Man and dog hiking

Best Backpacking Dog Breeds

Hiking is not just good for health and for experiencing nature, it’s also great for bonding whether with your family, friends, or even pets. Speaking of pets, are you considering bringing a dog to your adventure? Hiking will be a great activity for your pooch. Just like humans, there are so many health benefits they can get from hiking both physically and mentally.

Taking your dog to the wilderness will be a fun experience for them, as they going to discover new environments, see new things that are new to their eyes, and socialize with other animals. However, not all dog breeds are good for hiking, because this activity involves walking across long distances on trails or paths, it will test the endurance and stamina of your dog. Good thing, there are specific dog breeds that are suitable for this kind of activity and possesses the physical qualities needed. Below is our list of 10 best backpacking dog breeds.

1. Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd Dog

Although they are called Australian Shepherd, this dog breed was originated in the Western United States. Australian Shepherds are highly energetic, very playful, and loves to run around in open spaces. They are also very intelligent and easy to train, that is why this dog breed is also used for herding.

Australian Shepherds are very active and enjoy physical activity this dog breed needs 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day. Aussies are also friendly to other dogs, so you don’t have to worry if you encounter other hikers with also have dog companion during the hike.

2. Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky dog

Known for their wolf-like looks, the Siberian Husky is also an intelligent and very athletic dog breed. Just like the Australian Shepherd, this dog breed also enjoys outdoor activities and has a very high energy level. Siberian Husky has a beautiful thick coat and can withstand cold weather. So, if you’re planning to hike during winter Siberian Husky will be a great choice.

This dog breed is also friendly to other dogs and strangers and easy to manage. All in all, Siberian Husky will be a great companion for hiking as they will not tire out easily and a nice pick for long-distance hiking. Just make sure to bring enough water.

3. Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog

Originally known as a herding dog, the Australian Cattle Dog is a medium-sized short-coated dog with either black or brown hair. The Australian Cattle Dog is also known as ‘working breed’ or ‘working dog’, which simply means a ‘dog use to perform practical tasks’. This dog breed is highly intelligent and very energetic.

Outdoor is genetically part of their race, so bringing this dog to your hiking adventure is a good choice, as they already possessed the physical qualities needed for this kind of activity.

4. Labrador Retriever

Black Labrador Retriever Dog

The Labrador Retriever or ‘Lab’ is the most popular breed of dog in the world. In history, this dog breed was known as ‘Fishermen’s helpers’ where they will fetch ropes, haul nets, and retrieve fish that had gotten away. The Labrador Retriever is very friendly, obedient, loyal, and also very playful. This dog breed was also used as a therapy dog where they assist people with disabilities.

Another nice thing about Labs is they are good at tracking; their sense of smell can scent and follow a path which is very useful if you’re hiking in the forest or nature. Labs are also good at swimming they can stay in the cold water for an extended period, thanks to their short and dense water-resistant coat. These dog breeds are climate flexible they will do well in both cold and hot weather hiking.

5. Border Collie

Border Collie Dog

This dog breed was developed in Northumberland North East of England for herding livestock like sheep. One of the most intelligent dog breeds in the world, you see this breed frequently competes in dog competitions like sheepdog trials, agility, flyball, and other dog sports. The Border Collies are a very athletic, acrobatic, and energetic dog breed that loves outdoor activities.

Since Border Collies are very active, they need more daily physical exercises compare to other dog breeds, and hiking will be a great choice of outdoor activity to them. Collies have unlimited energy and a huge amount of stamina, so long hike will never be a problem for these dogs.

6. German Shorthaired Pointer

German Shorthaired Pointer Dog

The German Shorthaired Pointer is a versatile hunting dog breed that can be on both land and water. Since they are naturally a breed for hunting, they have a strong physique and can move so quickly, the German Shorthaired Pointer is extremely strong and has powerful legs which made them more than suitable for a longer hike.

Just like the aforementioned dog breeds, the German Shorthaired Pointer also needs regular exercise to fill the energy level they need. This dog breed was born hunter and outdoor activity was already in their genes, so whether on land or water trails you can never go wrong with German Shorthaired Pointer.

7. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog

A dog breed from the farmland of Switzerland, this large dog was also known as part of the ‘Sennenhund’ or type of dog that originated in the Swiss Alps. The Bernese Mountain Dog has a muscular body with very strong and straight legs. This dog breed was very obedient and docile, they have outdoor genes and no stranger to outdoor activities. Despite their size, they can also move so quickly when they are motivated.

Bernese is also known for its friendliness to other pets and strangers and will never be a headache during the hike. Because Bernese bred as a working dog, they are intelligent and can easily be trained. This dog breed also has a thick coat so they are suitable for cold weather hiking.


Vizsla dog

Vizsla is a dog breed from Hungary, this medium size dog breed is a natural hunter and suitable to work on both land and body of water. This breed was also known as sporting dogs and they look like a smaller version of Weimaraner as they have the same physique. Vizslas are very high in energy and very intelligent they can easily be trained and they are excellent retrievers.

