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    Default Best breed for hiking?

    Thinking about getting a dog. Any suggestions on a breed, mix etc that is best for a hiking partner?

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    we have a weimaraner and he is an awesome hiking dog... cranks out tons of miles and is good with wildlife, other dogs, kids, etc... we've had him on the trails since he was a pup and he loves it

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    Needs More Beer GracefulRoll's Avatar
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    My friend has a Brittany Spaniel. That dog practically pulled him up the Whites.

    They LOVE the outdoors, exercise, and are such go-getters. Oh, and the freckles don't hurt
    Man is only half himself,
    The other half is a bright thing.
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    For example A Brittany puppy.
    Man is only half himself,
    The other half is a bright thing.
    He tumbles on by luck or grace,
    For man is ever a blind thing.

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    Pack Rat immediatly sprang to mind--but then I saw you meant 'dog breed'.

    A working dog with a happy personality. A leader and problem solver but one who knows that you are the Alpha hiker. Some dogs like to be 'on journey' but, since they are often territorial in nature, hiking is not so much fun for all if the trail is very far from home.

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    Working dogs and hunting dogs seem like the best bet. They're active, nimble, driven, and most are bred to take orders.

    What not to look for: Personally, I wouldn't take any dog larger than a Labrador Retriever, because you might have to carry them a short distance occasionally. Also big dogs would have a rougher go of it on their joints and feet, I suspect. You'd want a dog that won't overheat too. All the Alaskan sled dog breeds love to put in the miles, but they're not built for heat. Dogs with long coats or especially shaggy coats seem like a bad idea with all the maintenance, ticks, and burs you'd have to deal with.

    If I were in the market for a hiking dog, I would look for a beagle, lab, or border collie myself - just based on the types of breeds I like that fit the above criteria. But there's lots more that work too. Lots of the taller terriers would make for great companions too.

    If I had to hike with a dog just to win a bet, I would go with a tiny Chihuahua of course. It could ride in the top of my pack. I'd call him Bear Snack.

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    I prefere large dogs and learned that females are much easier to train and they behave a little better. If I would bring a dog I may bring my Great Daine. Short hair, very active, and well behaved.

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    I would stay away from scent hounds and hunting dogs (like beagles, bloodhounds, etc) as they will instinctively run after prey and follow their nose and get lost. Too small a dog won't be able to climb over bigger stuff, too big and you won't be able to carry or help it.
    Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps

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    +1 for a Brittany. My Chocolate Lab is great too, though. You might want to seek a dog with a "waterproof coat", a Chocolate Lab for instance, so that when they get wet their skin doesn't really get to wet and they stay warmer easier and also dry quicker (don't want to sleep with a soaked pup).

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    Most any dog of sufficient size can be made into a trail dog, it's just a matter of putting in the time for consistent training. If you are considering a rescue/shelter dog, it's quite rewarding for many reasons and I've met many a well behaved trail mutt.

    To agree with the previous posts, I would stay away from working hunting lines or more primitive breeds, their prey drive is more than most people want to handle on a hiking trail.

    If you're looking for pure bred dogs, herding dogs (Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, etc) make great hiking partners as long as you can handle their energy off of the trail. I've also heard great things about Golden Retrievers and Bernese Mountain dogs as trail companions, but don't have personal experience with them.
    "This sucks and I love it"

    The ground's under my boots and not over my head, so it's a good day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailSquirrel View Post
    Thinking about getting a dog. Any suggestions on a breed, mix etc that is best for a hiking partner?
    Here's a good article:http://hubpages.com/hub/Great-hiking-dog-breeds

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    I have a greyhound and I take her on parts of the trail. She loves to see prey, but as long as she is on a leash, I can make her "leave it."

    Also, one advantage? She has f'ing eagle vision. At night she sees things I wouldn't notice. So, if there were anything lurking, I'd know when her ears perked up and she was standing at attention.

    It's a matter of obedience unless they were to be within inches or a few feet of the prey.

    I don't see any real big deal with the hunting dogs or hounds. I find they are amazing to have along.
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    He tumbles on by luck or grace,
    For man is ever a blind thing.

