Which Dog Breed Is Your Triathlon Spirit Animal?

Outsiders might think of triathletes as their own breed, but I’d say that’s not quite accurate. Spend just a couple of hours at any triathlon finish line and you’ll see that the sport is comprised of a huge variety of athletic types. We come into the sport for different reasons, and the motivation that drives one athlete can’t be guaranteed to inspire another. We certainly all look different, and we each have our favorite parts of the sport, not to mention preferred distances, types of courses, and, of course, weather.

So, triathletes — they’re really more like a species. Like dogs! And there are all kinds of breeds under that umbrella. As someone who’s spent a great deal of time both around lots and lots of dog breeds and all manner of triathletes, I believe I’m uniquely equipped to help you determine the answer to a question that you’ve undoubtedly wondered about since you signed up for your first race: Which dog breed is your triathlon spirit animal?

To determine your match, see which of the following opening statements best match your approach to triathlon. (Come for the spirit animal, stay for the cute GIFs!)

You are food motivated. You know that the more you train and the harder you race, the more you get to eat. It’s not that you spend four hours on your bike solely to justify choosing an all-you-can-eat buffet for brunch … but you couldn’t truthfully say it’s not a factor.

Spirit animal: Labrador Retriever, because have you ever watched a Lab eat? Probably not, because they don’t just eat — they inhale. Everything.


 You’re all about the bling. You want that medal. You love a prize. You want the shiny award, and you’ll do anything to get it. Discomfort and obstacles and stiff competition can’t get between you and your treasure.

Spirit animal: Jack Russell Terrier, because once this energetic little guy sets his mind to something — like fetching a ball — ain’t nothin’ gonna stop him.


You live for the sprint. (And the naps.) While many triathletes pride themselves on covering longer and longer distances, your strength is in the sprint, and you’re just fine with that. Why should you move at a slower pace for half a day when you can go all out for an hour or so … especially when there are such good naps to be had when you’re done?

Spirit animal: Greyhound, because there’s a reason this breed is known as the 45-mph couch potato.


You dig nothing more than a long slog on a chilly day. It’s no problem for you to push yourself to the limit for hours on end — you’ve got both the physical ability and the mental strength to handle it. And when the temperatures dip and all those warm-weather triathletes are shivering on the shore? Aww, yeah, that’s your happy place.

Spirit animal: Siberian Husky — even if you don’t sport the baby blue eyes that many members of this breed have. Next time you’re trying to PR, try watching the Iditarod for a little motivation.

Your true ambition is to be a race director. It’s not that you don’t enjoy racing, but you’re constantly taking notes and learning all the tricks of the trade so that, when you get your shot, you’ll be the best race director ever. You can’t wait to organize your own event, and you know you’ll have no problem convincing everyone to do exactly what you want them to do.

Spirit animal: Border Collie, which is known for being the smartest dog breed. They’re easily able to bend sheep to their will … and often have that effect on humans, too.

You think racing is okay, but hard work and consistent training is what really lights you up. You’ve always been a hard worker, and triathlon gives you the opportunity to put that personality trait to good work. All you need is a goal and some direction, and you will make it happen — every time, any distance.

Spirit animal: German Shepherd, because there’s little this breed hasn’t been able to do with the right training and opportunity — military work, agility, service, search and rescue, detection, farm work, and snugglebugs, they can basically be anything … except for lazy.

Honestly, you’re just here for the swim. It’s fair — you are tremendous in the water, and maybe you’ve even moonlighted as a lifeguard because your urge to rescue struggling swimmers is just that strong. On land, you’re okay, but if you had it your way, the swim portion of any race would be five times as long and the bike and run would be cut way, way down.

Spirit animal: Newfoundland! A gentle giant, the Newfie is known for his prowess in the water — and his life-saving instincts. (Sound familiar?) 

You’re proof that you can look good and kick butt at the same time. You’re often underestimated because, yeah, you show up to races looking pretty cute. But behind the good hair and great kit, you’re a serious athlete, and it doesn’t take long on race day for that to become apparent.

Spirit animal: Poodle, because despite the breed’s beautiful curly coat (and the propensity for people to groom it into seemingly silly shapes), this dog is a strong, intelligent, hard-working athlete … who just happens to make everything she does look good.

You really only signed up because you heard there were free post-race massages and the food tent is supposed to be epic. Yes, yes, you’ll put in the work — and sure, you’ll finish. Whatever. As long as you get a belly — erm, uhh, a back rub, I mean, and some really tasty treats, you’ll be happy, regardless of how long it took you to cross the finish line.

Spirit animal: Pug, because this compact and sturdy small breed is much more of a snack-and-snuggle type of dog than a run-to-win kind of canine.

You registered because your friends registered and said it would be fun. It’ll be fun, right? With you, the answer is generally yes. You’ve got a sunny disposition that makes people love being around you — and that smile? Killer. You’re a good athlete, but you prefer the parts of the sport that allow you to spend time with your buddies to anything that requires you go it alone.

Spirit animal: Golden Retrievers are often considered one of the sweetest, most social breeds around. They’ve got a great grin that makes you want to smile back, and while they ill probably chase a ball until you can’t throw it anymore, their primary focus is simply spending time with those they love, no matter what they’re doing. You want to run? Running is their favorite! Unless you want to sit, because that’s also their favorite. Also, snacks. Snacks are a favorite.

You love triathlon because it actually helps you get all — or at least most — of your energy out. You’re always going. Go go go! You’re fast, and you really never stop, and also your brain is whirring whirring whirring and hey! Did someone say they wanted to go for an insanely long run? Because that sounds GREAT.

Spirit animal: Vizslas are known for their infectious enthusiasm — and boundless (no, seriously, it’s neverending) energy. And if that energy isn’t expended in a productive manner, it can turn a bit destructive.

No, seriously, you’re just here because you really, really like the outfits. You love a cool kit, and triathlon gives you the opportunity to sport spandex in every color under the rainbow. Honestly, you don’t really understand why more people don’t wear triathlon gear. Yoga clothes have basically become the new casual, so is it really so strange to think that maybe we’ll all be walking around in bike shorts and aero sleeves in the near future? Because you will be prepared!

Spirit animal: Maltese, because this tiny little charmer loves to show off — and with that gleaming white coat and dark, button eyes, you can’t blame him. Anyone who can perfect a topknot like this dog deserves to have all eyes upon them, all the time.

You got into triathlon because, well, why wouldn’t you? You’re a solid athlete, you like learning new things, and it seemed like a fun way to make new friends. You’re loyal to your team and training pals, and you’re always there to lend a hand and an encouraging word when someone is having a rough day. In fact, you’ve considered becoming a coach — you’re smart about the sport, tend to have an awesome attitude that people respond to, you know the importance of offering feedback in a way that doesn’t feel like criticism, and you’re not afraid of the work. Yep, you’d be one heck of a coach —inspiring, but gentle.

Spirit animal: Bernese Mountain Dog, is an affectionate, beautiful, and intelligent working breed that was originally used for heavy work on Swiss farms, driving cattle, pulling carts, and protecting families, and is now generally a loyal family companion — and a breed that has a special place in the heart of all of us at Coeur Sports!

About the Author

Kristen is a busy (and very funny) woman. She's a writer, a certified triathlon coach, a pet lover and she runs Fit Bottomed Girls which is a site dedicated to empowering women to live a healthy lifestyle.

Kristen Seymour

Reginald Holden