Top 10 Best Dog Breeds to Hike With

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All dogs love a walk, but there are some breeds who need more than a walk - they need a hike! They need to be on an adventure, in search of wild animals and their next drink of water. These breeds love to guard their people from backcountry hazards and identify every person or fur-pup that has used the trail in the last few days. They desire a woodsy breeze blowing through their ears and nostrils, and a lake to practice their doggy paddle. They're in heaven if their humans bring a tent and they can backpack for miles and miles, hanging out in the wilderness for days! So what are the top breeds that yearn the most for hikes and will perform best on them?

Bernese Mountain Dog

Not only do these rugged, surefooted pooches have the word "mountain" in their name, they're a favorite with many hikers because of their stamina, strength and willingness to keep going. Big enough to carry their own supplies of food, these pups do best in cooler climates, so be sure to include them on your snowshoeing treks!

Australian Shepherd

Packed with incredible amounts of energy, these herders are pawrfect for long treks, especially where they can run free through grasslands or desert. Their cattle- and sheep-herding instincts and deep loyalty make them great companions, and their smarts help to keep them - and you - safe on the trail. Great watch dogs, they'll announce animals and other humans before you ever see them!

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Originally bred to hunt lions in Africa, these giants are warriors when it comes to trekking and sniffing out "prey," whether it be a squirrel or just a big, scary stick. Their muscular build makes them ideal for hiking up and down steep hills, and they don't mind hot and thirsty backcountry travel!

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Labrador Retriever

Everybody's buddy, the retriever is willing to do anything and go anywhere you want to. These beauties play hard and work hard, and they like to have a job to do, whether it's endlessly chasing rabbits or carrying their own gear on their backs. They do well on leashes or under voice control because they aim to please!

German Shorthaired Pointer

These handsome, energetic pups are in it for the long haul, although they won't turn down a short hike either. They challenge training efforts because they're super intelligent, but once they learn to toe the line, you can count on them to behave. They have strong prey and guard instincts, so control is important with these guys in the great outdoors!

Parson Jack Russell Terrier

Like all terriers, JRTs have unbounded energy, and no breed likes to pull out all the stops more than these little bundles. They will run and hike and climb until you decide they've had enough and opt to carry them!  Like all hunting dogs, they will chase prey relentlessly, so a leash and good recall skills are best.

Border Collie

Thought by some to be the smartest breed, Border Collies will do any "work" you ask, even collect firewood for your campsite! They love constant motion, and will hike twice the distance you do because of their continuous back-and-forth-and-around habits. They think they're herding you, and who's to say they're not? They're fun to watch!


Many might scoff at the notion of diminutive Chihuahuas as great hiking companions, but their very size makes them ideal.They won't take up too much room in the tent, and if they get tired, which happens less frequently than you might think, they're light and compact and will fit in your backpack! Just be mindful of those short little legs and slow down!

Portuguese Water Dog

These cute and fluffy pups are really comfortable in any water environment, so you won't have to carry them across creeks or muddy areas, and they yearn to be in the constant company of their human so you won't have to worry about them wandering off without a tether. If your hike includes some water travel, they're your First Mate!

German Shepherd

While German Shepherds can be a challenge to train when they're young, they're very smart and tend to be reliable once they've "got it." Alert and watchful, they're first to sense danger, and their curiosity encourages you to see what's around the next bend. They make great watch dogs and protectors, too.