/ most 'mountain friendly' dog breed
When I was younger my family had a border collie which was a lovely dog who was incredibly fit and used to run with my mum most nights, and not inconsiderable distances as she ran marathons frequently. He also came out with us on long hill walks, however he wasn't really subject to particularly harsh weather conditions.
Can anyone shed any light on this or share their experiences with their dogs?
It's my dog of choice should I ever be in a position to have one.
Just not sure about the extreme cold. Perhaps someone else could comment.
working breeds are probably your best bet. collies and springers have both been bred for long days working outside in all weathers and have prett good temperaments (though i would say that with a 4 year old springer as my main hill buddy). Though other field based dogs are very good walking companions... I'll be the first to mention a wonderful and little-known breed called Berger de Picard, which David Hooper (late of this parish) had - Chewwie B, who was a wonderful hound and loved every minute of the life he shared outdoors with David, walking, climbing, mountain biking, gorge scrambling etc in all weathers and all seasons.
Have collie-lab cross (3:1 ratio) who is strong and fit, will keep going for hours through anything, as well as easily trained and very friendly. Only issue is a bit barky towards other dogs when tired.
I'd also say another good choice is a Springer, as they're awesome (know a few!).
Hi, Were in to our third winter season living in the Austrian alps in a village called 'Dieten am Hockonig' which is at 1000m. 50 metre's away live two Border Collies and in the village there are another three and in the next couple of villages there are at least one or more. We had 31metre's of snow last year in our village and the dogs are seen outside everyday all day long without any problems. Two of the dogs in the area go out with the mountain rescue teams and local guides, and whenever you see any of these dogs they are as friendly as could be.
I once ran her over the welsh 1000m peaks, 25 miles and a good 2500m of ascent. About 6 hrs out.
I got back to Llanberis, lay on the tarmac in the car park and she dropped a rock next to me that she wanted to play with.. just totally taking the piss..
Got a collie, he's great when running but i think we walk too slow for him as he likes to explore when we are walking. Also has a love of sheep that we cannot cure whatever we try so he has to be on a lead near sheep which can be a pain living in the lakes.
Also take a little border terrier out on the hills, proper tough little dogs, will happily do 13 miles or will sit in front of the fire all day, fine in winter but would need a coat on very cold day.
The collie has no problems whatever the weather, but ours is a long haired one. He has happily done some grade 1-2 scrambles and is a good crag dog. Not done any multiday with him yet but planning it in spring.
My Black Lab loves the hills. His stock trick when climbing is to be there to great me at the top, which is always nice to top out to!
There's a reason most Search and Rescue Dogs are collies!
Though I know one trainee SARDA dog who's a Kelpie who apparently never stops, even when the collies have run out of battery.
Another vote for Border Collies. Ours is fantastic in the hills & mountains. Great on grade 1&2 scrambles, winter no problem for her (and she's short haired). Just did a winter traverse of crib goch with her last week with no problems at all.
How can you resist!
Bred from dingos and dogs from North England.
I've got a Paterdale/Lakeland terrior cross and he's managed everything i've thrown at him. After 12 hours on the hill he'll hapily have some dinner then be back annoying me with his toys so stamina is not an issue.
An advtange to having wee legs is that you can be placed in a rucksac and carried over any particuarly hairy bits.
A disadvantage to having wee legs is that in deep snow you need to jump between footprints.
Collies are genrally clever dogs which should make training then for the hills easier but it really depends on the individual dog.
I've always idly fancied an Akita, reasoning that they'd be pretty hardy for moutain excursions, as well as cool (pretentious?)
I gather they're not necessarily the brightest, easiest to handle or family-friendly dogs, however.
They certainly are a proud looking dog! They don't seem to be necessarily un-family friendly, but they are apparently a handful.
surely it has to be:
> I once ran her over the welsh 1000m peaks, 25 miles and a good 2500m of ascent. About 6 hrs out.
