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10 Best Small Dogs for Hiking and Camping

There is an existing stereotype that somehow small dogs are not good for the outdoors. Such claims are wrong and misguided. Contrary to whatever you may have heard, small canines are actually wonderful trail buddies. We are going to highlights that in this article and discuss the best small dogs for hiking as well.

In fact, hiking and camping bear remarkable benefits for these tiny four-legged friends. It is a good form of mental and physical exercise. Other than that, hitting the trail together is a perfect time for you and your pooch to bond. There are more reasons why you should venture into the outdoors with your small furry pal.

Importance of Hiking and Camping With Small Dogs

best small dogs for hiking

You need to bring along your pooch on your next hiking or camping trip for several reasons.

  • For one, small dogs make great companions especially if you are going out on a solo hike. They are playful, comical, and entertaining.
  • Secondly, dogs are full of energy. One way to get it spent is by taking them on adventures.
  • New smells, sights, and sounds are good for their mental health.
  • In like manner, these canines improve your level of safety and security while in the jungle thanks to their natural alertness.
  • To top it off, small dogs are light. They take up minimal space in your tent when camping. You can carry them in the event of an injury or exhaustion.

The Best Small Dogs for Hiking

Here are the most famous small dog breeds that make excellent hiking companions:

1. Dachshund
2. Miniature Poodle
3. Jack Russell Terrier
4. Pomeranian
5. Papillon
6. Miniature Pinscher
7. Norwich Terrier
8. Yorkshire Terrier
9. Shetland Sheepdog
10. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

1. Dachshund

Best small dogs for hiking

Their small legs do not hold them back from exploring the outdoors. Dachshunds are relatively bulky (16-32 lbs) and love to be around people. They might be stubborn and a little tricky to train. That is compensated by their clever instincts and comical personality. Alongside that, they have a delicate back and should be exempted from rigorous activities like jogging or jumping. Else, you risk hurting their backs.

Consequently, you might have to carry them over big boulders. Nevertheless, they specialize in hunting vermin, which might explain their strong hunting instincts. This breed is fond of digging and operating on a mind of its own at times. Generally, Dachshunds are a good fit for semi-active hikers.

2. Miniature Poodle

Best small dogs for hiking Miniature Poodle

You can never go wrong with a poodle. They are awesome little creatures whose unparalleled intelligence will grab your attention. In a similar fashion, poodles are energetic with a life expectancy of 15 years. Unlike most breeds on the list, they are less prone to joint complications. Regular mental and physical stimulation keeps them from separation anxiety or destructive behavior.

Hiking will come in handy. What’s more, they are very lightweight (15-17lb) which makes it easy to carry them over obstacles. They are active, approachable beings that will not pass the opportunity to join you for a hike. Most importantly, they have the stamina for adventures of any magnitude. You can benefit from their alertness while in the jungle too. Miniature Poodles make amazing hiking collogues.

3. Jack Russell Terrier

Best small dogs for hiking Jack Russel Terrier

This breed was developed to hunt ground-dwelling games such as foxes. Alongside being fearless, Jack Russell Terriers are famous for their intelligence, athleticism, and endless energy. They can be quite aggressive in the absence of socialization yet highly sociable under proper training.

Even so, they are avid adventurers capable of completing a multi-day hike without struggling. They boast of a muscular 14-18lb body with adequate stamina and endurance for the toughest trails. Enormous energy levels keep them active at all times. Surely, you will not get bored on your outdoor trip. Remember to have a leash close by just in case their strong hunting instincts overwhelm them. All the same, Jack Russell Terriers are the right companions for seasoned hikers.

4. Pomeranians


Pomeranians stand out for their cute fluffy body. Although they are mostly considered lap dogs, these 7lb canines happen to be outdoor enthusiasts. Hikers will fall in love with their curious and alert nature, which is right for security. They love attention and will always listen to your commands.

Apart from that, stamina is up to the task, as their energetic limbs climb tough terrains with ease. Poms are charming and friendly around other hikers and animals alike. If you are looking for a likable and obedient outdoor mate, Pomeranian would be a great choice.

