Dog Breeds for Running and Hiking

The 21 Best Dog Breeds for Running and Hiking

It’s a well-known fact that dogs love to run. In fact, they’ll often get downright giddy when running with you (ahem, squirrels…). If you’re looking for a dog that will light your adventure on fire, you’ll find loads of dogs with runner’s frames and happy dispositions here.

Be warned, though. While your canine companion will love to get you out the door, some breeds are better suited to hiking and trail running than others. Find the breed(s) that match your fitness levels and abilities, and your dog will thank you for all the training.

Of course, you don’t want to go out for a run or hike with your pup without proper equipment. Check out our handy guide to the best running and hiking dog packs for suggestions on what to purchase. We are going to discuss 21 of the best dog breeds for running and hiking below:

1. Flat-Coated Retriever

Your pal runs for joy.

Famous for their smooth stride and open mouths, the Flat-Coated Retriever combines alertness and smarts with the ability to take on all kinds of terrain and weather. At a little over 6 inches tall at the shoulder, these dogs are prone to heavy breathing in cold weather.

But they are very capable of hunkering down in deep snow or breaking trail in deep rain. Their thick coats, long snouts, and low slung but muscular bodies help them both. Since these dogs have a penchant for living near water and beaches, they’re also great for beach runs.

2. German Shepherd

Perfect for long hikes and beach runs.

German Shepherd dogs are certainly known for their size, but this is not their defining characteristic. These dogs have broad chests and jaws that can crush up to two gallons of water in their stomachs before sitting down for a long drink.

They have a massive stride and firm body that makes them both fast and sturdy. Sporting German Shepherds are well suited for hiking in rough terrain and in denser woods where they can work in front of you.

3. Labrador Retriever

Labs don’t mind getting a little dirty.

Even though these are some of the largest dogs in the world, Labs can still manage to fit into a small backpack. The menagerie of Labs that come in here range from the smaller Goldendoodle and the teeny-tiny Teddy puppy to the massive 150-pound LBG.

Whatever size you’re looking for, there’s a Lab to suit your needs. These pups are also known for their strength, intelligence, and gentleness. Most Labs are also docile and obedient when it comes to being around people, children, and other dogs.

4. Newfoundland

They’re happiest on the beach.

These dogs have incredibly long legs and a thick layer of insulation beneath their thick layers of fur, so you can count on them to be able to handle plenty of weather and terrain. These easygoing giants may never tire of lying on their back and licking sand off their faces.

These gentle giants like to follow you around during both hiking and running adventures and happily go along with any command you give them.

5. Irish Setter

Irish Setters have a knack for getting the job done.

Irish Setters make excellent cadaver dogs, so they’re more than happy to be in the woods or on a beach, where they’ll be able to scent out dead animals.

These dogs are often compared to wolves in their personality, and they’ll put up with a fair amount of punishment (dents in the skull, anyone?) to do what needs to be done.

6. Vizsla

Vizslas are more than capable of keeping up with their owners.

Though this breed isn’t necessarily known for its intelligence, Vizslas are super-loyal and very independent. They enjoy being the leader of the pack but are also perfectly capable of taking on tasks that other dogs find distasteful.

Vizslas aren’t just great family dogs. These dogs are good with kids and cats, and they make the perfect hunting dogs when you want to keep them busy while your big hunting dog takes care of the real work.

7. Samoyed

These dogs need a hardy trainer to pull them along.

Samoyed dogs come from Siberia; a region known for harsh, cold weather. Their job is to pull heavy sleds along snow-covered trails. These long-legged dogs can pull 70 pounds without breaking a sweat. They can have a short, squat body, which will enable them to work inside their structure. These dogs need a tough, hard-working trainer.

8. Spaniel

The Spaniel is a “highly intelligent, yet stubborn, breed” that can’t be controlled by “shiny objects.”

While it’s not considered a hunting breed, these dogs are perfectly capable of being perfect cadaver dogs or family dogs. The spaniel stands at a whopping 12-15 inches at the shoulder, and its round head makes it look adorable.

They’re compact enough to work with only one person. They’re often considered one of the smartest breeds. But this dog will have a stubborn streak that you may or may not appreciate.

9. Airedale Terrier

These dogs are known for their loyalty.

If you want an easy-going, loyal, and intelligent family dog, the Airedale Terrier is the perfect choice. These dogs love their owners unconditionally, and they’ll happily keep the rest of your household in line with their fearless protectiveness.

These hounds are very good at the “leg trap” and will use it to protect their home. These hounds can be a bit aloof around other dogs, which makes them great for homes with small children.

10. Pug

The Pug is one of the most loyal and happiest dogs.

Pugs are energetic, love spending time in the water, and are very loyal to their families. They’ll stand up to larger dogs, but will do what their humans ask of them when they’re trained.

