Dog breeds for hiking/running

Dogs, dogs and even some cats
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Re: Dog breeds for hiking/running

Postby piper14er » Thu May 14, 2009 8:40 am

I am very happy with my Kelpie. Very athletic, lots of stamina and not hyper for a cattle/sheep/working dog. I have had either my female, male or both on many hikes and they have been great. They follow along or go ahead but are good at staying with you, couldn't lose them if you tried. Both hikes and snowshoe. Great on the rocks so far, no foot problems, and they have been on many 13er and 14er peaks. Also for those with cats, chickens, etc. they don't bother them. They like to herd the sheep and sometimes for fun the horses. Very friendly and good all around dog. Look for one with a double coat. They do shed some which is the only downside I have seen with them.

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Re: Dog breeds for hiking/running

Postby MarciaD » Thu May 14, 2009 10:54 am

I have a German Short Haired Pointer who is 9 and a 1 year old Great Dane. It is always recommended to feed any giant breed puppies an adult food or a puppy food that has been specifically formulated for the giant breeds. If I would have feed my Dane pup a normal puppy food or even just a large breed puppy food it would have caused her to grow at an even faster rate and very possibly caused her irreversible damage to her joints that could lead to a life threatening disease. They call it grow them slow, giant breeds can grow at an unbelievable rate and if you give them to much protein and fat this rate can become very dangerous. When it comes to these breeds do your research and find a food in the recommended ranges and be patient they can grow up to the age of 4 and the slower they grow the stronger they will be in the long run.

I call my German Short Hair Pointer a mountian goat, she can climb almost anything but she still has a very strong instinct to hunt so all the cute critters you usually see will be running for there lives with a breed like this. But endless energy and a dense short coat that's basically water proof, hunters actually use them in cold water retrieving situations because of how quickly they dry. A great breed if you can deal with the prey drive.

After owning 20+ dogs in my short life I would recommend adopting some type of a herding breed for a hiking/climbing buddy. They tend to have a lot of energy and a high need to please. What ever dog you choose just remember if they get hurt you're carrying them back to civilization, so keep your back in mind when thinking of a size. :wink:

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Re: Dog breeds for hiking/running

Postby beddy » Thu May 14, 2009 11:39 am

Don't over think the breed; if you go to the shelter you'll find lots of dogs that are more than capable. I mean, anything bigger than a lap dog can climb and run laps around any human so long as they're reasonably fit and they can keep up until the day they die if you feed them properly and keep them active. I have a 14 year old fox terrierish rescue with stubby little legs that has no problem at 7 min. pace on long distance runs. My lab mix, also from the pound, trains with me for swimming and running and is damn near indefatigable. Both can climb higher and faster than I can and I'm not too bad. Even if you run a 2:30 marathon, the Border collie or Australian Shepherd you had to have is going to spend most of the time looking back at you impatiently during training runs.

Pedigree isn't as important as the connection you can make when you go and rescue a dog that may otherwise be awaiting The Needle. Get a mutt, save a life, and avoid looking pretentious.

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Re: Dog breeds for hiking/running

Postby ATOMEMT » Thu May 14, 2009 12:18 pm

Some great input so far on this thread. My biased 2 cents = Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Cattle dog, German Shorthair, etc. Something along the 'working dog' lines. I was on a similar mission ..looking for a dog to accompany me on all the adventures I enjoy..Mtn biking, mountaineering, rafting, backpacking, XC skiing, etc. Also...+1 on Denver Dumb Friends League. I wasn't in any hurry to find a dog...and after visiting their shelter many times, they suggested getting on their waiting list for a particular breed. I put down anything along the lines of border collie, aussie shep/cattle dog, etc. This worked out well...Sage has been hiking/biking by my side now for 6 years. Temperment is another consideration altogether. I'm no dog whisperer, but it seems to be part luck, part training, part genetics, etc. Good luck on your quest.

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Re: Dog breeds for hiking/running

Postby IHikeLikeAGirl » Thu May 14, 2009 2:05 pm

Wow...I stepped away from this site for 2 days and I can't believe all the responses! Thanks, you've all provided me some great information. :D

I was going to hit the shelters and dog rescue places. No breeders (my house needs a new roof... ;) ), no craigs lists, and definitely no Walmart parking lot puppies. Not set on a pure bred, but wanted to get some input on particular breeds, then I could look for dogs with those breeds as part of a mix or maybe stumble onto a pure bred.

I have a question on pads. Do the dogs you've mentioned above have strong pads naturally? Do they need to be built up (like callouses)?

