We all know best hiking dogs like Timmy and Lassie, Dorothy and Toto, Scooby and Shaggy; we humans develop deep relationships with our fellow dogs. And if you love to experience and find adventures in the outside world, there is no one better at your side than a four-legged friend.
However, not all dogs are suitable for all people and activities. For example, a Doberman Pinscher may not be the perfect pet for an aged person. Following the same principle, an outdoor man will find that a teacup poodle cannot hack him in the wild.
So if you’re thinking about getting a dog and having an adventurous mind, maybe you should pick up an animal breed that can keep up with the trails. Whether you like to go up to the peaks of snow-covered peaks or descend into desert canyons and rivers below, you know what? There is a breed of dog that is perfect to go with you.
Here are the best 12 hiking dogs we think you can venture into the wilderness with.
1Best Hiking Dogs: Labrador Retriever
Who doesn’t love the Labrador Retriever, this ultimate pure American dog family companion?
The Labrador is a very friendly and open-minded dog.
Smart, trainable, strong and diligent, these are the words used to describe the lab, and these qualities make him such a competent hiking partner.
These dogs do not only love to run and romp, but they also love to swim and after a hike, they also like to take a bath together with you in the local river or lake.
After the training, you will have very few – if any – problems from your lab on the trails. Labradors are good in most climates as long as they are not too extreme. You can also get your dog to carry about 7-10 pounds of equipment. That won’t bother him.
2Best Hiking Dogs: Vizsla
Originally bred as a hunting dog in Central Europe, the Vizsla needs a lot of exercise and attention. Is there a better way to meet both requirements than hiking with a Vizsla in warm to temperate climates?
The Vizsla is a Hungarian hunting dog and is still being used as a hunting dog today. Due to its innate power and its drive as a hunting dog, Vizsla’s great need for movement and love of nature have been preserved. Vizslas are energetic and sporty dogs, very friendly and affectionate, and always ready for action. They are the ideal choice for someone looking for an active companion.
3Best Hiking Dogs: Bernese Mountain Dog
Big, strong, sure-footed, obedient and helpful, a Bernese Mountain Dog is an ideal hiking companion, especially for longer tours.
The Bernese Mountain Dog is very attached to his family and tends to be reserved of course, but well educated with strangers.
This dog likes to work when it’s time to work and rest when it’s time to rest, making him a great partner on the side of the tent.
This dog can also help to carry supplies such as food and water.
Best of all, if you are planning to bring younger family members, your “Berner”, as some fans call this dog, will be happy to help you keep the “herd” together.
They are perfect for cooler to cold climates, so don’t leave them behind in winter; it’s their favorite time of year to hike. The reverse conclusion is, of course, to be careful in warm weather or climate because he will have to fight.
4Best Hiking Dogs: Siberian Husky
The Siberian Husky is a favorite among dog sled teams due to its combination of endurance, strength, and speed and is also loved by hikers, especially on snow slopes. The Husky’s thick, two-layer coat keeps it warm even in the coldest winter months.
The Siberian Husky was originally bred as a sled and carriage dog and pulled the sled over long distances in the harsh Russian climate. They are strongly built dogs with a lively mind, always ready for adventure at any time. As a true endurance breed, the Siberians are an excellent choice for those looking for a dog to entertain them on long walks. They are gentle and attentive, but very social dogs who like to spend time outdoors.
A word of caution when hiking with your Siberian – don’t let this dog off the leash! These dogs love to run and will not hesitate to do so when they give the lead.
You should also be aware of your dog’s overheating when hiking. Huskies have a thick, two-layered coat that helps them function well in extremely cold climates. In warm climates, however, these dogs can overheat faster than dogs bred to live in temperate areas.
5Best Hiking Dogs: Portuguese Water Dog
If you want to hike near the water, be it a mountain lake, a rippling stream or a rushing river, take your Portuguese water dog with you. He loves the water, and he’s also good for the rest of your hike. This breed is adventurous and lives from daily mental and physical exercises.
The Portuguese water dog has done many jobs, including driving fish into fishermen’s nets, recovering equipment, and nets, and as a messenger from ship to shore or from ship to ship. This breed loves work and is a wonderful family companion for those looking for an active companion. They are loving and adventurous, and they are happiest when they get lots of exercises.
This makes them incredibly suitable for all outdoor activities near large waters – they even have webs. They are also very good family members. Indeed, past President Obama’s family dog Bo is a Portuguese water dog. Just remember that they need a lot of care because of their full coat.
