Hitting the trail and camping with your furry friend is a popular hobby in the mountains. Dogs have been known to summit some of the highest peaks with their owners. Keeping your pet regularly exercised is also a health benefit for both of you. Some hikers even accomplish multi-day hikes. Making overnight camping a popular option. With proper training and gear, your dog can accompany you on your adventures this year. Keep reading to find out which breeds are the best for off-leash hiking and camping.
1. Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherds make great hiking companions due to their need for strong bonds. This causes them to stick very closely to their human while hiking. Of course, this breed is known for its loyalty to its owners. They are very athletic and friendly, as well as being able to handle long distances. Perfect for those wanting to do longer hikes with multiple miles.
Actually, in the 1500s this dog was used for sheep and cattle herding. They are commonly found out west, in states such as Colorado, California, Idaho & Wyoming. All very popular hiking destinations. So it is of no surprise that this pup is a common dog out on the hiking trails.
2. Siberian Husky
These arctic dogs are recognized for their vibrant colored eyes. Siberian Huskies are a stunning and popular breed. Their thick coats make them fantastic sledding dogs in snowy areas. They love to work in packs and are great at pulling light loads. Weighing anywhere from forty-five to sixty pounds, these dogs are loyal and outgoing. Also well known for being a bit mischievous at times. They are high-energy and do not tire easily.
Huskies are ideal breeds if you are seeking longer hikes. Keep in mind, they do not like hot weather. Climates such as Colorado have three hundred days of sunshine and hot summers. Colder mountainous states are a better fit for these doggos.
3. Bernese Mountain Dog
This breed has Mountain in the name, so you know this is a great dog to bring on your journeys. These dogs were initially farm dogs that originated in Germany. They average about one hundred and ten pounds and twenty-seven inches tall. These pups thrive in cold weather and can endure cold weather and winter hiking.
These are recommended for families as they are gentle with children. Due to their size, they are great dogs for helping to carry some of your gear. Since they are very easily trained, they will stay by your side off-leash. Bernese Mountain Dogs may be intimidating from afar due to their size, but they are one of the most loving breeds.
4. Border Collie
An excellent dog for an adventurer would be the Border Collie. They are full of energy and love to accompany their owner on a fun trail. They do have a low prey drive which makes them great forest hiking dogs. Keeping their distance from any animals on the trail. To this day they still make fantastic herding dogs.
Originally bred from the Anglo-Scottish Border, they were used to herd livestock. Sheep is the most popular animal they would round up. They are highly intelligent and are known to even try to herd their owners. This makes them great in hiking groups, ensuring everyone stays together. They weigh anywhere from 27-42 pounds and are known for their loving and spunky personalities.
5. Labrador Retriever
A fun-loving and kind breed that you will spot on the trails is often the Labrador Retriever. Their sweet faces and kind personalities make them the most popular dog breed in America. They are high-spirited and full of energy. A medium to large dog, offering sixty to seventy pounds of love.
Their curious personality makes them great hiking partners due to their willingness to explore. As long as they are in good shape, they can hike anywhere from ten to twenty miles at a time. Just remember to stop off and play fetch to get some of that energy out of their system. These dogs are great for camping as they are normally very friendly and good with children.
Tips For Camping & Hiking With Your Dog
It is very important to make certain that you have the proper gear for your dog. You will need to prepare the same way you would prepare for yourself. Hiking long distances in different weather conditions will provide lots of different gear options. Packing a harness and leash is always a good idea. Even if your dog is fantastic off-leash, some trails require them. Lots and lots of water. Think of how much you drink when you are hiking and double that amount so your dog is properly hydrated too. Especially in the hot summer months.
Collapsible bowls are a great way to save some space in your backpack. Canine First Aid Kits are just as important as human ones. Extra plastic bags to pick up your dog waste is a must-have. Larger dogs can even carry their waste in their very own dog backpack. These packs run anywhere from $15 to $80, depending on the breed. Dog food and treats will keep your pup’s energy up during your hike. Anytime you stop for a snack or water, remember to give them the same. Hiking uses a lot of energy, which is why it is crucial to refuel yourself and your doggo throughout the day.
Camping With Dogs
Whether you are pitching a tent or camping in your car, your pup can accompany you. For tent campers, bringing a dog bed is a great option to keep your dog calm. The feeling of comfort and scent can provide a sense of security for them. Which will help them not freak out and bark at every little nature sound. Though it is good to have your dog on some alert, due to bears and wild animals.
A dog can sense an animal before you can due to its fantastic scent and protectiveness. A barking dog can discourage a bear from a campsite and scare it away. Your dog can sleep in your tent with you if they are comfortable. Pop-up dog tents are an option for heavier breeds who don’t like the heat of bigger camping tents.
If your pet is aggressive, it would be best to leave them at home. If you camp at populated campgrounds, the dog can be uncomfortable around many people. For dispersed camping, dogs will have more space but could come in contact with other hikers. The safety of bringing your dog to your overnight trips is great. Wild animals and even dangerous people can always be a risk out in a remote area at night. Your pup will be able to protect you and alert you of any impending danger.
Don’t Bring Your Newborn Puppy Hiking
If you just got a new puppy and are excited to get out on the trails, be cautious. You need to wait until they are at least sixteen weeks old and fully vaccinated. Your puppy’s body needs to be fully matured before taking on strenuous hiking. In their first year, their limbs began to grow longer. Extensive workouts could make them at risk for injuries in their growth plates. Which are regions at the end of their bones that become hard until they finish growing. They become sensitive with large amounts of exercise. Most injuries can occur when the dog is young, up to eight months old. If plates are damaged, surgery could be needed. Always check with your vet before turning your puppy into your hiking buddy.
Nature’s Best Friend
Outdoor adventures are so important for both you and your dog. The extra exercise is a tremendous health benefit. Getting outside in the fresh air is fantastic for your mental health and curing your pup’s boredom. Grab your dog and indulge in nature. Canines make a fantastic hiking and camping companion. These breeds are made for the outdoors and are just as excited as you are to get out there. Be sure to follow the tips on what to pack for your pup and check that the trails are dog-friendly. Enjoy everything the outdoors have to offer this summer with your adorable and furry best friend.