Best Dog Breeds For Hiking: 15 Dogs To Consider When You’re Exploring The Outdoors

Dog breed for hiking

When you think of outdoor activities like camping and hiking, what’s the first animal that comes to mind? Dogs! It is estimated that about 54 percent of US households own at least one dog; around 60 million homes with four-legged family members. Dogs seem like man’s best friend because they’re always there for us when we need them most – like on an incredible hike through the mountain trails! So what are the best dogs for hiking?

If you travel with your dog everywhere you go, it will be easier if the two of you have a similar personality. It’s a good idea to bring a dog with the same energy level and physical capabilities as you if you’re an active hiker, recreational climber, or enjoy camping. Dogs love the outdoors, and many are suitable as hiking partners, regardless of breed.

The dog must be calm and respond appropriately in hazardous situations like wildlife encounters or poisonous plants.

best dog for hiking
Photo by Mpho Mojapelo on Unsplash

The Qualities of Hiking Dog Breeds

How many dog breeds make the list of best dogs for hiking? We narrowed it down to 15! This list includes small, medium, and large-sized breeds that are perfect for outdoor adventures.

From pups that love water to those who have a strong sense of smell – there is a breed on this list for everyone.

Note: Dogs love going outdoors and will be great partners, but some breeds have particular abilities or conditions, making them a better choice for certain types of activities.

For example, Jack Russell Terriers may not be suitable for people who want to go long-distance trekking because they tire easily. Labs do well in any outdoor activity, including hiking, even though many people don’t consider them to be “outdoorsy.”

Even though smaller dogs can hike, larger dogs can carry more weight over greater distances which might be more suitable for some hikers.

All of these breeds listed here would be great partners and will prove to be very rewarding, so bring your dog with you if they seem like a good match.

Hiking with Dogs Tips

  • Ensure that your hiking companion is medically fit for your active lifestyle by consulting with your veterinarian. Confirm that your dog is up to the task of fulfilling your physical demands.
  • Make sure you’re feeding your dog an adequate high-performance diet, too. A dog that’s eating right can lead to a happier, healthier hiker.
  • Keep your pooch hydrated, too. Make sure he has access to freshwater throughout the activity.
  • Make sure your dog can follow your instructions and stay with you, but also have a good time, especially if your dog will be off-leash.
  • Obedience training is a great way to prepare for this and is an important part of having a happy, healthy dog.
  • Have fun! There is no better way to ensure that your dog will want to be with you on hiking trips than by making this a time for both of you!

Dog Breed Characteristics

You might want to get an energetic dog that likes to go outside. This type of dog has been bred to go out in all kinds of weather. This category covers various dogs that perform tasks like search and rescue, hunting dogs, herding dogs, and mountain dogs. These hiking companions need to be obedient, clever and have good recall abilities before you let them run free.

If you’re a hiker who loves the outdoors, these 15 dog breeds are sturdy canines that would be able to accompany you on your adventures.

High energy level

Hiking is a rigorous sport that only dogs who love it and are willing to participate will enjoy. It’s conceivable that extensive bodily activity might induce significant breathing issues in some dogs. Most dogs can go on short walks. Hiking is a fantastic method to increase your dog’s energy and get rid of excess sugar in its body.

Whether you want to take long hikes in the mountains or enjoy short walks in the neighborhood, high-energy dogs are ideal for outdoor activities. They need at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, but it shouldn’t be confined to your backyard. Let these active pups run through open fields and engage them in all types of sports.

These breeds are ideal for active owners who love to hike, jog or walk several miles every day with their canine friends by their side.

Best dog breeds for hiking

Here are our favorites for the best hiking dog breeds:

Border Collie

Border Collie on a hike
Photo by Aaron Staes on Unsplash

The ever-popular Border Collie is a must-have in any list of energetic dog breeds. They are a no-brainer for anybody seeking an exercise buddy, with their renowned intelligence, work motivation, and energy level.

