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Best Backpacking dog breed
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Jeff Cadorin
(JeffCadorin) - F

Locale: paper beats rock
Best Backpacking dog breed on 06/26/2008 12:12:23 MDT Print View

Looking for a good trail buddy for solo trips. Im not looking for a long hair dog. Good temperament and friendly with kids is a must. I have always liked boxers but dont know if they would like the trail life?

The no long hair comes from my soon to be moving to Arkansas. To many bugs and I dont want to deal with checking for ticks and such with all that hair in the way.


Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
"Best backpacking dog breed" on 06/26/2008 12:50:05 MDT Print View

I have a female (fixed) short haired border collie that is a great trail companion. She is very very smart, has endurance to spare and has both a great personality and heart. Her small size means less food required which is a plus. This breed can go all day and be ready for more, this breed will not quit.

Any draw backs to this breed - yes (no I meant YES). This is a high drive breed which means that if they get bored or are not provided enough daily exersise they will make your life hell.

It may require some searching to find a short hair (also known as tight coat) but well worth the effort, less shedding and matting.

Edited by thomdarrah on 06/26/2008 12:51:58 MDT.

Michael Crosby
(djjmikie) - MLife

Locale: Ky
RE:"Best Backpacking dog breed" on 06/26/2008 13:33:05 MDT Print View

Look here for additional info:

Edit: If you look at the bottom of that page, you can see a grid that holds all past posts.

Edited by djjmikie on 06/26/2008 14:07:12 MDT.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: Best Backpacking dog breed on 06/26/2008 14:18:51 MDT Print View

I have big hopes for this little guy. He is 16 weeks old and I have him doing 1-2 hour light hikes with me so far. It is really cool to have hiking company that does not talk. Oh and yes, he is a english Breed Choc Lab


Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Best Backpacking dog breed on 06/26/2008 14:21:05 MDT Print View

Hi Jeff. My old pal was Sam, a Rhodesian Ridgeback. Short hair and easy to spot any ticks. He would walk all day. Great with the kids, and very protective of them with strangers. Unfortunately, the ex-wife got him as well as the kids!

Bill Reynolds
(billreyn1) - M

Locale: North East Georgia Mountains
Best Backpacking Dog on 06/26/2008 15:09:23 MDT Print View

He is long hair but requires very little maintenance and hardly sheds. He is a Flat Coated Retriever and he is my favorite hiking buddy. I hope to thru hike the AT with him next year. He carries his own food and pad plus a few of my things

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Re: Best Backpacking dog breed on 06/26/2008 15:20:58 MDT Print View

We just got a new pup, a windhound that sticks close and
is light on his feet. It is a bit furry tho.

Ryan- go easy on your pup, like kids, their joints aren't
formed till older - about a year. Ask your vet for advice on

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: Re: Re: Best Backpacking dog breed on 06/26/2008 16:26:07 MDT Print View

Most def Dave, our hikes tend to consist of 10-15 minutes of walking, 10-15 minutes of playing. It is a great way to get some of his crazy energy out him and get him to focus better on his obedience training.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
there is an old backpacker article ... on 06/27/2008 12:22:36 MDT Print View

There is an old backpacker article about someone breeding canine hiking companions perhaps there is a search feature for this.
I've had a several samoyed companions, as the dogs age, hip dysplasia seems fairly common. I really have had much better luck with mixed breeds then any pure bred dogs. Even though the current wonder hound has a longer coat I would recommend a shorter coat dog or keeping their fur cut shorter, particularly during tick and stream fording season.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Anyone have experience using Ruff Wear Dog Backpacks? on 06/27/2008 12:28:53 MDT Print View

I recently bought one of these from REI on clearance, which must be the 2007 model.

I have a 7 year old female yellow lab named Jasmine.

It has two saddle bags and has some storage for two water bags.

Has anyone used this before?

Any tips or suggestions for a 1st time user on what to bring to take Jasmine out on the trail with my family and I?



John Roan
(JRoan) - MLife

Locale: Vegas
Re: Anyone have experience using Ruff Wear Dog Backpacks? on 06/27/2008 16:07:38 MDT Print View

We have both REI and Kelty brands. The Kelty, no matter what you do, moves to one side or the other. The REI stays put very well. The key is to keep the weight equal on each side. Good for holding water, folding bowl (I have the Ruff Wear bowl), treats, and booties.
I didn't think my dog could hang with hiking and backpacking, but he's done great after a couple of trips out (getting off the couch).Sparky 2

Jeff Cadorin
(JeffCadorin) - F

Locale: paper beats rock
Re: Best Backpacking Dog on 06/27/2008 16:37:35 MDT Print View

While we are on the subject....any of you guys/gals have any comments on pluses and minuses to trail life with a dog? Just curious how having them along has changed your outdoor experience.

