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16 Best Dogs for Hiking and Camping

Outdoor enthusiasts definitely need the Best Dogs For Hiking And Camping. Most folks prefer hiking doggies that are big, athletic, and energetic. Nevertheless, any dog that is fond of the outdoors would be perfect. Hiking alongside your furry friend comes with lots of benefits. Other than providing a chance for you to unwind, it is an amazing form of work out among other advantages. This article delves into more benefits of hiking with your pooch. Together with that, we are going to look at exclusive FAQs and tips relating to hiking with your canine pal.

Best Dogs For Hiking And Camping

Image Source: Pexels

Best Dogs for Hiking and Camping

Below is a quick view list of the best dog breeds for outdoor hiking:
1. Labrador Retriever
2. Australian Shepherds
3. German Shorthaired Pointer
4. Siberian Husky
5. Boxer
6. Vizsla Dogs
7. Weimaraner Dogs
8. Alaskan Malamute
9. Doberman
10. Border Colliers
11. Belgian Sheepdog
12. Poodle
13. Australian Cattle Dog
14. Bernese Mountain Dog
15. Rhodesian Ridgeback
16. Airedale Terrier

We will be updating this list within a short period. Please suggest which one you like more in the comment box.

1. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever

You will be lucky to have a Labrador Retriever on your next excursion. The dogs are smart. Likewise, they do not run out of breath easily. With that, you can hike for miles. By the same token, they possess sharp hunting instincts besides their eagerness to please. That might explain why they are treasured outdoor companions in the U.S.

Then again, this dog breed is quite good around children. Therefore, hitting the trail with the rest of your family should not be a problem. Other than that; the pooches are very obedient and thus easy to train. Their thick double coat provides warmth giving them the ability to hike throughout the year. The average Labrador retriever can live for 10-12 years, weigh 36 kg, and grow to 63cm in height. To top it off, Labradors are great off-leash.

2. Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd

Contrary to what the name might suggest, the Australian Shepherd was entirely developed in the US.  Australian Shepherds boast of between 12-15 years of life expectancy and can grow to 65 LBS in weight. They are seasoned herders affiliated with Basque sheepherders who were U.S immigrants from Australia.

Aside from unquestionable loyalty, these pups exhibit epic smartness. Similarly, they are inseparable from their owners once they bond. Primarily, they are energetic adventure lovers with a soft spot for tons of physical activity.

3. German Shorthaired Pointer

german shorthaired pointer

german shorthaired pointer

These guys originated from Germany and were meant for hunting. They can weigh up to 70 pounds, grow to 2 feet tall, and last for 15 years. Built for running, the German Shorthaired Pointers should be a go-to dog breed for any avid hiker. They are allergic to loneliness. This is why they treasure exploring nature in the company of their parents. Another thing about GSPs is their thirst to please and impress. The breed has a proud, people-loving personality. They are not fond of being confined to one place too.

On the same note, they are highly active. Hence, demands tons of exercise and physical stimulation. Luckily, German Shorthaired Pointers boast of high energy and love to run, an attribute that makes them incredible racing partners. Yet the dogs are easy to clean and maintain. They are a great choice for active outdoor enthusiasts.

4. Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky

Siberian Huskies have their origin in Siberia with a life span of about 12-14 years. They grow to 60 pounds with a maximum height of 20-23 inches. Their energetic nature and unmatched tolerance ensure they can cover miles hassle-free. Long-distance hikers will fall in love with that. Similarly, they are a working breed famous for their sled-pulling abilities.  Huge athletic bodies grant them the ability to carry loads.  Apart from that, they stick to the trail impressively in addition to remaining close to their owners at all times.

Moreover, they become restless, vocal, and mischievous in the absence of physical activity. A vigorous demeanor makes them suitable for hiking and camping. Equally, these wolf-resembling pooches can handle freezing conditions. This is due to built-in winter wear composed of a long water-resistant outer coat and a thick undercoat.

