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Great hiking dog breeds

Updated on December 5, 2009

Don't forget about safety!

Finding the ideal dog to hit the trail


If you love the outdoors and are looking for a canine companion to accompany you on your hiking outings make sure you do your research well. Some dogs may just not keep up with your pace and end up taking too many breaks along the way. You want a dog that is athletic, resistant, high energy and with a good sense of adventure. The below tips may help you out in choosing the best hiking dog for you.

-Keep endurance in mind. You do not want a dog whose coat is too heavy causing summer hikes to turn out into unbearable events and you do not want a dog whose coat is too thin requiring to wear a winter coat. Usually medium coats are the ideal length for all weather conditions.

-Consider the capability of carrying weight. For instance, Dachshunds are known to be particularly prone to having back problems, so they would not be a good candidate. Consider a strong breed capable of being loaded but yet able of walking just fine. Rottweilers for instance, have been used for many years to pull carts and have a particularly strong conformation.

-Long hair dogs may have annoying consequences such as burrs getting stuck in the fur and ticks that are almost undetectable. Weimaraners for instance have a coat that does not attract burrs or thistles. Always check your pet for ticks after hiking. Some diseases such as Lyme disease can be prevented if the tick is taken off before 24 hours have passed.

-Look in general for breeds categorized as sporting dogs or working dogs. These are dogs that have been bred for years for certain specific purposes such as hunting, packing, pulling carts or sleds etc.

Some good hiking breeds:

Weimaraner: As mentioned above its coat does not attract burrs and thistles. This breed is agile, has an impressive speed and can keep up walking for great distances.

Rotteweilers: they are great for packing because they can easily carry extra weight and they can walk great lengths however, they may not be the fastest walkers and may take more than half of your tent! However, they are great sources of heat during cold wintry nights!

English Springer Spaniels: They have very high energy levels and just love to follow you even in the roughest terrains out there. They are agile and can keep up your pace with no effort.

German Shephards: They are alert, excellent walkers and great watchdogs. They will happily follow you anywhere but you must keep a watchful eye on their coat as it may attract burrs and thistles.

Huskies These are great hiking companions, however if it gets to hot, their Northern heritage will make them suffer. They ere great if you plan on hiking most of the times in winterly sceneries.

Labrador Retrievers. We all know this over popular breed and they are great outdoor dogs. Loyal, friendly and active, they will accompany you on the most challenging trails. Their coat is waterproof as well so they will enjoy swimming too.

There are many more breeds that may adjust to hiking just well. Some may just need a little practice and will get soon into the routine. Many times hikers search so much for the ideal hiking breed and then end up finding that a mutt adopted from their local shelter has turned out being the best hiking dog they have ever had.

Truth is, there is really no such thing as an ideal breed for hiking, rather there are different dogs with different body structures and different personalities. The best hiking dog may be just out there in your local shelter just waiting for an active owner as you to hit the trail.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


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