When it comes to exploring the great outdoors, finding the perfect canine companion can make all the difference. Whether you’re an avid hiker or an enthusiastic camper yearning for new outdoor adventures, we’ve compiled a list of the best camping dog breeds to join you on the journey. The dogs on this list make great companions because of their athleticism, personalities, and intelligence. Plus, bringing your pup along just makes any adventure better.
What Qualities Should a “Camping Dog” Have?
- Energy and Stamina: Look for a dog breed with sufficient energy and stamina to keep up with your desired outdoor activities. Dogs with high energy levels and endurance will thrive during camping trips that involve long hikes, swimming, and exploring.
- Adaptability: Choose a dog that can adapt to different environments and weather conditions. Dogs with an adaptable nature will be comfortable and content in various camping settings, whether it’s hot or cold, near water, or in the mountains.
- Trainability: Opt for a dog breed that is trainable and responsive to commands. This will make camping trips safer and more enjoyable as you can easily manage and control your dog’s behavior in outdoor settings.
- Sociability: Consider a dog that is sociable and gets along well with other dogs and people. Camping often involves encounters with fellow campers and their dogs, so a friendly nature will make interactions more positive and stress-free.
- Size and Portability: Think about the size and portability of the dog, especially if you have limited space in your camping gear or vehicle. Smaller or medium-sized breeds may be more suitable for camping, as they are easier to transport and accommodate in outdoor settings.
- Coat Type: Consider the climate and terrain you’ll be camping in. Dogs with shorter coats may be better suited for warmer climates, while dogs with thicker coats are more suited for colder environments. Additionally, dogs with water-resistant coats may be beneficial for camping trips near bodies of water.
- Watchfulness: A dog with a watchful and alert nature can provide a sense of security during camping trips. Their vigilance can help alert you to potential dangers or intrusions, enhancing the safety and peace of mind during outdoor adventures.
The Best Camping Dog Breeds
1. Border Collie
Border Collies are highly energetic and known as one of the most intelligent dog breeds out there. They possess a keen problem-solving ability and excel at learning and following commands. Their intelligence makes them easily trainable, enabling them to navigate various outdoor situations and adapt to different camping environments.
Border Collies are known for their boundless energy and stamina. They thrive in active environments and have the endurance to keep up with demanding outdoor activities like walks and long hikes, making them ideal partners for camping trips that involve extensive exploration.
2. Australian Shepherd
This breed is near and dear to my heart. As a dog mom to two australian shepherds, I can attest to the fact they never seem to run out of energy. In fact, Australian Shepherds absolutely thrive in highly-active environments and outdoor adventures. They are a great choice for a dog camping companion if you are a person who loves hikes, walks, and anything of that nature.
Australian Shepherds are agile dogs known for their versatility. They are skilled at navigating various terrains, including rugged trails and rocky landscapes. Whether it’s hiking, climbing, or exploring, Australian Shepherds have the physical abilities to tackle different outdoor challenges.
3. Bernese Mountain Dog
These big dogs are well-known for their strength and endurance. Bernese Mountain Dogs love being outdoors and are particularly suited for camping trips in cooler climates. Originally bred to work in the Swiss Alps, Bernese Mountain Dogs have a thick, weather-resistant double coat that provides insulation in colder climates. This makes them well-suited for camping in cooler regions or during colder seasons. The American Kennel Club coins Bernies as “good-natured, calm, and strong.” They are capable of tackling long hikes and challenging terrains, making them suitable for extended camping trips.
4. Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers are often considered one of the best dog breeds for camping. With their abundant energy and stamina, they keep up with the demands of outdoor adventures. Their love for swimming and water activities makes them perfect for camping near bodies of water. Labradors’ friendly nature fosters socializing with fellow campers and other animals. They are highly trainable and well-behaved, adding ease to the camping experience. With their watchful and protective instincts, Labradors provide a sense of security.
5. Rhodesian Ridgeback
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is an excellent choice for a camping companion. With their athletic build and impressive endurance, they thrive in outdoor environments. Their strength and stamina make them ideal for rugged hiking trails, ensuring they can keep up with the demands of camping. The Ridgeback’s natural hunting instincts and alertness contribute to a sense of security during outdoor adventures.
6. Siberian Husky
Siberian Huskies are bred for cold weather conditions and have a thick, insulating double coat, allowing them to handle colder climates often associated with camping. Additionally, Huskies’ strong pack mentality and sociable nature make them excellent companions for group camping adventures. Huskies’ independent and adventurous spirit aligns perfectly with the outdoor lifestyle. Their inquisitive nature and love for exploration make every camping trip an exciting adventure.
Vizslas thrive in active lifestyles and excel in activities like hiking and camping. Vizslas are highly trainable, intelligent dogs, which makes them adaptable to various camping situations and quick to learn and follow commands. Additionally, their friendly and affectionate nature ensures they make perfect companions for camping trips, providing a source of companionship and warmth.
Vizslas are also known for their excellent off-leash reliability, making them suitable for exploring off-the-beaten-path trails (make sure this is allowed and you feel comfortable). Finally, their short, low-maintenance coats make them more comfortable in warmer climates, expanding the range of camping destinations.
8. Golden Retriever
Who doesn’t love a Golden?! Their friendly and sociable nature makes them perfect companions for family camping adventures. Since Goldens are known for their gentle demeanor, they would make a great breed if you group camp with other families. They typically get along well with other dogs and humans. Additionally, Golden Retrievers are renowned for their love of water. These pups enjoy swimming and splashing around, which is perfect for camping trips near lakes, rivers, or beaches.