5. Boxer

Boxer Dog

Boxer Dog

Image Source: Pexels

Boxers evolved in Germany and were initially instrumental in managing slaughter cows. They are descendants of the Bullenbeiser breed from central Europe. Moving on, boxers have the physical build, energy, and a passion for exploring new environments. Their ripped bodies can easily take on a three-mile hike.

You will adore their inquisitive, spirited, and playful nature that will pump more life into your outdoor experience. Their attentive eyes yield an added sense of security vital for the outdoors. That aside, you will be glad to know that they can attain 10 years of life and weigh up to 70 LBS if well tended to.

6. Vizsla Dogs

vizsla dogs

vizsla dogs

Vizslas are originally from Hungary and bred for speed. They are professional hunters owing to their superb power and immense prey drive. The breed is friendly, super athletic, and energetic, facets that are essential for the outdoors. To keep them out of trouble, you need to engage them regularly in physical exercises.

That aside, they love exploring the jungle. They make great trail buddies. Swimming is another specialty of these four-legged pals. On the same note, a fine short coat makes grooming easy and straightforward. Plus, they are one of the few breeds with minimal health complications. This transforms into more than 12 years of life. With proper care and maintenance, Vizsla exceed 45 pounds in weight and achieve a height beyond 21 inches.

7. Weimaraner Dogs

weimaraner dogs

weimaraner dogs

Ardent countryside explorers can reap a lot from this breed. Developed in Germany, the breed stands out for its hunting owing to its speed and 85-pound Herculean body. A keen sense of smell yields unbeatable tracking skills as well. Together with that, Weimaraners are clever and watchful with strangers. Their obedient and alert disposition will go a long way in boosting your safety.

On account of their active nature, it is crucial to give them proper obedience training. They need plenty of mental stimulation alongside that. Otherwise, they can be rowdy and destructive. Their 13-year lifespan guarantees adequate fun time with these furry hiking companions.

8. Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute

Image Source: Pixabay

Often mistaken for Huskies, the Alaskan malamute is a majestic pooch with a likable demeanor.  The breed is of Alaskan origin. They stand out for their high spirit, playfulness, and stamina. On average, the dog needs at least two hours of exercise with a life expectancy of up to 14 years.

Therefore, they can handle tough hikes without a fuss. No wonder they can pull sleds and haul bulky loads. Identically, they feature a thick coat that makes them ideal partners on snowy terrains. Sharp claws that grip like ice axes and huge paws, which serve as snowshoes, give them an edge in freezing conditions.

9. Doberman



Image Source: Pixabay

Dobermans originated from Germany belonging to the working dog class. They are naturally fond of adventure owing to their curiosity and need for exercise. Their regal appearance, athletic build, and sleek coat are eye-catching. Whether you need a long walk or hike, a Doberman will have your back.

They are always alert not forgetting their reliable instincts. So, besides companionship, safety should be the least of your worry. Onward, they have a low prey drive and thus will always stick by your side. Adults can live for more than 10 years; reach a 28-inch height and gain weight of not less than 60 pounds.

10. Border Collie

Border Collie dogs

Border Collie dogs

Border Colliers is Scotland natives. They are legendary herders, which resulted in their name “collie” a scotch word for sheep. Apart from being smart, they are one of the most workaholic canines ready to please with their uncommon intelligence. Mastering new trails or tracing their way home is a piece of cake. The aforementioned attribute makes Border Colliers exceptional hiking companions.

Border Collies have a 14-year lifespan on top of being super fast for their relatively smaller stature. 20 kg of weight for a grown collie ensures you can carry them effortlessly over barriers or in the event of an injury. Yet, they scale rocks and jump shrubs effortlessly. These guys will also take care of your safety with their unrivaled alertness.

11. Belgian Sheepdog

Belgian Sheep Dog

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This is another remarkable hiking dog breed worth mentioning. They exhibit atypical endurance in tough conditions courtesy of a buff build. As you might guess, they were developed in Belgium as sheepdogs but can do more than that. They have a fearless, protective, and no-nonsense character. It makes them excellent K-9s.

