Jan 28, 2021 at 7:51 pm #3696088Jeffs ElevenBPL Member
Black Mouth Cur
Nobody knows about this breed, but I love hiking, err… we love hiking with her. She’s 50 lbs. can go over or under anything even with her pack on. (7lbs max- but that’s her food and a coat+) Super chill when it’s time to go to bed. She even goes to bed before we do. She’ll walk over to the tent and look back at us in the classic BMC sheepish look and we let her in the tent. She goes in and curls up on her quilt.Jan 28, 2021 at 11:26 pm #3696103rubmybelly!BPL Member
@sleepingLocale: The Cascades
While I’m thinking of it, if you plan to get a dog really soon, you might want to first check to see if your preferred vet is accepting new clients, or any vet in your area. Not sure how it is where you live, but when I adopted my pup Jan. 7, I found out after adopting her that many vets in my area were not accepting new clients due to covid, including the vet I would have preferred that is literally right out my back door and over the fence. I could walk there in less than five minutes.
I got a bit lucky when I asked my trainer who he used, and called them to see if they were accepting new clients. They’re a bit over half an hour drive away. They were, but their first appt. was March 5. I took it, and also asked to be put on a cancellation list. I got very lucky in that someone did cancel I was able to get my pup to the vet for an initial checkup/blood work and such today.
I think most respected flea/tick treatments are prescription only, so you need a vet to give you a prescription in order to get some, another reason to ensure you can get a vet before getting a new pup.Jan 29, 2021 at 6:28 am #3696115
@Roamer thanks for sharing! Sounds like an amazing dog. I may have to give the IG a follow!Jan 29, 2021 at 7:40 am #3696121
In my opinion, the single biggest factor in being a successful companion to your dog – read that again, for emphasis – is the harmony of personality and lifestyle on the part of both hominid and canine, and those are not traits that are incredibly breed-dependent…in either species. Sure, you can get some basic clues from the established traits of an established breed, but there are just as many exceptions as there are examples when it comes to breed-dependent characteristics, so don’t get hung up on a specific kind of dog.
If I were you, I would start looking at rescues, shelters and local vets, and put the word out to the staff for exactly what you’re looking for: lots of energy but not hyper, moderate size, and a tendency to want to stick close to a human. No preference on breed, just a big emphasis on personality and characteristics; also, be upfront with them about your own temperament, habits and characteristics as well. After that, it’s simply a matter of whether you both click or not, and if you do there’s little to worry about as long as you don’t try to shoehorn a dog into your life without making any changes, yourself. Remember: the human/canine partnership is now estimated to be somewhere around 27,000 years old, and for approximately 26,800 of those years, people have looked to dogs as partners more than pets…and partnerships are compromising two-way streets. If you’re willing to make changes and include yourself into a dog’s life as much as you include them into yours, pretty much any breed that’s physically able to take a long walk will be a good companion.Jan 29, 2021 at 9:59 am #3696144KarenBPL Member
When I hike with my friends, one of the women usually brings along her dog. Most of the time it’s great; he’s a lab mix and a wonderful companion. I’m not sure of the hesitation here about labs, but we’re not rock climbing; we’re on a trail. He’s never had difficulty with bog, tundra, woods, talus, any terrain we’ve been in. But we have had occasions where he has been sick, and one where he killed a marmot. There are areas where ground nesting birds are vulnerable to dogs; they have to be leashed in places like that. And this dog has the worst gas! he sleeps near his owner and away from the rest of us. We also hike in areas where there are active traplines, so there’s always the worry that he might get into one, but he never has. And there are porcupines; bring pliers. And bears! Bears supposedly will chase a dog back to its owner, although I’ve never known anyone this happened to. Bringing the dog is always a decision, and one the group makes, not automatic. And when it’s raining, the dog will bring mud into the car (in Alaska, hardly anyone cares about this). Bringing a dog also means you might have to turn back if the dog is too injured to walk, just like you would if a person in the hiking party were injured and the trip gets cut short. Or you might have to carry the dog, so consider how you could use your gear to do that for a large dog. Probably most of you know all this, but lots of folks may not, if they haven’t experienced any issues with their dog yet.
If you want to read a well written account of a hike with a dog that illustrates some of the complexity, read the essay in The Accidental Explorer by Sherry Simpson. She was an acquaintance who passed away recently, but is a fabulous outdoor/nature writer; you all might enjoy reading her work.Jan 29, 2021 at 10:37 am #3696155
Or you might have to carry the dog, so consider how you could use your gear to do that for a large dog.