> I got back to Llanberis, lay on the tarmac in the car park and she dropped a rock next to me that she wanted to play with.. just totally taking the piss..
We've taken our Welsh Springer spaniel ski mountaineering with us in Norway, which can be pretty hard work in deep snow, and he comes cross country skiing with us in winter in Finland and for winter walks at -25C without any problem, in fact he loves the snow. For a friendly temperament I think spaniels are pretty difficult to beat. They are fairly high maintenance but probably less so than a collie - not that I've owned one for comparison.
Only issue with a work bred dog, they want to work?
Not many 'work' bred will happily walk by your side, all the time, they want to do stuff! Which normally means causing problems for some other animal . . .
A springer, will try and spring stuff! Birds, rabbits, etc
A collie has a herding instinct, for sheep, people, other dogs!
Akita's are a hunting dog, for holding big game but also good for guarding, meaning they can over guard!
The key i suppose is to think what the dog will 'naturally' try and do, and do what you can to help/prevent this, so for a springer socialise to birds etc, give them something else to hunt?
Collies, get them use to sheep, early on, not in the 'let it get battered by a ewe way, although it has its uses!
Akita's - socialise them, well :D
Ive found collies are more efficient, they don't charge around like mad dogs, although will when they/you want.
A springer how ever has a suitable name, they will run around like mad nobs everywhere! which is great fun, but not safe if there is a big drop somewhere, so they do require directional/stop training to ensure they dont kill themselves, which they are all detained to do! :D
best dog story iv ever read totally brought a tear o my eye
As lots of people have said there are many dogs that will happily take a mountain walk. The only other things I'd add, is consider a rescue dog. And let the dog choose you as much as you choose them.
What’s people thoughts on the Long Haired German Shepard, had a pair when I was younger, Powerful and agile, but normally happy to walk with you.
Or the Old English Sheepdog is a breed that needs some love at the moment, with low numbers, they where orignally breed for the hills of britain.
Admitedly both larger breeds.
I tried to get a rescue, they wouldnt as we had a baby!Its a shame too, found a lovely springer collie cross that would of been a great little dog!
'This breed can be sensitive and should be very well socialized as a puppy to prevent shyness.'
I would stress the importance of this socialisation.
Clearly ours wasn't at all & shyness is not cute: it leads to nervousness which can then lead to aggressive defensive behaviour. Our collie will approach a person looking to make friends, all playful but as soon as that person goes to respond, he's suddenly stricken with doubt & panic and backs away, often pushing up against my leg for security / hiding under table etc. If the person persists in making overtures, then my dog may bark or pull back lips. It generally descends into a downward spiral from there. The solution is easy: the person just has to ignore my dog and the dog will then relax and after a bit of time will accept the other person as non-threatening. However, people seem to have a real problem with following such a simple instruction as to 'completely ignore him', especially other dog people, as, of course, they have special abilities!
A few pics of my collie on crib goch last tuesday:
However, we are thinking of a border terrier for our next dog.
A few pics of my collie on crib goch last tuesday:
I'd always suggest looking at a rescue, because there are so many lovely dogs just needing a stable home and a bit of the right training.
Yeah, I know. Next time, we too will probably head to the Dogs Trust but at least we will know better what questions to ask, what to look for.
Anyway I am glad we pulled our dog out of their shelter, despite the good care they provide. We love him and I would hate to think of him languishing in one of their 'cells'.
loyal, coragous and if well trained reliable off the lead.
they are also stong enough to carry a pannier system thus being self sufficient in their own right for food etc..
and there is a reason the scottish sarda logo is a german shepherd!
The nepal sarda use a lot of german shepherds and belgain shepherds
We're on our third border collie. Fantastic hill dogs. The coulin ridge is the only place they've struggled, but so do some folk.
you wouldnt want to meet one down a dark hole!
They are a great looking dog (and a bit intimidating) but loyal and trustworthy.
Still cant beat my shepherd even though she is as mad as a buch of frogs!
