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Dogs That Love to go Hiking

Bernese Mountain Dog standing on leaf covered trail

There is nothing like exploring the outdoors with your dog. And what better activities to enjoy together than hiking? But do dogs like to go hiking? Well, that depends on the breed. Companion dogs like Boston Terriers, Pugs and French Bull Dogs might not be the best dog breeds to take backpacking. They’ll enjoy it at first but will tire quickly. Plus, you will get stuck carrying them most of the way which will literally add more weight to your backpacking experience. So, it’s best to find a dog that is a great hiking companion who will carry it’s on weight and may be a little of yours as well. But what are the best dog breeds to take hiking? No worries, there are many. I will go over what I believe are the best dog breeds for hiking and backpacking.

Siberian Huskies

Siberian Husky standing on trail in the forrest

Of course any list having to do with hiking and dogs must start off with Siberian Huskies. This is a breed that loves hiking. Part of the working dog family, they have a lot of stamina and can pull heavy loads over cold, long distances which means they can carry their own food and extra things you may need on your hike or backpacking adventure.

They can regulate their own metabolism burning energy while maintaining their fat storage which allows them to run for hours and hours without getting fatigued on long, cold hikes.

They are great trail dogs, very intelligent and quite adaptable. There are two drawbacks.

  • Weight – Female 35 – 50 lbs. / Males 45 – 60 lbs.
  • Height – Female 20 – 25 in. / Males 21 – 24 in.
  • Exercise Requirements – An hour a day.
  • Pros – Stamina in cold weather, strength, friendly, intelligence, self-regulating metabolism.
  • Cons – Tend to overheat in hot climates with too few breaks, not guard dogs, can be destructive if not given enough exercise. They will chase squirrels and rabbits in a heartbeat.

Bernese Mountain Dog

2 Bernese Mountain Dogs playing in autumn leaves under trees

These are pretty big dogs, and like the Siberian Husky, this breed loves hiking in cold weather. They’re great working dog due to their powerful bodies which means they can also help you carry supplies you need for your adventure. The Climb highly recommends them for hiking because they can carry ten times their weight. Imagine that! They are very friendly but according to Hills, they can make very good guard dogs. They are sociable and a great companion for anyone taking a long hike or backpacking adventure in the right conditions.

  • Weight – Females 70 – 100 lbs. / Males 90 – 120 lbs
  • Height – Females 24in. / Males 27 in.
  • Exercise Requirements – Just under an hour a day.
  • Pros – Strong, great for pulling large loads, guard dog, calm, love human companionship.
  • Cons – Hot weather climates, need obedience training early.

Labrador

Head view of a Chocolate Labrador on a wooded trail

Labradors are a great dog breed to take backpacking, especially if you plan to go near water, which they love. These dogs are highly intelligent, extroverted and bounding with energy. Although lacking in stamina like Siberian Huskies, according to Labrador Central, they make great hiking and backpacking companions for short to mid length hikes, especially in cold, but not freezing climates . May not be the best dog breeds for hiking off leash either. Squirrel! And off they go! They are loyal to their owners and make good guard dogs.

  • Weight – Females 50 – 75 lbs. / Males 65 – 80 lbs
  • Height – Females 24 in. / Males 27 in.
  • Exercise Requirements – An hour a day.
  • Pros – Strong, energetic, intelligent, guard dog, love human companionship.
  • Cons – Hot weather climates will make them wilt pretty fast, need obedience training early.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback standing on grass covered hill

Ah, the Rhodesian Ridgeback. I have to be honest with you, I love this dog. They are so very loyal to their owners and what an awesome history they have. They were originally bred to hunt lions in Africa. Yeah, LIONS!

Anyway, these awesome dogs also have a nickname, “The Navy Seal of Dogs.” How cool as that? They have the ability to keep pace with horses for at least a half an hour. These large, muscular dogs have thick padding on their feet which helps them cover the toughest terrain. And just in case a dangerous animal comes along, these fiercely loyal dogs will protect you. What more can you ask for in a dog? Right? Wait there is more.

Unlike the other dogs, the Rhodesian Ridgeback can go wit you on your hikes in warm to hot climates, but you won’t be taking them to Alaska with you, unless you give them jackets cause they are not good in cold conditions.

  • Weight – Females 70 lbs. / Males 85 lbs
  • Height – Females 23 – 26 in. / Males 25 – 28 in.
  • Exercise Requirements – An hour or more a day.
  • Pros – Can handle warm to hot climates, big, strong, energetic, intelligent, ridiculously loyal to owners, will fight off dangerous animals.
  • Cons – Not good in cold weather, need lots of exercise or they can become destructive and disobedient.

Australian Cattle Dogs

Australian Cattle Dogs standing on a boulder

This has to be my favorite small hiking dog. This dog is from the herder family which makes them the best dog breeds for hiking off leash. You know how sometimes you go hiking and the dog takes off ahead of you and gets into trouble? Well, not this one.

This dog which has been described by Outdoor Dog World as “Velcro” to their masters because they will stop and wait for you to catch up. None, of that, “Squirrel! And off he goes!” nonsense. They are smaller than the other breeds mentioned, but because they are meant for herding they have lots of stamina and do well in either hot or cold climates.

  • Weight – Females 35 – 45 lbs. / Males 35 – 45 lbs.
  • Height – Females 17 – 19 in. / Males 18 – 20 in.
  • Exercise Requirements – An hour a day.
  • Pros – Strong, energetic, intelligent, ridiculously loyal to owners, small enough to be carried if they get injured on a hike.
  • Cons – Can be destructive if not given enough exercise, not good with other dogs and according to Hills Pet, they will try to herd your kids. (Is that really a con?)

Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd sitting on leaf covered trail

Okay, I know I have two Australian breeds in a row, but according to Dog Time, this medium sized breed originated in the western United States around the time of the gold rush. This is a great breed; highly intelligent and active but needs a lot of physical and mental stimulation. Just look at the name, the “Australian Shepherd” and you know what it’s job is. Herding, including your kids if you take them on a hike. No, I’m not saying they will mind your kids on a hike, but they just might try to herd them anyway.

While this breed is not going to do well in severe climates like the Siberian Husky or the Rhodesian Ridgeback, they do well in both climates, as long as it is not to extreme.

  • Weight – Females 40 – 55 lbs. / Males 50 – 65 lbs
  • Height – Females 18 – 21 in. / Males 20 – 23 in.
  • Exercise Requirements – More than an hour a day. Frankly, the more the better. These are not sit-on-your-lap-and-chill dogs. They need a lot of activity.
  • Pros – Can handle warm to hot climates, active, friendly, energetic, intelligent, loyal to owners and semi-good guard dogs.
  • Cons – Not good in extreme weather, need lots of mental and physical stimulation or they can become destructive and disobedient. So, if you are thinking about putting this dog in your apartment and leaving it alone all day, this really is not the dog for you.

Best Small Breed Dogs for Hiking

Minature Australian Shephard

Miniature Australian Shepherd laying down looking at the camera

Okay, this is pretty much the same kind of dog as the Australian Shephard, just smaller. They’re highly intelligent and active. They are smaller so they might not be as good as herding your kids as the larger version, but they still will try to anyway.

Like the larger ones, they aren’t good in extreme weather conditions, but because they’re smaller so they can be carried if they tire out or become injured or tired.

  • Weight – 20 – 45 lbs
  • Height – Females 13 – 17 in. / Males 14 – 18 in.
  • Exercise Requirements – More than an hour a day. Frankly, the more the better. These are not sit-on-your-lap-and-chill dogs. They need a lot of activity.
  • Pros – Can handle warm to hot climates, active, friendly, energetic, intelligent, loyal to owners and semi-good guard dogs.
  • Cons – Not good in extreme weather, need lots of mental and physical stimulation or they can become destructive and disobedient. So, if you are thinking about putting this dog in your apartment and leaving it alone all day, this really is not the dog for you.

Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier sitting on a dock next to water

This little pint size dynamo is extremely active and intelligent. They hardly ever get tired and can survive long hikes. Probably even out walk their owners because they have so much energy and stamina. Even though they are mainly short haired dogs, they handle cold better than heat but not so well in extreme conditions. According to Happy Jack Russell it may be a good idea to take them on long walks so they can harden the pads on their paws before taking them on long hikes. They also recommend training them first, and learning their pace. These are very strong will dogs who require good training before hikind, but one you take care of that. They are great.

Because of their small sizes, they are great for carrying if they get injured, so be careful. They will chase after other animals. So, train them very well.

  • Weight – 12 – 18 lbs
  • Height – 10 – 15 in.
  • Exercise Requirements – More than an hour a day. Frankly, the more the better. These are not sit-on-your-lap-and-chill dogs. They need a lot of activity.
  • Pros – Can handle warm to hot climates, active, friendly, energetic, intelligent, loyal to owners and semi-good guard dogs.
  • Cons

Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdog sitting in wooded area

Shetland Sheepdogs are great for taking long walks, trekking and hiking in normal to moderately cold conditions. Ranked one of the most intelligent breeds, they will chase small animals but because of their intelligence, they can be trained to stay by yourself. And like beagles, they love to bark so this can be great for warding off animals you may encounter on your hikes or for locating them if they have wandered off.

  • Weight – under 30 lbs
  • Height – 13 – 16 in.
  • Exercise Requirements – An hour a day.
  • Pros – Energetic, intelligent, good stamina.
  • Cons – Need to be trained very well. Leash them unless you haven’t. They will go chase after smaller animals. Not good in hot weather conditions.

Beagles

Beagle in natural setting

Beagles are one of the best small breed dogs for hiking. They are so smart and energetic and can go on long hikes without a problem, physically. But be warned, they’re very courageous and adventures dogs so it might be a good idea to leash them on a hike, especially if they’re untrained. Like all dogs, they need to be trained before going on hikes, but with beagles it is especially true. They will go ahead of you and even off course and have a habit of ignoring calls to return, especially if they have found an interesting scent. A dog which has been nicknamed “the voice of the woods,” they’ll let you know where they are because you can hear them for miles. Hiking Gear Guru recommends that because of their low center of gravity, it may be a good idea to equip them with a vest if you are going through rocky or terrain with lots of branches. Rocks and branches may injure your dog.

  • Weight – 20 -30 lbs.
  • Height – 13 – 15 in.
  • Exercise Requirements – An hour a day.
  • Pros – Funny, energetic, intelligent, good for long hikes in normal climate conditions.
  • Cons – Need to be leashed unless they are trained very well. Will go off course and not return if called to. Not good in cold weather conditions.

The Bottom Line

Each one of these dogs are great for hiking, and they all have their own special skills to bring to the hike. Choose wisely through careful research and I’m sure you will be able to find a great dog for your hikes.

Please keep in mind that we may receive a small commission when you click our links and make purchases and as an Amazon Associate, this site earns from qualifying purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

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