Rock climbers are famous for dragging their dogs along with them when they hit the crags, much to both the chagrin and delight of fellow climbers. Whether you’re pro-pup at the cliffs or not, there’s no denying that some of our four-legged friends are better suited for the job than others.
Here are the best dog breeds for rock climbers.
We’re going to go ahead and admit we’re a little biased toward these guys. They’re very much the ultimate outdoor dogs most people believe them to be and they’re always up for an adventure, no matter how many hills or rocks they have to climb in the process. They’re nimble and agile and cute as a button. Their natural friendliness means they’ll do just fine mingling with other climbers you might run into.
Catahoula Leopard Dog
The Catahoula Leopard Dog is an anomaly when it comes to dogs because of the breed’s ability to climb trees. Yep, these guys clearly think they’re cats. There’s numerous evidence that they’ve naturally evolved a way to cling to bark and other slim holds, meaning they might as well switch to being rock climbers themselves.
Much like the Catahoula, the Belgian Malinois have been spotted working their way up quite a few tree limbs of their own, though maybe not quite as nimbly. They’re high energy and will probably last longer than you the trail, so be warned. When properly trained these guys are confident, social butterflies who will entertain everyone on the crag.
It’s important to have a pup who’s not going to get territorial or protective while you’re up there doing your thing, and there’s no friendlier breed than the Labrador Retriever. These vivacious fellas love human interaction but are also perfectly content to lie around and mind their own business. They’re unlikely to chase after small animals in the wild if well trained, which is definitely a bonus.
Bernese Mountain Dog
These monstrous beasts are pretty darn jovial and rarely ever meet someone they won’t call a friend. They’re also specifically bred for the mountains so they adapt well to rocky terrain. Since they enjoy being outdoors but don’t have the highest endurance, the hike to the crag will likely be enough to keep them happy so they’ll rest while you work on your first route.
Australian Cattle Dog
You’ll see tons of these little dudes roaming the mountains outside of Denver. Their perky personalities, adorable looks and tenacious drive make them perfect for outdoor adventurers of any kind. Of course, they’re a tad needy when it comes to craving attention so you might want to bring along someone who doesn’t climb to keep your pup entertained.
Jack Russell Terrier
Whilst you might think we’re joking here, Jack Russells are some pretty tenacious pups. For evidence look no further than the climbing documentary Front Range Freaks which features the tiny beast known as Biscuit. He’s living proof that these guys can cling to rocks like their lives are depending on it. We don’t actually advocate letting your dog try and scale a cliff, but it might be cute to watch him tackle a boulder or two.
Come on, is there any better dog breed than the one that’s not actually a breed at all? Mutts are generally so happy to have a good home that they’ll accompany you no matter where you want to take them. Just train your mixed pooch not to be overly protective or talkative and you’ll have a great companion camping out next to the rocks.