Thanks for all the great feedback on breeds so far

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
a brief note on stretch leashes on 06/28/2008 10:29:53 MDT Print View

A stretch style leash like ruff-wears can be a real nice addition for hiking with drool monsters but only after a bit of training has occured.
One of my first hikes last year with one of these coincided with some small squirrel creature scurrying up a nearby tree trunk off the port side. The brain then witnessed the equivalent of a train wreck with the reflexes unable to kick in as dawg accelerated to near light speed before reaching the expansion limit of the leash.After picking myself up and removing the bulk of the forest products from my anatomy I stared at skippy the tail dragon enjoying a good sniff on the tree trunk, mumbling curses at him in a foreign language I didn't know I spoke. The physical therapy was quite brief so I could commence with a few simple training exercises within a few weeks.
These leashes can be snapped around your waist which might have given me a interesting ride through the brambles if it had been a deer instead of a rodent before I could pull the ripcord.
Newtons Second Law states force = mass x acceleraton. An 80lb. dog reaching terminal escape velocity in less then 20 feet will always overpower a 185# hiker moving a few miles per hour in the other direction.

Edited by pyeyo on 06/28/2008 19:28:56 MDT.

Dylan Hyatt
(dylanhyatt) - F
Re: Best Backpacking dog breed on 06/29/2008 03:46:15 MDT Print View

We got a great dane largely due to our outdoor lifestyle. They have no problem keeping up on long hikes. But if we spend the weekend in, they have no problem being couch potatos either. They have great personalities, are great with children and other dogs. Ours shows no interest in chasing down the forest wildlife, other than butterflies. She just keeps pace as we trek along. However, hikes of longer than several miles, 5 or so, per day are not recommended for danes younger than 1-1.5 years of age due to the fact that the stress on the joints can contribute to irregular joint development and extensive health problems later in life.

A boxer isn't a bad idea either. They'd love the activity and exercise, although they can have problems dealing with extreme heat or cold.

Frank Perkins

Locale: North East
Re: Best Backpacking dog breed on 06/29/2008 15:02:32 MDT Print View

Hey Jeff,

A few months back I did the same type of research, although it wasn't primarily for backpacking, but more of a family dog that could also do some backpacking trips.

I have similar criteria to you as well: shedding, good with kids, friendly, etc.

I found an interesting breed of dogs called Labradoodles and Golden doodles. Basically they mix a poodle with a Lab or Golden Retriever. The type "B" variant can be the size of a Lab or Golden Retriever, but with the hair of a poodle. While no breeder will guarantee your dog won't shed, it's something to look into.

I haven't seriously looked into it, but do your research and find a good breeder. Expect to pay from 1k-2.5k and have to put down a non refundable deposit as well.

Jesse Glover
(hellbillylarry) - F

Locale: southern appalachians
Re: Best Backpacking dog breed on 06/29/2008 18:19:54 MDT Print View

My boxer is NOT a good hiking dog she just cant hang for more than 5 miles or so before running out of steam. My other dog is a border collie pit bull mix and he can hike all day. He has unbelievable stamina and drive.
I would advise against buying a dog from a breeder. There are just too many good dogs getting put down in shelters for anyone to justify paying 2500 dollars for a designer dog. I would second the short haired border collie or lab but what about a beagle or a blue tick. I have seen those guys run for hours through the woods without stopping.

Frank Perkins

Locale: North East
Re: Re: Best Backpacking dog breed on 06/29/2008 19:56:36 MDT Print View

Just to build on your point Jesse, don't get a dog from a pet shop. I only mentioned the "doodle" dogs because they're fairly new and seem to address what most people are looking for... a golden retriever or lab that magically doesn't shed.

Mike Nielsen
(geophagous) - F

Locale: Pacific North West
Good mutts are very, very, well mixed on 06/30/2008 16:19:36 MDT Print View

I would suggest a good mutt dog. Something that looks like a "natural dog" will probably be the best fit.

One of my dogs is like that. Here he is with my son on a hike.

He is about 35lbs and can go all day. Does great in hot weather and being a mixed mutt has had no health problems. He is 11 years old in this recent picture.

He still can go for miles, listens exceptionally well and will not chase anything you tell him not to.

So look for a short coated very, very mixed dog. If you can determine what the parents are, look some more. When you see pictures of third world areas, most of the dogs you see are like my guy. Maybe a bit bigger. These are very, very tough dogs that have been "bred" to survive anything.

Here is a few pics that I am thinking of

Edited by geophagous on 06/30/2008 16:20:20 MDT.