Also, I was looking at some older dogs, like 3 - 5 y.o. (they seem to be the most in need of a home). Is that a mistake? What's the oldest I should go? I also saw a very lovable border collie, but he was very that too a mistake? Yes, I would slowly build up the dog's exercise regime, but with a 4 y.o. dog that's chubby, is he going to be pretty set in his sedentary way of life and be resistant to change? :?

And yes, my daughter will be taking the dog to training school and (if all goes well) will be the alpha to the dog.
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Re: Dog breeds for hiking/running

Postby Tory Wells » Thu May 14, 2009 2:35 pm

With regular exercise, a dog's pads will become tougher, no matter the breed. I trail run often with my dogs (coonhounds) and that is sufficient for any peak. They've never had a problem with sore pads on any 14er.

Some people like adopting older dogs because you don't have to go through the difficult puppy phase. Then'll miss out on the difficult puppy phase. :wink: However, whomever said "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" was dead wrong. All dogs are capable of being trained, no matter their history, period.

As for the chubby dog, I think like people, all dogs are capable of losing weight and getting healthier. Like a person, it will have to be a gradual process and take patience on your part. Also, you should not free-feed your dog....people who leave a big bowl of food out all day will come home to a fat dog. You should feed them 2 or 3 times a day (I feed mine twice, in the morning and evening). Doing so will also reinforce that you are the pack leader, not them.
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Re: Dog breeds for hiking/running

Postby IHikeLikeAGirl » Wed Nov 25, 2009 3:08 pm

After many visits to the Humane Society and viewing some of the breeds suggested (or a mix thereof), my daughter and I fell hard for a German Shepherd/Chow named Lily. :iluvu: Ironically, I was wanting to stay away from a Chow, but we walked her a few times and she just fit so well.

The GS was a guess by the HS, but the Chow is definite. Anyone know what she might be if not GS? She's quite small, only 30 lbs and her shoulders are right at my knee.

She's incredibly awesome! Stays close on walks (no pulling), very smart, watches for commands, comes when called, gets along with other dogs, gentle, let's my daughter smother her (with affection), hasn't eaten my cat, etc. And she loves to go over rock obstacles rather than around! :) I think she'll be a great hiking companion! :D

My main concern is that she wants to take off when she gets scared so, she's always on a leash. After reading the account of the guy who lost his dog on Quandary after she was spooked, I don't want to go through that (even with the happy ending).

Has anyone ever used a radio collar? What brand? How well do they work? Can the urge to flee be something she can overcome or is that just innate behavior?

As for hiking/camping with her. What all do I need to bring? Collapsible food and water bowls, food, dog booties, towel, dog bed, toy, anything else?
What do you use for dog bedding in the tent, the self inflating dog beds, foam, short Thermarest-type pad?

What's a good dog towel that's compact yet affective (Sham-Wow 8) )?

Dog blanket? She's medium haired, feels a little downy on her hind end, but no where else. Probably won't be doing any winter camping, but could be in spots where it's down to low 30s at night.

What about dog rain gear? Necessary?

And yes, I WILL pick up after her...and I'll do it with a smile! :D
Lily small.JPG
Lily, first day back after 3 days in vet hospital with Pneumonia and Canine Influenza
Lily small.JPG (136.08 KiB) Viewed 2200 times
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Re: Dog breeds for hiking/running

Postby Inky6900 » Wed Nov 25, 2009 4:25 pm


Very cool dog! I always like to see people and dogs climbing together.

Here's a few of my suggestions on gear although each person will probably have a list they feel best suits their dog.

1. Dog shoes - Ruff Wear brand (bring spares as your dog may lose or blowout a shoe from time to time)
2. First Aid Kit for your dog (Ruff Wear sells these and they come with a small booklet for animal emergencies)
3. Collapsible bowl - better than plastic since it'll fit in your pocket
4. Harness - I like them over collars because they don't choke and tug at the dog's neck. Plus you can assist a dog better in difficult terrain by lifting at their core, keeping them balanced as they jump up or down. (Ruff Rider and Ruff Wear both make great ones - My dog, Sawyer, has both although he's used the Ruff Rider one on all but one climb)
5. Bed - I bought my dog one of those inflatible camping pads that people use. Mine is identical to his. It's smaller than a dog bed and lighter to carry for backpacking trips. Not much more expensive either.
6. Other Misc Stuff - Doggles (good in snow or sand or harsh wind)

I have so much gear for my dog, Sawyer, it's ridiculous. As you said, there are blankets and all kinds of stuff you can buy for each type of situation. You'll kind of have to sort through it all.

Have fun and enjoy the outdoors with your new dog!