Still, their uncommon focus coupled with limitless energy will push you to your limits in the jungle. Harsh weather does not stop the Belgian Shepherd Dog. They come with a weather-resistant dense double coat. They grow to between 22-26 inches in height and between 60-80 pounds in weight. On top of that, the breed can survive beyond 14 years.

12. Poodle


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The most amazing reason why you need to take your poodle for a hike is that they are all rounded. They have what it takes for an excruciating hike besides enduring the harshest weather conditions. Primarily, they are the right hiking partners if you plan to venture into wet terrains. To begin with, they are super comfortable around water. Secondly, they are expert swimmers.

As a matter of fact, the sole purpose of their creation was to recover birds from the water. That implies that they are friendly, loyal, and intelligent. Poodles come in different sizes. Mature toy poodles weigh about 6 LBS, miniature poodles weigh 15 LBS while standard poodles weigh up to 70 LBS. As for life expectancy, they can clock a whopping 18 years.

13. Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog

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As the name insinuates, the breed is originally from Australia. They can live for up to 15 years and weigh in between 30 and 50 LBS.  With such weight, they have a perfect size to carry around in the event of an injury. In the same way, they are light on their feet. They will keep up without straining.

Their intelligent and energetic personality makes them excellent for cattle herding. Aussies are bred to listen and hence have no obedience problems. The unparalleled recall will also come in handy in case you lose them. These traits together with unparalleled loyalty make Australian Cattle Dogs absolute backcountry explorers.

14. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog

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This breed hails from the Alpine and is one of a kind as a hiking partner. It has an athletic body that makes it ideal for mountain climbing and moderate hikes. No wonder it was a particular breed for work.

Still, the breed is loyal, affectionate, and exceedingly intelligent. It is pretty friendly with other pets as well. A fully-grown Bernese mountain dog can live for 8 years and weigh up to 55 kg. Nonetheless, the breed is prone to elbow and hip dysplasia. It might need regular breaks in between your hike.

15. Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback

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With its roots in Zimbabwe, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a serious hound dog specialized for hunting. Under proper care, the breed can survive for 12 years and grow to 85 LBS. As you might imagine speed is not a limitation for them. You need a leash when outdoors.

Any adventurer looking for a robust hiking companion will love the Rhodesian Ridgeback. With super-strength, athleticism, and agility, this breed can tackle moderately difficult hikes. However, they need regular obedience training to stay on track.

16. Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terrier

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This dog breed traces its ancestry from the Otterhound and the tan terrier. It is nicknamed “The King of Terriers” owing to its distinguishable large stature as compared to other terrier breeds. Apart from that, the pooch is synonymous with a dense wiry coat completed by black markings.

Airedale terriers were initially bred in the Aire Valley of Yorkshire to hunt rats and otters thanks to their enhanced sense of smell, alertness as well as athleticism. Males tend to be the biggest growing up to 23 inches at the shoulder while females are relatively smaller.

A full-grown Airedale terrier can weigh between 40 to 65 pounds and live for over 10 years. They often possess high energy and an increased urge for play or exercise which will push you to your limits on your outings together. This will also keep you on your toes to match up to their physical needs. Similarly, the four-legged buddies are super curious. 

The Airedale terrier is generally healthy but may be prone to hip dysplasia and allergies. Other than that, it can take on long hikes with minimal complications.

Benefits of Hiking with your Dogs

I. Security

The wilderness is not entirely safe especially if you plan to spend a night there. With that in mind, it is imperative to take every security measure into consideration to stay safe. Luckily, you have a four-legged friend at your disposal. Dogs are always alert and highly protective of their owners. Hence, they offer top-class security. They rely on their natural instincts as well as a sharp sense of smell and sight to detect threats. Similarly, they are known to raise alarms whenever necessary. You will sleep worry-free in the company of your furry pal.

II. Ideal stress reliever

Disengaging from the hustle and bustle of life for a while is good for stress. A breath of fresh air and magical sceneries from Mother Nature is soothing for the brain. In fact, fresh air elevates serotonin. Serotonin boosts digestion, leads to better sleep, and revamps one’s mood. In a similar fashion, dogs need sunshine for elevated mood and improved sleep patterns. Also, the sun curbs anxiety. Most importantly, hiking ensures that you exercise, relax, and explore new environments.