Definitely a concern for those of us with large breeds; I couldn’t carry Leia under any circumstances, or with any kind of contrivance, and she’s not even fully-matured, yet. This is one of the reasons that I decided to start carrying a folding saw; if I’m near any kind of woodland, I can possibly use the saw to construct some kind of makeshift travois for her; I can use a lightweight DCF tarp to complete it as a stretcher, or I can use it as a wrap, or I can cut it apart to make a sling, bandage, etc. I’ve also considered taking a first aid class from a local vet, simply because medicinal practices vary so widely between different species.
Also, I personally know of exactly one incident when a dog antagonized a black bear to the point of it pursuing the dog back to the dog’s owner, evidently to file a strongly-worded complaint. The only problem with the bear’s strategy was the other dog that became involved upon seeing a bear approaching in fifth gear: a 200-lb. Central Asian Shepherd that quickly saw no reason to remain seated beside his human. Festivities ensued, and the bear suddenly remembered pressing and prior engagements in a distant postal code. The moral of the story is this: if you’re a black bear, don’t take on dogs that were bred to deal with Eurasian brown bears, ’cause it’s just not gonna go well for you.Jan 29, 2021 at 12:26 pm #3696172
Black Mouth Curs sound interesting. I saw them used as cattle dogs in Lakeview Oregon to find the mavericks in the woods at the end of the season. A do anything dog with the nose and heart of a scent hound and some shepherding desires thrown in . In the old country if you were poor and could only feed one dog you got a Cur. They could hunt, shepherd livestock and bite intruders.
How does your BMC do with recall?
Close friends had a Catahoola Leapard Cur that could pretty much do anything. It loved to chase bears, run obstacle courses and eat bananas.Jan 29, 2021 at 2:41 pm #3696204Axel JBPL Member
I am an avid dog owner and love them. I also live near an urban trail that has lots of dog walking and jogging activity. I would advise you to ask this question to a Vet before buying a dog for active backpacking and trail running because of their knowledge on canine anatomy and physiology. I have seen some really stressed out dogs desperately trying to keep up with their owner because that’s what dogs love to do….be close to their owner, even to their detriment. Many owners are oblivious to stress signals from the dog until its almost too late, so please be really thoughtful and understanding that what is fun for you, is torture for them.Jan 29, 2021 at 3:07 pm #3696211David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
We had two labs here in Alaska and that worked well – cold-weather and cold-water tolerant (or loving), could do the miles if you keep their weight reasonable. One was very family-centric and kinda stand-offish, even growly with other hiking parties. The other was so super friendly, she’d follow another group of 6 instead of the 2 of us because that was more people to pet her.
Then we got a lab-Aussie mix. More on that later.
The labs did need to be helped up a few rocky scrambles.
I’d say some working dog breed or mix since, whatever task they were bred for (herding, retrieving, pointing, etc), they are (1) trainable and (2) enjoy doing what you tell them to do. You’ll need a solid “come”, “sit”, and “stay”, maybe also a “heel” and I’ve also always trained them to return when they sense a moose or bear ahead. There have been a few hikes where the dog just refuses to go ahead (after just a few miles – still with LOTS of energy) and so we turn around, wondering what we avoided, but if a dog that loves to hike makes you turn around, maybe you should.
Our lab-Aussie mix has been fabulous. Not so smell-oriented as a lab, more sight-oriented like a shepard. VERY trainable. Our daughter can teach her a new trick in a morning. It only took me two day hikes to train her to return to me when she senses another hiking party is ahead of us (I don’t to freak out other people nor for some yahoo to draw and fire their Glock) when they catch a glimpse of black-bear-looking critter. She’s healthier at age 9 than the pure-labs were and that’s what you’d expect from the “hybrid-vigor” of a mix. We haven’t had a pure Aussie, but my sense is that she’s calmer than that – she always loves an outing but is also happy if everyone is home around the house. Crazy-high emotional intelligence – I can see her managing her expectations around hikes, food, and attention so she’s not disappointed about the outcome – she’s much better at that than I am. The only downside has (rarely) been the herding thing. We took a large family trip (mom, dad, kids, kids’ friends) on a 3-night, 40-mile trip and everyone spread out over 1/2 mile of trail. The dog kept going from the front person to the back, checking on everyone. She did 3 or 4 or 5 times the mileage we did and was wiped out by the end. And did nothing for 2 days afterwards – just lay around – but then was fine.Jan 29, 2021 at 5:38 pm #3696241KatttBPL Member
David makes some excellent points. Our Aussie gets worn out from running ahead all excited and then to the back over and over again. If we walk with a couple other people he takes the job seriously and circles around us non stop to keep us together. Then he’s out the next day and that would not be good with serious miles day after day. I agree that what makes working dogs special is how easily they train and want to please. I have slacked with Baldy but whenever I try something he gets it immediately and looks so happy..Jan 29, 2021 at 7:50 pm #3696274
I think climate and coat type should be your first consideration, especially if you plan to run with your new dog. A long coat in hot summer weather is going to end in disaster, or force you to run only in the mornings before the sun comes up, or only near water where your dog can cool off pretty darn frequently. Dogs overheat really easily. Similarly, a short coat dog will need clothes in cold weather and some have issues with cold paws.
