Jan 27, 2021 at 8:53 pm #3695935
Hey guys. I am in the market for a pooch. I’m looking for a serious adventure partner to join me on hikes, backpacks, trail runs, and even canoe trips and was wondering if anybody had any particularly strong feelings on breeds that have or haven’t worked well. Particularly, I’m very into with German Shorthair Pointers as well as Australian Cattle Dogs at the moment and was wondering if anyone has experience with those breeds?
I will obviously be considering rescue’s as well as breeders but for sake of discussion I’d like to hear people thoughts on specific breeds.Jan 27, 2021 at 9:53 pm #3695941
We have had Aussies for 20 years, sometimes 3 generations. They are great dogs if you have the time for them; lots of energy, love a job, do not like to be left at home alone. I am very partial here and you’ll hear more from others but these pups are always ready to go and thrive on proving themselves to you.Jan 27, 2021 at 10:01 pm #3695942KarenBPL Member
We’ve always had mutts from the pound (or found on the roadside), but they’ve been predominantly black lab in look and behavior. Labs are dopey but almost always friendly, easily trained, can withstand cold and wet conditions, swim very well and aren’t too hyper in a tent. They’re high energy when young, but mellow when older. Biggest drawback is that they tend not to live that long. Our dogs have run many marathon miles, done plenty of hiking, run alongside mountain bikes, and generally loved going anywhere any time.Jan 27, 2021 at 10:29 pm #3695945matthew kModerator
My ACD mix is an extremely good listener and physically strong. I have a friend who is wildlife biologist (read: professional birder) who has a full ACD who is just amazing on trail. I’m biased but I think they are just a wonderful breed. Our dogs are attentive and purposeful.
They can be a little intense sometimes.Jan 28, 2021 at 6:05 am #3695961
Awesome, I’m very interested in ACD’s. They seem durable, strong, and easy to train. Would you consider them easy to train to basic trail commands like heel? I hear they can be a bit stubborn sometimes. How are they in a tent?Jan 28, 2021 at 7:34 am #3695975matthew kModerator
My dog, Sumi, is an extremely good listener. She’s very obedient. She has excellent recall, knows probably 15 tricks perfectly and understands many verbal instructions. She absolutely sucks at heel on a leash. I’ve worked with two trainers and she has never gotten the hang of a loose leash. She’s great at heel off-lead. She stays on trails. Her normal hiking position is between my son and I and she will stay right in line.
Sparrow is the red heeler above. She is awesome on a leash. She’s amazing off-lead. She is more chill and less dominant than Sumi.
Sumi has a powerful gaze. She looks at Sparrow, who cowers and will literally go sit in the corner and stare at the wall.
Sumi can drive the neighbor dogs back from the fence line with a glance.
I have learned that I can scold Sumi with a particular look (If I stare her directly in the eyes and point my head down a bit she is like “oh s&#t, he’s serious. I’M SORRY”. It is absolutely nuts. I have become more aware of how people communicate through their eyes because of her and I see this in the classroom (I’m a teacher).Jan 28, 2021 at 8:39 am #3695991
Great info, really appreciate it, Matthew. I’m basically comparing them to German Shorthairs right now as my final 2.Jan 28, 2021 at 8:58 am #3695997Jimmy LegsBPL Member
I love labs and have two of them and grew up with them. However, I disagree with the recommendation above. Unless you’re on nice smooth trails (not rocky or technical), labs make poor trail dogs. Their size and lack of agility makes it difficult for them to handle technical terrain that more agile dogs (like aussies) handle with ease.Jan 28, 2021 at 9:31 am #3696004
^^ I agree about labs not being agile/ light enough to navigate tricky trails. They are wonderful dogs though.Jan 28, 2021 at 9:44 am #3696005Dave @ OwareBPL Member
@bivysack-comLocale: East Washington
The long distance dogs, the ones with thick foot pads, big lungs, a ground eating gate, good balance, medium size that can run marathons day after day often come with drive that takes extra work to overcome when used for uses they are not bred for.
Pointers, fox and coonhounds, alaskan huskies are such. If they are to be off leash (think Mtn biking, back country skiing, off trail/mountaineering) you must be both knowable about the breed and training methods and very consistent in discipline to end up with a well mannered and safe backcountry partner. They can be do anything dogs, but it takes commitment in training.