III. Good for exercise

You and your canine buddy need to exercise occasionally. Well, hiking is a remarkable form of workout. Challenging terrains help to keep the body fit in addition to building endurance. Still, walking the pooch around your neighborhood is not enough. Your pet needs a breath of fresh air and different settings too. In short, the jungle gives you a serene ambiance ideal for exercising.

IV. Time to make new friends

Dogs are a great way to make new friends. They are excellent icebreakers when it comes to conversations, particularly among dog owners. Apart from pooch owners, doggies can meet and interact with other dogs as well. Not only is this helpful to aggressive pets, but it is also a chance for them to socialize. In fact, it is great for them as well as they get to make new playmates and long-term friends.

V. Peace of mind

Dogs are naturally adventurous. They love to explore new environments. Therefore, it is unwise to leave your pooch behind when heading into the jungle. This is because you will be constantly worried about the state of your pet while away.

As a matter of fact, some dogs are prone to separation anxiety. In addition, chaining or locking the dog up in the kennel may drive a wedge in your relationship. To avoid all this, consider camping alongside your canine friend.

VI. Excellent bonding opportunity

A busy work schedule and other factors limit the time you and your pet spend together. Consequently, this is likely to make your dog anxious or aggressive. However, hiking or camping together can be healing. You get a chance to explore new terrains, and different environments and make new memories together. Chilling out in the jungle minus daily distractions aids in keeping your bond stronger.

Tips for hiking with dogs

hiking with dogs

There are numerous advantages to camping with your furry friend. It is important to ensure the pooch is in good condition for a worry-free experience. Here are exclusive tips to get your dog ready:

a) Ensure the trail or park is dog-friendly

Not all hiking trails or camping parks are dog-friendly. With that in mind, look up the regulations of your prospective spot prior to setting out. Identically, always keep your furry friend close or on a leash whenever you get to unfamiliar territory.

b) Keep the dog’s paws protected

Protect the dog’s paws from the extremely cold or hot ground. Dog booties or fur wax are excellent in the cold weather.

c) Carry a doggie first aid kit

It is wise to prepare for anything. Although the wilderness might be fun, it can be dangerous for you and your dog. A first aid kit should help in case of cuts and minor injuries. The kit ought to have bandages, liquid bandages, dry pads, and iodine.

d) Pack sufficient water

Proper hydration is very crucial while hiking. Do not put your dog’s health at risk by allowing it to drink water from unsafe sources. Similarly, avoid stagnant or salty water sources.

e) Bring along some food

Feed your canine buddy before hitting the trail. Other than that, bring along extra food as well as your pet’s favorite snacks. Doggies need enough energy to tackle the unforgiving outdoor terrains. No doubt, dog carriers are also a better option for carrying your furry friend.

f) Pack toys

Toys curb anxiety among dogs and help them feel at ease. Hence, remember to pack some of your dog’s favorite toys.

g) Make sure your tent has enough space

Your pooch needs space for its sleeping pad during camping. Thus, ensure your tent is spacious enough for that. Tents with vestibules and double entries will accommodate your needs adequately.

Positive Dog Training Techniques

Dog training techniques

Training your dog can be an incredibly difficult task. It could also be one of the most frustrating periods in your relationship with your pet and it can be difficult to even start considering training when you feel like you are constantly wrestling with your dog.

Of course, training grounds can be stressful places for both of you and the training methods you use can quickly become laundry topics. When this is the case you should consider a different method of training besides being scolded and shouting at your dog.

A successful, enjoyable training technique will leave you with a loving and valuable lifelong relationship with your dog. This relationship will be built on mutual trust, respect, and love and will only grow if you take the time to train your pet.

1. A Basic Training Technique

The training technique I am going to detail here is entitled ‘Drill Down’. I suggest you are reading this page because it is going to explain to you one of the most important things to know about your dog without offering loads of advanced training techniques.

