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10 Best Dog Breeds for Outdoor Junkies
Be sure to take your dog camping, too.
10. Labrador Retriever
Old Faithful 1 of 11
Mostly athletic, playful and water-loving, labs live to get out and enjoy the world. Originally bred as gun dogs to retrieve waterfowl for hunters, their webbed paws make them excellent swimmers. But labs have a tendency to gain a lot of weight if not exercised consistently and are prone to health problems like hip dysplasia—make sure your lab is healthy and in shape before taking him on any wild adventures.
9. Siberian Husky
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If it were winter all year long, the Siberian husky would shoot to No. 1. Close to cousin wolf, these sled dogs love to work hard—you want these guys on ultra long hikes, trail runs, multi-day treks and cold-weather camping trips. They're smart as heck and can fend for themselves in the wild. Their heavy coats give them difficulties in hot weather, however. Load them up with a big pack; they truly want to carry your gear.
8. Bernese Mountain Dog
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Hearty, docile, good-natured, the Bernese is an outdoor dog at heart—as the name would suggest. They don't build up much endurance but they need activity. They love relatively short hikes with their people (they will stick close to you—no leash needed with good training). Traditionally used on farms and to carry small carts, they will enjoy carrying a small pack. They make great wintertime pals.
The Woodsprite 4 of 11
High-energy, active, athletic and light on their feet, these traditional bird dogs love traipsing through the forest and will travel right by your side. They're also great swimmers and need lots of exercise but are susceptible to cold so best to bring a warm blanket for your Vizsla buddy in cooler temps.
6. Australian Shepherd
The Circus Dog 5 of 11
Herding dogs always make great outdoors companions. Agile, skilled in obedience and ultra high-energy, Aussies were originally bred in the Western U.S. as stock and cattle dogs. They can easily negotiate tough, iffy and precarious terrain so steep inclines, rocks and boulders will keep them entertained.
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There's a reason only Lassie could relay the message that Timmy fell down the well. Even though "collie" doesn't refer to a specific breed, all types of collies display great stamina, keen intelligence, agility, herding instincts and can run all day without tiring. Border Collies are best suited for extended, challenging outdoor adventures.
4. Portuguese Water Dog
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True sea dogs, these pooches were traditionally taught to herd fish—yes, fish—into nets, retrieve lost tackle or act as couriers from ship to ship. They learn quickly and enjoy even the most complex training. They prefer to be engaged in activity within sight of their person, so they're great off-leash water companions. Take them on a boat, canoe or rafting trip.
3. Rhodesian Ridgeback
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Muscular and sturdy, Ridges were originally bred to hunt lion in the African bush. They can sustain dry, hot climates and love to work—if you want a four legged friend to hike or mountain bike in the desert with, this is your guy.
2. German Shorthair Pointer
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Another bird dog, bred for hunting and retrieving pheasant, quail and the like, these handsome, spotted pooches need to run (off leash) and engage in lots of vigorous activity. They're tenacious, tireless, hardy and reliable. They're trainable and obedient but able to retain a sense of independence; if you lose sight of each other, your GSP will always find her way back to you.
1. Australian Cattledog
Your Most Rugged Mate 10 of 11
Like all herders, these high-energy, whip-smart, athletic, protective and brawny companions will accompany you on your toughest adventures. And when you've got dingo in your bloodlines and were born to drive cattle across the Australian outback, you know you are one tough dog.