My working cocker is great. Goes all day and at 9kg easy to pick up and throw over styles etc.
Looking forward to taking her out in some snow soon
We ended up with a Collie, she's probably Welsh rather than Border. Has her issues but can go all day. She was out in the wind and hail on the Glyders today and she coped very well!
I've a colliexJR and its radged in the head, well also had a liver shunt.. but she's crazy psycho little dog.. has proper temper tantrums.. one day wants a run.. then decides running certain routes is boring so sits down.. a pain in the arse..
A Springer was my second choice but being quite a bit smaller, Daisy fits into the front hatch of my sea kayak for adventures afloat.
I've 2 border collies, but if i was to get another 'outdoor' dog I would consider a Finnish Lapphund. A smart pastoral dog, like a collie (used for herding reindeer) with the hardiness of a cold weather dog (they are one of the two breeds you can legally keep outdoors all year round in Finland. Smart and easy to train.
Lakeland teriers, those things will put up with any shite weather thats thrown at them and they're intellegent. Think about where theyre from, Lakeland the lakes
I believe my uncles which had to be put down was also from a rescue - you're correct in saying that the key (from what I've read) to raising a well behaved Akita is socialising and training from very early on.
ifenbo - interesting observation about Labs, they hadn't really crossed my mind if I'm honest!
I have a Rhodesian Ridgeback. Couldn't ask for a better companion for 20 mile MTB rides in Epping Forest. He's fit and tireless, very intelligent and well socialised. Only real drawback is that he's not great with the cold.
> surely it has to be:
Blimey, Chris Bonnington's let himself go!
Used to have a springer, I'm not sure if it was just here but she was fine when out and had stacks of energy (anyone who has a springer will see that as the massive understatement that it is!) but she really felt the cold. Coming back from the woods in winter she'd want to curl up and shiver in front of the fire with a blanket over her, not sure how hardy she would have been in the hills!
> I have a Rhodesian Ridgeback. Couldn't ask for a better companion for 20 mile MTB rides in Epping Forest. He's fit and tireless, very intelligent
F..k me he must be intelligent if he can ride a MTB 20 miles, and I thought my Staffie was clever being able to use a Skate board!!!:-)
Admittedly, they're a bugger to get over a stile if they don't want to, but they can jump them easily enough once they know what to do.
We sometimes have to peel them off the radiator on a cold day to get them out, but once there they just keep going.
Our two are a bit thick though. We were out the other week, and it was getting dark. They started stalking some unseen creature, then charged at it full pelt. It was quite funny when they both crashed into the big, nasty rock that they thought was a sheep.
Normally they don't bother with other animals, but i guess the rock monster was too tempting for them.
If there's a consensus, it seems to be towards bearded collies or border collies. Not really surprising, I suppose.
My Jack Russell is rising 15 and now no longer comes on long walks or camping trips. But in her salad days, she could go all day on mixed going and still be begging for more. The advantage of terriers is they're easy to pick up and shove in your coat if you need to carry them.
My walking buddy has a mid-sized mongrel (bit of GSD, bit of retriever, a touch of collie) and, although nine years old, she is boundlessly energetic and very sure-footed. We took her up Sgurr Alasdair a few months back and she (or, rather, her pads) coped effortlessly with the gabbro and the scree shoots.
For me, a day on the hill without a dog somehow seems to have something missing.
We have a Hovawart - a German breed that almost became extinct but was revived after WW2. It is similar to a German Shepherd, but has longer hair and floppy ears. They have a very long back and lope like a wolf and run for miles - I can ride my MTB 25k in an hour and he can keep up no problem (even when riding down hill!). Excellent temperament, ours is quite self-contained but his siblings are more expressive. We live near the Pyrennees and our dog just lives for the winter (and spends most of the hot summer camped under whatever shade he can find). He has no problem scaling rocky steps when trekking and LOVES the snow - ski-touring is his favourite activity. The breed was developed as a farm watch dog in the Black Mountains, so is a good and protective guardian of the family home (and children), but not at all nasty or aggressive. Hard to find in the UK, and quite expensive as a consequence I believe, but certainly worth consideration. Incredible stamina.
