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Best dogs for endurance/trekking companions

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    In my part of the country (intermountain west), the common or garden variety going-on-a-ride dog is a border collie/cattle dog/kelpie/mcnab or some combination thereof.

    I am a die-hard APBT fan, but I only take dogs out off leash if they have a Really Reliable Recall, don't bother the horses, and stick tight. An APBT needs to be twice as charming and well behaved as anything else just to get taken seriously.

    Three of my dogs have met that criteria: two (one now retired, one dead) were leggy, rangy boys who could go all day. I referred to them as High Desert Trail Dogs.

    My current trail companion is, like me, built for comfort, not for speed. He's fit and muscular (NOT like me!), and inherently NICE, but not designed for endurance.

    Fortunately for him, my sport is driving, so, on long conditioning drives, he simply hops onto the navigator platform to hitch a ride when he runs out of steam.


      I only take my excellent, tireless, super-obedient, completely unaggressive dog with me when I am riding alone and from my barn; if I am riding with anyone else I get previous permission from them. I never show up with my dog unannounced.

      If on back-country roads with occasional vehicle traffic we all wear orange, horse, dog, and me.

      About 90% of the ride I typically forget she is even there, as she usually runs right behind my horse and I have to turn in the saddle to see her.

      There are way more ill-mannered problematic dogs than there are good ones on the trail. But most dog owners are blind to their dogs' faults. It is always better to leave your dog at home unless you are willing to bet $100 they will not misbehave in any possible way. Make that $1000.


        I would say German Shepherd. They are specifically bred to trot all day, in a ground-covering but not tiring gait. Specifically I would look at one from herding bloodlines. They definitely would have the endurance, plus are incredibly intelligent and easy to train. In addition their double-coat would protect them from the elements and brush.

        That would be my vote.


          Originally posted by cattywampus View Post
          I am a die-hard APBT fan, but I only take dogs out off leash if they have a Really Reliable Recall, don't bother the horses, and stick tight. An APBT needs to be twice as charming and well behaved as anything else just to get taken seriously.
          Sad but true. I never let my APBT off leash in public simply because of public perception. When I move back to the family farm, I may take some rides with him but we have the moral high ground on private property. Frankie has more a weight-lifter than a runner build, although at a "walking with occasional trotting" pace he can go all day. At my age, that's the kind of riding I do mostly anyway. Your pup is a cutie! Who wouldn't love that face?


            With regard to the OP's question, the best dog I ever had for going out with horses was a Beagle. She came from hunting bloodlines and had very good sense about being around other animals. She never barked at or annoyed the horses -- even strange horses -- and never got under their feet. She would typically range about 10-20 yards in front of the horses "checking out the trail" so to speak. Beagles do have a tendency to follow their nose and she would sometimes take off on the trail of a rabbit but she always found us when she was through chasing. We were usually riding on ranch land where that behavior wasn't a problem; I don't know how hard it would have been to train her to stay with us, which you'd probably have to do to ride on public trails.


              I have a Weimaraner mix that easily accompanies on 25 mile rides
              I also have a Cavapoo that surprisingly keeps up, and I have a backpack I put her in if she gets tired


                The one that listens! I rode so many miles with my Border Collie. I had to clip his coat in the summer so he didn't overheat but I could whistle him off of a deer's heels and he'd come straight back. He had a perfect heel and recall and when we met others on the trail we'd try to move off a bit if possible. He was completely bottomless.

                Equine Portrait Commissions and Sporting Art
                Roxy 2001 APHA, Al Amir 2005 OTTB,
                Ten Purposes 2009 OTTB


                  Really good input here and others have stated what I would have said about hounds; dogs on public lands; encounters with other dogs and people, and dealing with distractions; recall.

                  I have 800 acres of water authority property right next to me that I regularly ride on. My constant companions on those rides are two female Great Pyrenees dogs, a female Shiba Inu and a female Eskimo Spitz. Interestingly, none of these dogs is known for their strong recall but they love hitting the trails with the horses.

                  This past weekend, I took two friends out with me and three of the doggo girls accompanied us as usual; the two GPs and the Shiba Inu. While out, we came across a couple walking their basset hound and a blood hound mix. Neither was aggressive but the Blood Hound mix barked, puffed and strutted about and intimidated the oldest of the GP girls and she turned back down the trail. The other GP and Shiba pretty much ignored everybody and continued along with us riders. I knew the GP girl who had turned back knew the way home so we carried on as the end to the dirt road we were on was close.

                  Once we headed back and returned along the way we had come, we came upon Jill, the GP who had turned away from the Bloodhound cross, but who waited on us to come back along the road home.

                  I love going riding with my dogs. I ride solo quite a lot as neither my husband nor daughter ride, and with the pups, along, I definitely feel less alone. I've not risked taking them other places though for many of the reasons stated above. I think it's easier to do out West where spaces are more open and less traveled.
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