10 best small dogs for hiking

corgi small dog on a hike

If you are looking for a companion during your routine hikes, look no further than small dog breeds. The best small dog for hiking trails depends on many characteristics, such as a dog breed's energy, stamina, and overall personality.

Thankfully, various dog breeds will be psyched to share the hiking trails with you.

If you are convinced, then here are the 10 best small dogs for hiking adventures.

Jack Russell Terrier

tan white jack russell

You can't go wrong with choosing Jack Russell Terriers as a reliable hiking partner. They are intelligent adventure dog breeds, who were known to hunt foxes.

As a result, Jack Russell Terriers are active dogs with a heart of gold and an unquenchable desire for digging. Matching that desire is their curious and alert nature, making hiking the perfect activity for them.

Jack Russells are very athletic and muscular! Despite being a small dog, your Jack Russell will surprise you with stamina and strength on hikes.

Because these dogs have so much energy, if you will be an active owner who plans on taking your pup out for regular hikes and other outdoor adventures, then you will be a good match for this dog. They certainly don't like to be kept in the house for long periods of time.

If you don't take your Jack Russell out regularly to burn off some energy, they may have issues with barking or other anxiety-related behaviors. This dog breed also loves to JUMP! Your normal little doggie gate may not cut it, as they will surprise you with how high they can fly.


pomeranian running in woods

Next, the Pomeranian serves a dual purpose: the cuteness of adorable lap dogs with the personality of big dogs. So if you're not careful, your Pomeranian may think they are in charge; however, after proper training, they will follow you wherever, including going on the hiking trail.

Additionally, Pomeranians are free-spirited animals with inquisitive personalities. However, these small dogs can be stubborn and bossy. You may need to invest in obedience training to rein in your small dog.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

pembroke welsh corgi on a tree

Originally bred in Wales to herd cattle, Pembroke Welsh Corgis make for the perfect hiking companions due to their endless energy and athletic builds. They are also good followers but may be intimidating to other dog breeds. They can't help showing off their elegant personality, after all.

Furthermore, they love to be around people they trust and are eager to please their owners. In addition, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are intelligent dog breeds, making them easy and fun to train.

However, pay special care to your Corgi's long back, as that can get hurt in jumps over rocky terrain. Corgis are a “dwarf dog,” meaning that due to their long back and short legs they may have issues with their back and hips.

Additionally, they are quite independent, so much so that you may need to keep a tight leash. If they get a whiff of something interesting, they will tunnel-vision focus on that smell and could easily get lost following it.


beagle on a tree

Beagles are incredibly popular, from being known for having a strong sense of smell to having inspired Snoopy's design in the classic Peanuts. But, they also make for a loyal companion with a sweet and lovable personality.

Also, they are high-energy dogs requiring plenty of physical exercise, and what better way to spend time with your pup than going on exciting hikes and making memorable memories.

Much like the equally adorable Corgi, Beagles may need to kept on a leash at all times as they may catch a particularly interesting scent and follow it without hesitation.

Also note that beagles are quite vocal! They were bred to hunt foxes and howl when they found a scent, so they may bark and howl quite loudly if you don't train them away from it.

Miniature Australian Shepherd

miniature australian shepherd running

Initially bred to be herding dogs, Mini Aussies are always eager for outdoor adventures. They are smart dogs and love being around families. As they are built for the outdoors and are active dogs, they can serve as great hiking dogs.

Of all the small breeds, this may be one of the most likely to turn heads, as they have a beautiful, unique color.

This small dog breed is also friendly and non-aggressive. But your mini Aussie will require, on average, 40 minutes of exercise per day, so they are best matched with a very active household that can dedicate time to helping them burn off their energy.

Yorkshire Terrier

yorkshire hyopallergenic

The Yorkie is known as one of the smallest dogs, but much like Pomeranians, they possess the personality of a big dog. Although smaller than most dogs, they never back down from dog breeds twice their size, as they will do anything to assert dominance (and demand as many treats from you as possible).

Furthermore, they are intelligent dogs requiring mental stimulation, making them reliable hiking companions for all. More specifically, Yorkies are ideal for the elderly, as they are small enough to carry and can be kept in any space from an apartment to a house.

However, watch out for a Yorkshire's tendency to unexpectedly dart toward something they find interesting.

In addition, Yorkies are known for dental and eye problems. Before you take them on your outdoor adventure, get them checked by a professional so they are in tip-top shape.

Miniature Poodles

miniature poodle outdoor

For dog owners who want their puppies to be social butterflies, a Miniature Poodle will make a great hiking companion. Moreover, they are high-energy dogs who relish long walks alongside great hiking buddies.

Additionally, the Miniature Poodle adores a good routine, and following a comfortable pattern helps reduce symptoms of separation anxiety or destructive behavior.

Lastly, compared to their large breed dogs counterpart, the miniature poodle is less likely to get joint problems.

Miniature Dachshund

miniature dachshund on a chair

With their hunting heritage, Miniature Dachshunds are the best hiking buddies due to their long bodies and amusing personality. For hiking, this dog breed is a smart, loyal, and athletic pup.

You can always count on your Miniature Dachshund to follow your lead, as they are easy to train and possess good memory retention.

But, dachshunds have delicate backs, so make sure to carry a dog backpack to place them inside in case they need a break. Take care of them as much as they will take care of you, and you have a promising hiking buddy you can take with you.

Alaskan Klee Kai

alaskan klee kai smiling

The Alaskan Klee Kai can be seen as a small Siberian Husky, but have an unquenchable thirst for the outdoors, much like their larger counterparts. Also, they excel in jumping and climbing, making them perfect for long distances.

However, the Alaskan Klee Kai is skittish around strangers. But, you can help them leave their comfort zone and discover new friends after training them.

Miniature Pinscher

miniature pinscher portrait

If you are looking for a lovable, but feisty, hiking companion, then Miniature Pinschers can make your dreams come true. They originated in Germany and were initially called Reh Pinscher due to their resemblance to the small German deer before the name changed in 1972.

In the present day, they are sturdy dogs ready to go on any hiking trip thanks to their fearlessness and proud temperament.

In fact, their unique personality gave them the nickname, “King of Toys,” so you may want to refer to your miniature pinscher as such to give them a good confidence boost.

Which small dog is best for you?

While we may have only scratched the surface regarding the best small dogs for hiking, you now have an important choice to make.

You can go for miniature dachshunds or yorkies for long, leisurely walks, or if you want outdoor adventure companions who can keep up with you while you climb a mountain, then consider miniature Australian Shepherds or the Alaskan Klee Kai.

Ultimately, there is no one right answer. In fact, one can argue that the dog breed chooses their owner. But no matter which pup you choose, they will give you the company that you deserve when you go on your next hiking trip.

Want to know which dog breed is right for you? Take our quiz!

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