Beyond that, my limited experience is similar to David’s: a working dog is bred to be durable with constant activity, are generally agile enough to navigate obstacles, are tireless, eager to please, and smart. They learn good trail behavior easily. The herding dogs I’ve met also don’t tend to stray. They want to be with you and take your directions. So, although recall, as always, is the most important command, they are less likely to run off, or will almost refuse to do so.
If a long coat fits you, then I say one half border collie and one half something else. There are lots of border collie mixes that need rescuing. But that raises the problem with them: their energy level and need for attention/direction requires a great commitment by the owner; a commitment most fail to make, thus the need for rescuing. But if one half is something a little calmer, the intelligence, focus and eagerness to please of the BC genes makes for an incredible trail dog. Even still, puppy energy can be something else, so maybe adopt a four year old if you don’t want to be in constant motion for three years.Jan 29, 2021 at 9:16 pm #3696281Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Border collie. Tests show it is the smartest of all breeds. (Gotta be to work with Scotsmen!;o)Jan 29, 2021 at 9:42 pm #3696284
A long coat in hot summer weather is going to end in disaster, or force you to run only in the mornings before the sun comes up, or only near water where your dog can cool off pretty darn frequently. Dogs overheat really easily.
Not necessarily. Dogs can overheat easily, yes, but the insulation of a long coat works both ways: it can help keep heat in, and it can help keep heat out. The best thing you can do for a long/double-coated dog is to help them shed their undercoat when winter begins to pass; when that layer of heat-trapping fur is discarded, the longer outer coat acts as a heat-blocking barrier that also funnels and directs air across the skin, helping to cool the dog. That being said, some dogs that are bred for cold weather simply don’t adapt well to hot weather no matter what you do, but coat length by itself isn’t a 100% indicator of how well a dog handles any given temperature. (As a citation, I had to learn all of this when talking with our vets about how to groom and care for our Pyrenees/Central Asian mix.)Jan 30, 2021 at 10:49 am #3696332
I’ve heard that type of thing before, Bonzo. I agree that combing out the undercoat in Spring is critical (although we haven’t had much luck with the “blowing” that groomers do). But I’m skeptical of the idea that a long coat helps keep a dog cool in summer. Where is the jacket that keeps me cool in summer? Unless it’s very hot outside, the dog’s body is much warmer than the air, especially after a bit of sprinting, so anything keeping that body heat in is going to be bigger factor than any tendency to keep heat “out.” Outercoats are pretty decent wind-resistant barriers, generally, so they will have a tendency to preserve a boundary layer, which might be worth something like 0.6 clo.
All the short coat dogs are running around the dog park without a care in the summer, but my border collie mix, no matter how well brushed, is back in the river after every game of chase or catch me.
We did a trip last May when the weather grew unseasonably warm. We had to be very careful to stop at every bit of water we found and wait for our boy to wallow as long as he needed to. We felt we were on the edge of heat stroke for all of one day with high 70s F and high humidity. And we were just walking. I don’t think a running pace would have been possible.
Mushers won’t run their dogs if the temps are above 60F.
(Don’t mean to be argumentative.)
