For anyone who loves hiking, you know that getting a chance to see and explore the outdoors is a great thing. Because nature is full of life, connecting with it and experiencing its beauty is an excellent way to go. These kinds of experiences need us to have friends, and who better than our four-legged companions?
When you have useful dogs, the entire experience will be joyous. However, finding the excellent canine can be challenging, and that’s what this read is all about. The best dog breeds for hiking off leash include the German Shepherd, Belgian Sheepdog, Border Collie, Poodle, Alaskan Malamute, and the Retrievers.
The following table captures some of the dogs you can take with you without using anything like a leash or a spiked collar:
|Dog Breeds For Hiking Off Leash||My Given Value (With Five Being The Best)||Dog Breeds For Hiking Off Leash||My Given Value (With Five Being The Best)|
|Belgian Sheepdog||4.5||Border Collie||4.0|
|German Shorthaired Pointer||3.0||German Shepherd||4.5|
|Labrador Retriever||4.5||Alaskan Malamute||3.0|
A good off-leash hiking dog should be both strong and obedient. This is because you will be giving commands without using any restraining method. Before exploring the table and looking at each dog, let us look at some factors to consider when getting the best off leash dog breeds.
As you make your selection, you need to be interested in the personality of the dog. Since you will be leading and the dog following, it needs to know that you are the alpha leader. An obedient canine knows how to follow commands like a recall to come back to the hiker.
2. Pack Mentality
If you study canine history, you will pick out that dogs draw their ancestry from wolves. The one thing you may be knowing about them is that they live in packs. Every pack has an alpha which is the de facto leader. Since dogs can connect to the pack mentality, you should choose one that sees you as a leader. Such dog breeds will take your instructions well as you hike off leash.
3. Level Of Activity
Hiking is not only serious business; it needs energy. You wouldn’t want to pick a dog that does nothing but is lazy. As an avid hiker, you need a canine companion that won’t have a problem keeping up with you. An energetic dog will neither quit nor will it slow things down, and that’s what you want.
Finally, you need to choose a dog with no problems relating to other pets, children, and even strangers. Many times, your hiking will involve meeting other pets and families. And in those meetings, you wouldn’t want your dog to get into fights with others. You want a dog that will socialize and help you make friends and not enemies.
This box cannot be checked by picking one of the best dog breeds for hiking off leash. What you will need is to start getting the dog socialized from puppyhood. Let it grow into a sweet puppy and not an aggressive one.
Now, let’s see the best off leash dog breeds.
The Breeds Themselves
This section brings together the best dog breeds anyone can use for hiking off-leash. All the dogs captured have met some or most of the breeds captured in this section. So, this means that choosing from this read will give you the best hiking dog.
As you go through each dog, ensure that you make a befitting choice. Remember that everyone has their preferences, and so follow your heart.
1. The Alaskan Malamute
If you live in cold areas like Alaska, you may need to go for this spitz-like, Siberian Husky-like dog. For a long time, the Alaskan Malamute has been used to pull carts and sleds, meaning that it can withstand long hours of toughness.
The other thing that makes these dogs the best for hiking off leash is their loving and subservient nature. Alaskan Malamutes will endure the trails you take during your hiking and love spending time with you outside. However, do not expect this dog to hurry – it wasn’t built for that.
2. The Belgian Sheepdog
This is one of the four shepherd dogs bred in the Kingdom of Belgium. It is a high-energy dog that won’t have problems going hiking with its owner. Also, the Belgian Sheepdog’s loyalty is unmatched, meaning that it will be devoted to you all the time that you’re hiking off leash.
Such a subservient dog is an excellent canine because it is easy to train. Because the Belgian Shepherd will always be out to please you, try putting it off leash and running through all the commands.
This Belgian Malinois dog is also one of the smartest dogs. Actually, it is the dog that the Navy SEAL uses, and one of them – Cairo – was involved in the taking down of Osama bin Laden.
The only minus with the Belgian Sheepdog is its shyness. It may have problems breaking free, so you need to socialize it sufficiently, especially from a young age.
3. The Border Collie
Like the Siberian Husky, this dog is very intelligent. Actually, it is effortless for the Border Collie to process the commands that you give it. The nature of this dog makes it easy for you to control its off leash movements.
You should know is that with the Border Collie, you will be dealing with a high-energy level dog. So, if you’re hiking with it, ensure that the hike episodes are regular and extended.
The only downside is that the Border Collie is not very sociable. During the hikes, it may act aggressively towards strangers, and you won’t like it. Also, it won’t do well with little kids. So, if anyone’s hiking with the Border Collie, let it be a familiar adult who can put it under control.
4. The German Shepherd
The GSD is the most common shepherd dog, which has an impressive pedigree. The dogs are very easy to training, submissively loyal, and highly energetic. For a long time, German Shepherd dogs have been taken to be subservient, overprotective, smart, tireless, and resilient. Those qualities are what the dogs will bring to the table.
If you train a GSD properly, it will obey you quickly. These dogs have built an excellent reputation in search-rescue missions, the military, and the police, and they fall in this category.
5. The German Shorthaired Pointer
This is one of the hardiest breeds, which can be explained by its breeding purpose: hunting. It stays very near to its owner as a loyal, rugged breed, waiting for the next command and then the next. Such a subservient dog is what you want for your hiking missions.
The German Shorthaired Pointer loves spending time outside; it will enjoy all the hikes you go with it. Also, it is intelligent and always looks forward to what its owner says. Indeed, your trailing and hiking will be fun because the dog is warmly sociable and won’t have issues with the other people it meets.
6. The Labrador Retriever
The Lab is the most popular dog in the United States, which is for a good reason. It is described as an all-around dog that is affectionate, loving, and intelligently powerful.
On this list of best off leash dog breeds, the Labs are the best in terms of friendliness. This means that during your hike, the dog is likely to make you lots of friends. And you know that with hikes, the more, the merrier.
The other thing you will love is the dog’s energy and love for the outside. The dog will curiously obey you and wait for you to lead it through the hike.
And don’t even worry about recall commands; you only need to teach the Labrador Retriever what it needs to know. After that, it will always come back to your whenever you call it.
7. The Golden Retriever
According to the AKC, these Retrievers come third in terms of popularity. Most of the best dog breeds for hiking off leash are actually all-rounded, and so is the Golden Retriever.
Like the other (Labrador) Retriever, this intelligent dog learns commands quickly and with particular ease. On top of that, the dog loves fun and has high levels of energy. These traits will prove very useful as you go for your hikes.
Whichever the weather, this dog will hike with as much energy. So, be prepared to go on for hours without getting the Golden Retriever tired.
8. The Poodle
The reason why this dog makes it to this list is its versatility. It can take on different terrains – from plains to mountains and even to water bodies.
Also, it is easy for this dog to pick up new commands. This implies that you will be hiking off leash with it within no time without it having any challenges. While along the trail, you will love the Poodle’s bursts of energy.
This dog wins in terms of sociability and loyalty, meaning that it will always want to please you. When you meet strangers in your hiking, the Poodle will interact with them well, meaning that it is excellent with new people.
Well, there it is, there you have it – the best dog breeds for hiking off leash. With any of the eight listed dogs, you will enjoy all the trailing and the exploration. Because your canine will not be leashed, the best place to start is training it sufficiently. With the hype and energy of hiking, a dog is likely to outrun you and risk getting lost. When that happens, you should have the right recall commands that the dog should know to communicate with you.