The Best Small Dog Breeds For Hiking and Outdoors Backpacking

Plenty of people simply love much larger dog breeds due to them being more excitable and easier to take on a hiking trip. While Labrador Retrievers may make some great pets for outdoor activities, not everyone can handle the much bigger breeds of canine. For those who may live inside of apartment complex, have children or simply’ can’t handle the a canine who ways quite a lot, smaller dogs may be much more preferable. Some people might look down on smaller dogs simply due to them not being physically active as their larger brethren, and while that true to some cases, that doesn’t mean they can’t compete alongside their larger compatriots

Here are some smaller breeds that can hold their own on a trail just as well as the larger guys.


The hotdog shaped Dachshund, a type of hound that was originally found in Germany, and was bred for scent, chase and flushing out badgers from their dens during hunts. This canine was mainly used to hunt down smaller animals, such as rabbits. While they may be small, this canine is known for being bold and fearless breed never giving up and known for its determination. This makes them somewhat difficult to train, so make sure to have good motivators around them. These dogs can be quite fun to take on hiking trips and will surely protect you from the more smaller and dangerous creatures you may stumble upon.

Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terriers are some of the most energetic dogs around, which makes them some of the best companions for outside activities. They are known for being fantastic hikers and suited for running as well. Which is great if your the type to do so, since they require tons of exercise to remain happy, so make sure to take them out during hiking trips each time. Jack Russell are also known for having a strong desire to chase things, so make sure to keep them close to you at all time if not, there a chance you could lose them in the middle of a hike or be forced to chase them down yourself.

Miniature Pinscher

The small and spirited Miniature Pinscher is another canine that originates from Germany and weighs only 8 to 100 pounds. This has made them become well-balanced, sturdy and agile dogs over the centuries of breeding. They can be quite proud, assertive and energetic, which has caused them to become quite adventures and going off on their own whether their owner wants to or not. This breed can be quite active and will require regular exercise and mental stimulation so they don’t use their pent-up energy digging up holes in your back yard or barking at people passing by.


Totaling between 18-25 pounds, the Beagle is everyone’s favorite hunting dog which has made it great as and outdoor companion dog. Originally developed in great Britain, they were bred to track and  hunt down hares. The Beagle is quite popular dog due to not only its ideal size, but their gentle demeanor and friendliness towards people. Due to Beagles being tracking house, they can be quite single-minded at times and can become easily distracted when catching a scent that may interest them. Make sure to keep a close eye on them since their instincts will take precedence over their owners command to obey.


Also known as the “black little devil,” the 10 to 16 pound Schipperke are known to thrive on acheltic activities. Hiking with these energetic dogs can be and awesome way to engage them mentally, while also bleeding off some energy. You’ll want to regularly take them out for exercise for at least 20 to 30 minutes and if they remain in positive health, they can be fantastic exercise buddies.  

Cairn Terrier

If you’ve ever seen The Great Wizard of OZ, then this breed should be quite recognizable to you. Cairn Terrier are known to be some of the olders terrier breeds, and originate from the Scottish Highlands as working dogs and ratters. This small terrier is known for being quite intelligent, hard-working and quite the powerful sense of smell. They aren’t afraid of traipsing through the wild or any animals they may encounter, which can make them excellent companion for outdoor fun.

Shiba Inu

I’m sure many of you have seen the Shiba Inu posted all over the internet having becoming incredible popular in the recent years. A national treasure in Japan, The Shiba Inu is a small dog who are known to appreciate a walk or hike with their family. They also have quite the reputation for being stubborn, but if they are trained properly, they can become some of the best hunting dogs around.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgi maybe very cute looking but they can be some of the most agile dogs out their making them great dogs for outdoor activities. They’re known for their intelligence and competitive nature, so giving them a task to perform while your busy handling your own thing is very important in keeping them focused. They’re also very friendly dogs so you don’t have to worry about them chasing off both people and animals alike. Corgi’s are herding dogs so they immensely enjoy any type of fun that may involve chasing and agility.


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