Best dog breed for hiking

Nick

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First off, no, I am not shopping for Nikita's replacement just yet. I'd like to think she still has a few years of lounging around the house and going on shorter day hikes. :) But I've been thinking lately about what characteristics make the perfect hiking dog. Here are some that I can think of:

1. High tolerance to big temperature swings. Able to keep relatively warm on cold nights and a lighter colored coat to help reflect the suns rays on hot days.

2. Athletic, sporty kind of build good for long hauls. Probably a mid-sized dog.

3. Brave and confident to get through all of the potentially scary obstacles and various other challenges that would send some dogs running into the woods.

4. Fiercely loyal.

So what breeds would fit the bill?
 

DOSS

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I am fond of the Australian Shepard, Brittney Spaniel mix.. Or Australian Shepard black lab mix (although mine does hate water....)
 
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I think the next dog I get will be a Aussie or Sheltie - something high energy, relatively light (under 60 lbs), and more heat tolerant than my dogs have been in the past. My malamute is a trooper - he can climb 90% of anything I can climb - but he's too big to pack out if something goes bad, and gets too hot for the desert.
 

Nick

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I need to spend some time around aussies. I don't really know what they're like.

I think the next dog I get will be a Aussie or Sheltie - something high energy, relatively light (under 60 lbs), and more heat tolerant than my dogs have been in the past. My malamute is a trooper - he can climb 90% of anything I can climb - but he's too big to pack out if something goes bad, and gets too hot for the desert.

What color is your malamute? I wonder if big coat like that would be better in the desert if it was white? I've always liked the idea of a pure bread Akita. I wonder if a white one would do well in the heat. Kinda huge to have to carry out though...

white.jpg
 
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i like Akitas - but they take a very competent and dominant owner. I've seen Akitas do some serious damage to other dogs - they can be very very defensive.. I prefer my dogs easy going and approachable.

Light coat -but it's that heavy undercoat that makes it hard for them to keep cool. That and most Mals I know hate water - my dog wouldn't swim unless his life depended on it.
 

Udink

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I like Brittany Spaniels--obviously, though, I'm biased :roflmao:--but in general bird dogs, and then cattle dogs, would be my preferred dogs for hiking. Really, any mid-sized dog could be a great hiker, and (maybe depending on who you ask) many such breeds would fit your criteria.
 

Nick

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How do the bird dogs and cattle dogs do on cold nights? Ever have to bring them a blanket or anything or do they keep pretty warm?
 

Nick

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i like Akitas - but they take a very competent and dominant owner. I've seen Akitas do some serious damage to other dogs - they can be very very defensive.. I prefer my dogs easy going and approachable.

Agreed. Nikita is half Akita. As a young dog she was a bit aggressive, very gamey and extremely dominant with every other dog. If there was even a question of dominance, she would put them down, even when it was a 110 lb doberman towering over her. She also tried to take down a moose and some other large animals. Not too surprising as Akita's were bread to hunt bear I suppose.

As she's gotten older, she's gotten really mellow, but still pretty dominant with other dogs and definitely not a happy approchable kind of dog unless she knows you. She usually just ignores people she doesn't know.
 

Udink

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How do the bird dogs and cattle dogs do on cold nights? Ever have to bring them a blanket or anything or do they keep pretty warm?
I can only speak for Torrey, but she won't keep a blanket on her even when temps are in the teens. She's spent several nights in the tent with me when it was below freezing outside and she seemed fine.
 

Nick

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I can only speak for Torrey, but she won't keep a blanket on her even when temps are in the teens. She's spent several nights in the tent with me when it was below freezing outside and she seemed fine.

Was she sleeping on a pad or just right on the ground?
 

Nurrgle

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Heelers are my personal favorite. They are tanks, super loyal, and almost to smart. I have a heeler/ border collie mix that has been through hell and back with me, he is getting older and slowing down some but he is still keeping up. I also have a little red heeler, Katie, she is in my profile picture. Both of them are my best pals.

