The gravity-defying pup that is floating above this text is a member of the most active dog breed in America.
That’s according to data shared exclusively with Business Insider by Whistle, a company that makes a GPS and activity-tracking dog collar.
The Belgian Malinois came out as top dog for the most active breed on a daily basis among nearly 100 breeds listed in Whistle’s database.
According to the American Belgian Malinois Club, the dog emerged in the 19th century from one of four varieties of herding shepherds.
The club says that its poster breed is “not your typical dog” and requires a lot of mental and physical battery-draining: “Without intensive and long-term training, Malinois will create their own activities – and those activities can be destructive.”
And it’s no wonder.
The typical Belgian Malinois gets outside and moves around an average of 102 minutes 52 seconds per day, according to Whistle’s data. If you walk a dog three times per day, then that’s less than 34 minutes 17 seconds per walk.
But one of the most active Belgian Malinois with a Whistle smart collar averaged 323 minutes 35 seconds of activity per day. That’s more than five hours of nonstop movement.
Like all data, however, Whistle’s set has limitations.
- Dave Mosher/Tech Insider
For one, dogs under 10 pounds are not well represented since the GPS collar is usually too big for them. So toy breeds could be more active, but Whistle’s data wouldn’t necessarily reveal that.
Further, the data includes dogs that were active for only more than 14 days in a row. This improves data reliability, but it also weeds out otherwise active – or very lazy – dogs whose owners forgot to consistently use the device, let the collar’s battery die, or prematurely canceled their $9.99-a-month subscription, among other reasons.
Also, Business Insider’s testing of a Whistle GPS collar loaned to us by the company showed that it does not record indoor activity – or any activity too close to a base station that “talks” to the collar. It also couldn’t accurately log intensity, including the difference between walking and running.
Practically, this means that a fierce game of tug or running around in circles on a bed doesn’t usually count toward active time. A gallop at full speed also doesn’t “count” more in the data than a leisurely stroll.
Most importantly, correlation isn’t necessarily causation. Owners who are very active may gravitate toward breeds like the Belgian Malinois, instead of the breeds being super active themselves.
The truth probably rests – or leaps and bounds – somewhere in between.