14 of the Best Hiking Dogs Ready for Outdoor Adventures
Walking your dog is an excellent way to get exercise and spend time outdoors together.
There isn’t any scientific proof that shows that going out into nature rejuvenates us, but if you’ve seen a happy canine running through the woods, then you won’t be needing any scientific evidence!
Not every dog is suited for long distance hiking.
Some aren’t made for the kinds of rugged conditions that hiking often involves, while others are just more comfy running around at a manicure dog park (for hardcore joggers, canicross or dogging are also solid workout options).
What to Look For in a Hiking Dog: Important Qualities?
Many small breeds of dog can hike well, but some larger breeds are clearly better suited for hiking than others. Among other characteristics, good hiking companions usually exhibit these qualities:
Dogs who are too young or too old are not well suited for hikes. Most dogs should probably already be one year old and have had all of their shots before going on a hike.
The actual age at when this happens will vary from one breed of dog to another. Generally speaking, smaller breeds tend to live longer than larger breeds and suffer from fewer skeletal problems, so they can hike for longer than their larger cousins.
Climate-Appropriate Fur Length
It is important to think about the typical weather where you usually hike, and get a dog with a coat length appropriate for the conditions. For instance, you wouldn’t, for instance, bring a husky into 95 degree temperatures, but you would definitely not be able to carry a Dalmatian through a blizzard.
High Energy Level
Hiking is an energetic activity, so only dogs that are good with moving their bodies will appreciate hiking. If your dog likes to be chased by sticks (bulldogs), then they’re probably not going to like hiking either.
Best hiking dogs
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever loves being outdoors and will accompany you to almost any activity of your choice. But because of her water-resistant fur, she will especially enjoy going for swims even when it’s cold out.
Robinson explains that the Chesapeake Bay retriver, because he is a working dog, does well with an adequate level of exercise every single morning. He’s naturally hardworking, loving, devoted, and intelligent, so he makes a great hiking buddy.
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, then you’ll probably enjoy meeting the American black bear. According to Robinsons, bears are “the perfect hiking companion.” They’re good at exercising and they thrive on a lot.
These dog breeds were originally bred to hunt game and protect their owners from wild animals. Today, however, they make wonderful pets and loyal hunters. Regardless of the activity, the mountain dog is always up for some adventure!
Don’t let their size deceive you, cairn terriers are active, little adventurers. After all, Dorothy’s sweet companion Toto in The Wizard of Oz was a cairn terrier!
These dogs are not ideal for hiking or steep slopes because of their small size, but they are able to hike multiple times the distance of a normal dog. They are very athletic.
These energetic dogs were designed to be hunters, so they’re usually active and playful throughout their lives
Golden Retrievers are among the most energetic dogs and are excellent for people who enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, biking, swimming, and playing fetch.
With his natural athletic ability and friendly personality, it’s no surprise that Buddy was a Golden Retriever and became an adored character in the Air Buddies series.
If you want to enjoy endless outdoor activities, get yourself an Aussie Shepherd dog. They’re naturally inclined to exercise themselves and they’ll always be happy to see you when you come home from a long day out.
Robinson describes Australian Shepherds as “fast, athletic, and thrive mentally and physically on a daily bases.”
Because they’re usually more shy around strangers than familiar people, expect them to stick close to you when hiking.
Border Collies are some of the fastest dogs out there, so if you’re looking for a dog that runs well, has good stamina, and is easy to train, then look no further than a border colly.
They’re good at jumping through hoops no matter whether it’s sunny or snowy outside.
German Shorthaired Pointer
GSPs are bred to be versatile dogs who enjoy everything from hunting to playing fetch. They’re among the healthiest breeds, but they’re not immune to certain diseases.
This breed has a lot of energy and a strong hunting instinct, as they were bred for hunting wild game. They need regular, intense exercise so they stay fit and active and will thrive if they’re kept active by an energetic owner.
Jack Russell Terrier
Jack Russell Terriers are small and powerful dogs bred to hunt farm rodents and wild game. They’re lively, playful, and enjoy being active.
If you want to know whether you’d be a good fit for a dog like Jack Russell Terriers, then take him out for a walk and see how he reacts to different situations.
Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese is a smart, calm, and loyal hiker who loves being outside in cold weather.
“The Bernese is an excellent choice for people who prefer cooler weather and easy hiking.” Considering its large size and thick fur, the Bernese could be a good match for hikers who enjoy cooler temperatures and less strenuous activities.
These active dogs need only half an hour of exercise per day and are prone to develop elbow and hip dysplasias, so take them for shorter walks.
The Siberian Husky is a powerful working dog, used to pulling heavy loads through snowdrifts and across icy plains. It is a large, sturdy dog with thick fur and massive muscles. Its coat can withstand temperatures down to minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit – perfect for winter weather! The Siberian Husky is one of the most popular breeds in North America because of its intelligence, eagerness to please, and desire to work. A loyal companion, the Siberian Husky gets along well with children and other animals. It needs plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.
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The Vizsla was originally bred as a working dog, used to hunt game such as deer, boar, and bear. These days they are still used extensively in the field to help protect livestock and guard property. Due to their natural ability and desire to work, these intelligent and loyal companions are often chosen as family pets. They are extremely social animals who enjoy being around people and can easily adapt to living indoors if needed. They are also known for their great sense of smell, so they are excellent watch-dog breeds.
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The Rhodesian Ridgehound is a breed of dog originating in Africa. These dogs were bred to track down big animals such as lions and elephants. They are very energetic and dignified dogs, who are reserved towards strangers, but friendly with family members. They are great companions for very active people, and enjoy exercising with their owners.
Dalmatians are famous for their endurance, so no wonder they excel at the trail. They’re friendly, energetic, and full of life, so going for walks is a great way to release some pent up energy. Dalmatians don’t usually have an insatiable appetite for prey, so they’re not likely to chase down every creature in the woods.
Dalmatians have a short coat and a slim body, so they need protection from the cold, yet they’re able to tolerate warmer weather.
A Plott is a fairly rare breed of dog, originally designed for hunting wild boars and other large game. They’re excellent at long distance hikes because they enjoy running long distances.
They’re not ideal for cold weather hikes because their fur isn’t long enough to keep them warm, but warm-weather hiker will enjoy having them as companions on warmer hikes.
If you’re in an environment where there’s a high chance of being attacked by dogs, then I would definitely suggest getting professional canine security education for both yourself and your pet. Even basic classes with a professional will teach both of you environmental awareness and when to vocalize which could be enough in a dangerous situation.