Best Hiking Dogs

10 Best Hiking Dogs

A lot of dog owners have a physically high lifestyle. With this, many of these dog owners search for a dog who can withstand a life full of adventure. In the world of hiking, a person needs to have a dog breed that not only has a great personality but is also physically capable of walking for long periods of time. Some of the best hiking dogs are bred for this active lifestyle so they can trudge through various weather conditions for hours on end.

So, if you are looking for a dog that is just as active as you and will love to hike, look at the dog breeds that are listed below. It is also important that no matter what kind of dog breed you choose, to make sure that you have all the correct equipment for both you and your dog while hiking. Here is our list of the best hiking dogs to keep up with you on the trails.

Top 10 Best Hiking Dogs

1: The Siberian Husky

A true warrior and a breed that is full of endurance – the Siberian Husky is originally from  Russia and was specifically bred to haul carts and sleds for long distances while also having to bear the Russian climate. This breed is a part of the working group as they are built to be powerful while also possessing a vibrant spirit, so you won’t get bored on your long hikes. The personality of the Siberian Husky is known to be pleasant and aware, but also very outgoing dogs that enjoy what the outdoors has to offer. 

Professional Opinion…If you want a dog who is… free-spirited and playful, is athletic and agile, and loves the great outdoors (especially in cold weather) thinks that running full-speed, pulling carts and sleds, and/or carrying a backpack on a mountain hike are his purposes in life, is usually good-natured with strangers and sociable with other dogs then a Siberian Husky may be right for you.

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2: Australian Shephard

Next on the list is the Australian Shepherd. This breed is known for its sharp and adventurous personality. The Australian Shepherd was originally bred as a herding dog due to its pure briskness and compliance. A sport dog in its realm. The Australian Shepherd will always be a top choice for a hiking companion because of its active lifestyle, friendly demeanor, and ability for its long arduous activity.

Professional Opinion…If you want a dog who is… medium-sized and sturdy, has a lovely coat that comes in striking colors, thrives on vigorous exercise and athletic activities, is exceptionally versatile – when well-trained, can learn almost anything – one of the smartest of all breeds, then an Australian Shepherd may be right for you.

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3: German Shorthaired Pointer

As a member of the sporting group, the German Shorthaired Pointer will make a great match for a hiking partner. This dog breed was bred to be a superior hunting dog and is still known for this trait to this day. The German Shorthaired Pointer likes to spend long days out in the wilderness and can endure diverse climates. Their personality is known to be social, outgoing in terms of the ability to make friends, motivated to work, and willing to satisfy. 

Professional Opinion…If you want a dog who is… large, tautly-muscled, and athletic, has a sleek easy-care coat, thrives on vigorous exercise and outdoor activities, makes a sensible watchdog, but is good-natured and dependable with almost everyone, then a German Shorthaired Pointer may be right for you.

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4: Vizsla

Originally from Hungary, the Vizsla is known for its great hunting capabilities and continues to flourish in this activity to this day. As a result of the Vizsla being bred to be a hunting dog, it has developed the demand for exercise and the love for the outdoors. This breed has a unique personality as it is high in energy, and has pure athleticism. They love to express affection, be around people and are always eager for a new adventure. 

Professional Opinion…If you want a dog who is…medium-sized, sleek-coated, tautly-muscled, a true athlete, is packed with energy and thrives on vigorous exercise and athletic activities, responds to training more willingly than most pointing breeds, is gentle and sensitive, typically a “soft” dog, is very sociable and demonstrative with his family — likes to lean against you, is usually polite with everyone, including other animals, then a Vizsla may be right for you.

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5: Australian Cattle Dog

As a sporty, smart breed that has enough energy to burn, the Australian Cattle dog makes for another great choice for a hiking dog. This breed started off as a herding dog due to its athletic and obedient persona. So, if you are a person who finds themselves doing lots of activity, dive deeper into this breed as the Australian Cattle dog is extremely active and needs a proper amount of physical activity in order to flourish. 

Professional Opinion…If you want a dog who is…medium-sized, has a very sturdy, natural build, thrives on vigorous exercise and rugged athletic activities, makes a vigilant watchdog, has a short, easy-care coat that comes in striking colors, then an Australian Cattle Dog may be right for you.

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6: Weimaraner

Another great dog that was originally bred for hunting, the Weimaraner. This breed can be outside while working for long hours. In addition, the Weimaraner is a great dog regarding its personality because it is devoted, warmhearted, and enjoyable, which makes it a perfect choice for a hiking companion. Lastly, this breed was designed to possess a great deal of quickness and endurance so they will do great in both short and long hauls.

Professional Opinion…If you want a dog who is…large, powerful, and tautly-muscled, a true athlete bred to hunt all day, has a sleek, carefree coat, is unusual-looking, with a ghostly gray/silver coat and (somewhat eerie) light eyes, is packed with energy and thrives on vigorous exercise and athletic activities, in the right hands, is a loyal, aristocratic gentleman of great presence and character, is watchful with strangers, so makes a keen watchdog (with a booming bark), then a Weimaraner may be right for you.