With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

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Re: Dog breeds for hiking/running

Postby Snowgirl » Wed Nov 25, 2009 5:35 pm

Wohoo! Congrats on the new addition to your family. I'm very excited for you (and even more excited that it was a rescue!). My Bernese Mntn Dog, which when I read back on the thread has been quite a hot topic, is my hiking/biking/running companion extraordinaire. So I've field tested some stuff, and Josh is right on the money with Ruff Wear. You really can't go wrong with the stuff. Make sure, though, that you go and try everything on ahead of time. If you ask nicely at REI, they'll usually let you in and help you out. I'll also agree with Josh, Taiga has almost as much hiking stuff as I do!

From the looks of your girl, I would doubt a dog blanket is going to be necessary, it's really more of a short-haired issue. Nevertheless, take her out in the snow for an hour on a short hike and see how she does. Dogs express cold the same way people do: they don't look like they want to be out there. Just keep a close eye and you should be fine. Dogs lose most of their heat through respiration and their paws, so having dog boots on (which also prevents those pesky ice balls from forming between their toes) should be all you need.

I bought the socks for the Ruff Wear boots and those really helped to get the perfect fit. For a dog bed (indoors and in the back of my Subaru) I went to Costco and bought the closed-cell foam pad for $20, which keeps her off the floor and very comfortable. I don't recommend anything with wood shavings in it, the oils and the smell can be irritating for a dog. When we camp, Tai sleeps in between people (if there's someone else) or right next to me. I could see how a short human camping pad would do nicely, again just get them off the ground. Bonus: dog that sleeps next to you = instant space heater. On the flip side, the summer is tougher on the medium-to-long haired dogs, I bring almost double as much water for my dog as for me and we stick to alpine ascents (off by 11 am) in the heat of the summer.

Lastly, the bolting. Taiga is also a rescue from a pretty horrible past, so I understand your issue. It took a month before I could even touch her, let alone go on a walk where she wouldn't alternately stop and then try to bolt. Patience, patience, and lots of rewards to build her confidence got me to the off-leash, well-abiding dog I have now. I also bring Taiga wherever she's allowed: Murdoch's, Petsmart, local parks (especially downtown Golden in the summer), Home Depot, etc. Getting her "out of her comfort zone" and then allowing her to gain confidence through reward and trust works wonders. If you're already planning on using a trainer, make sure you let them know your goals and do off-leash work in a safe, contained environment. I also can't say that it wasn't a bit of luck in getting such a smart, amazing dog that was able to bounce back from her past. She's a 14er dog now, happily leading the way both up and back and her tail wagging the whole time. I also lucked out because she topped out at a trim and muscular 75 lbs with a shorter coat (for a Bernie). Get your girl used to brushing and grooming early on so you can keep the shedding in check.

Trip Report from our last 14er of the summer, looking forward to when Taiga's elbow heals and we can get back on the trail!:

Happy trails!
Such things for example as the grasp of a child's hand in your own, the flavor of an apple, the embrace of a friend or lover...sunlight on rock and leaves, the feel of music, the bark of a tree, the abrasion of granite and sand, the plunge of clear water into a pool, the face of the wind--- what else is there? What else do we need?
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Re: Dog breeds for hiking/running

Postby EatinHardtack » Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:04 pm

Cool looking dog. She might be crossed with a Belgian Malinois. They are smaller than German Sheperds and can be a little more brown in their coat.
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Re: Dog breeds for hiking/running

Postby IHikeLikeAGirl » Wed Nov 25, 2009 8:24 pm

Thanks, I'm very anxious to take her out! She has Pneumonia and Canine Influenza (she nearly died) :( but is recovering nicely. I just got her back yesterday from the vet (note the shaved leg in the pic from the IV). The vet said much rest and no hikes or walks for at least a week...Lily is going stir crazy just lying around the am I. I hate giving up 2 beautiful days like tomorrow and Friday, but I'll be patient and get her healthy. :)

The Belgian Malinois is certainly a likely candidate. Her smaller size and the color of her coat looks a lot like the pictures I saw. She definitely likes to "herd" me.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
- Valerie and Lily!
"Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time."
- Steven Wright

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Re: Dog breeds for hiking/running

Postby sgladbach » Wed Nov 25, 2009 9:32 pm

Cooper is my third Austalian Shepherd. He's a great climber all year long. He's good into the dead of winter; he's good on rock. The female I had before was a more outgoing tempermant; Cooper pretty much sticks to me.

See photos in these TR's:

If you can handle the weather, so can he. I leave him in the tent if I think he'll put humans in danger from rockfall.

His worst habits in the backcountry:

He is scared to death of Thunderstorms. He doesn't like pre-dawn hikers w/ headlamps hiking by our camp. He gets protective and gives a menacing bark. Each of my three Aussies was very protective of home and hearth with scary barking/growls. None ever bit anyone.
"We knocked the bastard off." Hillary, 1953
"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves." Hillary, 2003
Couldn't we all use 50 years of humble growth?


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