No one likes the idea of heading into the outdoors alone. Even fewer people like heading out with someone they dislike. Having a dog as your adventure partner is the best of both worlds: companionship without the drama.
They’re just as happy to be out as you are, and at the end of the day, that’s all anyone wants. But before you go out and grab a new friend, consider your favorite outdoor activities and how your new partner might fit.
Most retrievers—including Labrador and Golden varieties—are fantastic in water; it’s the reason they are so often used by duck hunters to retrieve game. But, for some watersports—like paddleboarding–a full grown retriever may be too large. If you’re looking for something smaller, but equally water-prone, consider poodles, most spaniels, or a legend among H20 canines: the Portuguese Water dog.
For biking companions, you want one thing above all else: endurance. For long rides, it’s doubtful you’ll ever find a dog that can keep up with man and machine, but there are a few breeds that can come close. Dalmatians, Greyhounds, and Weimaraners have excellent stamina and high energy levels, a perfect combination for long cycling trips.
For snow-bound outdoors types, you’ll want a dog that has endurance and is built for cold environments. The obvious winner here is the Husky, but you can depend on his close cousin, the Malamute as a near tie. Other breeds that do well in the snow include retrievers, Akitas, and most mountain dogs.
At the outset, it seems like most dogs would be great hiking companions. However, hiking represents unique challenges. On popular trails, you may encounter legions of people, including children in tight spaces and narrow trails. There are also lots of distractions while hiking, which could pose a potential danger for you and your best friend if they decide to pursue that distraction. The bottom line is, trail dogs should be above all, ruthlessly obedient and intelligent. For that job, consider border collies, sheepdogs, and German Shepherds.
Perhaps the best dog you can imagine is the one that you can leave at home without having to worry that they’ll tear apart your apartment with unspent energy. For the perfect lazy dog who’ll patiently wait while you adventure, go for a bulldog or a pug. They’re low-energy and don’t need a lot of space.