One of the most amazing things you can ever experience is going out on the trail with man’s four-legged, furry best friend. I’ve gone hiking with my furry pal countless times and those hikes have always been my favorites. Dogs can be a great hiking companion, as long as you pick the right one for you.
Since there are so many breeds of dogs out there that you can choose from, today we’re going to talk about 15 of the best dogs for hiking if you are looking for a new pal to accompany you on the trail. Depending on where you live and what you are looking for in a buddy, you’ll be sure to find one you will fall in love with.
#1 Labrador Retriever
Let’s start this list with one of the most popular dogs in America – the Labrador Retriever. You may know him as the trouble-making Marley, in the movie “Marley & Me”, or by Russell’s always distracted but still lovable companion, Doug, in Disney’s animated film, “Up”.
This is an active dog who loves to go out and explore, making him perfect for hiking. From its name, it was bread to retrieve animals for hunters, so being outdoors is in their nature. This is a dog that was also bred to retrieve fish or fishing nets, so they love to swim.
This canine is one that is not known to many, but they were originally bred as hunting dogs in Central Europe. The Vizsla is an active breed that needs lots of physical exercises and will thrive in the open country. They are highly athletic with good stamina, speed, and endurance, making them great for runners and hikers.
#3 Bernese Mountain Dog
This is for all you giant dog lovers and is perfect for all of you who enjoy shorter hikes during the winter. This is a very large, and very furry dog that will be able to withstand the cold.
As a working dog, they can carry a small pack for you. Let them bring their supply of water or even yours – they’ll definitely be happy to! This is a dog that can be easily trained so you can take them off the leash on the trail without worrying.
Yes, this dog doesn’t only belong alongside the firemen riding that big red truck. This dog can keep the pace with a horse, so it can definitely keep the pace with you. This is a protective breed that can be your best friend when you’re out on a long jog or on a long hike.
#5 Lagotto Romagnolo
This dog doesn’t only have an interesting name; it has an interesting occupation as well. This Italian dog was used to sniff out truffles. They were also used as a hunting companion because of their natural retrieving abilities, making them great while out on a hike or a hunt.
#6 Siberian Husky
This dog is very well known for its sledding abilities. They are known for their endurance, power, and speed, which are all needed when pulling a sled. Those characteristics make them a favorite among hikers, especially in snowy trails. They are best for you if you live in colder climates of course, because of their thick, double-layered coats.
The Weimaraner is a breed that is pretty good at navigating the tough and tricky terrain. This dog is lovingly called the “gray ghost” because of its ghostly looking, short gray coat. This means they can do well in hot climates and are very low maintenance.
The Weimaraner needs its exercise so bringing it out with you on the trail isn’t just an option – it’s a must.
#8 Portuguese Water Dog
Yes, this is Bo, former President Barack Obama’s Portuguese Water Dog. If you’ve seen photos of the pair on the internet, you’ll see that this is a highly active and playful breed of dog.
From its name, this is a dog that loves the water. If you often go on hiking trips where there is water nearby or along the way or is near a beach, this is a dog that would be perfect for you. They were originally bred to herd fish, retrieve nets, and be a courier on the water so they thrive in that environment.
#9 Doberman Pinscher
If you’re searching for an intimidating looking dog to come with you on hikes, look no further than the Doberman Pinscher. But looks are deceptive because these dogs are actually very affectionate and can be somewhat of a goofball.
This is a low-maintenance dog that enjoys being active and will gladly follow you wherever you go. They do well in long hikes and warm climates.
#10 Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherds are one of the most intelligent dog breeds in the world. They were originally bred to herd and to be an all-around farm dog, so they are very obedient and full of energy. They are great when it comes to rocky and tough terrain because of their agility and ability to navigate well.
#11 Border Collie
This is a very obedient dog that will follow directions well. If you’re an avid hiker and you enjoy hiking on some tough, rocky terrain, you’ll know how important it is to have a furry pal that will follow directions to stay safe. The Border Collie will be able to do just that for you because of their intelligence and agility.
#12 Rhodesian Ridgeback
The Rhodesian Ridgeback was originally bred in Africa to hunt lions – yes, you read right, LIONS. Because of this, they are tough, brave, and very much used to the outdoors, making them an incredible hiking companion. This is a dog that can thrive in hotter climates compared to other dogs because of its African origins.
#13 Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Don’t let this tiny, tiny dog fool you. Even though they are really adorable with their short legs, they are active dogs that were originally bred for herding.
They love to stay active and do well in the outdoors so taking them out with you on a trail will give them the fun they need. You’d be surprised how fast those little legs can actually be and you may end up struggling to keep up with them.
#14 Jack Russell Terrier
Another tiny dog that is 100% energy. Maybe you know this breed as Milo, from “The Mask”. And as you may, or may not know, this is a tiny but mighty dog. It can run for long periods of time and still have a bunch of energy left to play with you after, making this a great dog to be a long-distance running buddy.
#15 Mixed Breeds
Let’s not forget our mixed breed furry friends who can definitely give the purebreds a run for their money.
Mixed breeds will have all the characteristics of all the breeds in them so most likely you’ll end up with a dog with one of the breeds we talked about. The best thing you can do is to find one in your local animal shelter and make him your best bud.
The Best Bud For Life
Did you love these beautiful dogs as much as I did? I sure hope so. Once you’ve found the perfect dog for you, train them and take care of them well. You will be rewarded with a best bud and hiking companion for life.
Just remember to ease them into the hike especially if they are still puppies and get them used to easy terrains before moving them into more difficult ones.
Tell us in the comments what you think and what dogs you feel belong on this list!