Mountain climbing doesn’t have to be a solo activity; our pick of the best dogs for hiking, foraging and scrambling up mounds will ensure that you'll be in good company on those long, winding trails.
Dogs love the great outdoors, and indeed for many species this love has been hardwired into their DNA. Many of their ancestors will have spent their time living in the mountain as shepherds or protection dogs.
One great benefit of having one of the best dogs for hiking is that when you head off into the great outdoors, you don’t have to leave man’s best friend at home. They can accompany you on the experience, and you know they’ll thank you for it.
If you’re keen on exercising with your pooch, why not read our tips for running with your dog, or take a look at the best dogs for runners instead? Whichever method of exercise you choose, these dogs are sure to serve as the perfect guide on those uphill climbs…
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PetsRadar's pick of the best dogs for hiking
1. Border Collie
The perfect exercise buddy thanks to their energetic and intelligent nature, Border Collies make for excellent companions who love to please their human friends. They can be trained to head up mountains without a leash, and due to their inherent need to have a high level of exercise, you can be confident that they won’t get tired too quickly. In fact, the biggest concern is that you might run out of energy before they do.
2. Australian Shepherd
Also possessing seemingly limitless reserves of energy, the Australian Shepherd is a conscientious breed that loves to be out and about, making them the ideal companion on those long-distance inclines.
The more walks, the merrier; the Australian Shepherd won’t get bored. To make things easier on the hike, why not play some fetch games on the way? Just as long as you’re careful where you throw it.
3. Jack Russell Terrier
This might not seem like an obvious choice as one of the best dogs for hiking, considering its relatively short stature in comparison to the other dogs on this list, but the Jack Russell makes up for it.
Possessing energy, drive, and intelligence in abundance, the Jack Russell loves a challenge, and will make short work of those climbs. They need to be well-trained before you trust them off the leash, but should you be willing to put in the time, they will serve as a trusty companion.
4. Bernese Mountain Dog
The clue is in the name, admittedly, but the Bernese Mountain Dog really is adept to the outdoors. Preferring to eschew warmer weather due to its wooly coat, this majestic breed was bred to pull carts through the Alps, so your weekend hikes should be a piece of cake.
While they’re great at scaling mountains and steep hills, the breed has been known to suffer from hip issues, so make sure you consult a vet before attempting anything too strenuous.
5. Siberian Husky
Huskies are as close to the stereotypical outdoor dog as it’s possible to get, so it will come as no surprise to see them on this list. Whether you’re hiking or running, they’ll be in their element, and happily jog along with you. They’re intelligent, yet very independent, so you’ll need a strict training schedule to avoid them getting bored. But should you do this, they’ll be the best outdoor companion you could possibly ask for.
6. Labrador Retriever
One of the most easy-going dogs round, Labrador Retrievers are friendly and energetic; they’ll win you plenty of pals on those climbs. Best of all, they love exercise, and their webbed feet contribute to being strong swimmers, should you encounter any bodies of water. Labradors are relatively easy to train as well, so you shouldn’t have to worry about leaving them off the leash.
7. Airedale Terrier
One of the largest of the Terrier breeds, but also one of the most easy-going, their boundless enthusiasm and high reserves of energy makes them a decent candidate for the best dogs for hiking.
They’re easy to train and up for an adventure, so will have a great time heading off to all manner of different outdoor environments. You might want to make sure that you trim down their winter coats should you be heading somewhere warmer, though.
8. German Shorthaired Pointer
Originally bred as a hunting dog, the German Shorthaired Pointer makes for an excellent outdoor companion, enjoying lengthy periods of time outdoors in a variety of climates. This is just as well, as they need plenty of exercise.
They’re not the kind of dog that enjoys living in a cramped environment, so they will relish the opportunity to thrive outside, seeing every hike you go on as a challenge to be accepted.
9. Rhodesian Ridgeback
Another former hunting dog, the Rhodesian Ridgeback has a history of tracking much larger mammals, so your weekend jaunt down the Appalachian trail shouldn’t pose too many challenges.
Their strength and agility, combined with their independent nature, makes them ideal outdoor dogs. Again, they’ll need plenty of training, especially considering their aloof nature, but they’ll more than keep up the pace.
Loyal and friendly, the Vizsla tends to develop deep bonds with its human masters - they have been nicknamed the ‘velcro dog’ for this very reason – which should serve you well when the two of you head off into the wilderness together.
They like nothing more than having a lot of space to run in, making hikes or trail running something they offer the perfect fit for. They’re patient and friendly, making them ideal company in the presence of other dogs and people.