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7: Bernese Mountain Dog

Originally from the chilly Swiss Alps, the Bernese Mountain dog was used for drafting in addition to driving cattle. This breed is on the larger side, allowing for my power. As a loving,  working dog, this breed is sure to appreciate the activity and makes an outstanding hiking partner in any weather.  

Professional Opinion…If you want a dog who is…large, heavy, and powerful, has a thick furry coat that does well in cold climates, is gentle-natured, polite, and non-aggressive, is usually peaceful with other pets, loves pulling carts and sleds, and romping in cold weather, is responsive to training in a slow, good-natured way, then a Bernese Mountain Dog may be right for you.

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8: Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback breed emerged from Africa. These dogs hunted large animals over long periods of time for long distances. They are known to be super active, distinguished,  reticent to new people, but very loving and warmhearted to their family. Though they tend to be easy-going, they still love to participate in exercises with their family. 

Professional Opinion…If you want a dog who is…large, well-muscled, and natural-looking, with one unusual physical characteristic: a ridge of stiff hair along his back, has a short easy-care coat, thrives on vigorous exercise and athletic activities, is the most territorial and protective of the hounds, is calm and quiet in the home – as an adult, then a Rhodesian Ridgeback may be right for you.

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9: Alaskan Malamute

Another large breed, the Alaskan Malamute (a working-class dog) was bred to pull carts and sleds for long periods of time at large distances. These dogs are known to be high-spirited, loving dogs who enjoy spending time actively outdoors, specifically in cold weather. This breed was also specifically bred to have endurance rather than quickness, making them a great choice for a  hiking dog as they can go for a long time.  

Professional Opinion…If you want a dog who is…large, rugged, and furry, with a wolf-like appearance, love the great outdoors and thrives on vigorous activities in cool climates, looks imposing, so makes an effective deterrent, yet is usually friendly with everyone, then an Alaskan Malamute may be right for you.

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10: Portuguese Water Dog

As the name basically shows, the Portuguese Water Dog is a working dog that was bred for herding fish and recovering tackle and nets. They also acted as runners for the ship to store or ship to ship.  With that being said, these dogs are very hardworking and enjoy it as well. They are known to be very happy when participating in an activity, for their loving personality, and their ability to be adventurous, while also liking to spend time with family. 

Professional Opinion…If you want a dog who is…medium-sized, durable, athletic, and agile, shed less than many other breeds, because shed hairs are trapped in the curly/wavy/tousled coat, thrives on vigorous exercise and athletic activities, makes a fine watchdog, but is too polite to be a guardian, is usually fine with other pets, then a Portuguese Water Dog may be right for you.

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What to Consider When Looking for the Best Hiking Dog

Adult Size 

You must take size into consideration. More times than not, larger dogs have an increased ability to carry heavyweight and have higher endurance. Whereas a small dog cannot carry weight and will be fatigued quicker. But a dog that is too big will most likely have a shorter lifespan when it comes to hiking due to its increased risk of heart and joint issues. For this reason, the best weight for an adult hiking dog would be 25-50 pounds. 

Energy Level 

Dog breeds tend to have energy levels that range from a dog who would want to lay on a  couch all day to a dog that always wants to be outside engaging in physical activity. For this reason, it is best to consider a dog that is known to have a mid to high range of energy if you want it as your hiking companion. Many low-energy dogs do hike, but they cannot go for long distances as they get tired out pretty quickly. On the other hand, if the dog breed is known for having a super high energy level, it may be very hard to keep them focused and on the trail.  

Coat Type 

Coat type is a special consideration depending on where you live or what the climate is like where you plan to hike. The colder the climate, the thicket coat. But if you live somewhere warm, you do not want a thick coat. It is also important to know if the coat needs a lot of maintenance because dogs with longer hair tend to get snarls and will get dirty more often which means they would need to be groomed.

If you have a dog that has a lighter coat, depending on the climate you may need to get extra layering for the dog. Lastly, it is important to be able to check your dog for ticks especially after a day of hiking so dogs with thicker coats may not be able to be checked as easily. 

Conclusion

It is very important that whatever dog you choose to be your hiking partner, you must see them as a family member and as a soul that you love. Training goes a long way and if you notice that behavioral difficulties arise, a professional can easily be worked out.

You must be considerate of both your dog and others by knowing who is on the trail. This means you should try to have your dog on a leash at all times. Don’t let your dog greet other dogs if they haven’t been trained to know how to have relationships with others. Avoid going into areas that are high in traffic especially if your dog tends to bark a lot.

The best hiking dogs are out there waiting to explore and adventure with you. All in all, make sure to take care of your dog, have fun, and take all of the necessary items/equipment along the way!

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Written by Ella Suliman

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