If I wanted a trail dog and lived down south I’d be looking for something short-haired like a Vizla, McNab, or some cur. Up north, BC mix.Jan 30, 2021 at 1:14 pm #3696349
You’re not being argumentative, and there’s no problem being skeptical. Just remember that dogs don’t cool off the way you do – sweating – so comparisons to us aren’t useful. Dogs 1) pant, and 2) use that flowing outer coat to exchange air across the skin surface, which – although they don’t sweat like we do – assists in cooling. It also prevents heat buildup and sunburn by working the same way as a full-body covering when you’re in the desert…and if I was running dogs developed for sleds and snow, I wouldn’t be pushing them in hot weather, either.Jan 30, 2021 at 1:40 pm #3696355
Running in wolf country, one might want an American Lion Hound.Jan 30, 2021 at 2:02 pm #3696367Jan 30, 2021 at 9:18 pm #3696426
David, how did you train to return when sensing moose or bear ahead?Jan 31, 2021 at 12:41 am #3696480David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
It was toughest with our first dog who we had in Seattle for two years before moving to Alaska. In Seattle, we didn’t care if she chased squirrels in the park or cats as we walked her on leash around town. Then getting to Alaska we did NOT want her chasing after moose and getting stomped. It took some negative reinforcement, in the form of a shock collar, put on well in advance, and then, when she’d tear off after a moose, we’d give her a “Kenai, Leave It!”, “Kenai Come!” and, if she didn’t immediately respond, zap her. She quickly learned that the moose are electrified. You hate to zap your dog, but it only took 4 or 5 times and you’d hate them getting stomped a lot more.
With the other dogs, we started earlier and had a really solid “Leave It!” and “Come” before taking them afield and would use those when we could barely detect the wildlife. Then give lots of praise and treats when they returned. Really quickly, they’d start returning for praise and treats before we’d noticed anything ahead – when they’d heard/smelled/sensed something long before we could. Luna comes back to me with a certain demeanor (I know you want me back here, there’s something ahead, where’s my treat?) that I recognize.Jan 31, 2021 at 9:47 am #3696501
^^^ Great suggestion! A super-strong return is absolutely necessary for a dog that will be off-leash at any time, but it’s thankfully an easy one to teach in most cases. The conditional return is an excellent variant; I’ll have to work on that one with Leia.Jan 31, 2021 at 11:33 am #3696522
David’s strategy for automatic recall when wildlife/people are ahead has worked for me.Jan 31, 2021 at 2:44 pm #3696566Diane PinkersBPL Member
@dipinkLocale: Western Washington
Backpacker Radio from the Trek recently had a veterinarian as a guest, who is a long-distance hiker as well as being involved in canine medicine and I think sports medicine and rehabilitation. Worth a listen. I was amused to hear that she long-distance hikes with a Standard Poodle–kind of a greyhound with funny fur, really, but not always the most sensible when it comes to trail troubles and animals, so she said she had to be more alert. Absolutely, a strong recall is essential on the trail, and a good stay as well–something I find that most dog owners omit training. Sitting for 2.5 seconds is not a sit, that’s just a token attempt to get the cookie.
A friend of mine used to hike with her Schipperke regularly. He lived a long time, up until about 16 or seventeen. As he got older, he’d just lay down beside the trail when he’d had enough, and she’d scoop him up and put him up on top of her pack, either in the roll-top, or snuggled between shoulders and top of pack. 17 pounds was do-able to add to her load–easier than 40 pounds and up!Jan 31, 2021 at 8:25 pm #3696643
Yes, I just listened to it yesterday. Definitely worth the listen. Thanks everyone!Feb 4, 2021 at 1:22 pm #3697401Mark RiesBPL Member
ACD’s Were/are bred to herd by nipping /biting legs and heals and are known to chase down and bite playing running kids. Sporting breeds are known for chasing game. I’ve owned BCs for years had three with one old gal remaining.All of them were different in their quirks even though they learned from each other. I backpacked with them all but I did a lot of training on and off the trail I’d worry more about how to train the dog and socializing it properly during the stages of puppy when it should be socialized which vary with breed as well as the individual dog. I didn’t catch if you’ve had past dog training history? It’s really important to have a picture in your brain of how you want the dog to be and don’t ever let a puppy do what you don’t want the adult dog to do. It’s easier to never let bad behaviors start than to teach them the bad behavior then trying to stop it later. I hope you become one of the pet owners who are considerate of other people /pets /wildlife and realize not everyone wants other people’s dogs jumping on them licking growling barking. I was pretty clueless when I first started backpacking with a dogFeb 4, 2021 at 6:21 pm #3697463
Dogs I don’t like because they have bitten me.
Pit Bulls , twice
German Shepherds, twice
Dogs I don’t like because they have knocked me down on the trail
Golden Retrievers (also many around Tahoe are from the same kennels and smell really bad from being overbred, so after you have dusted yourself off and washed the scrapes on your knees, you still smell like an old wet dog bed as you continue your hike)
People I don’t like because they have bad dogs.
Pit bull owners
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