11 Best Small Dogs for Hiking

Best Small Dogs for Hiking and Backpacking

Small Canines are wonderful hiking buddies. Contrary to popular belief that they are not good for outdoor, small dogs prove wonderful on trails.

If you are both a small breed dog owner and hiking enthusiast, you have your best hiking partner right at home.

Taking dogs hiking is one nice way of burning their energy and boosting their physical abilities.

While large-breed dogs find it easier to walk on a different level of trails, small dogs are no different.

Regardless of their breed and size, most dogs love accompanying their owner for a hiking day.

Depending upon the neighborhood, you can take them on and off-lease both.

With that said, if you are looking to adopt a furry pet that can become your hiking buddy, here are some great options.

The article further will include small breed dogs who are also enthusiastic about outdoor adventure and fun.

Which dogs prove best hiking buddies?

List of Best Small Dogs for Hiking

Jack Russell Terriers

Jack Russell Terriers- Best Small Dogs for Hiking and Backpacking

Jack Russell Terriers are extremely intelligent, energetic, and active dogs.

To use their energy, dog owners often take them hiking along.

And because their energy lasts longer than expected, they won’t feel tired even after long hikes.

However, they can become aggressive in seeing other animals on trails. Thus it is advisable to keep them on lease.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgi-  best dog for hiking

Corgis are one fine combination of cute and muscular dogs.

They are intelligent, affectionate, and love it when they have a job around.

On a cold day, they behave as great walking and hiking companions.

However, because their long body is prone to spine and joint issues, avoid taking them on trails that require a lot of climbing and jumping.

Hiking trails that are marked easy and shaded are best for Corgi.


Beagles- best friendly small dogs to take on hiking

Beagles are known for their beautiful eyes, cute nose, and lovable nature.

But it is lesser know that they make one of the best hiking companions. They have incredible stamina and energy.

Thus for that, Beagles need a lot of exercises, both mental and physical.

Though while taking them for hiking, consider keeping lease on, or they will probably wander following their nose.


papillon- best dog for hiking

Papillons are smart outdoor pals whose energy level is close to none.

They are one of the few dogs who can go hiking off-lease, no matter how much the crowd is.

Also, Papillons have high separation anxiety, so there are fewer chances you will lose them.

And the best part is, when tired, they are light enough to carry on a backpack.

Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer dogs absolutely love running and seeking.

They are extremely curious, which keeps their interest no matter how long the hike is.

Generally, mini Schnauzer is a healthy breed, but they can suffer various ailments due to high-fat levels.

However, this is another excuse to take them for long walks and hiking.

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terriers are one of the smallest dogs you can take for hiking.

They happily walk short distances every now and then.

As they cannot walk for extended hours, you can keep them in your backpack for resting intervals.

Miniature Australian Shepherd

Miniature Australian Shepherd is energetic and intelligent, even more than one can think of.

They are bright, friendly, and want to involve in all activities that their human friend is thriving upon.

These tiny furry pets are a powerhouse of energy with an athletic personality.

They require an hour of physical exercise every day, making hiking one fine activity for them.

Though regardless of their energy, give your mini Aussie a break time in your backpack.

Alaskan Klee Kai

Alaskan Klee Kai is quite similar to their husky cousins Siberian Husky.

This rare dog breed is always active, high on energy, and has a love for the outdoors.

They are excellent jumpers and climbers and thus will do well even on rough terrain.

Though always keep them on lease while hiking or caching them can become another task for you.


The world has mistaken Poodles for their pretty looks, and dogs show appropriate characteristics.

However, on the contrary, they should be known for their athleticism and agility.

Whether it is a swimming day, hunting adventure, or hiking, Poodles make a great companion.

With proper training, you can even trust them off-lease. For longer hiking, only a few breeds can match the poodle’s energy level.

West Highland White Terrier

The West Highland White Terrier belongs to Scotland and is known for its high self-esteem, confidence, and assertiveness.

They are friendly and welcoming dogs and are quite comfortable around humans.

Though what makes them the best hiking dogs is their hunting nature.

They will stay sturdy on easy to intermediate trails and are good to take along on short hikes.


Pomeranians are popular teddy dogs in demand worldwide. While the dog lovers claim them as lap dogs, Pomeranians make for great outdoor adventure.

Their curious and alert nature, along with high stamina and energetic limbs, make them great hiking dogs.

These obedient outdoor mates will even do well in rough terrain. You can take them for a hike both on and off lease.

Can small dogs hike long distances?

Small or big, most of the dogs are capable of long-distance hiking.

However, how much distance mainly depends upon your dog’s physical stamina, health, and daily training.

A dog that walks no more than 30 minutes a day will find it difficult to manage long-distance hiking.

If you take them for a sudden hike, chances are you’ll have to hold them along for the entire journey.

However, if your dog is well trained, is physically fit, and has built stamina, long-distance hiking is difficult for him.

How do I prepare my small dog for long-distance hiking?

Before you get into the hiking trail with your small dog friend, ensure you and the pet are prepared enough.

Here are few real-time tips for getting your dog prepared for hiking:

  • The first step before you start hiking your nearby State Forest, make sure your dog is calm around other humans and pets. On public trails, you will run into fellow hikers and their pets; thus, make sure you have a pet who behave well socially. Take your dog to a dog park and look if he/she is comfortable around other pets.
  • Next, make sure both you and your dog are in good shape to walk for miles and over rough terrain. Dogs who are on the heavier side will find it difficult to walk for a longer duration.
  • Next, take your dog for regular walking and running. Make sure this session is 2 to 3 hours long. You can also take a hiking training class together.
  • Before going for a hike, it is a good idea if you take your dog for a vet check-up.
Note: Avoid taking injured, medically unfit, or old-aged dogs on public hiking trails.

How long can a small dog hike?

A small dog who is fit and well-shaped can hike 5 to 10 miles in a day.

However, the distance depends upon the dog’s health, physical fitness, and several other factors.

Also, if the terrain is extremely rough, it will trouble your dog’s paw within a short time.

Along with that, weather conditions, temperature and humidity also play a crucial role.

Which small dog has the highest energy level?

Having smaller dogs is not always about having a relaxed life.

Mind it; these furballs can prove super energetic, making you run after them all day long.

Most of them have high energy levels both mentally and physically.

  • Affenpinscher Feisty, full of energy and spunk.
  • Boston Terrier- Lively smart along with high energy and temperament.
  • Norwich Terrier– Extremely active and energetic.
  • Schipperke- fearless and fast
  • Miniature Pinscher– fearless and always ready for action.
  • Miniature Schnauzer- Extrovert, full of energy, full of life.
  • Manchester Terrier– Unmatchable energy level as well as aggressive.
  • Jack Russell Terrier- Clever, lively, intelligent and super energetic.


They say, ‘There is no better companion than a dog, and we agree on it for hiking as well.’ With them, you don’t have to talk non-stop and waste your energy anywhere else than walking.

Though before taking them for a hike, ensure their physical strength and good training.

Also, respecting the nature you are hiking at, always take poop bags along, so your dog leaves no bad impressions.

Further, it is always safe to take breaks during the journey then over exhausting your little pet.