If that isn’t your cup of tea, look for some type of shepherding dog that only wants to follow your lead.
One example to demonstrate comes to mind. We Mtn biked the flume trail on the west shore of Lake Tahoe with a coonhound and a blue healer. At about 20 miles the healer fell over from exhaustion, he hadn’t given any signs he was in distress, but his drive was to keep up with his master. His owner carried him that last 5 miles. (He was okay in the end). The Coonhound took every opportunity to rest in the shade at stops, chased every marmot it saw while it’s owners waited for it to come back, and at the end of the 25 miles ran away after a deer for another hour causing it owners worry. The coonhound could have probably run the whole thing again.Jan 28, 2021 at 10:12 am #3696009Luke SchmidtBPL Member
German pointers are a bird dog correct? Would the instinct to hunt things be an issue if you are hiking and don’t want the dog running off? Obviously training goes a long way.
This is my friends dog Buster. He thinks his job is to rid the world of coyotes. Cool when he lived on a ranch in North Dakota. Now we worry he’ll tangle with a pack of wolves in Alaska. Fun fact, when he ran off we started shooting a gun. He came back for that. Not great outside Alaska obviously.Jan 28, 2021 at 10:35 am #3696012Dave @ OwareBPL Member
@bivysack-comLocale: East Washington
Pointers- yup, they are hard headed. One of the breeds crossed with Alaskan Huskies to make Eurohounds, the warm weather sled dogs.
Buster-cool dog. When I was but a little kid family friends owned a free range dairy in Eastern Montana and kept a Beagle, a Greyhound and a big Airdale to hunt the coyotes that threatened the calves. The scent hound would sniff out the coyotes, the sight hound would then spot them then run them down, tripping one and by that time the terrier would arrive and kill the coyote. Real working dogs.Jan 28, 2021 at 11:04 am #3696019
Very interesting thanks. I tend to stay off the pedals, mostly looking fort a hiking, trail running, backpacking, canoeing, and skiing partner. So enormous mileage at high speed isn’t super necessary. Its amazing watching certain hounds run compared to other breeds. Ground eating gate is well put.Jan 28, 2021 at 12:19 pm #3696025rubmybelly!BPL Member
@sleepingLocale: The Cascades
The best adventure dog for you is a dog who fits into your overall lifestyle, not just the adventure part of your lifestyle. As others have said, some dogs do not do well being left alone for long periods of time, regardless of how great they might be on the trail. Some dogs take a lot of work and persistence to train for the trail, so you have to have that time and commitment over a longer period of time than with some other breeds. Some dogs really should never be off leash in the backcountry because of a very strong prey drive that’s not easy to train away (I consider my dog to be one of those). You don’t want a dog that only thrives in your adventures, you want a dog that thrives within your entire lifestyle, since many breeds can be good adventure partners.
One book that I’ve found interesting and quite illuminating so far (I’m still reading it) is Canine Enrichment For The Real World, by Allie Bender and Emily Strong. And, of course, it’s good to learn dogs’ body language which can greatly help in understanding what your pup might be trying to tell you, since their signs can easily be misinterpreted if you don’t know what to look for.Jan 28, 2021 at 12:25 pm #3696027
Great points, appreciate it! After the pandemic I plan to be working from home multiple days per week if not full time. Adds some flexibility with separation anxiety.Jan 28, 2021 at 12:28 pm #3696029
^^^ so true about getting a dog that fits with your life in general.Jan 28, 2021 at 12:47 pm #3696034Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
We have a 6 pound Yorkie that thinks she can conquer any Class 3 pass and occasionally runs a 5K with me! Obviously not a real trail dog though.
Just curious – what about a Goldendoodle or Labradoodle? My wife and son are both allergic and thus us owning hypoallergenic dogs.Jan 28, 2021 at 1:26 pm #3696044W I S N E R !BPL Member
In my experience, the working/hunting/outdoor breeds get a bit overblown. Catra Corbett is pretty famous in my local hills for running serious miles with TruMan, a dachshund. Everett Ruess had a scraggly looking little terrier of some sort. I’ve got a small min-pin/terrier mix. Another close friend has a small rat terrier. Mike M (on BPL) has Elvis, another tiny one…all of these dogs have had some serious outdoor experiences. Bonus: they’ll share your sleeping bag, food, pad, and shelter and can easily be carried if something goes south (I helped carry a friend’s German Shepherd over 20 miles dues to a cut and broken paw). We’ve even had some little ones do technical canyons with us because you can stick them in a pack and rappel!