You need to understand that your dog is a pack animal and his natural instinct is to naturally follow the strongest member of the pack. This is why your dog or puppy will put his trust in you. To most dogs, their owner is their ‘pack’ and they will want to do as you ask.

If you do not display alpha qualities to your dog then he is going to assume the alpha position and do as he pleases. The problems arise when your dog thinks he is the alpha and can’t understand that you are the actual alpha. This is what he is attempting to correct and in trying to make you see he is the alpha when he is actually not.

To help your dog understand who the alpha dog in your ‘pack’ you need to respond to his actions in the way that he needs to be trained. When your dog is showing undesirable behavior, respond as quickly as possible. Your dog will not understand why he is being punished after the fact.

It’s important that you punish your dog every single time that he does something wrong especially if it is an ‘old dog’ kind of behavior. One example of this is a dog sleeping on your couch. If you don’t punish him immediately he will continue to do this and it will become harder and harder to police him when he gets older.

2. Training Technique: Repetition

Repetition is primal. Dogs are very much like us. They repeat the behavior to get stronger in it. This goes for obedience training too.

It is highly recommended that you find a training method that goes through repetitive steps. This will make it very easy for your dog to understand what you want him to do. For example, if you want to teach your dog to sit, you will first want to get your dog to sit. Then you can say “sit” and then push the back end of the dog towards the ground while repeating the command sit.

After a short while, your dog will understand that the word sit should always sit and not sit and then sit and then sit and then sit. It will be a lot easier for you to get your dog to that target behavior after repeating it a number of times.

3. Training Technique: Consistency

No matter what kind of training you are trying to teach your dog, you have to be consistent and persistent. If you set a rule that mustn’t be bent too much, you must not bend in trying to enforce the rule.

Always, it is helpful to keep adding brief explanations for important things like the steps for ‘sit’ or ‘stand’ etc. If you have more than one person in your house try to get all of you to use the exact same commands for your dog so that he isn’t confused.

4. Training Technique: Regular Maintenance

Your dog is going to require some regular maintenance. The amount of maintenance varies for different dogs. Your dog and especially his coat is going to require some serious brushing. If you wish to learn more about proper dog grooming techniques you should check out an excellent dog training course like the Art of Professional Dog Training.

Maintenance of your dog will involve cleaning his ears. Some dogs get ear problems because they are left outside the ear canal. If this is the case you should clean the dog’s ears every day. Cleaning is easier than treating. You can use sets of pet ear cleaner or specially formulated ear cleaner, available at any vet or pet shop. You can use a q-tip, too but be careful not to dig in the ear canal.

A dog who runs around on his hind legs inside the house may need that weenie undercoat that doesn’t shed too often. This type of dog is easy to groom, using the brushing and combing techniques described in the Art of Professional Dog Grooming.

Final Verdict

Choosing a hiking companion should be easy with the list and tips highlighted above. In conclusion, always ensure your pooch is healthy and fit enough to handle the rugged jungle conditions.

All these dog breeds love to explore new sights and hence will make wonderful trail companions.  Their confidence and energy levels are also notable. Nonetheless, few breeds can be quarrelsome around new dogs, people, and other animals. Therefore, it demands regular socialization and obedience training to toe the line.

Check out more FAQs about the dog breeds to take backpacking here: 


1. Are boxers good hiking dogs?

Boxers are very fond of the outdoors. They really cherish the idea of hitting the trail. Indeed, they are active and highly energetic.

2. What do you do with dog poop when hiking?

First, allow your canine friend to finish his business. Thereafter, pick it up and put it in a trash receptacle. Next, you need to double-bag by placing the poop in a zipper freezer bag and then into another plastic bag. Lastly, have it strapped on your bag’s exterior and continue hiking.

3. How do I protect my dog’s paws when hiking?

One way of protecting your dog’s paws is to hike when it is cool. Two, always stay on the grass. Moving on, try moisturizing the dog’s paws. Likewise, utilize paw wax to curb or soothe any injury. Also, try dog shoes or disposable dog booties. Another option is peel and sticks pads.

