The 11 Best Dog Breeds For Hikers
If you like to spend time walking through nature, then you may want to focus on dog breeds that like to hike, when looking to adopt. In order for them to keep up, you'll likely want to choose a larger breed with high amounts of energy and stamina, holistic veterinarian Dr. Babette Gladstein, tells Bustle. But really, any dog who loves to be outside will do.
Usually, this doesn't include breeds like Bulldogs or Pugs, when it comes to spending a day on the trail. "Due to their [short] snouts, these dogs don’t have the endurance and breathing capabilities to keep up on long hikes in the woods or up a mountain," Dr. Gladstein says. And smaller breeds, like Chihuahuas, tend to prefer shorter strolls, too.
Once you land on the right dog, there are a few more things to keep in mind before setting out on a hike. Dr. Gladstein recommends bringing a first aid kit, using a dog-safe tick spray to keep bugs away, and making sure you have plenty of water. "In case you don’t come across any fresh water," she says, "you want your dog to be fully hydrated for the entirety of the hike."
Having a dog that likes to be outside is an amazing thing, and can make for lots of fun trips together. Not to mention, "hiking with your dog has many benefits," Dr. Gladstein says. "It’s a great form of exercise for both you and your dog, as well as a great way to bond." If you're a hiker, here are some breeds you may want to consider adopting, according to experts.
1. Laborador Retrievers
Labrador Retrievers, and Lab mixes, tend to have high amounts of energy — and need lots of exercise as a result. This breed also love being outdoors, Dr. Gladstein says, since they were bred to retrieve animals for hunters. They'll happily dive into water and run through fields, and tend to make great companions for long treks through the woods.
2. Border Collies
Border Collies were also bred to be outside. As herding dogs, they're super tough, and usually have lots of energy that allows them to easily keep up on trails.
They're also highly intelligent, Dr. Gladstein says, and love the challenge a more difficult hike. This all adds up to make them the perfect companion, especially if you're a more serious hiker.
3. Standard Poodles
Originally bred for retrieving birds from water, this breed is all about the outdoors. "They’re tough enough to endure cold, harsh weather, comfortable around water, and athletic enough to keep up with you no matter how long your hike is," Dr. Gladstein says. Consider Standard Poodles, as well as Poodle mixes, if you're on the lookout for a hiking buddy.
4. Australian Cattle Dogs
Originally bred to herd cattle, Australian Cattle Dogs are a tough, outdoorsy breed, dog expert and trainer Haeleigh Hyatt, tells Bustle. They are also fiercely loyal to their people, she says, making them a great friend to take with you in the backcountry.
Whether you're walking along the beach, hiking up a mountain, or camping overnight in the woods, this breed will stick with you. Just make sure, as with all dogs, that you bring along all the things they'll need to have a good time, including lots of food, water, and that aforementioned first aid kit — just in case they step on something.
5. German Shorthaired Pointers
Bred as a hunting dog, German Shorthaired Pointers are at home in nature, Dr. Gladstein says, be it in the woods or in the mountains. "Their intelligence and adaptable natures mean they are the ideal all-weather, all terrain partner," she says, "and are always up for an adventure."
6. Siberian Huskies
If you live somewhere cold, but still love to hike, then a Husky may be a great choice. "Bred to pull sleds and run hundreds of miles, this breed will endure any trail you can find, no matter how difficult," Dr. Gladstein says. "Their endurance and intelligence makes them one of the best breeds to have by your side in a long outdoor adventure."
7. Australian Shepherds
Another herding breed, the Australian Shepherd will always be down for a day outside — and will be happy to stick by your side. "They are a very social and athletic breed that thrive with both physical and mental challenges, which makes them excellent trail companions," Dr. Gladstein says. It's easy to picture them trotting down a trail, or hanging out by a lake.
While this isn't a very well-known breed, you may want to keep an eye out for Vizslas, since they make great trail dogs. "The Vizsla was bred to be hardworking hunting dogs," Nicole Ellis, pet expert and certified dog trainer with Rover, tells Bustle.
They need a lot of physical activity, she says, since they were bred to run all day long in the fields. So if you want a dog who will keep up on a long weekend, they may be the one for you.
9. German Shepherds
German Shepherds are smart and hardy dogs, which makes them well-suited for rugged trails and mountain hikes, Dr. Gladstein says, and a good match for experienced hikers. This intelligent breed is also extremely loyal, she says, and will be happiest when completing a challenge by your side.
10. American Pit Bull Terriers
Terrier breeds, like the American Pit Bull Terrier, are great for folks who spend a lot of time outside, all thanks to their playful attitude and stamina. "These dogs are full of energy and always up for a long hike," veterinarian Sara Ochoa, DVM, tells Bustle. They may even help you feel safer when out on the trails, due to their stature.
11. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers
Also known as Tollers, this smaller breed is often confused with the Golden Retriever, Ellis says, but has great qualities all its own. Originally bred to hunt waterfowl, they are high energy and ready to please, she says, making them a great friend to take on a hike, out on a kayak, and more.
Of course, keep in mind that all dogs have their own unique personalities, so you won't want to place too much stock in the breed alone. Also, mixes of these breeds — and others like them — are always a great choice when you're looking to adopt.
If you want a hiking companion, simply go for a dog with plenty of energy and stamina, and one who likes being outside just as much as you do.