5. Papillon Dog

Papillon Dog

Energy levels close to none and a smart admirable character make Papillon adorable beginner outdoor pals. That is not all; they are very obedient and agile, attributes that contribute to their excellence in sports. These little intelligent guys are also incredible apartment pets. Their loyalty is unquestionable.

In fact, they are among the few pups that do not have to be constricted to a leash when hiking. They are inseparable from their owners and hence manageable. Additionally, they are susceptible to separation anxiety thus, you can forget about your dog wandering off. With consistent training, you can shape your Papillon puppy into any character of your liking.

6. Miniature Pinscher

Miniature Pinscher

The breed is of German heritage. Adult Miniature Pinschers can grow to 10 pounds in weight. This breed is known for its strong and agile demeanor. They adore playing and exploring new places. At times, they may even venture out on their own.

One aspect that makes them enviable hiking partners is their energy and love for rigorous workouts. Besides that, they are bold and assertive.  Miniature Pinschers are also crazy fast, which is why they are great hunters. They will not hesitate to dash after wildlife. For that, they should be on a leash at all times.

7. Norwich Terrier

Norwich Terrier

At 12 lbs, Norwich Terriers are among the smallest dog breeds in the world. They boast of unmatched prey drive making them excellent hunters. In addition, they are super active, exceptionally courageous, and agile. Still, this breed is very loyal with strong devotion and a powerful human bond that makes them protective.

These canines can hike for miles owing to their athletic build. Alongside their fearlessness, they can be a little stubborn due to their energetic personality. In light of all that, you need to watch out for their joints and hips to avoid any health complications. Overall, they are trail-friendly.

8. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier

They might be as tiny as 3 lbs or grow up to 15 lbs. Ideally, the Yorkshire Terrier is bred from a mix of a terrier and a lap dog. Due to their size, you have the option to carry them in a dog backpack or let them walk for short distances every now and then. In spite of their tiny stature, they still have some stamina in them.

Plus, they are always alert and will bark if anything goes amiss.  Remember to keep them on a leash at all times as other animals can hurt them. Well, if you want a friendly companion for a short laid back hiking trip, the Yorkshire Terrier is an ideal pick. They might not do much physically but are worth taking on an excursion.

9. Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland Shepherd breed is from Scotland’s Shetlands Islands where it was breed for the purposes of guarding farmlands and shepherding. Not only are they marvelous at sports but also magnificent family companions. That along with top-notch athleticism and eagerness to learn makes Shetland dogs fine hiking colleagues. They are also known as Sheltie or Shetland Sheepdogs.

This is coupled with the fact that they like to please their owners and can be playful at times. Another amazing attribute about their character is a level of obedience next to none. It makes it easy to train them. Over and above, these dogs can endure long hikes and are friendly to other people or other animals. Shetlands are compatible with hikers at any level of expertise.

10. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Corgis are small and mighty with a stocky build. They are arguably the heaviest small dogs weighing between 27 and 30 lbs. Other than that, they are athletic and muscular, features that make them impeccable herding dogs. Their attentive character makes them good watchdogs and superb hiking partners for medium-active adventurers.

Still, this breed is easy to train, extra affectionate, smart, and independent-minded. They are quite popular among British royalty and treasured in the U.S thanks to their obedience and athleticism. You will enjoy taking them on a hike owing to their love for exercise and high stamina. Nonetheless, they have a long back, which can succumb to injuries in the event of frequent jumps.

Requirement of Dog Training Techniques

Requirement of Dog Training Techniques

You are probably already aware of the fact that your pet is not going to be trustworthy around the water bowl? Not only is this a problem for the puppy, but it also makes it very difficult for the owner to assist the pet when it comes to his water bowl needs. While dog owners can recognize that this is a problem they are going to have to deal with it for the life of the dog.