Their water-resistant coat and webbed paws make them excellent swimmers and add to their overall versatility in outdoor environments. Furthermore, Golden Retrievers are intelligent and highly trainable. This makes them well-behaved during camping excursions, obedient to commands, and easy to manage in various situations.
9. Standard Poodle
Don’t let their prim and proper appearance fool you, Standard Poodles can be fantastic camping companions due to their intelligence, adaptability, and athleticism. Standard Poodles are quick learners and excel in obedience training, making them well-behaved and responsive to commands during camping trips. Standard Poodles are also known for their water-loving nature.
Their dense, curly coats are water-resistant, making them excellent swimmers. This makes them ideal for camping trips near bodies of water, as they can join in on water activities or enjoy a refreshing swim. Standard Poodles’ non-shedding, hypoallergenic coats can be advantageous during camping trips. Their low-shedding nature reduces the amount of hair left behind in tents or camping gear, making cleanup more manageable. It also makes them a suitable choice for campers with allergies or sensitivities to pet dander.
10. Norfolk Terrier
Norfolk Terriers are one of the best small dogs you can have by your side on your next camping trip. Their compact size and sturdy build make them well-suited for outdoor adventures. They are small enough to be easily transported and accommodated in camping gear (plus side- they won’t take up much room in your tent or camper) yet robust enough to handle moderate hiking trails and explore nature alongside their dog owners.
11. Alaskan Malamute
If you are more of an advanced camper who likes a challenge, an Alaskan Malamute might be the best camping dog breed for you. Bred for sled-pulling and endurance in cold climates, Malamutes excel in long hikes and demanding outdoor activities. They can handle rugged terrains and challenging weather conditions, making them excellent companions for extended camping trips in various environments.
While they are independent thinkers, Alaskan Malamutes are generally well-behaved and trainable. With proper training and socialization, they can adapt to camping situations and follow commands, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for both the dog and their owner. It’s important to note that Alaskan Malamutes have a strong prey drive, so proper precautions should be taken when camping in areas with wildlife or when encountering smaller animals. Proper leashing and supervision are necessary to ensure their safety and the well-being of other creatures.
12. German Shorthair Pointer
The American Kennel Club describes the German Shorthaired Pointer (GSPs) as “friendly, smart, and willing to please.” GSPs thrive in active lifestyles and excel in activities like hiking, running, and exploring. Their endurance allows them to keep up with the demands of camping, making them ideal companions for long walks and extended outdoor excursions. They also have very strong hunting and tracking instincts. So, keep that in mind if you plan on taking a GSP on your next camping journey.
13. Portuguese Water Dog
If you are someone who loves to add water activities to your camp itinerary this might be the dog for you. As their name suggests, Portuguese Water Dogs are built to thrive in the water. Their webbed paws and water-resistant coat enable them to navigate aquatic environments with ease. This breed would be a good idea for anyone who camps at the lake on those hot summer days. They are quick learners and are eager to please their owners.
14. Australian Cattle Dog
Australian Cattle Dogs, also known as Blue Heelers, are ideal camping dogs due to their high energy levels, intelligence, trainability, herding instincts, loyalty, and endurance. Their agility and adaptability make them well-suited for outdoor adventures, while their herding abilities and protective nature provide practical assistance and a sense of security. Australian Cattle Dogs thrive in challenging terrains and weather conditions, making them reliable companions for diverse camping environments.
15. German Shepherd
German Shepherds are described as being courageous, confident, and smart. Furthermore, their intelligence, trainability, and versatility make them well-suited for outdoor adventures. With their strong work ethic and natural instincts, German Shepherds excel in activities such as hiking, tracking, and even herding. Their loyalty and protective nature provide a sense of security during camping trips.
Where Can I Take My Dog Camping?
- National Parks: Many national parks have designated campgrounds that allow dogs. Research the specific park’s regulations and guidelines regarding pets, as some areas may have restrictions on where dogs are allowed.
- State Parks: State parks often offer camping facilities and trails that welcome dogs. Check with the specific state park for their pet policies and any leash requirements.
- Forests and Wilderness Areas: National forests and wilderness areas often have dispersed camping options, where you can set up camp in more secluded areas. Make sure to adhere to any guidelines and regulations for camping with dogs in these areas.
- Beaches: Some beaches allow dogs, particularly during non-peak seasons or in designated dog-friendly areas. Look for beaches with pet-friendly policies and enjoy camping near the coast.
- Campgrounds with Pet Amenities: Certain campgrounds cater to dog owners by providing amenities such as dog-friendly trails, fenced dog parks, or pet-friendly activities. These campgrounds can be a great choice for dog-friendly camping experiences.
- RV Parks and Campgrounds: Many RV parks and private campgrounds are pet-friendly and provide amenities like pet exercise areas and designated dog-walking trails. These places often have additional facilities and conveniences for camping with dogs.
What Camping Supplies Should I Pack for My Dog?
- Food and Water
- Portable Water Bowl
- Leash/Harness and Collar
- ID Tags
- Bedding or Dog Sleeping Bag
- Good Tent
- Waste Bags
- First Aid Kit: Pack a pet-specific first aid kit that includes basic supplies such as bandages, antiseptic solution, tweezers, and any necessary medications your dog may require.
- Toys and Enrichment