11 Breeds That Are The Best Hiking Dogs (with Pictures)

A hike isn’t as much fun without your best canine buddy. While hiking is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors, it’s even better when you can bring your furry best friend along. Dogs make great hiking companions as they are typically full of energy and love exploring new trails.

However, not all dogs are natural-born hikers! Some dogs are more athletic with better stamina while others are content to lounge around at home and wait for you to return. If you are looking for a new hiking buddy, here are some breeds that will make excellent outdoor companions. 

best hiking dogs
11 Breeds That Are The Best Hiking Dogs (with Pictures)

1. Border Collie 

One of the top athletes in the canine world, the Border Collie has it all. Built for incredible stamina and speed, the Border Collie will run circles around you and come back for more.

border collie on a hike sits on the ground
A Border Collie takes a breather while on a hike

Originally bred in the Scottish Borders region for herding sheep, the Border Collie is now a popular choice for families, athletes, and anyone looking for an energetic and trainable companion. 

With their high intelligence and endless energy, Border Collies are known for being able to excel at any task they set their minds to – from working on a farm to competing in agility trials.

They will make perfect hiking companions, but if you stay at home and don’t exercise them, they are likely to drive you mad with their hyperactivity. 

2. Siberian Husky

Siberian Huskies are the other stamina wizards that will keep going until YOU give up. These dogs were bred to work in cold climates, so they have a thick coat of fur that protects them from the elements. 

three Siberian Huskies colors
The three Siberian Huskies with different colors are sitting together.

They are also known for their boundless energy and enthusiasm, which makes them ideal hiking companions. In addition, Huskies are very intelligent and can be easily trained to follow basic commands. Just be sure to bring plenty of water and watch the weather. Huskies do NOT like to be warm! 

3. Australian Shepherd 

Aussie Shepherds are herding dogs bred to work all day, which means they have boundless energy and plenty of stamina for long hikes. They are also intelligent and trainable, so you can teach them to hike off-leash without worry. 

an older Aussie shepherd
An older Australian Shepherd

These dogs are fiercely devoted to their owners and will stick by your side through thick and thin. Like Border Collies, you’ll have to exercise them adequately on the days that you aren’t hiking. A bored Australian Shepherd is going to get into a lot of trouble, and it takes a lot of effort to tire out these super dogs. 

4. Bernese Mountain Dog 

Few dogs are as striking as the Bernese Mountain Dog. With their black fur and distinctive white markings, Bernese Mountain Dogs are impossible to miss. But it’s not just their looks that make them special – Bernese Mountain Dogs are also known for being gentle, loyal, and trainable. 

bernese mountain dog wearing shoes
A Bernese Mountain dog wearing shoes on an asphalt road.

Originally bred in the Swiss Alps, Bernese Mountain Dogs were used as working dogs on farms. Today, they still retain their strong work ethic, and many families choose them as companions because of their willingness to please. They make excellent hiking buddies and will gamely follow you around all day.

Their thick coats make them prone to overheating, so be careful in the warmer months. 

5. Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a unique breed of dog that originates from Zimbabwe. Also known as the African Lion Dog, these dogs were originally bred to hunt lions.

a Rhodesian Ridgeback standing
A Rhodesian Ridgeback standing on the grass.

Today, they are more likely to be found curled up on the couch than roaming the savannah, but they still possess many of the qualities that made them such formidable hunters. 

Ridgebacks are large dogs, with males averaging about 27 inches tall and females 24 inches. They are also very strong and athletic, capable of running long distances at high speeds. In addition to their physical prowess, Ridgebacks are also known for their loyalty and intelligence. 

Ridgebacks might not be for inexperienced owners as they are known to be headstrong and stubborn. They will suit experienced owners that can afford the time to exercise them. 

6. German Short-Haired Pointer 

The German Shorthaired Pointer is a versatile breed of dog that is perfect for families or individuals who enjoy an active lifestyle. Originally bred for hunting, these dogs have a strong prey drive and are excellent at tracking game

German Short-Haired Pointer 
German Short-Haired Pointer walking in the ground.

