Unfortunately, this question is not black and white. I, personally, believe all dogs should be taken for a walk three (3) times a day. The walks themselves will vary depending upon the following situations:
- The age of the dog
- The breed of the dog
- The size of the dog
- How active the dog is indoors
- The weather
Age: Starting with the age of the dog; just as humans become less active when they become older, senior dogs follow that same path. They do not necessarily require as much activity as say, a 1-3 year old pup does. However, something to keep in mind with this situation is senior dogs may have a more difficult time holding their potty in. So where puppies need to be taken for longer walks, senior dogs may need shorter walks more often.
Breed: Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and your walks should adjust accordingly. Some breeds require much more exercise than others. Biggest advice to you is; do your research before adopting a dog! It is so important to adopt a dog that will be a good fit for you, your family and your home.
Dogtime.com has a really great link where you pick a certain characteristic you want in your future dog, and voila! – A huge list of dogs with that characteristic appear. If you have any questions or concerns regarding a certain breed, any veterinarian would be happy to discuss this with you.
Size: A Great Dane will obviously need a much longer walk than a chihuahua. If you have less time in your day to devote to taking care of a large dog, look into getting a smaller breed. There are many great small breeds out there, that are still willing to fetch a ball.
Activity Level: Depending on how active you are with your dog indoors, two longer walks; one in the morning and one in the evening may be sufficient. This means that you play with your dog, whether it’s tug-o’-war or throwing a ball for him/her down the hall, or just wrestling, they simply need to release their energy. Please note: your dog will still need to be let out for potty breaks!
Weather: Without a doubt, weather will certainly affect the length of your walks. When you walk your dogs; puppies, teenagers or seniors, ALWAYS be aware of any unusual behavior or personality shift (i.e. fatigue, exhaustion, panting hard, etc.). If you do notice a change in your pets behavior, take them immediately to a veterinarian. If the weather is scorching hot, that probably means the ground is as well. This could potentially cause some serious damage to your dog’s paws. Make the walk quick and provide a lot of water. If the weather is freezing cold, be sure your dog is bundled up!
Final Note: Dogs are such an amazing addition to a family; however they can also be a ton of work as well. Do your research, and find a dog breed that best suits yours and your families needs. If, due to a busy schedule, you are not able to provide your dog with enough attention, love and walks, hire someone who can help provide this.