ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

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.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Farricelli 

      8 years ago

      Border collies are the ultimate hiking dog breeds for excellence!

    • Larry Fields profile image

      Larry Fields 

      8 years ago from Northern California

      Voted up. If you don't own a dog, no worries. Borrow a friend's Border Collie. On hikes, these dogs are more fun than a bucket full of doorknobs!

    • pooilum profile image


      9 years ago from Malaysia

      Good info about hiking dog breeds. Next time i can consider it for my next dog. Voted for you!

    • iguidenetwork profile image


      9 years ago from Austin, TX

      Very informative!

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 

      9 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Very informative hub. I have always hiked with dogs. I started training our Kuvasz boy when he was 6 months old (now he is almost 9 months). He is increasingly comfortable doing 10 kms and more, but perhaps due to weather conditions also. I don`t think he will be able to manage hiking in summer.

    • TheEpicJourney profile image


      9 years ago from Fairfield, Ohio

      Good info here! I'm just getting into hiking with Zoe, an Alaskan Malamute. She's got 4 major day hikes under her belt at a year old and she's doing great! She wears a pack with like 6-8 lbs of weight (water, snacks, extra collar) and has done superbly. She's only a year old so she's to young to carry any significant weight at the moment, though she will! :) I don't want to minimize the risk of overheating because it certainly is something I have to watch. I've hiked with her in hot, humid weather (live in ohio 90% humidity) she does great! I just wanted to throw my experience thus far into the hub working with the coat of a Northern breed. As long as she has ample water and some good shade to rest in periodically she keeps up quite well (and I have a very fast 6'2" stride). Having a stream or lake to dip into always helps too :)

      The main thing for hiking in heat with the breed is preparation and knowledge. Know the signs of heat stress, know the area your hiking, the weather, and the water supply/shade. Prepare accordingly making sure you bring enough water and keep it cool to compensate for a lack of shade/streams.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Norwegen Elkhound. The best at everything. Unbeatable companion. Train from the minute you get your dog home.

    • profile image

      Sheila and her dogZ 

      9 years ago

      I have several dogs and all of them like to hike, believe it or not, I have a little chiweenie who climbs mountains and walks trails with me..without being carried. She is 75% dachshund and 25% chihuahua and full of energy! At 7 1/2 lbs. you'd think she would get tired...but not at all. We also have a long hair mini dachshund who hikes with us and a small poodle mix...2 aussies and a beagle.

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Farricelli 

      10 years ago

      Well, knowing what it is mixed with will help.. but labs are generally hyper and should make great hiking.. companions. Did you know you can now figure out what breeds exactly compose mixed breed dogs, here is a link that may interest you:

    • profile image

      Dog luver123 

      10 years ago

      What about a labrador retriever mix? Do you think that a labrador retriever mix would like to go camping? :)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      My boxer has been an excellent hiking companion! She has a ton of energy. We do desert hiking on dusty trails. She is very athletic and agile. I do have to be very aware of the temperature with her, she cannot handle heat like other breeds.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I'm hoping to hike the AT after I get my associates. I absolutely love the outdoors, a passion only surpassed by my love for my dogs. My current baby will be reaching about seven years when I finally do get to the big hike, and she can't carry a lot in the first place. So I was thinking about the Rottie, but am worried about the coat... won't it get cold?

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      My Australian Shepherd mix was a wonderful hiking companion; could go all day, on or off leash. I even taught her to drink out of a sports bottle, which was convenient. Never thought about having her carry anything, though.

      At some point (not yet) I'll be thinking about getting another dog, and it'll have to be another hiking breed. This Hub is a definite clip-n-save. Nice work, alexadry.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Lets face it any healthy dog can out hike us all. I have two walker coonhounds they go all day in any terrain, any weather. I'm the one who can't keep up. the down side, they must be kept on leash. A walker off leash is a walker running away.

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Farricelli 

      11 years ago

      Good to know! Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I have a 5 year old Anatolian Shepherd. She's a beast, and keeps up on 8 hour long hikes to the 14,000 foot peaks of the Rockies.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 

      11 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      My dog is a pound dog, lab x heeler. A wonderful trail companion. Just my thoughts on the matter, but I think one should check out the pound first.

    • Camping Dan profile image

      Camping Dan 

      12 years ago

      I had an Australian Shepherd for years and she loved hiking even really long distances.

      Border Collies are always good as well and of course never forget a good old pound dog they will love you for life since they know how confinment feels.

    • michellemoseley profile image


      12 years ago from New Hampshire

      This is great! I'm going to be adopting a German Shephard next year and was hoping she would make a great outdoor companion. You make some great points here. Thanks!



    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)