Are Golden Retrievers Good Hiking Dogs?
The answer to your question?
Yes! Golden retrievers make excellent running and hiking partners.
Golden retrievers are energetic dogs with bouncy characters and a keen love of the outdoors. Golden retrievers love exploring the water. From personal experience mine can sniff out a river from a mile away, however this isn’t always a good thing. On hot summer days when the ground is dry, they seem to still find water. Unfortunately, a lot of the time they find small muddy puddles, so you may have muddy dog the majority of the time.
So, what makes golden retrievers so good at running and hiking?
Well firstly they have been bred over many years as working dogs. The dogs that were the fastest and had the best endurance were chosen for breeding. You can always see the years of evolution in Golden Retrievers as mine is always bringing me items and let me say, he’s great at fetch despite never being taught. Golden Retrievers originated in the Scottish Highlands, they were bred for enduring long hunts across desolate landscapes with lakes, woodland and mountainous terrain. This helps to see why they make great hiking companions.
I’ve been on many long-distance hikes with my Golden Retriever and it never ceases to amaze me how much endurance they have. No matter the obstacles we come across he always looks full of energy.
Running is another great way to keep fit and have some fun with man’s best friend. Golden Retrievers love to run and if you train them to heel you should have no problems with being pulled or suddenly stopped in your tracks.
There are some things to remember before letting your Golden Retriever set out on a run or long hike.
How Much Exercise Does a Golden Retriever Need?
Firstly, there are certain age restrictions for exercising your dog. If you put them through their paces too young, you can end up causing them all sorts of trouble in their joints. It’s best to wait for them to stop growing fully, which happens around 18 months. Of course, after this age you can go running and hiking with your Golden Retriever as much as you like.
When we first got our Golden Retriever, I like many other owners did some research on exercise. We followed the 5-minute rule whereby each month we would add an extra 5 minutes to his exercise routine. Of course, you don’t need to follow this religiously but to give you an idea of hiking with your golden retriever its better to leave it until they are fully grown.
How fast can Golden Retrievers run?
Golden Retrievers can run around 30 mph, this is only for a quick sprint. The reason they are so good for hiking is they can run long distances if required.
Remember don’t overwork them and make sure to bring them food and water to match the amount of exercise you are giving your dog.
What to take with you?
It’s always important to take the relevant equipment with you when you go hiking. Taking important equipment, like you would for yourself, means it’s also important to take equipment when hiking with your Golden Retriever. A collapsible water bowl is always a good start. Don’t rely on their being streams and rivers available, so have some freshwater ready, take a bottle with you, not just for yourself but for your companion.
Things to watch out for
Most of the time when hiking, you’re walking in remote locations. This means that you’re more likely to come across various hazards along your way. Dogs are curious animals and it’s more than likely that your furry friend will end up investigating something they shouldn’t. Taking a lead or harness and a well-equipped medical kit can save you from a panicky situation.
If you’re walking in Moorland areas where there’s lots of sheep make sure to look out for ticks. These tiny parasites jump onto your dog’s fur and eventually attach themselves to the skin. Ticks can cause trouble if not removed so try to get rid of them as soon as possible, checking as you go.
Some items you might want to take
Harness – This can be a vital tool, either when your buddy is in trouble or becomes hard to hold for whatever reason. Don’t forget that when livestock are around your not supposed to have your dog off lead no matter how trained they are. Here are 5 harnesses we think are worth a look.
Small medical kit – The best way to assemble this one is to pack everything you think you would need for yourself. Add medical items that your vet recommends to what you have already packed, it’s always a good idea to consult with a vet before going on a particularly long hike.
Dog Pack – If you think your furry friend is up to it let him carry some of the load. It’s important not to overload them as they will probably be using a lot more energy anyway with all the running around. You can get hold of small dog backpacks to put small items in. One advantage that Golden Retrievers have in this department is that they are strong, this is why they are so well suited as working dogs.
Golden Retriever Boots – One thing that people often forget is that your dog has no protection on his feet. Depending on the terrain you plan on walking, it’s often a good idea to invest in some small Golden Retriever boots. After walking long distances their paws can become sore. Golden Retrievers are so determined they will walk on with sore feet and the situation will only get worse.
Towel and blanket – If you plan on going on a particularly long hike it can be a good idea to take a towel and blanket. As I mentioned before Golden Retrievers love the water. There’s nothing worse than sitting wet and cold when you have a break. Dry them off and wrap them in a blanket they will certainly appreciate it.
Hopefully this article has answered your question on whether Golden Retrievers make good hiking companions. There’s nothing better than having someone to go hiking with and your Golden Retriever will certainly push you further. Just try to remember some of the simple things highlighted in this article and you will soon find out for yourself that Golden Retrievers are great for hiking. If your ever visiting Devon take a look at our 10 Amazing South Devon Walks proven and tested by Golden Retrievers!
They love hiking but also have their limits just as you do.