A Hiker’s Best Friend – 8 Best Dogs for Hiking

by | Sep 30, 2020 | Exercise and Play

Are you happiest when you bring your dog on your adventures? A dog is called your best friend for a reason.

They make great companions, and if you’re excited about hiking some trails, you may wonder about bringing your dog along.

While any good companion can come with you, some breeds are more likely to do well on the trail. Here are 8 of the best dogs for hiking on your next adventure.

1. Australian Shepherd

One of the best dog breeds for hiking is the Australian Shepherd, a medium-sized dog with white, black, gray, and brown patches. They’re very intelligent, and they’re also loyal and obedient.

If you take your shepherd on the trail, make sure they are up to date on their flea and tick prevention. When you get back, check your dog for ticks and bugs from the trail. If they haven’t had a haircut lately, these dogs can get very shaggy, a good place for bugs to hide out.

2. Jack Russell Terrier

If you’re looking for the best small dog for hiking, you may have just found it. The Jack Russell Terrier is energetic and hard working, bred a couple centuries ago for hunting. They’re confident and fearless, which makes them perfect for the hiking trail, and they have enough energy to keep up.

One important tip to follow with your Jack Russell is to carry doggie first-aid supplies on your trip. Just as you’d carry a first-aid kit for yourself, bringing one along for any cuts or scrapes your dog might get is vital. If something happens, you’ll be hard-pressed to carry your dog all the way back, even if it’s as small as a Jack Russell.

3. Bernese Mountain Dog

Science says that getting outside boosts your mood, and your dog is the same way. They need exercise, especially your Bernese Mountain Dog, who was originally bred in the mountains. Hiking is a great workout for them, and they’re strong climbers.

Make sure you check with your vet to make sure your dog doesn’t have any medical conditions preventing them from hiking. Some purebred dogs have common medical issues like hip dysplasia that would make hiking painful.

4. Best Dogs for Hiking: Hunting Breeds

Weimaraners, Vizslas, and German Shorthaired Pointers were all bred for hunting. They’re full of energy and used to working hard for long hours outside. All three breeds are friendly and affectionate, so they’ll love being with you on the trail.

Be sure to pack enough snacks for your dog along the way. They get hungry just like you do. Although you can eat trail mix right out of the bag, you’ll also have to pack food and water bowls for them.

Don’t let your dog eat too much at a time. Exercising on a full stomach isn’t a good idea. Yet they need plenty of fuel to keep going, so stop for breaks and ration out their high-protein snacks and treats.

5. Siberian Husky

Huskies are working dogs with a powerful physique. They were bred for endurance on long trips, and they love being outside. They’re also gentle, which is great if you are hiking a popular trail and expect to meet many people.

These dogs were bred for pulling heavy sleds in the Arctic. That means they’ll do well on the trail, especially if you’re looking for the best dog backpack for hiking. They can carry their own food and water for the day no problem, leaving you free to bring the other essentials for your trip.

6. Rhodesian Ridgeback

These dogs are full of strength. They are great companions on long trips outside, as they were bred for hunting lions in Africa. They’re fairly independent dogs, but if you’re confident that they’ve had the necessary training, then they’ll be loyal and stick with you on the trail.

Keep in mind that there is trail etiquette for dogs as well as humans. Make sure you clean up after your dog and pack out the waste. Don’t let your dog approach other hikers (sometimes a leash is best for populated trails) unless they welcome it.

7. Border Collie

This black and white medium-sized dog breed was developed especially for herding sheep in the northern part of England. They’re extremely smart, and that’s a good reason to take them on the hiking trail with you.

Plan ahead for the weather–if it’s going to be hot, make sure you take lots of water for you and your dog. Check out the trail to see if there are any streams or lakes along the way, and plan to stop and let your dog cool off in the heat.

Border collies can have lots of hair, and they can get too hot if you’re in the sun a lot. Let them put their paws in the water and get their fur wet while you rest so they have the stamina to keep hiking.

8. Hounds

Many hound dog breeds are very agile, like the treeing walker coonhound. While hounds tend to make more noise than other dogs, they can be great hiking companions because they’re lively and energetic. They’ll also keep an eye out for squirrels and other natural prey, so make sure your hound is very obedient or keep it on a leash.

If you’re hiking near a lot of sun-baked rocks, take care of your dog’s toe pads. Remember that they can get burned or start bleeding if they don’t have callouses built up, so help them find shadier paths to walk.

Your Best Friend

These are some of the best dogs for hiking, but if you don’t have a Husky or a Jack Russell, don’t worry. You can still bring your best friend on the hike with you. If you’ve had your dog for any length of time, you know their personality and how they’ll handle the tough terrain.

Keep in mind like any human on the trail, it helps if your dog is in shape before you go. They’ll get tired just like you will, so make sure you train first on some smaller hikes before you conquer the ultimate trail together.

For more health and wellness articles, read the rest of our blog.