The border collie’s intelligence and trainability may be beneficial to hikers and climbers alike. Teaching it to go off-leash will be simple. The border collie may be an excellent hiking companion as long as you can offer your dog enough mental and physical exercise.

Border Collies are genuinely beautiful dogs to have around. They are active, intelligent, and responsive. Hikers will appreciate the fact that they can be off-leash because of their training and strong recall.

The Border Collie has a reputation for being dominant. However, this is not the case, as long as both dogs and humans understand who is in charge.

Treeing Walker Coonhound 

The Treeing Walker Coonhound is an agile climber that can easily maneuver natural mountain terrain if you don’t mind a loud dog while on a trek. Treeing walker coonhounds are lively dogs with a sharp gaze for prey. Keep this dog on a leash until you’re sure it won’t harm squirrels, birds, or other creatures.

The treeing walker coonhound has exceptional stamina, so long hikes with your dog can be a lot of fun. Hounds are renowned for their tenacity. The breed is known for following a scent trail for miles and miles.

This makes the Coonhound an excellent candidate for hiking any number of trails, including more challenging treks. It’s best to go hiking on a clear day that isn’t excessively hot or humid.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian ridgeback may be an excellent companion for outdoor enthusiasts seeking more rugged hiking companions. They have the same abilities as their lion counterparts but preserve these traits while hunting in an urban setting.

They’re equally as strong and quick as lions, and they may apply their tracking skills to other outdoor activities like hiking and mountaineering.

If you’re new to dog ownership, be aware that the Rhodesian ridgeback requires much socialization and obedience training during puppyhood. Its independent nature may make it wary of others, while its strength is unrivaled. 

It’s important to remember that this is a short-haired dog breed. Therefore it’s not a cold-weather dog.

Australian Shepherd

Another one of the best dog breeds for sports activities is the Australian Shepherd, a lively and agile companion who enjoys being outside.

The Aussie is a herder with an abundance of endurance, like its border collie sibling.

Australian Shepherds are high-energy dogs that enjoy the great outdoors, so coming up with games to play along the way will provide this breed with a well-rounded and exhausting day of activity.

An Aussie requires a lot of daily exercises—one hike per week is insufficient. On the other hand, this dog can make you a satisfied pet owner if you train it correctly and exercise it regularly.

Australian Shepherds can be challenging to train because they are so intelligent and independent. They’re not the type of dog who will sit still for hours, so keeping them entertained and engaged is essential.

Owning an Australian Shepherd means taking on a herding breed that is smart, versatile, active, and sometimes difficult to handle.

German Shorthaired Pointer

The German Shorthaired Pointer is another one of your steadfast hunting partners, making it ideal for going on hiking excursions. Like other hunters, pointers enjoy plenty of workouts and are highly sociable, loving companions.

This high-energy dog’s most prized characteristics include its agility and endurance, which require a lot of regular exercise to avoid becoming restless and bad-mannered.

Due to its high energy level, we recommend that you take your German Shorthaired Pointers out hiking frequently. This breed has a fantastic sense of smell and loves the outdoors.

If you’re not exercising your GSP regularly, he may resort to chewing on shoes or furniture as a substitute.

Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell terrier is your canine candidate if you don’t want a big dog but still want an active hiking partner.

The Jack Russell is a high-energy, high-drive, and intellectually brilliant breed of dog that resembles the personality of a larger dog in a tiny 15-pound body.

It was created for hunting vermin and had a strong prey drive, making it well-suited for long periods of activity like hiking excursions.

The Jack Russell terrier is a clever, headstrong dog distinguished by its small stature and sturdy build. This breed can become destructive if you don’t give this dog some mental stimulation and plenty of exercise.

However, if you can commit the time each day to training and activity with your Jack Russell, they are wonderful outdoor companions.

Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute is a large working dog bred for pulling carts and sleds over long distances. They are playful and affectionate dogs that enjoy spending time outdoors, especially in cold weather. This breed is an excellent choice for a hiking partner.

It’s a high-energy dog that likes to walk and explore for miles at a time. They may have the propensity to pull on the leash while you walk. However, with regular training and positive reinforcement, you may be able to reduce this tendency.

