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6 Best Dog Breeds for Hiking: Temperament, Info & Pro Tips

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 9, 2024 by Dogster Team

male hiker with siberian husky dog

6 Best Dog Breeds for Hiking: Temperament, Info & Pro Tips

Hiking is a wonderful outdoor activity that benefits not only us but also our furry friends. Dogs love exploring the great outdoors, and hiking is a fantastic way to bond with your four-legged companion.

However, not all dog breeds are ideal for hiking due to their size, temperament, or physical capabilities. In this blog, we will discuss the six best dog breeds for hiking.

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The 6 Best Dog Breeds for Hiking

1. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever
Image Credit: scott244, Pixabay
Temperament: Friendly, energetic, and intelligent
Size and Weight: Medium to large, 55–80 pounds
Lifespan: 10-12 years

Labrador Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world—and for good reason. They are incredibly friendly, intelligent, and energetic, making them perfect companions for a long day on the trails.

Their love of water and retrieving also makes them great for hikes that involve swimming or fetching. Labs are also highly trainable, so they can easily learn basic obedience and trail etiquette.

Labradors are medium to large-sized dogs, typically weighing between 55 and 80 pounds. They have a muscular build, a short, water-resistant coat, and webbed feet, which make them excellent swimmers. With proper exercise and nutrition, Labs can live up to 12 years.

Overall, Labrador Retrievers are an excellent choice for hiking due to their friendly nature, high energy levels, and physical capabilities.

2. Australian Shepherd

Red Merle Australian Shepherd
Image Credit: Eve Photography, Shutterstock
Temperament: Intelligent, loyal, and active
Size and Weight: Medium, 35–70 pounds
Lifespan: 12–15 years

The Aussie breed, short for Australian Shepherd, is known for being both intelligent and energetic. They thrive being outdoors, are loyal and protective, and thus make great hiking companions. With their great obedience training, they can learn trail manners easily.

Australian Shepherds are dogs that are usually medium-sized and weigh around 35 to 70 pounds. They possess a dense double coat that shields them from the weather, making them an ideal option for hiking in various environments.

By ensuring proper exercise and nourishment, Aussies can have a lifespan of up to 15 years. In general, Australian Shepherds are a great selection for hiking due to their intelligence, faithfulness, and energetic disposition.

3. Bernese Mountain Dog

bernese mountain dog with a leash
Image Credit: Kokokola, Shutterstock
Temperament: Affectionate, gentle, and calm
Size and Weight: Large, 70–115 pounds
Lifespan: 7–10 years

If you enjoy spending time outdoors, Bernese Mountain Dogs are a great choice of breed. They are very gentle and make great companions for families and children who enjoy hiking. Moreover, Berners have a thick double coat that keeps them warm even in colder weather, which makes them ideal for winter hikes.

Bernese Mountain Dogs are a breed of big dogs, usually with a weight range of 70 to 115 pounds! Their coat is thick and comes in three colors, requiring maintenance at regular intervals. However, they have a relatively short lifespan, living between 7 and 10 years.

All things considered, Berners are great hiking companions because of their amiable disposition and ability to adjust to various climatic conditions.

4. Siberian Husky

siberian husky dog in the forest
Image Credit: Ivanova N, Shutterstock
Temperament: Outgoing, friendly, and independent
Size and Weight: Medium, 35–60 pounds
Lifespan: 12–14 years

The Siberian Husky breed is highly energetic and enjoys being outdoors. They are recognized for their durable and lasting performance, which makes them excellent for long hikes. Huskies also have a dense double coat that helps them stay comfortable in warmer temperatures, rendering them ideal for summer treks.

Huskies can weigh up to 60 pounds and live as long as 14 years! They’re very intelligent but have a strong, independent streak. Although they can be a bit tricky to train, it can be done with persistence and patience.

Keep in mind that they have a strong instinct to hunt, so it may not be safe to take them hiking in areas with wildlife. However, due to their endurance, high energy levels, and adaptability to different temperatures, Huskies are generally a great choice for hiking.

5. Border Collie

male border collie standing in grass
Image By: Frank11, Shutterstock
Temperament: Energetic, intelligent, and trainable
Size and Weight: Medium, 30–55 pounds
Lifespan: 12–15 years

If you want a dog that is smart, active and enjoys outdoor activities, consider getting a Border Collie. They are easy to train in basic obedience and are well-behaved on trails. Additionally, their herding instinct makes them helpful in keeping groups or livestock together.

Border Collies are great hiking companions. As a medium-sized breed, they typically weigh somewhere between 30 and 55 pounds. And thanks to their double coat, you can go hiking all times of the year.

With a 15-year lifespan on average, Border Collies have high energy levels, excellent trainability, and are great at tracking. So, if you are looking for a fun and active pup that can keep up with your outdoor lifestyle, the Border Collie is a wise choice!

6. Vizsla

Wirehaired Vizsla
Image By: Colin Seddon, Shutterstock
Temperament: Energetic, affectionate, and loyal
Size and Weight: Medium, 45–65 pounds
Lifespan: 12–14 years

The Vizsla breed is energetic, affectionate, and enjoys being outside. Their loyalty and ability to be trained make them excellent companions for hiking. Due to their short, sleek coat, they have protection from the sun and wind, making them well-suited for warmer climate hikes.

Vizslas are dogs that are medium-sized and generally weigh between 45 and 65 pounds. They have a muscular frame and a short, lustrous coat that does not need much grooming. Vizslas can live for up to 14 years if they receive adequate exercise and nutrition.

This is an excellent breed for hiking, as they have high energy levels, are loyal, and can adapt well to different weather conditions. Additionally, they are good with families that have children and other pets, making them a great choice for hiking groups.

How to Hike With Your Dog Like a Pro

Hiking with your pup can be an awesome experience—as long as it’s done safely and responsibly. So, to help you out, here are some tips for making the most of your time on the trail with your four-legged friend:

  • Equip yourself and your pup with all the necessary gear. This includes water, food, a first aid kit, appropriate clothing (for both you and your dog), a collar and leash, and waste bags. Make sure to check the weather before heading out so you can dress accordingly—no one wants to be freezing cold or dripping wet!
  • Familiarize yourself with any pet restrictions that may be in place along the hiking route. It’s important to know if leashes are required or if certain areas are not open to pets. The last thing you want is to get in trouble for having an unleashed pup on the trail.
  • Beware of wildlife, especially if your pup is prone to chasing small animals or birds! Keep an eye out for snakes, porcupines, bears, and other potentially dangerous creatures.
  • Stay alert when crossing water sources. Make sure your pup knows how to swim, and be aware that some streams can be very deep in spots.
  • When getting ready to start the hike, it’s important to make sure that everyone is comfortable with the terrain you’ll be hiking on and how long you’ll be gone for. If your dog isn’t happy with the idea of a long trek in rough terrain, consider taking them on a shorter or easier route first as practice before attempting something more challenging.

And last of all, don’t forget to have fun! Hiking with your pup can be a great experience – just make sure that you stay safe and respectful of the environment around you. Enjoy some quality time together in nature! Happy hiking!

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Each of these dog breeds can make a great companion for your outdoor adventures. Do your research and find the breed that best suits your lifestyle and is a good fit for your household. But no matter which breed you choose, always remember to keep safety at the top of your list!

In doing so, you can be sure that your hikes with your pup will be full of fun, adventure, and plenty of tail-wagging.

Featured Image Credit: Osadcha Olga, Shutterstock

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