By Karen Cornish
If you are looking for a high energy companion to join you on outdoor adventures one of these breeds could be the pet for you. These are all intelligent dogs that can’t resist a challenge and who make intrepid explorers.
Originating from the north east of Siberia, the husky was previously known as the Chukchi sled dog after the indigenous people who used them for long distance sled hauling. The Siberian husky is the lightest and fastest of all the sled dogs, bred to withstand the extreme cold.
The husky loves to run so if you are looking for a jogging companion – especially in cold weather – then this could be the dog for you. Activities you might like to try with a Siberian Husky include sled dog racing, canicross (cross country running tethered to your dog) and bikejor (riding a bike with your dog pulling you along). Find out more about these sports at thebssf.org.uk.
Known for its wonderful temperament, the fun-loving Labrador makes a great choice for an adventurous family pet. Labs love spending time outdoors and are happy to join in with all family activities.
The Labrador was bred to retrieve from lakes and rivers so this water-loving dog makes a great swimming companion. The Lab is led by its stomach, which makes it easy to train as it will generally do anything for a treat! Its thick coat enables it to withstand cold weather and icy water so a Lab is up for adventure all year round.
The Vizsla is a hunting breed that was originally bred to move over large distances for extended periods of time. This means it has incredible stamina and can keep going all day long. The Hungarian Vizsla is a sociable dog that enjoys spending time outdoors with its owners – the perfect hiking companion.
The Vizsla is loyal and forms strong bonds with its owners to the point where it has earned the nickname ‘Velcro dog’. If you are running or going for a long hike – your Vizsla will stick to you!
If you are picturing the pom-pom clad dog of the show ring, think again! The Poodle is a highly intelligent active dog who is particularly keen on activities involving water. Bred for duck hunting, the Poodle is hardy with a dense waterproof coat and webbed feet to help it swim.
The traditional Poodle trim that we see on show dogs has a practical function when it comes to working in the water. The clipped hindquarters aids a dog’s propulsion through the water, while the pom poms on the joints and tail help to protect the Poodle from the cold.
The Poodle is agile and has amazing stamina, which makes it a good hiking companion. It also has a superb nose so excels at tracking and truffle hunting.
The Border Collie is the most intelligent dog breed on the planet. Bred as a sheepdog, the Border Collie excels at everything it puts its paw to. It loves to run and will run rings around you if you don’t keep up!
If you have an active lifestyle and spend most of your time outdoors, the Border Collie could be the perfect companion for you as it will easily keep going all day. If you are interested in taking up a canine sport such as agility or flyball and like to win – choose a Border Collie!
The German Shepherd was originally bred to be used as a herding dog and guard dog on German farms. It is a hardworking, loyal, and observant breed, which is why it is often used by the police, military, and search and rescue organisations.
The German Shepherd makes an excellent hiking and jogging companion because it does not tire easily. It is always ready for adventure and enjoys nothing more than being outdoors and exploring nature.
Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog, like the St Bernard, hails from the Alps and is used to pulling milk and cheese carts through the mountains. This woolly-coated gentle giant makes a superb climbing companion in cooler temperatures but does not cope so well with the heat.
As well as possessing an adventurous outdoor spirit, this canine powerhouse makes a loyal and affectionate family pet – for those with space in their homes! If you spend much of your time outdoors climbing hills and it’s not too hot, the Bernese could be the dog for you.
The rugged Rhodesian Ridgeback was bred for hunting lions in South Africa, and while it is no longer used for this, the breed loves to use its strength and agility for hiking and mountain climbing.
The Ridgeback has an excellent nose so is a good tracking buddy, as well as being a fearless companion – it takes a brave dog to stand up to a lion after all! The ridge of hair on its back which gives the breed its name is said in canine folklore to be a sign of courage.
Portuguese Water Dog
A close relative of the Poodle, the Portuguese Water Dog is another water-loving working breed – this time bred to be a fishermen’s assistant. While it is no longer needed on trawlers to accompany fisherman, the PWD is often used for water rescue.
The PWD is an intelligent and highly active dog that is at its happiest when swimming and retrieving from rivers and lakes. It is an affectionate breed that makes a loving family pet as well as an adventurous and spirited companion.
German Shorthaired Pointer
The German Shorthaired Pointer was created in the 1800s in Germany by dog breeders looking for the perfect all-round hunting dog. Today, it is the most popular of the Hunt, Point, Retrieve breeds.
The GSP is a loyal, intelligent, and highly active dog that thrives being outdoors most of the time. Its powerful strong legs and high prey drive make it a great contender in canine sports and a superb companion for all sorts of outdoor pursuits.