Need for Dog Training Programs

This is a situation that can only be overcome by considering a dog training program that is going to put them in a position to be successful. A great many dog training courses are available that can help you in this endeavor. You are able to find these programs through your own research.

A program such as this serves to help the new dog owner in making his animal understand how he is to behave in all situations. In this manner, the owner is going to be able to train the animal effectively, and the animal is going to be trained to realize that he is not the boss that it is.

Start with simple commands

There are many different types of programs that you might consider applying to. Some people might be able to train their animals to understand simple commands of one or two commands. There are many different training courses that would teach a dog effectively to understand all aspects of an entire command.

Once the dog is able to master this, it would be easier for the owner to have the animal obey more commands. This will be a clear statement that the owner has not complied with the rules properly.

Take some time for the training

If you think that the training can be done immediately, then you might want to think again. This is because it is not going to happen in just a snap of the fingers. It is going to take some time for the training to take place. The owner is going to have to commit time and effort to make the training come about, and it is going to take plenty of effort on their part.

The truth of the matter is that the training is going to take a good amount of time, not just on the pet, but the owner as well. When they understand why the dog is acting the way it is acting, they are going to be able to make the necessary changes that are needed in order to correct the problem.

Have patience as an owner

If you think that the approach should be a very easy one, then think again. This is going to require patience on behalf of the owner. You will need to have the proper tools on hand. This includes but is not limited to the dog whistle or other tool that is used for training.

Meanwhile, on the dog side, they are going to take some time to get used to the whistle as well. Most dogs are going to get distracted and more easily distracted when there are other animals around or other people walking.

Dogs will follow the rules after training

At about the seven-month mark, the dog will be old to start proper training. This means seven months after that they are officially capable of learning what is known as obedience training.

You should not worry that you have waited too long for the dog to become mature or that you will have a difficult time training them. Once the dog has learned the rules, it will happily follow them. This is not the dog’s fault, but rather the owner’s for not making a larger-sized effort to train the dog sooner.

When you finally get to set ground rules for your pet, make sure that you do so consistently. Do not just associate them with no surprises and then move on.


It is without a doubt that small dogs make great hiking friends. Which breed is your favorite from our list? Keep in mind; that small canines need endurance training to get in shape for long hikes. Obedience training is also vital in suppressing strong hunting instincts. Besides their general health and well-being, you should be particular about their knees.

These dogs have weak kneecaps that make them prone to joint problems. It is always safe to take several breaks while hiking and have your pooch rest adequately at the end of the day. So, next time you plan to hike, do not leave your small dog behind.


Here are exclusive answers to frequently asked questions relating to the best small dogs for hiking:

What is the toughest small dog?

Terriers are the toughest small dogs. In addition to being aggressive, terriers are energetic, family-friendly and lively. Another striking attribute of these dogs is their sharp hunting instincts. The Manchester and Jack Russell terrier breeds lead the pack for impeccable toughness.

Can small dogs walk long distances?

Small dogs can walk for long distances provided they have the energy and stamina to do it. It is all about training. The only hiccup about their size is that they get tired fast which is why they need to start small to build endurance. It is important to ensure your small pooch is comfortable at all times.

How many miles can a dog hike?

Active dogs are capable of hiking over a distance of between 13 to 20 miles in a single day. However, this varies from dog to dog. Other than that, the distance a pooch can cover depends on age, overall health, level of activity, and breed.

What is the best small indoor dog?

Chihuahua, Shih Tsu, and the Boston Terrier are the most notable apartment dog breeds. The indoors need a dog that can adapt to a small living space. It is ideal for low-energy or less active dog breeds. It can also work for high-energy dogs if their parents take care of their mental and physical requirements.

What breed of dogs stays small forever?

More than 20 dog breeds stay small forever. Chihuahuas are the most popular. Other canine breeds in the same category include Shih Tzu, Bolognese, Brussels Griffon, Chinese Crested Dog, Rat Terrier, Russian Toy Terrier, Dachshund, English Toy Spaniel, Italian Greyhound, and the Japanese Chin.

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