This is a guest post from our friends at www.dogsbarn.com
Are you an avid hiker but find that your furry friend isn't always up for the challenge? You're not alone! Certain dog breeds just don't seem to enjoy hiking as much as others and it's important to keep in mind that not every dog is cut out for the trail.
In this blog post, we'll take a look at three dog breeds that prefer not to hike. Each of these breeds has unique personality traits and tendencies that make them less than perfect for those who enjoy outdoor adventures.
We’ll also provide some tips on making hiking more enjoyable for both you and your pooch. Happy trails!
These dogs make lovely family pets, but their stocky stature, short legs and weight do not lend themselves to strenuous physical activity. Along with Dachshunds and Bulldogs, they are classed as an achondroplastic breed, which means they suffer from genetic dwarfism.
Originally bred as hunting dogs, their short legs meant hunters could keep up with them on the trail and a healthy adult could, in fact, walk up to 10 miles a day.
These days, however, due to extensive breeding, they can suffer from several serious health conditions such as elbow dysplasia, Intervertebral degenerative disc disease (IVDD) and luxating patella.
All these conditions can be worsened with too much exercise. Bassetts also love their food and are prone to obesity which again can make running and hitting the trail a non-starter.
One of the oldest dog breeds, these dignified little pups were the lapdogs of emperors and retain an imperial attitude even today, which often gives the impression of them being stubborn and obstinate as well as incredibly cute.
They can suffer from back problems and heart murmurs, which can inhibit vigorous activity and sadly, many are also overweight.
A Pekingese only requires around 30 minutes of exercise a day and although there are always exceptions, they are not a trail-happy breed.
They are brachycephalic dogs, like Frenchies and Pugs, meaning they can suffer from breathing problems and also have difficulty regulating their body temperature due to their short nasal passages. Combined with their thick fur, this means walking a Peke in the summer heat is a big no-no!
The final breed is going to cause some debate. I know people who have very fit and healthy Bulldogs who regularly go on long walks, but this is the exception rather than the rule. Bulldogs have all the issues of the Basset Hound combined with being a brachycephalic breed.
So along with joint problems, short legs and carrying the extra weight, they also have issues with their breathing, so are not ideal hiking buddies.
This breed gets a bad rep for being lazy, but it’s more to do with the fact they’re just not built like an athlete and as they age, they tend to get fatter, which doesn’t help.
That being said, with conditioning from an early age, a healthy adult Bulldog with no serious breathing difficulties can go on longer walks, but always discuss with your vet before beginning any new exercise routine.
Precautions to Take When Hiking With Your Dog
Of course, there are many other dog breeds that love hiking, it just all depends on their breed, general health, activity levels and age. Whatever dog you own, there are precautions that every hiker should take before hitting the trail with their four-legged friend.
Check the weather
The weather conditions are an essential factor when hiking with your dog, especially if you have a brachycephalic breed such as a Pug or Frenchie. These dogs can overheat quickly and don’t do too well in freezing conditions.
It’s crucial to avoid hiking in the midday heat so, set off early in the morning or late in the day when the temperatures are cooler. Try to keep to shaded areas like forests and take plenty of water with you. A cooling jacket is an excellent investment as you just need to dip it in water and it will keep Fido cool for between 1-3 hours.
If you are hiking during the winter months, surfaces are likely to be more slippery, ice and snow can damage your dog’s paws, so a pair of bootees can be helpful. Hiking in winter can be challenging for both humans and dogs, so always tell someone where you are going and what time you are expected back.
Pack the right gear
You wouldn’t head into the wilderness without the right gear and it's crucial you take the proper supplies for your pup too. Some high protein snacks are essential to keep energy levels up and you should always take a basic first aid kit in case of a strain or cut paw.
Of course, you should carry a supply of poo bags whenever you walk your dog, a collapsible bowl is essential and I always recommend taking your pet insurance details and the number of a local vet just in case your dog requires medical attention.
A lightweight waterproof coat is invaluable for dogs when hiking, as is a harness. A harness is much safer for hiking as it puts no pressure on the neck like traditional collars should your pooch fall or jerk the leash.
Take regular breaks
Unless you have a high energy pooch like a Border Collie or Husky, you will need to take regular breaks. Not only will this give your dog a chance to rest and recover, it gives you a chance to check them over for any signs of injury.
Have plenty of water available
Dogs can catch parasites from untreated water just like humans, so it’s vital to carry a water supply or invest in a portable water filter to avoid your dog getting sick from Giardia if they drink from streams and rivers.
Choose the right trail.
What route you take is critical. If you have a breed for whom hiking is a challenge, heading to the top of a mountain will be too much. Choose trails that are gentle on your dog’s joints, like forest trails and coastal hikes.
Avoid places with lots of slippery surfaces and rocks or trails that can cause your dog to trip and stumble with lots of obstacles. Try to pick somewhere where there is lots of shade, you could even take a backpack with you if you have a small dog, so you can pick them up and carry them if they get too tired.
Hiking with your dog is a fantastic way of spending quality time together, avoiding weight issues, building muscle tone and enjoying nature. However, not all dog breeds are designed for strenuous physical activity.
Most healthy adult dogs, with some training to build up stamina, most healthy adult dogs can hike, even it's just for short distances. The most important thing to remember is to pay attention to your furry friend and watch for signs of fatigue and tiredness, such as thirst and excessive panting.
If you are really into the hobby and are looking for a companion who will love the great outdoors as much as you do, the three breeds above should be avoided. If you enjoy curling up on the sofa and watching a boxset on Netflix, they are the perfect match!