Small dogs like Poodles, Pekinese and Chihuahuas can live in small spaces and forego the daily long walk in the park, but their high-strung temperaments cause them to be high in activity around the house.

There may seem like so much to know before adopting a dog – and there is but by taking time to make a profile of the dog that best fits your living space, personality, and personal activity level, you’ll have a better match for a lasting relationship.