Heelers have the double coat which sucks sometimes for shedding but keeps them warm as can be. They are usually so interested in whatever is coming up on the trail that they don't seem cold, even on longer snowshoeing trips. I let them sleep in the tent with me if they want to and haven't had a problem with them being cold.

Gus, my older dog, is great with people. Katie has the crazy eye's and it makes people uneasy for some reason but she is to sweet to be aggressive.


266592_119399791483191_100002395112094_162154_4091500_o.JPG


They look like they were pretty thirsty. This was along St. Vrain river in the front range of the Rockies.
 

DOSS

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I can only speak for Torrey, but she won't keep a blanket on her even when temps are in the teens. She's spent several nights in the tent with me when it was below freezing outside and she seemed fine.
Crazy but my new puppy Aussi/Brittney mix is also named... Torrey, and as for cold both of my dogs have done well with the cold, usually just sleeping on my backpack at night or their own backpacks laid out
 

HomerJ

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I am fond of the Australian Shepard, Brittney Spaniel mix.. Or Australian Shepard black lab mix (although mine does hate water....)
LOL! I've never met a lab that hates water. Most run to it and you can't do anything to keep them out of it!
 

DOSS

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LOL! I've never met a lab that hates water. Most run to it and you can't do anything to keep them out of it!

yeah, she refuses to even get her feet wet, I once left her on the other side of a stream that she wouldn't cross for 30 minutes before picking her up and carrying her over.. she has personality :)
 

Nick

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yeah, she refuses to even get her feet wet, I once left her on the other side of a stream that she wouldn't cross for 30 minutes before picking her up and carrying her over.. she has personality :)

You sure you don't want to take her through Maidenwater, Trachyte and Swett this weekend?? :lol:
 

DOSS

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You sure you don't want to take her through Maidenwater, Trachyte and Swett this weekend?? :lol:
I told you there was no way I was going to take my old dog :p the puppy on the other hand... still no
 

Tyler

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My neighbor had a Britney Spaniel and I remember loving that dog. Torrey always reminds me of it when I see your pictures Dennis.

I don't have a lot of experience with dogs, but in the limited time I've had mine I really love the versatility of our Collie-rat terrier mix. They are both mid-size dogs (both around 35 lbs), both can swim when they need to (but don't go out of their way to do it), they're fast runners, they're natural herders, they do pretty good in the cold, and they're smart. The only downfall is that they can be a little disobedient at times, but they're getting there with age.

Here they are in Farnsworth Canyon at the San Rafael Reef


03.26.10 Farnsworth Canyon by root_family, on Flickr

Swimming out to my raft (they thought I was going to leave them)


DSCF1489 by root_family, on Flickr

Hanging out on the reef above camp


IMG_0732 by root_family, on Flickr
 
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I'll toss my lot in with the assie shepards too. I've had two of them and have loved everything about them.

My current one is still a young girl, she's been on a bunch of trips with me and she is ever curious, beyond loyal and a very lover lover dog (around people she knows), and very fit and coordinated. I have to weight her backpack down with extra gear just to keep her to stay pace with her haha. Last year she went on every backpacking trip I went on and over 30 day hikes. She's bagged peaks with me, she's climbed to the top of slots, goblin valley, etc. She's gotten up stuff I would have trouble with. Here she is last spring, hope this works: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=645187147911&set=vb.29008212&type=2&theater

My only complaint about the breed, and i think she's *mostly* assie is her friendliness towards other people. My first dog was not good with new people, as he grew older he became ignorant of them and would just pretend they didnt exist and would warm up much faster. once you got into his circle, he's your best buddy. When I got my new pup after he passed, I got her specifically because she was supposed to be bred to be friendlier towards people. She's not,but instead much worse and actually I worry about her and dog ignorant people sometimes. Its too bad I can't get her to act towards other people the way she does towards me. She'd be the worlds most loving non lab dog ever!
 
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