We recently had the opportunity to conduct a survey of over 700 hikers in the U.S., and asked them what dog they hiked with.
We also got to ask these same people what particularly made their dog “good” for hiking. Here’s what they had to say…
1. Good recall
Aussies will run ahead slightly and then when you call they will come back and keep checking on you. Often times they are described as being like “Velcro” to their owners.
Another owner noted:
“What’s wonderful is although they are very fast dogs and like to run the trail, they always and I mean always, stop and wait for you if you are out of their sight. It’s the herding instinct. They want their people together. My girl always likes to hike in the middle with me up front and my husband behind her. That way she keeps is both in check.”
2. Bred to listen
Both of these breeds were bred to listen and work with people.
In general though, herding breeds make for good hiking companions because they stick around with little training.
Hounds take more work/training to keep close.
3. High stamina
Aussies and ACDs are endurance dogs and need lots of exercise and mental stimulation.
Being herding breeds they are highly active and the best way to exert their energy is hiking.
They are alert to all things around them….looking for the big bad wolf.
5. Perfect size
If you’re an avid hiker, then it’s likely your dog has sustained an injury on the trail.
Sometimes the injuries can prevent the dog from finishing the hike, especially if it occurs near the summit. In which case you usually only have one option: carry the dog down the trail.
ACDs are the perfect size, usually coming in around 35-45 pounds. Aussies are nice too, but larger ones can hit close to 70 pounds (though fairly rare).
They are very agile and light on their feet. They easily can climb up ledges, trees, etc.
If you’re still not convinced…
If you’re still not convinced just check out this aussome (pun intended) video of an Australian shepherd.
1Correction: According to the AKC: “[Australian shepherds] probably originated in the Basque region of the Pyrenees Mountains between Spain and France, but was dubbed the Australian Shepherd because of its association with Basque shepherds who came to the United States from Australia in the 1800’s.”