6Best Hiking Dogs: Alaskan Malamute
If you are looking for a large dog that will accompany you through impassable terrain in cold climates, then this breed is for you. The Alaskan Malamute is considered bigger and stronger than the Siberian Husky and has a thick, double coat and huge paws that look like snowshoes.
The Alaskan Malamute is a large working dog bred to pull carts and sleds over long distances. They are playful and loving dogs who enjoy spending time outdoors, especially in cold weather. This breed is a good choice for a hiking partner and has been bred for endurance rather than speed, making it suitable for long hikes.
7Best Hiking Dogs: Australian Shepherd
Despite their name, the Australian Shepherds – as we know them – were developed entirely in the United States. Their name actually comes from their association with Basque shepherds who came from Australia to the USA in the 18th century.
These dogs are very smart, very loyal and very close to their owners. They like to take care of complex tasks as well as sitting next to their human companions in the car.
And they are easy to train, are a popular breed because they can work as service, drug or child companions, and love lots of exercises.
Originally bred as an all-purpose shepherd and fern dog, the Australian Shepherd is virtually unsurpassed in obedience, high energy, and agility – all important things on the trail. They are pretty sure-footed and agile, so moderate climbing won’t be a problem for your Australian, but of course, they love large open areas and gentle round hills.
They do well in most climates as long as temperatures are not extreme.
Australian Shepherds are excellent hiking partners because they are very athletic, friendly and well suited for long hours of strenuous activity.
8Best Hiking Dogs: Border Collie
There is no dog breed in the world that lives more for activity than the Border Collie. We think they are the most intelligent dogs in the world, and they absolutely love to please their owners.
Energy will not be a problem for Border Collies; they will keep up. In fact, no matter how long your hike is, chances are good that your puppy will want it to be longer.
The dog breed also follows your instructions well, which is extremely important on a trail.
Don’t be afraid to give your Border Collies tasks during your hike, whether you’re carrying something small or picking up a ball or stick, because they live from work. If you camp overnight, you can easily train your Border Collie to collect firewood for you. They are so smart, and they would love nothing more than to help you.
9Best Hiking Dogs: Rhodesian Ridgeback
Originally bred by European Boers to hunt lions, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is today one of the best companions for migrating. The dog’s short and shiny wheat coat helps the Rhodesian Ridgeback to adapt better to hot climates than most other breeds.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks are very active and worthy dogs, reserved to strangers but loving to their families. They are excellent companions for very active families, and although they are relaxed, they love to move with their owners.
10Best Hiking Dogs: German Shorthair Pointer
The German Shorthair Pointer is an excellent hiking companion. The breed was developed as a hunting dog and still fulfills this task all over the world. They enjoy long hours of strenuous activities in different climate zones and are therefore suitable for long hikes and adventures. German Shorthair Pointers are social and happy to please, eager to work with their owners and make new friends.
But please remember that the German Shorthair Pointer has very strong prey instincts. Squirrels, rabbits and other forest dwellers may tempt your dog to go looking for a meal if you haven’t trained him well enough. They are also moderately protective dogs, so if something big threatens you in the wild, your dog could turn into a watchdog.
It is also important to note that they are much better suited for warmer climates due to their wiry body and short hair. If you like to travel where it snows, this breed may not be right for you.
In fact, they are incredibly versatile outdoor animals overall.
11Best Hiking Dogs: Australian Cattle Dog
The Blue Heeler, or Australian Cattle Dog, actually has wild Dingo (Australian Wild Dog) blood in his genetic heritage.
These dogs are working to the core, born and raised for herding and hunting, running and defending, for hours and days to the end.
This makes the Blue Heeler a perfect choice for a hiking companion!
These dogs are very smart and participate well in training, but they are also bred as independent thinkers who can watch out for strangers, which means you want to make sure your dog is well trained before you set off together.
12Best Hiking Dogs: Jack Russel Terrier
While many people automatically think of bigger dogs when considering a dog hiker, the Jack Russell Terrier is another great example of a small hiking dog that loves nature!
The Jack Russell Terrier may weigh less than 20 pounds, but these little dogs were born and bred to hunt foxes, and they are really hard workers!
The Jack Russel Terriers love the thrill of outdoor living with its many noises, smells, and impressions. He is extremely persistent and if well trained he will not leave your side.
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