As Doug said, it’s all about what fits you and your style. IME every dog is a potentially good “outdoor” dog.Jan 28, 2021 at 2:44 pm #3696051
“IME every dog is a potentially good “outdoor” dog
yes and no. I would stay away from short snout breeds, breeds so small that they cannot keep their temperature, and chunky breeds; there are probably others that I can’t think of right now. Mutts make great dogs ( still stay away from the above characteristics for outdoor activities).Jan 28, 2021 at 3:28 pm #3696059W I S N E R !BPL Member
True! I was thinking more long the lines of random shelter mutts when I said that. English bulldogs on the trail? Yeah, not sure what to make of them…My cousin’s has to live in a temperature controlled environment, wheezes and grunts like it’s ill on a good day, and they have to clean and lotion the crevices of its rolls so it doesn’t get sores…Jan 28, 2021 at 5:48 pm #3696075nunatak down gearBPL Member
Our current dog is a 35 lbs McNab, a collie herding dog bred in California for all day work in dry hot conditions.
Skinny and short haired like a greyhound, with big stand-up radar ears, he sheds heat and does 10 hour days like it’s nothing.
He is amazing off leash. When he sees big mammals he simply sits down and waits for commands (bunnies are a different story…). His biggest worry is loosing sight of me.
We trained him to accept being lowered and raised in his climbing harness on advanced routes; or jumping into our arms on shorter drops. He goes along on backcountry ski trips and mountain biking. We have a BOB trailer for multi day bikepacking. He sits in the packraft happily.
The breed has no known degenerative diseases, and being light, skinny and muscular he seems to be good for the long haul. Even then, we keep weekly activities to slow paced off leash hikes, with only occasional prolonged fast runs and big ski days. Our backpacking trips are long and hard, but probably only for us, as he rarely runs and his pack weight is kept down. The toughest part for him is likely the lack of daytime naps, but that means a quiet dog in tent, lol.
Of course he’s on IG: https://www.instagram.com/skottidog/Jan 28, 2021 at 6:19 pm #3696078Chris SBPL Member
I think that agility and size are important considerations in a hiking dog, particularly if you spend much time off-trail. Ideally, the dog is large and nimble enough to traverse any terrain that you can handle, yet small enough that you can lift it over obstacles or carry it out in the event of injury. I have two small female golden retrievers who meet these criteria and are great hiking buddies. It would be hard to find an outdoor breed that is sweeter and more people-oriented than the golden.
A good example of size and agility issues can be found here. It’s the tale of a 100 lb. bull mastiff that stopped and refused to move while midway through a challenging boulder field on the Reed Lakes Trail, one of the most popular day hikes in Southcentral Alaska. You can’t always count on a young infantryman showing up to help you out.Jan 28, 2021 at 6:42 pm #3696083
@roamer your Skotti dog is awesome. So many captures of your adventures. Really like the one wrapped in a quilt captioned “ can’t let the coyotes see me like this” . Beautiful pupJan 28, 2021 at 6:45 pm #3696084
@roamer I hope once we have a dog forum that you’ll contribute as it looks like you have it figured out!Jan 28, 2021 at 7:46 pm #3696087Steve HBPL Member
We had to put our lab “Timber” down a couple years ago. Awesome dog. Loved to hike, and obedient (except for the occasions when he peeled over to the neighbors house to get some cat food he puts our for strays). Labs and food. Milk and cookies.
About six months ago when one of our daughters was home from college for a bit, she talked me into fostering a dog she found online. I love dogs, but the fostering idea sounded painful. Either its a train wreck or you fall in love & then have to give it back. She was a Blue Heeler. Extremely affectionate, and equally active (probably about 6 years old). I thought to myself she must have been a handful as a puppy. She won me over the first day. I thought
Timber was smart. Jeez. Having trained my lab & not this one, my commands for the most part were not hers. But we really communicated. Awesome girl, & I probably would have kept her (when my daughter went back to school) if not for her original owners coming back after having to give her up from hardship. She’d have been a great trail dog. Fostering is exactly what I thought it was.
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