Best Dogs For Hiking (Top 10)

Hiking can be a very fun exercise. Yet as exhilarating as it can be, it’s also a very dangerous sport. Asides from the dangerous terrains you may encounter in a hiking expedition, there’s also the risk of encountering dangers like wild animals, snakes, and so on. 

This is why most folks who go on hiking expeditions always make a dog tag along. Asides from the fact that these dogs can ward off other creatures, they also help detect unseen dangers a hiker may never notice on the terrain. They also make excellent companions during hikes. 

But then, it wouldn’t do to make just about any dog for a hiking expedition. Certain dog breeds were bred for this, and there are some others too that were born for this. 

The best dog breeds for hiking are those that are intelligent, strong, have good tracking ability, possess high energy and endurance, and also have the ability to stay focused during the hike. 

Taking the wrong dog for a hike will slow you down, but the right dog will make you go the extra mile, literally. So without much ado, here are the best dog breeds for hiking. 

Top 10 Dog Breeds For Hiking

Border Collie

One trait of this dog that makes it great for hiking is its hyper nature. Border collies have exceptional energy. They need lots of exercises naturally and enjoy exercising or working.

So if you’re a marathoner, this dog won’t fail to be by your side for a complete run. Some owners even confess that their collies make them go the extra mile compared to what they’ll normally go if they were hiking alone. Border Collies are not just strong and or enduring, but also possess high intelligence. 

Siberian Husky

This dog is notable for its incredible endurance. This is why they can pull sleds with no problems whatsoever, and even take it as fun. Huskies have a very good nature towards exercise or fun tasks. 

They’ll be more than happy to join you for a hike all day long. What’s more, they possess a very thick coat, which makes them the ideal choice for winter hikes: Although they may overheat easily in hotter months.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

This dog breed originated from Africa. They were originally bred for tracking/hunting lions. Ridgebacks are known to have incredible endurance and amazing durability.

This dog is sure to challenge any threat you may face while hiking if you take it on as a partner. So if you’re hiking a dangerous terrain, then a Rhodesian Ridgeback is highly recommended for you. 

German Shorthaired Pointer

This dog breed is clearly distinguished by its “liver” or “liver and white” coat, and short sleek hair. They are extremely agile, and possess high speed and endurance. 

Originally, Shorthaired Pointers are hunting dogs, but with good training and daily exercise, they can become good house pets. Taking them on hikes is a good chance for them to expel the energy built up in them. 

Australian Shepherd

These cute dogs aren’t just fancy, lovable house pets, but can make excellent exercise companions as well. A close relative of border collies, Australian shepherds naturally need lots of mental and physical stimulation, which makes them ideal for a hike.

Furthermore, they are highly energetic, so taking them on adventures like hiking or running will be a joy to them. What’s more, these dogs are highly intelligent. So you can be sure they won’t run off somewhere like most hyper dogs usually do during a hike. 

German Shepherds

Surely you know or you’ve at least heard of the outstanding intelligence of German Shepherds. These dogs aren’t just intelligent and adaptable for training, but also possess high energy as well as outstanding tracking ability. This is why they’re commonly used in the military. 

German Shepherds can go on and on for hours, as you’d normally see during military search or rescue missions. Their unique ability to read situations is another plus. With a german shepherd during a hike you’re not just safe, but also have a very intelligent ally by your side. 

Jack Russel Terrier

If you’re seeking a smaller breed that’ll serve as a hiking companion, then a Jack Russell is a perfect choice. They are small and active (weighing about 15 pounds max), and have high activity levels. 

These dogs were originally bred to hunt small prey, so you can be sure they’ll detect unseen dangers on the track, down to the tiniest threats. Their keen sense of smell can never go wrong. Jack Russells are loyal and will stick to your side throughout the hike. 

Doberman Pinscher

Merely looking at these dogs you can tell they were made for the tracks, or in this case, hikes. Doberman Pinschers have a lean, muscular physique built for running, and are fierce in the face of danger. 

They possess high energy as well, and so need high-intensity exercises like hikes to put this energy to good use. Doberman Pinschers are loyal and obedient and do not hesitate to protect their owners in the face of danger. 

Labrador Retriever

This dog breed is loved by many families and dog owners. They possess high energy and love to work and exercise, but also have a friendly and attention-seeking nature. Labradors make excellent hiking companions because they don’t stray too far from you (due to their nature) during hikes. 

As a plus, these dogs are excellent swimmers too (thanks to their webbed foot). So they’re your number one choice for swampy areas or hiking destinations that have water bodies. 


Extremely loyal, extremely fierce in the face of danger, rottweilers are a unique breed. A well-trained rottweiler will be very loyal and protective of its owners, and social too. 

One thing about these dogs is that they don’t back down from a fight. Rottweilers can attack animals twice their size and still come out victorious. So if you’re embarking on a really dangerous hike then this dog may just be the perfect companion for you. 

A rottweiler can fight to the death if it has to, to protect its owner. Although they’re sometimes poor at reading situations (differentiating a threat from a non-threat). 

Recommended Breeds For Different Dog Attributes/Abilities

Preferred Abilities/AttributesRecommended Breeds
High EnduranceBorder collie, Siberian Husky
Fierce and ProtectiveRottweiler, German Shepherd, Doberman Pinschers
High durabilityRhodesian Ridgeback, German Shorthaired Pointer
Small and smartJack Russel
Exceptional intelligenceGerman Shepherd, Australian shepherds
Swimming abilityLabrador Retriever

Final Notes

Usually, the best dogs to take on a hiking exercise are hunting dogs. These types of dog breeds always possess high energy and endurance; And these are the 2 most important things for a hiking dog. You wouldn’t want your dog to pass out or faint of thirst right in the middle of a hike. 

Avoid short-nose breeds, as they rarely measure up in terms of endurance. Short-nosed dog breeds are more fashioned for power. 

Also, avoid dogs that easily get distracted by little threats. You wouldn’t want your dog taking you off course on a hike. As much as you need a dog that can confront dangers, you also need a dog that’ll stay by your side at all times. 

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