This dog loves its belly scratched, and it can be awfully pushy about wanting the attention.

11. Brussels Griffon

The Brussels Griffon will chase away spiders, and will fight your cats.

Though it’s classified as a “terrier,” the Brussels Griffon is actually the size of a Pomeranian. These dogs are a mix of smooth Foxhound, Doberman pinscher, and Shih Tzu. They love to play, but are also capable of protecting the house from animals (specifically cats) with their deep growl.

They are also extremely smart and possess remarkable detective skills. They are experts at sniffing out hidden scent in the carpet or upholstery.

12. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Staffiers are known for their aggressiveness, but they can also be very calm and fun to be around.

With deep eyes and an expression that looks like it’s missing a tooth, these dogs are large and powerful. They’re known for their protective and alert personalities. These big dogs are known for being smart and friendly. However, they’re not cuddly, and will growl at any person or animal they don’t think is a friend.

13. Miniature Bull Terrier

These dogs will live up to the name — they’re miniature bull terriers.

Miniature bull terriers are often considered part of the “pit bull” breed, but they’re actually part of the breed known as the Staffordshire bull terrier. They’re known for their affectionate and playful personalities. These dogs will get into tons of trouble — but they’re also pretty fun to have around. These dogs are exceptionally agile and can climb up and down stairs and on fences.

14. Boxer

The boxer dog is one of the best boxer breeds for companion and sports dogs.

The boxer breed is known for its playfulness and fun personality. They’re also known for their protective natures. However, boxer dogs have been known to have medical problems that are more common in the breed than in other breeds. They can also be temperamental and difficult to train.

15. Golden Retriever

A royal sight on the trail.

As the national dog of the United Kingdom, the Golden Retriever is a pet that families dream about having. These dogs are skilled hunters that love to run and play.

However, these dogs are not considered to be particularly intelligent — and they can become bored or anxious in new places.

16. West Highland White Terrier

Westies are loved for their bright and sunny dispositions.

The West Highland White Terrier is a very laid-back breed of dog, that is good for kids and families. The dogs are known for their bright personalities, and their high-pitched “woofs.”

Westies are relatively easy to train, and because of this, they can serve as a family dog for a while. However, they can sometimes take a while to acclimate to new situations and environments, and they do best in families with the ability to provide consistent guidance and training.

17. Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier

These dogs are quiet and adorable.

You can expect a lot of belly rubs, kisses, and companionship from the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier. These dogs are known for their constant playfulness and ability to make the cutest faces. They can be extremely cuddly, and will need lots of exercise and exercise time to keep their energy levels up.

These dogs are very playful, but they don’t have the deep desire to chase after a toy that you might find in a smaller dog. They’re best for adults that are confident about teaching them how to behave.

18. Yorkshire Terrier

This little dog is guaranteed to brighten up your day.

The Yorkshire Terrier is a highly sociable breed of dog that loves to play with other dogs. They also tend to be good with children. However, their personalities can vary based on the environment in which they live. They need constant attention and practice to become calm and well-behaved dogs.

19. Shih Tzu

These are one of the smallest terrier breeds.

The Shih Tzu is a small, chihuahua-like breed of dog. They are best for families that are familiar with the breed. These dogs are known for being very loving and affectionate, but they can also be a little clingy and need a lot of attention.

20. Havanese

The Havanese is a kind and charming dog.

The Havanese is a small, distinctive breed of dog. They look similar to a Maltese, but they’re smaller and lighter in color. The Havanese has a distinctive poodle face and a small head. They’re known for being extremely active dogs and are high-energy breeds.

21. Pomeranian

Pomeranians have a broad, flat face.

The Pomeranian is a medium-sized dog that is often seen in clothing ads and on movie posters. The Pomeranian is a very beautiful breed of dog, with a broad, flat face. These dogs can sometimes have hair-type allergies, but they are very good with kids and other dogs.

22. Bulldog

This is a large and energetic dog.

The bulldog is a large and athletic dog. They are very loyal and very protective dogs, which makes them popular with families with young children. However, the bulldog is large and somewhat stubborn.

This breed of dog is also very stubborn and does not respond well to a lot of training and management.


Dogs are so much fun and are an incredibly versatile part of a family’s life. Each dog has their own personality, and each one has their own unique qualities that make them perfect for someone. This list is by no means comprehensive and should not be used as a set of guidelines for the perfect dog for you — only you can decide what traits are right for you. However, you can choose any of the above dog for your next hiking plan. These dogs are definitely worth a look!

If you’re interested in adopting a dog, you’ll want to make sure that you do a little research first. You’ll want to do your research into the dog’s personality and understand why that particular breed is the best fit for your family. You’ll also want to find a dog that’s healthy, social, and affectionate, so you can form a strong bond with the dog.

What dogs do you consider to be great companions? Let us know in the comments!

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