The Alaskan malamute is a beautiful dog with a pleasant disposition.

Miniature Pinscher

Miniature Pinscher dog breed for hiking
Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

The tiny pinscher—or min pin—is a brave little dog with a big personality perfect for the hardworking, determined owner. Min pins are small, fearless dogs that have been compressed into a 10-pound package. 🙂

The min Pin’s happy, take-charge nature makes it an excellent hiking explorer. Although the Pinscher doesn’t have the same stamina as the Jack Russell terrier, it is smaller and lighter, making it easy to pick up and carry if it gets tired.

They are solid and well-balanced dogs. They are forceful, self-assured, active, and eager to participate in their escapades.

Miniature Pinschers are excellent hiking dogs since they enjoy fast-paced and rigorous exercise. They love to run. To your dismay, you may discover them waiting and eager for more playtime after your hiking trip.

Bernese Mountain Dog

bernise mountain dog

The Bernese mountain dog is an Alpine native that thrives in cooler conditions and belongs to the same breed as the Swiss mountain dog. Because of their thick coats, these dogs do not do well in heat or hot Summers.

The Bernese mountain dog is a Swiss working breed. It was developed to pull carts through the Alps, so it’s no wonder that the Berner makes an excellent climbing buddy.

If you are a new breed owner, you should be aware that it has specific health issues, such as hip and elbow dysplasia and bloat.

Before taking this dog hiking, make sure it has had its health checked by a veterinarian to verify that strenuous exercise is tolerable.

Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog is a highly energetic, athletic dog with a lot of passion. They are still utilized as herding dogs today, and they compete in a variety of dog sports such as obedience and agility. The breed is energetic and does best in a home that can offer enough physical activity.

Australian Cattle Dogs are active dogs that enjoy going on walks. They do well when they have lots of physical exercises.

As they are nicknamed, heelers have high energy, are very agile, and have exceptional stamina, making them excellent hiking companions.

However, while Heelers are great hikers, there are a few things to consider before taking your dog out for a stroll; assess their strengths, limits, and the requirements of the hiking trip.

Siberian Husky

siberian husky
Photo by Marek Szturc on Unsplash

The Siberian husky is an excellent match for the outdoorsy type who prefers a laid-back attitude. The husky’s personality is hilarious and distinct—mischievous, self-reliant, and deceptive in appearance.

The husky is naturally well suited for the cold and feels at ease on snowy mountain peaks and cooler temperature treks, as it is bred in northeast Asia. Huskies love hiking.

They are entirely content to go at their own pace yet are always ready to sprint up a mountain or dance down the trail.

It’s a tireless hiking companion since its energy level is high. If you don’t provide it with mental and physical challenges, your husky will get out of control or run away in protest.

This breed needs mental stimulation, so it’s not suitable for people working long hours. They will be great companions if you have the time to exercise them and train them hard!

Don’t expect to take your husky hiking off-leash until you’ve developed a strong bond with her and she’s learned the recall command.

Labrador Retriever

Labradors are great companions for families and active individuals. They are adaptable to a wide range of conditions and terrains. Labrador retrievers are fun-loving dogs that enjoy going on new adventures.

Labradors can cope with a variety of climates and terrain readily.

They do well in cold climates and can withstand high temperatures as long as you keep them hydrated. Labs are excellent swimmers that can accompany you for a refreshing swim in a lake. Running and water activities are favorite pastimes of labs.

Dog breeds like the Labrador Retriever are easy to train and are obedient, so you should be able to take these pups hiking without the leash on. This breed requires a lot of exercises and makes a fantastic hiking buddy.


vizsla 2 1

Vizslas are known for their loyalty and affection for their owners. They are devoted and will follow you wherever you go. They love to run around, and they are on the list of best dog breeds for hiking because they also love water.

Because these clever dogs are constantly learning and exploring, you must continuously train them and mentally stimulate them to avoid becoming bored. Vizslas were bred to be hardworking hunting dogs.

