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  1. #1
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    Default Best Dog Breeds

    What are the best dog breeds for long term foot travel, and being around people and other wildlife sporadically?

    Also been wondering what some average miles various hunting dogs might put in with an avid hunter out 4 or 5 days a week... Like a beagle or blood hound mountain Cur, Blue tic etc.. Or sheep and cattle dog high mileage at work.

    Don't think I would be busting many 10 mile days.

  2. #2

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    I heard that the military uses retrievers in .afg because Shephers can't take the mileage and heat.

    I saw a husky mix/sled dog on the PCT last year, doing 20-30 mile days just fine. I hear they have a prey drive, although I imagine it's bred out of many purely sled dogs. I'd avoid terriers, for the same reason.

  3. #3

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    You want to avoid hyperactive dogs like herders. You want to avoid big dogs like Labs. Medium sized dogs, on the smaller side of medium seem to do best on the AT. They don't have to eat tons of food and are light and agile on their paws.

    But the most important thing is training.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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    Iíve hiked a lot with my golden retriever and you couldnít ask for a better dog. Really strong, carries a pack with ease.


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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Clifton View Post
    I’ve hiked a lot with my golden retriever and you couldn’t ask for a better dog. Really strong, carries a pack with ease. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Yea, labs are great, mellow dogs, but I wouldn't take one on a long distance hike. Get into difficult terrain like NH and Maine, they will have trouble. Where you plan on hiking will have a big impact.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  6. #6

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    I expect the individual beast would matter more that the breed, and agree that a mellow, mid sized dog would be the place to start.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

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    Quote Originally Posted by Feral Bill View Post
    I expect the individual beast would matter more that the breed, and agree that a mellow, mid sized dog would be the place to start.
    Very much this. I got a rescue mutt, some sort of energetic terrier retriever mix. Mutts are generally healthier. Seemed like a great trail dog... until within weeks he developed a shoulder issue, so no distance hikes for me. Then he developed some sort of neck issue, and now he can't even handle day hikes. Thousands of dollars later, and I'm pretty much only hiking when I have a dog sitter now.

    You can plan all you want, and I've always suggested that people choose a dog that suits their lifestyle. Be certain you really want a dog in your life, even if that dog turns out not to be capable not to hike with you.

    Edit: Remember that the dog will likely wear out and get old before you do.
    Last edited by Puddlefish; 02-28-2018 at 18:55.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    Mutts are generally healthier.
    My vet has said this, mutts/cross breeds do not have the issues with congenital defects of pure breeds. Hip dysplasia, eye issues, cancer to name a few. I assume this is from her experience over her practice. While I would still have a lab mix, GSD mix checked for hip issues, especially if the mix includes two breeds with hip issues, I really do not expect for hip issues to be present in 99% of say Lab mixes or GSD mixes.

  9. #9

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    A medium sized mutt.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by swisscross View Post
    A medium sized mutt.
    this^^^^^^^^

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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketsocks View Post
    A medium sized mutt. this^^^^^^^^
    My daughter has a 40-pound coon hound mix from a shelter. Emphasis on "mix". Great hiking dog.

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    A dog breed for walking long miles, like a Husky. Not the easiest to train though. But they do need high amounts of exercise. Some of them aren't bred to be as large. I'm strictly speaking academically. Don't have/never wanted a husky, but i do like them.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ505 View Post
    A dog breed for walking long miles, like a Husky. Not the easiest to train though. But they do need high amounts of exercise. Some of them aren't bred to be as large. I'm strictly speaking academically. Don't have/never wanted a husky, but i do like them.
    Expect they don't do well in the heat, and on a long distance hike your probably going to be hiking in hot temps at some point.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ505 View Post
    A dog breed for walking long miles, like a Husky. . .
    No kidding. The Iditarod dogs don't walk miles, they run 1000+ miles at race speeds pulling a sled! Maybe you just need to shave them for summer travels.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

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    Golden Retriever. Those dogs love people more than hiking. Never saw one on the trail that didn't want to say hello.

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    Mine is a cross between a standard Manchester Terrier and a Rottweiler. 40 pounds of trail perfection. Best trail dog I've ever had.

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    When I saw IslandPete's "Scout," I thought I'd have to post a pic of my "Boone." As someone else says, he thinks every day on a trail in the woods is the best day ever. He even found me on a trail in the woods as a dumped puppy, on a 4-day backpacking trip on the Sheltowee Trace in Kentucky, in the Daniel Boone National Forest, thus his name.

    He was so small he rode on my backpack to camp that night. Vet says he's a Rottweiler-German Shepherd mix. He learned very early to respond a command that means "stop what you're doing." On his very first backpacking trip with me while still a pup (after being chipped) on the Chimney Top Trail in Frozen Head State Park here in Tennessee, he rounded a bend ahead of me and spooked some wild boar, which took off like a blur down the mountainside. He immediately gave chase but stopped on my command. He REALLY wanted to keep going per his body language and glances at me and them, but came back to me. I was so proud!

    I've watched him run from side to side of trails, running first to one side, then the other, over and over out of sheer joy, which reminded me of being a boy holding my arms out like wings and doing the same thing.

    Here's a photo of him riding on top of my backpack the day he found me (he was too small to keep up and too heavy to be carried far in my arms). Also a pic of him during a rest/snack stop last year on the Conasauga River Trail in Georgia. He's smart enough to rest when it's a rest break.

    I never intended to have a hiking dog, but he sure seems to be a good mixed breed for starters and on top of that has a great mellow disposition, intelligence, and obedience. All that said, I've never pushed him to hike 20 miles, and wouldn't, especially day after day.

    I have read/been told(?) one thing that relates to breed: if your dog gets injured, can you carry him/her out to safety?
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    I raised a couple litters of beagles when I was high school aged....for hunting rabbit and deer. They could cover many miles in a day for sure...but I'm not sure about day after day after day after day
    knew some folks that had bluetick and other type hounds. Similar but they'd cover the ground a lot faster than a person can.
    but in my opinion hounds of any sort would be far too distractable zig zagging and hunting. They want to hunt and chase.

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    Australian Cattle Dogs (blue healers) were specifically bred for long miles in the heat on a daily basis. They could definitely handle the rigors of the trail and they are very intelligent and easy to train, but they CAN also be very energetic. The one I have is fairly mellow and I suspect if I would have gotten her out on the trails early enough she wouldíve been very good as a Trail companion.
    The min thing is getting any dog while theyíre young and exposing them to the elements of the Trail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    Mutts are generally healthier.
    I'm curious about this statement. Do you have any data supporting that?

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