Sit. Eat. Run. Snuggle. Good dog. Though man’s best friend is an irreplaceable fixture in most people’s lives, not every breed is made for the great outdoors. After all, certain dogs are better suited for Louis Vuitton dog carriers than they are for climbing mountains and bagging peaks. But hey, we’re not here to judge, just to shed a little light on those most aligned with your lifestyle. And if you’re the outdoorsy type, you’ll want to read on to figure out which kind of dog breed is best for you.
1. Standard poodle
This might surprise you, seeing as how some folks associate poodles with hair bows and custom dog beds. But the poodle happens to be a very popular dog breed and for good reason. According to PetMD, “Preserving its love for hunting, it is fond of swimming, running, and retrieving.” Unlike some humans who don’t like getting their hair wet, the poodle has no such inclination to shy away from splashing around in the open water.
2. Australian shepherd
If you’re looking for a dog who truly knows what it means to be a workhorse, the Australian shepherd is for you. With roots in ranching, these guys have herding and working the farm in their veins. They live for staying active, having a job to do, and impressing their humans. As the American Kennel Club puts it, unemployment doesn’t agree with Aussies. And furthermore, these dogs are far more concerned with pleasing their owners than they are with socializing with other dogs.
3. Bernese mountain dog
The Bernese mountain dog is often associated with cool climates, picturesque mountain towns, and lots and lots of hair. And of course, we can’t forget about all those adorable images of them with barrels around their necks either. But more importantly — at least for the sake of this article — Berners are wonderful outdoor companions. In particular, they’re great hiking buddies, especially if you live somewhere cold.
And just when you thought these cuddly canines had maxed out their cuteness potential, it gets even better. Not only can they double as a mule for carrying your gear (so long as you have a dependable pack for them, such as one from Ruffwear), but they can even tote your kids around in a wagon. That’s right. Simply sign up your Berner for a drafting course, and he’ll be a pro in no time.
4. German shorthaired pointer
These dogs are born hunters, which is why they make such great adventure companions. Long and lean, German shorthaired pointers have a solid, sturdy build, perfect for running long distances. They require lots of exercise each and every day, so if you’re more of a couch potato, this dog is definitely not for you. With the endurance of a marathon runner and the agility of a gymnast, pointers will sniff out adventure wherever it’s to be found.
5. Pembroke Welsh corgi
Don’t let their size fool you. Although these guys might be small in stature, they’re eager to please both indoors and out. According to the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America, “Pembroke Welsh corgis make great companion animals, but they were originally bred to work on the farm and are still happiest if they have a clear-cut purpose in life.” Despite their short legs, corgis love staying active, showing off how quick they really are.
6. Labrador retriever
It’s no wonder Labs are a family favorite and, according to the AKC, even the most popular dog breed in the country. Everyone’s familiar with the sweet, gentle, lovable Lab. Whether yellow, black, or chocolate, they’re eager to show their love and want nothing more than to get that love right back.
This breed’s skills span a broad spectrum, from expert swimmers to top-notch runners. And did you know the Labrador retriever also makes for a phenomenal rescuer, guide, and service dog? Still not convinced? Check out this incredible video, which highlights the unsung heroes of the Telluride Ski Patrol: the avalanche rescue dogs. Adorable, we know.
7. Siberian husky
You’d be hard-pressed to find one of these living in a tropical climate — at least happily, that is. Originally bred in Northeast Asia, Siberian huskies are a working breed most comfortable in the cold. Their thick coats are ideal for harsh climates, and they can’t get enough of that gorgeous winter wonderland setting, especially if they’re along for a hike. They’re well-tempered and alert but not aggressive, and the AKC recommends husky parents be prepared to provide plenty of daily exercise.
8. Portuguese water dog
You guessed it: This dog is of the water-loving variety. Not only do they make a wonderful family pet, but they just might be your next best fishing pal, too. If you love to be on the water, then this breed’s for you. Portuguese water dogs were once required to spend long hours working on fishing boats. Doing everything from herding fish into nets to guarding the boat and its catch, these dogs would even “courier messages from boat to boat or boat to shore,” the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America says. Seriously, how cute is that?
9. Golden retriever
The Labrador retriever has already made our list, so now it’s the golden’s turn. As another one of the most popular breeds in the country, the golden retriever has been a beloved family pet for generations and will continue as such for generations to come.
All cuteness aside, these pups make for wonderful adventure companions. Their snuggling prowess can’t be denied, nor can their excitement for activity. When adventure abounds, they’ll be the first tail wagging at the door. Whether you love taking the whole family to play Frisbee in the park or you’re an avid hiker, runner, or river rat, the lovable golden will not disappoint.
10. Shetland sheepdog
Seeing as it’s got “sheepdog” in its name, it’s probably no surprise these dogs are the herding type. Easily trainable and willing to work, Shetland sheepdogs are made for family rooms and barns alike. Bring them to wide open spaces, and let ’em loose.
Furthermore, their valuable contributions are vast. But don’t just take our word for it. As the American Shetland Sheepdog Association says, “From obedience, agility and herding, to therapy dog work, tracking and junior showmanship — this breed truly does it all!”
11. Rhodesian ridgeback
As a dog who was originally bred in Africa to hunt lions, there’s no doubt the Rhodesian ridgeback is a serious partner in crime. Strong, sturdy, and muscular, they make good family protectors, as they’re loyal to loved ones but reserved with strangers. They’re athletic, quick, and require lots of exercise, so be prepared to provide them with just that.
Bringing characteristics of both pointer and retriever to the table, the vizsla makes our list for good reason. Originally bred as a hunting dog in Hungary, this breed is no stranger to long, strenuous days in the field. And the retriever qualities make him a wonderful, easily trained family pet, as well. As a dog that thrives on endurance, the vizsla won’t soon call it quits on your adventure, at least not before you’re ready.
13. Australian cattle dog
Give this dog a job, and he’ll be your new best friend. Yet another canine that thrives on hard work, the Australian cattle dog has one main purpose: to herd cattle. Whether by stubborn cows or challenging hikes, these dogs are not easily deterred. They’ll get the job done, no matter how long or amount of effort it takes.
14. Alaskan malamute
As the largest and oldest of the Arctic sled dogs, the Alaskan malamute is a huge fan of trekking long distances, weight-pulling, and backpacking. Although the breed won’t do you much good if you’re an endurance runner, he’ll come in handy as your perfect long-haul hiking partner. According to the AKC, the Alaskan malamute is a strong dog built for heavy work, which means he’ll crave consistent exercise.
Long, lean, sleek, and graceful, the Weimaraner’s shiny grey-silver coat is what typically first catches a person’s attention. Or is it their undeniably adorable floppy ears? Either way, these guys were bred for speed, hunting, endurance, and intelligence, making this pup an ideal mate for running, along with any other physically demanding activity.
So there you have it, not only is a dog a man’s best friend, he’s a thrill-seeker’s best friend, too. Keep these dogs busy, and they’ll be happy campers for life.
Read More: 15 of the Most Popular Dog Breeds in America