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    Brittanies would be good, I bet. We had several as pheasant hunting dogs when I was growing up, and their stamina was unbelievable. They would run all day long, and beg to go the next day. Great personalities, too. I have a big chocolate lab now, and although she is in great shape, she's done after walking a couple of miles. Just too much boddy mass to be a marathoner. I would expect a dog in the 30-45 lb range would be about right, but what do I know? At 250 lbs, most people wouldn't pick me as a hiker, either.

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    Hunting dogs can be stopped from chasing animals two ways: training and a leash. If had ever hit the trail with one of my labs (now long departed) I would have had him on a leash for just that reason.

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    How 'bout a healthy mix from the SPCA.

    7+ years ago, we got our pooch there, and he was a super hiker/mtn biker.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drastic_quench View Post
    Hunting dogs can be stopped from chasing animals two ways: training and a leash. If had ever hit the trail with one of my labs (now long departed) I would have had him on a leash for just that reason.
    I'd agree that most gun dogs like retreivers can be trained not to run - or at least to break off and return, but scent hounds like beagles are notoriously difficult to keep from chasing game all the way into the next county, state, or to either coast before they stop.

    I've got a 2 year old choc lab that is close to being under voice command without a leash (still working on it - he's adopted) but at 90 lbs I don't see him as a long distance hiker. He loves to run a bit, bring back whatever is thrown or he finds interesting, and then relax under a tree with a chew toy I think my Sheltie would hold up better on the trail from a stamina standpoint. Working breeds have seem to have more of that non-stop energy, and they instinctively tend to stay close to their master / work zone.
    Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps

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    If Basset Hounds didn't have such short legs they would be the greatest hiking dog. They are full of energy. I think Siberian Huskies would be a good dog to bring on a hike.
    Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.
    -Edward Abbey

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chop View Post
    How 'bout a healthy mix from the SPCA.

    7+ years ago, we got our pooch there, and he was a super hiker/mtn biker.
    I second the SPCA thing and also highly recommend www.greyhoundwelfare.org or your local Grey Adoption agency.
    Man is only half himself,
    The other half is a bright thing.
    He tumbles on by luck or grace,
    For man is ever a blind thing.

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    Wanna-be hiker trash Sarcasm the elf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drastic_quench View Post
    Hunting dogs can be stopped from chasing animals two ways: training and a leash. If had ever hit the trail with one of my labs (now long departed) I would have had him on a leash for just that reason.
    I don't disagree with this, hunting dogs can be trained into well behaved trail dogs, I've just found from personal experience that dogs from working hunting lines take a lot more work on the trail than dogs that are not from active working lines.
    Based on the OP I assume the question is more to the tone of what is an easily trained and reliable trail dog and assume this means a dog that will follow it's owner rather than it's own nose and can be let off leash when necessary (please don't hijack the thread) both these qualities are often a problem with dogs that have a high prey drive.

    Basically my personal opinion, if you have a dog from working lines, great, take them for a hike (I do). If you're looking for a hiking dog, then a working hunting line might not be what you want.
    "This sucks and I love it"

    The ground's under my boots and not over my head, so it's a good day.

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    Registered User thelowend's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBRIGGS9 View Post
    +1 for a Brittany. My Chocolate Lab is great too, though. You might want to seek a dog with a "waterproof coat", a Chocolate Lab for instance, so that when they get wet their skin doesn't really get to wet and they stay warmer easier and also dry quicker (don't want to sleep with a soaked pup).
    I can't emphasize how much I appreciate my little black lab's (Molly ) waterproof coat. I can take her on a 4 mile run where she will soak herself in the creeks (taking a sip for her also consists of taking a swim) and she will be mostly dry by the time we get back to the car. Not to mention, I have been camping with her in LOTS of wet weather and its wonderful NOT having her completely soaked all the way through the night. I love my Molly =)

    I really want to bring her on my thru but I think I'm gonna be selfish and not add the extra worries that accompany.. I would be way more likely to bring her if I didn't have to kennel her in 3 spots along the trail but that's a lot of money and time spent just getting the pup to and from the kennels/trail.

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