Vizslas are great outdoor companions they have gentle-mannered and very affectionate to their owners or even strangers. The fact that they are natural hunter is enough to consider them to your hiking trip, whether on the forest, in water, and long hikes, this dog breed will not disappoint you.

9. Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute Dog

The Alaskan Malamute is a large breed of dogs that are originally bred as a sled dog. This dog breed is very strong and has a huge amount of endurance no wonder even today this dog breed still in use as a sled dog, hauling freight and helping move lighter objects. Alaskan Malamutes are closely related to Siberian Husky and Alaskan Husky. In ancient history, Alaskan Malamute is known for its hunting abilities and they are used by their owners to hunt large predators.

Because of their size, Malamutes are not as fast as the smaller breed of dogs. However, this dog breed is pack with stamina and strength which makes them suitable for climbing mountains and long hike. The Malamute’s coat is also a double coat and they will endure in cold weather. Alaskan Malamute’s are an active dog breed and they need physical exercises every day, bringing them to your hike will make them happy and excited.

10. Weimaraner

Weimaraner dog

Known as a ‘gun dog’ (types of hunting dogs), the Weimaraner is a large dog breed with an athletic physique. This hunting dog breed is good at tracking, pointing, and retrieving both on land and in the water. The Weimaraner is very affectionate and loves to be with their owner all the time. These breeds are full of energy and require daily activities for them to be satisfied.

The Weimaraner’s are not an independent kind of dog breed, they always love to hang out with their owner, and leaving them alone is not good to them as they can create separation anxiety. Weimaraner’s enjoys outdoor activities a lot and hiking are no exception, bringing this dog breed to your hiking trip will add excitement to your adventure.

Hiking with your dog tips and guide

What things should I look out to consider my dog in hiking?

Blond woman with her dog

Bringing a dog to your hiking trip will not be an easy decision, as there are factors you need to consider. Of course, you want to make sure your pooch is going to be fine throughout the trip. Here are the things you should look out for:

Age –Hiking is an activity of long walks and even climbing, so it requires a great amount of stamina and endurance, that is why age is a really important factor to consider. Older dogs don’t have that same level of stamina and endurance compare to the young ones. On the other hand, younger pups are at risk for growth plate injuries because they are still growing and their muscles are not yet fully developed.

So, what is the right age for a dog to hike? As for the pups, they should be 18 months older because at this state they are fully grown. On the other hand, there are no exact numbers for the older dogs, it depends on your dog’s condition if he is still capable of this kind of activity, so it’s your very best judgment after all. Older dogs need exercises but limited, if you think your dog still has it, then bring them, but you should know their limitation.

Health –You want to make sure your dog is not sick and always in good health before bringing him to your trip. Since your dog will be going to expose to an open environment make sure your dog got all his shots this will help protect him against outdoor bacteria.

Size – body build –This is also an important factor to consider, especially if you are aiming for a longer hike. Size and body build can affect your dog’s performance during the hike. For example, if you bring a small dog, they may be quick and agile but may lack of endurance, whereas the large dog is more durable and has greater endurance but may not as quick as the smaller breeds. Different breeds of dog have different sizes, it’s always an advantage if you know well the capabilities and limitations of your dog.

Activeness – An active and full of energy dog is always great for the outdoor, so it is an important thing to consider. A dog with a high level of activeness will surely do well in the wilderness.

Obedient –Another characteristic you should look for a dog is the ability to follow instructions. You don’t want your dog to just do unnecessary things in the wild, that is why you need your dog to be obedient at all times.

Calm and Disciplined –During the trip your dog will going to see new things, encounter other animals and even strangers, these can make him so excited or aggressive, so your dog must be calm and disciplined enough to handle the situation.

What dog gears should I bring?

Dog with backpack

Before you begin your journey to the open field, make sure you are equipped with proper gear not just for you but also for your pooch. Here are the essentials you need to bring for your dog in hiking.

  • Saddlebags
  • Dog boots
  • Tick Spray
  • Collar or Harness
  • Leash
  • Collapsible Bowl
  • Plastic bags or small spade
  • Canine first aid kit
  • Water bottles
  • Dog coat or jacket

Another thing you can add to your dog is a nameplate with information of your pooch on it, or if you have money to spend, you can also bring a dog GPS tracker. This will make you more comfortable, in case something wrong happened and you lost your dog on a trail.

What dog breeds are not for hiking?

Dog breeds that are flat-faced and short-headed (Brachycephalic) like Bulldogs, Pugs, Boxers are not suitable for hiking, because they didn’t have a lot of endurance and these breeds have respiratory system issue.


Now that you have an idea of what kind or type of dog you should bring. It’s all about having fun out there and create more bonding experience with your pooch! Just make sure you bring the necessary equipment needed for you and your buddy.

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Joaquina Belmont
6 months ago

excellent article