Hiking and backpacking are terrific exercise and a chance to get outdoors and enjoy nature. But when you hit the trails, it’s nice to have a canine companion. Although many dog breeds are suited for hiking, some are better adapted to long and strenuous hikes than others.
Here are six of the best hiking dog breeds.
Australian shepherds have been bred as working dogs for generations, making them ideal companions for active people. Their intelligence and high energy level make them easy to train, but their independent nature makes it important to be consistent with training methods.
Australian shepherds are available in three coat types: smooth (short), longhair (long), and wirehaired (medium length). Longhaired Aussies shed heavily twice a year, while wire-haired Aussies shed little to no hair. Smooth-coated Aussies are easier to groom than long-haired Aussies because they don’t require daily brushing like the long-haired version.
Aussies are great hiking companions because they have excellent stamina and don’t mind running around on rough terrain, as long as there’s plenty of praise when they get back home.
Australian shepherds are intelligent, easy to train, and need plenty of exercise. They love being outdoors, so if you plan to bring your pup along on backpacking trips or hikes (and who doesn’t want a dog along?), this may be the breed for you.
Australian Cattle Dogs
The Australian cattle dog is one of the most popular dogs in Australia. This breed is also known as an Australian heeler, Blue heeler, Queensland heeler, or dingo mix. These dogs were developed from crossbred dingoes, wild dogs living in Australia.
Australian cattle dogs are small and muscular with a short coat that can be blue or red. Their ears stand up, and they have strong jaws with teeth designed for gripping. Their jaws can exert a bite force of around 220 pounds per square inch.
The Australian cattle dog is an excellent choice for any camping trip. They love the outdoors and are extremely energetic, so they’ll happily follow you on hikes or runs through the mountains. This energetic dog breed is conscientious about keeping watch while you sleep at night, so they’ll let you know if anything approaches your campsite.
Australian cattle dogs have a lot of energy and need lots of exercise. This makes them ideal hiking companions since they can keep up with you on the trail and even run ahead to check out the next bend in the path or stretch of wilderness.
German Shorthaired Pointers
German shorthaired pointers have been the companions of hunters for hundreds of years, but it’s more common now for them to serve as pets for families who enjoy outdoor activities like hiking. They have also served as search and rescue dogs because of their strong sense of smell and ability to track trails through unfamiliar territory.
They are known for their stamina, high energy levels, and athletic build. The German shorthaired pointer will be an eager companion on any trail you want to tackle. German shorthaired pointers love the water, so they’re great swimmers and can swim long distances because of their webbed feet. Plus, they’re highly trainable dogs that want to please their owners.
These traits make German shorthaired pointers excellent hiking partners, since they need little exercise and can travel long distances without becoming tired or bored. This working breed is also known for its easy-going nature, which makes it a good choice if you don’t want to worry about your dog getting into trouble while you’re out hiking.
Bernese Mountain Dogs
Bernese mountain dogs are large, agile dogs. They have a gentle nature and make good companions. They enjoy being with people and don’t like being left alone for long periods. They are also very tolerant of cold weather, making them a great option for backpacking in the winter. Bernese mountain dogs have medium energy levels, so they’re not too high-maintenance when it comes to exercise requirements — but you’ll still want to keep an eye on your pup’s energy level while out on the trail.
Bernese mountain dogs require training, but they’re easy to train due to their intelligence and eagerness to please their owners. It may take some time before your Bernese fully understands what they need to do while hiking or backpacking (especially if the dog hasn’t done much hiking previously), but once they understand, they should stay near you during hikes, and things will get much easier.
If you’re looking for a big, happy dog to hike with, look no further than the Labrador retriever. This breed loves being around people and will enjoy being part of any adventure with you. These dogs tend to be very energetic and excel at endurance exercises. Labs have been bred specifically to retrieve birds from water, so they have an affinity for water sports like swimming and boating. Additionally, they have webbed feet to swim faster than other breeds of dogs. With a high level of intelligence, the Labrador is easy to train. Plus, they’re great with kids and other dogs, making them ideal companions on your next backpacking trip.
The Border Collie
Border collies were originally bred as herding dogs in the border regions of Scotland and England. They’re known for their ability to work as a team with their owner or handler to herd livestock. These skills translate well into hiking, where border collies can be used to keep hikers together and prevent them from getting lost on the trail. Border collies also have an innate sense of when someone is injured or lost, so they often lead the way through difficult terrain to find help for their human companions.
These herding dogs are extremely energetic, so they’ll love going on long hikes after getting some exercise from fetching balls or sticks around camp throughout the day (but don’t worry — they won’t need too many treats). Border collies are intelligent dogs that learn very quickly — sometimes too quickly for their owners’ liking. If you want to take your border collie hiking or backpacking, they must be well trained before you go out into nature together.
And don’t forget…
Bring plenty of water along for you and your canine companion.