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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

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The Best Outdoor Dog Breeds

These dogs love adventures on the trail just as much as you do.
By Shey Kiester



Australian Cattle Dog (Blue Heeler)
Adorable, protective, and descendants from a long line of rough-and-tumble herders, Blue Heelers are bad to the bone. They’ll even give you a run for your money with their high energy and tenacious spirit. [image: Michael McCullough/Flickr]


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READERS COMMENTS

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polo
Aug 04, 2014

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Frank
Aug 02, 2014

Great site. You are right about the husky breed and the border/aussie shepherd breeds as being great dogs on long hikes. Huskies do need to learn how to stay on trail (esp. off-leash) and age and experience helps them a lot---They tend to be a loving but independent lot. What worked best for me is to have both a border mix and a husky, so the husky can learn trail manners better. With proper advanced training, these dogs are durable and great in the backcountry. They also are working dogs that don't mind having dog backpacks. It is a crime to leave such dogs, (if trained properly) at home when headed in the backcountry. In fact, I suggest that those of you that do not recommend dogs in the backcountry NEVER get a husky or a border or even mixed breeds with border or husky in them. In fact, if you don't like other people's dogs on the backcountry trail, I recommend YOU stay at home!

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Lena WMI/EMT/SAR
Jun 30, 2014

Eric - you and your wife are correct - right on! Hiking and light rec outings may be OK for the pups. Backcountry not.
Linked below is the latest tragic story of an example where having a pet in the backcountry was ill-advised.
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/missing-california-firefighter-found-dead-24344359
The dog took off from the campsite and it's owner followed, wearing shorts, T-shirt, and no shoes, into rough terrain with rattlesnakes and mountain lions. Herndon was experienced and trained, yet now his "best friend" is without it's owner, and the family is without father and husband. Had the dog been left at home, this story would not have to be told.
Please, love your pets, leave them home.

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Keith
Jun 27, 2014

Hard to beat a Rhodesian Ridgeback !

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Erik
Jun 26, 2014

My wife and I love going everywhere outdoors with our Aussie. Hiking and paddling are his favorite things to do with us, along with just lying under our hammock while we chill in the shade. But I don't think we would take him on long excursions into the backcountry it just adds to the possibles of something to go bad.

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James
Jun 19, 2014

Loved this Top Ten. Taking my pup hiking makes the hike better. The look on his face is priceless. I think most people feel that way and I agree with Roger's comment.

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James
Jun 19, 2014

Loved this Top Ten. Taking my pup hiking makes the hike better. The look on his face is priceless. I think most people feel that way and I agree with Roger's comment.

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Stephen
Jun 19, 2014

For those of you don't like this article, stop telling everyone else how to run their lives and crawl back in your lonely, self-righteous holes. We're not necessarily saying we're all taking our pups into the backcountry, but just hiking. And if some do, why do you feel the need to chastise everyone else? Go buy a friggin' police whistle and direct some traffic in NYC at rush hour and let the rest of us enjoy the outdoors and our great pups...oh, and get lives, as well.

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Tren
Jun 19, 2014

As a 40 year expedition and backcountry adventurer, leader, and rescuer, I can tell you Roger that without a doubt, and with consensus, Greta is correct. The backcountry is an inherently adverse, potentially dangerous place. Putting pets into that environment only compounds the problems too numerous to mention. The fact that you've had success bringing 3 dogs with you is just that, a personal statement. The fact based, professionally endorsed advice and recommended guidelines are to leave the pets at home when headed to the backcountry. When you get back they'll be safe and happy to see you.

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Scott
Jun 19, 2014

My dachshund is my hiking buddy. He can't go for long distances, so he keeps me from over-exerting myself. Probably not one of the best outdoors breeds, but he's mine. Or rather, we're each other's.

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Roger
Jun 16, 2014

Greta, you do not know what it is like to go hiking or backpacking with a true friend. With comments like yours, you should stay out of the backcountry. German shepards and mutts are great hiking partners, I have 3.

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Chuck
Jun 14, 2014

What about German shepherds?

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Trudi
Jun 13, 2014

What's a dog bread?, 2nd item under "Most Popular".

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Greta
Jun 13, 2014

So, what is a dog bread? - 2nd item under Most Popular.
Leave the dogs at home - do not bring them in the backcountry.
It's "backpacker" magazine, what do dog breads have to do with backpacking?

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Judy
Jun 10, 2014

Strong, loving "Velcro" dogs with never ending energy. Better be ready to be active in the great outdoors if you are "owned" by a V!

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Vince Gagliardi
Jun 10, 2014

Although very close to a Visla, my Weimeraner has made the perfect hiking partner for me the past 5 years. We get out and hike at least 3 times a month and she sleeps at the foot of my bed every night. I couldn't ask for a better outdoor companion.

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