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10 Best Breeds for Long Distance Hikers

Choosing the right breed of dog to tag along on your epic hiking adventures requires special consideration. While most dogs love to explore, not all of them have the energy or temperament to spend days or weeks in the woods. Here are a few that’ll do great traversing the trail for an extended period of time.

 

Vizsla
There might be no breed on earth with more boundless energy than the Vizsla. Honestly, it doesn’t matter how long you want to spend on the trail because this guy is going to outlast you every time. As a bonus he’s also a pretty friendly pooch so you won’t have to worry about him attacking anyone you come across, but he might try and chase after the wandering rabbit or two (a good leash might be a solid idea).

©istockphoto
©istockphoto

Bernese Mountain Dog
If you’re looking for a pup to take with you on long hikes in the winter, the Bernese Mountain Dog is your guy. He’s tough as nails and loves the cold, plus he’s great at carrying his own weight and can hold a small pack on his sides. Of course, he isn’t ideal for anyone in search of a summer hiking buddy due to his size and longer coat.

©istockphoto/KatPaws
©istockphoto/KatPaws

Rhodesian Ridgeback
Desert climates are no match for the Rhodesian Ridgeback. If you’re a fan of huffing it through Arizona’s scorching landscape then you’ll want this dude along on the trail. He’s tough as nails, intelligent and listens well to great training. Be sure to carry along plenty of water for him and he should be good.

©istockphoto/tkatsai
©istockphoto/tkatsai

Australian Shepherd
The Aussies are a favorite among outdoor lovers thanks to a seemingly endless supply of energy and jovial nature. This little dude is happy to hike from sun up to sun down, though you might have to be wary of him trying to herd not only you along but also whatever small animals you might come across. Aussies prefer wide-open spaces, so if you do a lot of hiking in the plains rather than the woods he’s your dog.

©istockphoto/iztok noc
©istockphoto/iztok noc

Alaskan Malamute
The Alaskan Malamute is the slightly more docile cousin of the Siberian Husky, which makes him the optimal choice for those who love to hike in the snow. He’s right at home plowing through the white stuff and he’s much less likely to go chasing off after a badger or whatever crosses his path. He’s also huge, so you won’t have any trouble spotting him if he gets too far ahead.

©istockphoto/DronG
©istockphoto/DronG

Border Collie
While most people believe Collies are more at home on a farm than on the trail, you might be surprised to find this guy is highly adaptable and great for trekking long distances. He’s about as agile as they come and can scale any mountain, but his best trait is how well he follows direction. You won’t have to worry about him running off on you.

©istockphoto/Bigandt_Photography
©istockphoto/Bigandt_Photography

Doberman Pinscher
We’re not huge fans of stereotyping dogs because of their appearance but, let’s be real, no one is going to mess with you if you have a Dobie by your side. He’s not a ferocious breed but he certainly looks the part and will protect you when absolutely necessary, from beast or human. Best of all, he’s got a ton of energy, listens well and loves to explore.

©istockphoto
©istockphoto

Weimaraner
The Weimaraner is another breed that’s likely to outlast you on a hike, so you’d better have the energy to keep up. He’s friendly but will make a stand against wild animals that mean you harm if necessary. The biggest issue with having one along is his stubbornness. These guys like to move and if not trained properly they’ll have a hard time listening on the trail.

©istockphoto/AnetaPics
©istockphoto/AnetaPics

Rat Terrier
No, this is not a joke. If your living situation (or love of cute things) only allows you to have a small dog then you can do no better than the Rat Terrier for a hiking buddy. His energy level is boundless and could put dogs ten times his size to shame. He might develop a bit of a little guy syndrome but that should be easy enough to reign in; luckily he’s not a big barker.

©istockphoto/LTuray
©istockphoto/LTuray

Labrador Retriever
America’s favorite dog is the perfect companion for long distance hiking because of how easily trainable he is. His friendly attitude combined with his eagerness to please means he’s the type of pup that you won’t have to keep a constant watch on out on the trail. He’ll stick by you and even avoid chasing after anything that might do him harm.

©istockphoto/JMichl
©istockphoto/JMichl