You don't sound like a sceptical bastard now!
Our two border terriers will walk for miles in all but hot weather in the Lakes.
What about the Shetland Sheepdog or Sheltie - Hamish Brown had two that accompanied him on long distance mountain walks.
In late on this one with a vote for a medium sized mongrel. I have nothing against people who want to spend money on breeds but there are so many poor mutts in dog-shelters that need a good home (which you can pick up for nearly free) that it seems a shame to spend money just to get some papers.
Doubled with the fact than many mongrels are cleverer and healthier than pure-breds (due to less in-breeding) you've got a recipe for a winner.
We have a large 'mostly' labrador who has boundless energy and is great for a day out in the countryside. She also the sweetest natured pooch you'll ever meet, although she needed a lot of training when we got her. My only complaint is that she has an annoying habit of finding bouldering mats to be a very comfortable place to lie down!
she also claims she's very useful at pointing out the holds on grovelly top-outs, but I'm not so sure:
Akitas are great in cold weather - they love the snow! The only problem with mine is that he's pretty lazy so always lags behind on a run. Fine for a nice easy plod up a hill but if I'm going running I just take my Staffy. He's a wee ball of muscle, never ending energy and fun! He needs a jacket in the snow but you can't beat staffies for loyalty and intelligence.
We've had both dogs since they were 8 weeks old and both were well socialised and trained. I'd trust the Staffy off the lead with any other dog but the Akita can be quite protective. He is getting much more placid in his old age but also has recurring problems with his hind legs so I'm not keen on taking him long distances anymore. Also, having been around dogs all my life with no health problems at all, I discovered only after the Akita's first shed of his undercoat that I'm allergic to dogs...no big deal, I just take antihistamines every day!
My first dog was a long-haired Yorkshire/Cairns terrier mongrel and he was amazing for all outdoor pursuits. He came summer and winter mountaineering (needed a jacket to stop the snow from balling up on his underside), kayaking (sat in the cockpit with me) and mountain biking (would keep up even on the downhills) so just goes to show you dont need to shell out on a pure breed for a good mountain companion!
They must both think they're Jack Russels, or something like that. They don't think twice about climbing up on your lap, or jumping on the bed in the night. It's like having a grown bloke jumping on you.
How is yours with sheep? Ours grew up in a country with none around, and he was a pain when he finally encountered them. He coped fine with hills and snow, but having to have him on a lead ALL the time due to sheep reduced the pleasure. He was fine with horses, cows and goats, but sheep were irresistible.
The new one will be having a great deal of sheep-training!
> In late on this one with a vote for a medium sized mongrel. I have nothing against people who want to spend money on breeds but there are so many poor mutts in dog-shelters that need a good home (which you can pick up for nearly free) that it seems a shame to spend money just to get some papers.
Rescue centres are overflowing with fit, friendly, intelligent dogs just waiting for the chance to enjoy the hills with their new 'pack'.
Why not give a mutt the chance of a happy life than pay a fortune to a puppy farmer?
Working Cocker Spaniels are the answer....... think springer but two thirds the size. Mine go on for ever and as they're kennelled outside are hardy to the cold, over the last week there water bowl has been frozen solid in their kennel in the morning but they're happy and healthy...
Spaniels have got to be a better option, I'm pretty sure you tend to see them quite a bit with mountain rescue (mainly because they're good working dogs anyway), but they have the energy, and obedience to go up the hills too.
Strange: The Rhodesian Ridgeback is the only breed of dog I have ever had problems with. My climbing partner's Ridgeback nearly took a chunk out of my arm with no provocation whatsoever. This breed was designed to stand off lions. I have since researched them and found that they can never be totally trained (unlike Pit Bull Terriers, etc) because of their extraordinary hunting instincts.
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