And, typically, they go for walks on top of other exercise activities, such as cycling and jogging, rather than instead of it.
Researchers say their findings highlight the need for more dog-friendly homes, parks and paths.
Study leader Dr. Carri Westgarth said, “Without dogs, it is likely population physical activity levels would be much lower.”
The results come from a University of Liverpool study, in which 191 dog owners and 455 non-owners were asked about their exercise habits.
Owners walked an average of 9.6 times a week for a total of 347 minutes, researchers found. Non-owners had 4.6 walks lasting a total of 159 minutes.
It meant nearly nine in 10 dog owners met the recommended target of at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week, compared with about six in 10 non-owners.
However, when factors such as age and gender were stripped out, figures revealed dog owners were four times more likely to hit targets.
Westgarth said walking a dog outside also boosted mental health and community spirit.
“Our findings should be used to justify the provision of dog-supportive environments for walking and pet-friendly housing,” she added.