The Best Dogs for Hiking and Climbing

dog hiking with owner

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In this day and age, people just can’t resist bringing their furry best friends with them wherever they go, and there’s nowhere better to bring your dog than the great outdoors. Though all dogs benefit from everyday exercise, some breeds are better suited to high-impact exercise like hiking and mountain climbing. If you’re an outdoor junkie looking for a loyal companion, these ten breeds are your best bet for a tireless buddy to join you on the trails.

  • 01 of 09

    Border Collie

    border collie

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    No list of energetic dog breeds would be complete without including the ever-popular Border Collie. World-renowned for his intelligence, work drive and energy level, the Border Collie is a no-brainer for anyone in search of an exercise buddy. 

    Hikers and climbers alike can benefit from the Border Collie’s smarts and trainability—training him to hit the trails off-leash will be a breeze. As long as you can provide him plenty of mental and physical exercise on days when you don’t have time to climb a fourteener, the Border Collie could be a great fit for you. 

  • 02 of 09

    Treeing Walker Coonhound

    treeing walker coonhound

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    If you don’t mind a dog that likes to sing the day away, the Treeing Walker Coonhound is a strikingly agile climber that can easily navigate wild hiking terrain. Like her various siblings in the Hound group, Treeing Walker Coonhounds are lively dogs with a keen eye for prey. Because of her high hunting drive, she should be kept on a long leash until you’re truly certain she can be trusted around squirrels, birds, and other critters.

  • 03 of 09

    Rhodesian Ridgeback

    rhodesian ridgeback

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    For the outdoorsman looking for a more rugged companion, the Rhodesian Ridgeback could be a fantastic fit. The Rhodesian Ridgeback was popularized by African lion hunters but is a popular pet nowadays. The strength and agility they have translates well from lion hunting to hiking and mountain climbing. 

    However, those new to dog ownership should be aware that the Rhodesian Ridgeback requires plenty of socialization and obedience training during puppyhood. His independent and aloof nature can make him wary of strangers and his strength is nothing to bat an eye at. 

  • 04 of 09

    Australian Shepherd

    australian shepherd

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    Another must-have on high-energy dog lists, the Australian Shepherd is an active and agile companion that loves an outdoor adventure. Like her Border Collie cousin, the Aussie is a herder with seemingly endless energy. The Aussie is work-oriented and loves a job, so coming up with games to play along the trail will give her a well-rounded and exhausting day of exercise. 

    Much like the Border Collie, an Aussie needs plenty of everyday exercise—one hike a week just won’t cut it. But if she’s kept well-exercised and trained she’ll make you the happiest dog owner out there.   

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP)

    german shorthaired pointer

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    Another steadfast hunting companion, the German Shorthaired Pointer is an extremely high-energy dog perfect for bringing along on hiking trips. Like other hunters, pointers thrive when given plenty of exercise and are extremely friendly, loving companions. 

    Best known for their agility and endurance, the GSP needs plenty of daily exercise to prevent her from becoming anxious and destructive.

  • 06 of 09

    Jack Russell Terrier

    jack russell terrier

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    If big dogs aren’t your style but you still want an energetic hiking buddy, the Jack Russell Terrier is the pup for you. High-energy, high-drive, and incredibly intelligent, the Jack Russell has the personality of a big dog in a compact, 15-pound body. The Jack Russell was bred for vermin hunting and has a high prey drive, so long stints of exercise like hiking trips are a dream come true for him. 

    Though he’s small he’s also mighty, and the Jack Russell Terrier is no walk in the park (pun intended) to care for. Headstrong and incredibly intelligent, the Jack Russell can become destructive if not well-exercised both mentally and physically. But if you can dedicate the time to train and exercise every day, the Jack Russell is a great outdoorsy companion.

  • 07 of 09

    Miniature Pinscher

    miniature pinscher

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    Another little dog with a big personality, the Miniature Pinscher—or Min Pin—is a spunky companion for the dedicated, strong-willed owner. Min Pins are fearless beasts condensed into a compact 10 pound body. 

     The Min Pin’s fun-loving, adventurous personality makes him a fantastic exploration buddy. Though the Min Pin doesn’t have the same endurance as the Jack Russell Terrier, his much smaller stature makes it easy for you to pick him up and carry him if he eventually tires.

  • 08 of 09

    Bernese Mountain Dog

    bernese mountain dog

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    As the name implies, the Bernese Mountain Dog is an alpine native who fares well in the outdoors. The Bernese Mountain Dog is a Swiss working breed. She was bred to pull carts through the Alps, so it’s no surprise that the Berner makes a great climbing buddy.

    Owners new to the breed should know that Berners nowadays have a number of health concerns including hip and elbow dysplasia, and bloat. Before you bring your Berner along on a mountain hike, you should have her checked out by a veterinarian to make sure that strenuous activity is okay for her.

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  • 09 of 09

    Siberian Husky

    siberian husky

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    For the outdoorsman that doesn’t take himself too seriously, the Siberian Husky is a great match. The Husky’s personality is hilarious and unique—he’s mischievious, independent, and deceptively smart. Bred in northeastern Asia, the Husky is naturally cold-resistant and feels right at home on snowy mountain peaks.

    The Husky’s energy level makes him a tireless hiking buddy, but beware—if you don’t consistently exercise a Husky mentally and physically (preferably on a schedule), you’re looking at a recipe for disaster. Huskies are incredible escape artists and destruction fanatics. Without regular exercise and training, your home is his playground.    

    Huskies are big talkers and howlers, so apartment dwellers should avoid this vocal breed. And if you like training to take up as little of your time as possible, don’t even stop to consider this breed—the Husky’s independence makes training a big, big project. Don’t expect to have a Husky hiking off-leash any time soon; he probably won’t come back when you call him! 

No matter your breed of choice, make sure you talk to your vet about your dog’s exercise habits so you can make sure you’re providing him with a proper high-performance diet and suitable healthcare.