4. Do Pitbulls like hiking?

Pitbulls love hiking. They are extremely energetic and agile too. However, they like to dig a lot.

5. Are Dobermans good for hiking?

Dobermans are ideal hiking companions. Besides being athletic and active, they are compact and muscular. Together with that, they are ardent adventurers.

6. How do I prepare my dog for hiking?

To begin with, get your dog to practice with small hikes before setting out. It will build strength and endurance for longer hikes. You need to work on the dog’s feet and paws too. Protect them from unforgiving trails with dog booties and so on. After that, your pet might require some obedience training. In case the pooch is ready for a backpack,  get one that fits snugly or complements its shape and size. Remember, the dog backpack’s load should not be more than 20% of its weight.

7. Is hiking with a dog safe?

As much as you love to take a walk with your dog, it might be a little bit challenging.  Whether you plan to hit the trail with a young or old dog, ensure to consider pet safety precautions.

Mainly, dogs, especially puppies, can not cope with more challenging trials. It can damage their bones. Aside from this, hot weather is not ideal for dogs as they are prone to excessive heat. So, avoid hiking with dogs when it is hot. Also, take water along to reduce the higher risk of overheating. 

8. What’s the easiest dog to own?

Basset hounds are the easiest dog to train and handle. It’s an unenergetic pet. Even though this dog is a bit lazy, it is described by the American Kennel Club as an “easygoing laid-back” dog.

This dog is overly patient so that you won’t have any problem leaving your kids around. It’s crowd-pleasing and super submissive. Be aware that Basset hounds cannot walk heavily, so avoid using them for hunting. But, ensure to take them for a walk daily to prevent obesity.

9. What dogs have the best recalls?

Australian Shepherd is an affectionate dog breed with the best recalls. This is a breed perfect for any novice owner. This dog breed is extremely easy to train and recall.  All you need to do is to follow a simple method and conduct an instinct test.

It’s a versatile dog familiar with the pack mentality. Australian Shepherd is a highly active and fun-loving dog—ideal for heading animals and any dog sports.

10. What is the most obedient dog?

Among several compliance dogs available, the Border Collie is the most obedient dog. This is a viral dog from the Anglo-Scottish border region. Not only is this dog intelligent, but also energetic. Border Collie requires much physical and mental exercise. In a nutshell, it’s an athletic dog.

This dog adapts easily to its environment. It’s very submissive to its owners. Likewise, they obey owners’ instructions in training. Border Collie’s outsmarting nature is also a center of attraction.

Though we have not listed all the breeds in this article, be free to comment on your experience below. We love to hear from you.

4 thoughts on “16 Best Dogs for Hiking and Camping”

  1. Hi, I have a quick question if you got a second. I’m doing a hunting/backpacking trip this fall with some friends. Most likely it’s going to be pretty wet and we’re hiking 20 miles. What brand boot do you think would be best for that trip? Thanks for your help.

  2. Mitchell W. Stewart

    Consider adding the Airedale Terrier:
    1. Right sized: 60-65lbs
    2. All weather: double coated “harsh” water resistant outer coat and merino wool like inner coat — card (a grooming term) the coat during the summer;
    3. highly intelligent but also very willful; obedience training a must
    4. high energy — it’s a terrier, the largest terrier but still a terrier
    5. Friendly — a good Airedale will never give you people or even other dog problems
    6. Fearless — it’s a terrier
    Anecdote: backpacking in Idaho with my Airedale — obedience trained Airedale — sitting in camp. Dog stares across river up the mountainside and the woofs. sits and woofs. I look up mountainside to see what’s what. See nothing, until a black bear moves out from behind a juniper. bear stares, dog stares. bear leaves. dog just sits and watches. No fear but no stupidity. Typical for an Airedale.

  3. Hi Mitchell W. Stewart,

    We will be happy to add the Airedale Terrier breed to this list. Really appreciate your suggestion and the time taken to give this suggestion. We will be adding this popular sporting terrier to our list within a short period.

    keep reading and enjoy


  4. Would love to know what are your thoughts on Labradoodles and Cocker Spaniels!

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