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Which dog breeds are best for backpacking? I know malamutes do well in the cold and on mountains, but what if I'm backpacking in the summer?

Malamute Running

Which dog breeds are good for daily trail runs? I would love a dog that would wake up with me every day and go on a 3 to 7-mile trail run. Somehow, I can't see a Corgi keeping up.

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Did you consider a farm Australian Shepherd? –  ppl Aug 30 '13 at 21:37
@ppl I have never seen one before! I'll Google around. Were you thinking of them for running/backpacking/both? –  theJollySin Aug 30 '13 at 21:56
I don't have experience with them but I was considering the breed for a backpacking companion. I would think they would do just fine running. If you want extreme running there's always a Rhodesian Ridgeback :-). –  ppl Aug 30 '13 at 21:58
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2 Answers

Somehow, I can't see a Corgi keeping up.

I have a 20-pound terrier mutt. She does great with me trail running at distances of 6-7 miles. After we get home, she runs around the back yard in circles like a rocket. Dogs are just much more efficient runners than humans, especially in cool weather. As far as I can tell, humans only seem to be at all competitive with dogs at distances more like 12 miles. (I haven't taken my dog that far, but have seen my running buddy's larger dogs act tired at that distance.) There is a theory that humans evolved for a hunting niche on the plains of Africa, in which we were specially adapted to pursuing prey for long distances in hot weather, but we're talking about really long distances.

For hiking, the problem I've found isn't really my dog's ability to do it physically, it's that she tends to injure her feet. You can get various kinds of booties. It's hard to find ones that fit correctly and that stay on. Keep in mind that if your big dog hurts a foot in the backcountry, you're going to have big problems getting him out. Mine I could carry out if I had to.

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I've got a Boston terrier, he's happily walked for 8-9 hours a day and still had considerably more energy than me. –  Liam Dec 18 '13 at 20:00
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The wolf, the wild ancestor of the dog, has extreme running endurance. According to this article, many wolfs travel more than 50 miles daily searching for food. I've read somewhere, that wolfs can chase moose for a few days, but I can't find that now.

Wolf is very similar to us in that domain, human hunters can also run for days. This can be another reason that two species have formed so special relationship so early.

Looking for great dog runners, look on dogs that are the most similar to their ancestors, such as the German Shepherd (in my country, this race is called Wolfie). If you choose Husky, you can even count for sleight transport if you are tired. Probably it would be you who would have problems to cope with the distance.

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