They are also intelligent and trainable, making them well-suited for a variety of activities such as agility, obedience, and tracking. In addition to their hunting abilities, German Shorthaired Pointers are also great companions. They are affectionate and loyal, and they bond quickly with their owners.

They are also good with children and other pets, making them an ideal choice for families.

7. Beagle 

Beagles are known for being active dogs, and there are a few reasons why this is the case.

Beagle treat
Beagle is happy to receive a dog treat.

First of all, they were originally bred as hunting dogs, which means they have a lot of energy to burn. In addition, Beagles tend to be very food-motivated, which means they’re always on the lookout for something to eat – or someone to play with!

All of these factors combine to make Beagles some of the most active dogs around. 

However, their smaller size means that they are easier to exercise when you aren’t hiking. They might not do so well on a long, full-day hike but for shorter half-day hikes, they’re the perfect companion. 

In addition, Beagles are one of the best dogs for families. They are small, so they don’t require a lot of space, but they still have plenty of energy to play with kids. Beagles are also very friendly and loving, so they make great pets for people of all ages.

In addition, Beagles are very intelligent and easy to train. They can learn tricks, manners, and obedience quickly. 

8. Coonhound 

Coonhounds love to play and exercise so if you’re an active person, you’ll appreciate their endless energy. Coonhounds make great hiking companions! They are eager to please and have boundless energy, making them perfect for long days on the trail. 

Bluetick Coonhound with a red collar.
Bluetick Coonhound standing with a red collar.

They are also natural tree climbers, so they are less likely to get lost or fall behind on steep or slippery terrain. And because of their stocky build and short fur, they are well-suited for hiking in all kinds of weather

9. German Shepherd 

German Shepherds are one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. They are known for their loyalty, obedience, and intelligence. But German Shepherds are also very active dogs.

German Shepherd walk
The owner and German Shepherd go for a walk.

They need plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy. 

Without enough physical activity, German Shepherds can become bored and destructive. They may start to bark excessively or chew on furniture and shoes. Exercise not only helps to keep German Shepherds physically healthy, but it also aids in their mental development.

Hiking with your German Shepherd is one of the most fun ways of tiring your dog out. They are devoted dogs and protectors and will be happy to follow you everywhere. 

10. Jack Russell Terrier

If you want a smaller dog that still can go on hikes with you, Jack Russells are super high-energy, athletic dogs that will be happy to oblige.

Jack Russell Terrier hunts
Jack Russell Terrier is a good hunting dog.

Jack Russell Terriers are one of the most active breeds of dogs and for good reason. They were originally bred for hunting, and their natural energy and athleticism made them ideal candidates for the job.

Today, these same traits make them excellent companions for people who enjoy an active lifestyle.

From dog parks and hiking trails to Frisbee and agility courses, there are few activities that a Jack Russell can’t enjoy. And because they are such intelligent dogs, they are also quick learners, picking up new tricks and games with ease. 

Be warned, whoever said that all small dogs suit apartments has clearly never met a Jack Russell Terrier! They will not suit apartments and are likely to drive you up the wall with their never-ending energy. 

11. Labrador Retriever 

America’s darling, the Labrador Retriever is a happy-go-lucky dog that is up for anything. Labrador Retrievers have been the most popular dog breed in the US for over three decades! 

Labrador with red collar
Labrador with red collar sitting outside in an afternoon.

They are intelligent, good-natured, and make excellent companions. Labs are highly trainable and are often used as service dogs or in law enforcement. They are also gentle and patient with children, making them ideal family pets.

In addition to their friendly temperaments, Labs are also active and playful, and they enjoy swimming and retrieving objects. 

Labrador Retrievers are relatively easy to care for, although they do need regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. Overall, there is a lot to love about Labs, which is why they continue to be one of the most popular dog breeds year after year.

Final Thoughts 

Hiking with your dog is hella fun and once you start doing it, you’ll realize that a hike without your dog seems….incomplete. 

Plus, they can be a big help if you need any motivation to keep going. While hiking with your dog does require some extra planning and preparation, it’s definitely worth it for all the benefits that you’ll both enjoy. Just make sure to bring along enough water and snacks for both of you, and to hike at a pace that is comfortable for your furry friend.