They love having room to run, making them excellent hiking or trail running companions. Vizslas require socialization and reinforcement training to make them ideal companion pets.

They’re patient, kind, and friendly with youngsters when properly introduced.


They have a square shape that is similar to beagles, although they are larger. Because they can go all day, they are ideal for hiking. Harriers may be stubborn, but they can also be trained to become a good hiking companion.

The Harrier is a very athletic dog who needs plenty of exercise, whether in walks or hikes. They are friendly with children if they are socialized early enough.

They have a tremendous prey instinct and might get interested in the aroma from time to time, but as long as your recall training is practical, they will follow your command without hesitation.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever dog breed for hiking
Photo by Enis Yavuz on Unsplash

The golden retriever is a fantastic running and hiking companion.

They are lively dogs with a bouncy disposition and an eagerness to spend time outside.

Goldens are bright, devoted dogs that retain their vivaciousness throughout their life in general. One of the best dog breeds who enjoy an active lifestyle and form strong attachments to their humans.

They make excellent hiking dogs and are good swimmers.

However, if overused, they may have joint issues, so check with your veterinarian first.

Breeds to Avoid

Although most dogs enjoy being outside, you should keep a few off the hiking path. This choice is not just breed-specific but also depends on the dog’s age, physical condition, and weather conditions.

Older dogs are more likely to have problems with arthritis and kidney disease than younger dogs. Puppies should not be exposed to lengthy trips because they are not yet fully developed. Long journeys may harm the formation of bones.

Flat-faced dogs, such as pugs, boxers, or bulldogs, should avoid vigorous exercise since their respiratory systems can overheat.

A double-coated dog, such as a Husky or Berner, can tolerate the cold better than a single-coated, short-haired dog.

There are many breeds of dogs that don’t enjoy the cold weather. A few include chihuahuas, greyhounds, and whippets. Many people assume these small dogs will be OK in the winter because they’re so active, but this is not the case.

Also, if you’re thinking about taking your dog for a walk in the heat, reconsider it. Dogs are vulnerable to both heatstroke and heat exhaustion when exposed to excessive temperatures.

FAQs about dog breeds

What Makes a Good Hiking Dog?

Let’s look at the characteristics needed in a dog that causes hiking together to be a positive experience to answer this question. 

The best breeds of dogs for hiking are those that are medium-sized or larger. They should be large enough to easily hike on trails and have long legs to step over obstacles such as rocks, tree branches, and other debris.

Smaller dogs with shorter legs can easily get worn out quickly. If you plan to hike for several miles, you’ll want a canine companion that can keep up and won’t need to be carried home.

Dogs should also be able to safely exercise without getting out of breath or having trouble breathing. Breeds with flat faces or short noses, such as Pugs or Bulldogs, are not suited for a lot of exercise because it can be dangerous for them.

Regardless of breed, age plays a significant factor in whether or not a particular dog will be good to take with you hiking. Young dogs under one year of age should not be hiking because it could be too strenuous on their still-developing bodies.

Some dogs’ bones and joints don’t mature until they are at least two years old, so intense periods of exercise could have long-lasting damage. 

The same is true for older dogs that are slowing down or experiencing pain in their joints. It’s best to keep them at home or only take them on short walks and not particularly strenuous trails.

What is a working dog?

A working dog is a dog that has been trained to carry out practical activities rather than a pet or companion dog.

The words “working dog” vary and might be defined as any dog trained to carry out practical work.

Sometimes it is used as a synonym for a herding dog.


Hiking can be an excellent opportunity for you and your dog to enjoy the outdoors, but before making this decision, there are some things to consider. Please make sure they are well-socialized and trained before taking them out on their own!

If you’re unsure if it’s safe or appropriate for your particular breed, consult with an experienced veterinarian first! The best dog breeds for hiking include Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, Labrador Retrievers, Siberian Huskies, and many more.

We hope our tips have helped answer any questions about what kind of dog is best suited for hiking so that you can take them on all kinds of adventures together in the future.

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