Bringing a dog when you go camping or hiking offers protection and companionship. It’s not something to jump into, however. There are certain breeds with limitless energy that make ideal hiking companions. Some, like the husky, tend overheat in hot weather, so they’re not a good choice. Here are seven dogs that experienced hikers feel are the best choices for outdoor adventures.
Providing you don’t mind spending a little time grooming a shaggier coat, the Australian shepherd is an ideal hiking dog. Originally bred to herd sheep, this breed has limitless energy. It also has a protective nature, making it a good choice for alerting you to potential threats. The average weight is 40 to 65 pounds.
The border collie is another dog bred to herd sheep. The dog loves physical and mental challenges. Plus, it goes for hours without needing to stop and rest. There is a chase instinct. Unless the dog is very obedient, you may not want to take it off leash in the woods. Border collies weigh 30 to 45 pounds and take up little space in a tent.
German Shorthaired Pointer
Bred for hunting, the German shorthaired pointer enjoys being outside. It is a larger dog, weighing up to 70 pounds. If you’re hiking on rocks, the heavier dog may need protective footwear. The smooth coat makes for easy grooming. With energy to spare, the dog keeps moving until you’re ready for a break.
The average weight range of a labrador retriever is 55 to 80 pounds. Heavier dogs may cut up the paws easily on rocks, so hiking boots are necessary. Otherwise, labs are easy to train and love exploring the woods. While some dogs shy from water, the webbed feet and water resistant coat make the lab an excellent choice for hiking trails that cross rivers or pass lakes. The breed is also gentle around children when at home.
You don’t have to have a large breed for hiking. Rat terriers come in two sizes – miniature or standard. Miniatures stand 10 to 13 inches at the shoulder, and standards are 13 to 18 inches. The weight range for these dogs is 10 to 25 pounds. These dogs are little bundles of energy. Ratties keep moving for hours and love sticking by your side. At night, they’re happy to curl up against you and sleep until you’re ready to go again.
One of the larger breeds that is a good hiking and camping dog is the ridgeback. Bred for large game hunting, the dogs are designed to take down lions. They also have a very protective nature. The ridgeback’s long stride makes it a great companion on the trail.
Weighing anywhere from 45 to 65 pounds, the Vizsla was bred to hunt. These dogs have an excellent nose for tracking. They are lightweight and agile for their size and walk for hours without needing a break. Their protective nature serves as a good companion when you’re out in the woods alone.