These 10 Dog Breeds Make the Best Hiking Companions

Though every individual dog is different, some breeds tend to make better trail buddies than others.
Happy trails!
Happy trails! / Lee Cohen/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images

Not all of humankind’s best furry friends have the same level of athleticism. Some dog breeds prefer to be couch potatoes; others are constantly craving their next adventure. If you’re the outdoorsy type, it makes perfect sense to adopt a dog that shares your enthusiasm about hitting the trails. 

The American Kennel Club, using a combination of nature and nurture-related factors, put together a list of the best dog breeds for hiking trips. Here’s a breakdown of these breeds, why they were selected, and what you should keep in mind the next time you em-‘bark’ on a journey with your pooch.

10 of The Best Dogs To Bring On A Hike

There are a few reasons why these particular breeds made the cut. Yes, most dogs enjoy some level of physical activity (make sure you get those daily walks in!), but these canines are especially big fans of the great outdoors due to a combination of genetic and social factors:

  1. Siberian Husky
  2. Australian Shepherd
  3. German Shorthaired Pointer
  4. Vizsla
  5. Australian Cattle Dog
  6. Weimaraner
  7. Bernese Mountain Dog
  8. Rhodesian Ridgeback
  9. Alaskan Malamute
  10. Portuguese Water Dog

Many of the breeds listed, like the Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, Weimaraner, and Rhodesian Ridgeback, were originally bred for roles that required a large amount of endurance. They’re athletic—some were meant to pull a sled full of people and gear around all day or herd livestock along mountain trails.

But there’s another reason why these pups were put on this list: They have great temperaments. They’re generally social, good-natured, and eager to please (though a specific dog's personality will always vary), and are used to working long days in harsh climates.

Tips for Hiking With Your Dog

Even if you have the most athletic dog in the world, there are still things to remember if you plan to take them with you on your next hiking excursion. 

For starters, make sure dogs are even allowed on the trails you’ve chosen. Once you’ve determined your pet is welcome to join you, pack plenty of water and snacks for them. You should also be on the lookout for any poisonous plants they shouldn’t be getting their noses into. 

Remember, your dog has no way of shouting, “Hey! Can we stop for a minute?” It’s up to you to keep a close eye on how your four-legged companion is faring throughout your journey to make sure they’re still comfortable and aren’t overheating. Depending on the season, you should also remain aware of when it’s too hot or too cold to have your dog outdoors for long periods. 

Be sure to pack plenty of poop bags, too—no one wants to hike on a trail full of dog scat.

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