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Thread: Hiking dog

  1. #1

    Default Hiking dog

    Looking for a good bread for a hiking companion. #1 priority is a bred that will stay with you and not run off. Any suggestions.

    Jim

  2. #2

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    I'm assuming this will be a dog for hiking in Alaska. What size would you prefer?
    Bernese mountain dogs, leonbergers, or a rottie would be great for big dogs.
    Akitas, karelians and chessies/labs are great choices for large/med dogs.
    Samoyeds/eskimo dogs, any terriers, and cockers would be good medium dogs.
    Small dogs would need to be tough breeds like mini shnauzers or jack russels, but those little spitz dogs have good coats.

    What size are you leaning towards?

  3. #3

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    Yes Alaska. I currently have a 12 year old wire haired fox terriers which I love but I was never able to teach him to stay close. I was always worried that I would lose him and did many times find myself back at the truck calling and calling for him. I have been considering the Bernese mountain dog, but I would like a bred that will stay with me on or off the trail. Is the caracteristic of the mtn bred?
    I like the smaller size of my terrier but that not the most important desire.

  4. #4

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    Bernese are very patient, gentle, kind animals. They would just as soon starve at your feet as go forage food. They are one of a handful of breeds that are loyal to a fault. Get a female if you want a good follower. You need to be the leader.
    You could never go wrong with one of those. They are stunning in real life, pictures do not do them justice.

  5. #5
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I asked the same question a couple of years ago to dog saavy friends and ultimately ended up with a yellow lab. He's 90 lbs now and loves to hike and ski. He never ventures out of eye/ear range when we're out and about. Typically he runs circles around our group when we hike.

    Can't verify the accuracy but I've been told that to get a dog to stay close he needs to be raised with the family- in the house, in the car, etc. so that he identifies himself as a member of the pack structure. Dogs that are tied or kenneled away from the family are supposedly the ones that run off. Don't know that its true but it seems reasonable enough.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    ... I've been told that to get a dog to stay close he needs to be raised with the family- in the house, in the car, etc. so that he identifies himself as a member of the pack structure. Dogs that are tied or kenneled away from the family are supposedly the ones that run off.
    This is very accurate (not 100% pre-determined, but statistically probable in most cases). Dogs that are boxed or tied up in the backyard will hold less loyalty to you and they tend to view off-leash time in the wild as a chance to get away and/or burn off some energy. If you want a thousand real-life examples of such, just go talk to some dog mushers. Most keep the dogs separated on chains and living in little boxes. Ask a musher how many of those dogs he trusts to be off-leash while they're out on the trail. Every once in awhile you'll find a musher who can point out a single dog on the team that they partially trust.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  7. #7

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    Reading up on this bred tells me they have a lot of health issues such as authirtis, cancer and only live about 7 years. Has this been your experience?
    Jim

  8. #8

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    That is correct. Finding a good breeder paired with proper feeding(controlled growth) will eliminate 99% of health issues. Life span will most likely be no more than 10 years. You will find this is true for ALL of the giant breeds, so if this is problem, choosing a large/medium dog may be a better choice. Supposedly, American Mastiffs and Anatolian Shepherds are the healthiest giant breeds. Personally, I don't believe that.

    My choice for a healthy, large, obediant dog would be a Karelian Bear Dog. Maybe an Akita, but they are a bit more headstrong.

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    Member akiceman25's Avatar
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    I'll 2nd the yellow lab. Mine stays very close by, even when I'm on the 4-wheeler. If he strays farther than I am comfortable with a quick whistle gets him back where he should be. They want to please!

    PM me if you'd like the breeder I used. They're highly recommended.


    -akiceman25

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tailwind View Post
    That is correct. Finding a good breeder paired with proper feeding(controlled growth) will eliminate 99% of health issues. Life span will most likely be no more than 10 years. You will find this is true for ALL of the giant breeds, so if this is problem, choosing a large/medium dog may be a better choice..
    What you feed the dog is very important... many of the large/giant breeds need slower growth than typical "puppy chow" provides... a quick chat with a good feed store will yield some interesting results. A friend with a mastiff thought the feed choice wasn't as critical as it is-- his mastiff basically outgrew his spine and resulted in some level of disability.

    Rule of thumb- bigger the dog, slower it should grow. I don't know about all the giant breeds but I was told a Lab is considered a puppy for 2 full years and he won't be filled out with all of his adult muscle mass until about 3.

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    karelians are known to wander i am finding that out personally with mine Id steer away from kbd's if you hoping to have one on the hip

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    Get a Lab, make sure it is from a good breeder not some idiot that let their dog get knocked up.

  13. #13

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    Friend of mine has a yellow lab that saved his bacon when charged by a moose. On top of that labs are great family pets. My vote is on labs.

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    AKC breaks dogs down into 7 categories; Working, Sporting, Non Sporting, Hound, Terrier, Toy, and Herding. Esch group has its pluses and minuses for what you want. In "general" Hounds and Herding like to "run" and run and run and can be harder to get to stay by your side. Terriers can want to go down a hole or into a cave...very hyper as group. Toys can be a little more fragile. Non Sporting has both hyper active and sedate. All can have individual breeds to meet your needs. Most people so far are recommending Working and Sporting dogs, which tend to be the most popular. I raise, show, and breed the Working dog, the Boxer. Not the best choice for outdoors Alaska, but they go with me on all my hikes. I start with them young, and they go off lead as early as I can. Only once has one "run off" and that was when she got chased by a moose. It took 6 hours to find her...really spooky for me. The only issue I have had was the last 100 vertical feet on Matanuska Peak, my girl at the time was to tired, the boulders to big, and she wanted me to carry her to the top ;-) I see lots of Labs and Husky mixes on the trails. Australian Shepard too. Big dogs tend to get over heated and it is harder to carry water and feed for them on long trips.

    The long and short, there is no bad breed, but there are bad training events in a dog's life. Getting a young puppy is always fun if you know how to raise/train them correctly. Getting a trained adult can help you learn if you don't know how to train. Going to puppy classes and then doing some Obedience training are worth its weight IMHO. Having a dog wanting to come to you because there is more reward in your praise, then running off is a great feeling.

    As to feed as previously mentioned...what I tell all puppy buyers, as a rule of thumb, if you can buy it at a grocery store it probably is of poor quality (like letting your teenager eat all meals at a gas station). High quality dog foods cost more, but you feed far less, and it is much healthier for your dog. Alaska Mill and Feed and/or Animal Food Warehouse are both Alaskan companies that have staff that can educate you on the different qualities of food. The Cook Inlet Kennel Club has another dog show at the Egan Center on March 26 and 27 and you can find all sorts of dogs, breeders, and vendors to teach you about quality feed. There are also On-Line programs from AKC that can help you "pick" the top 3 or 4 dogs you are most suited for/that are suited for you.

    I hope this gives you some ideas! Good luck on your choice, and let us know how it works out for you.
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    Member Jackson's Dad's Avatar
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    Jim,

    I was going through the same thing about 4 years ago and wound up getting one from the pound. A complete mutt, probably has about 10 different breeds in him (or more), and is the best hiking/camping dog I can think of. Loves being outdoors, will go forever, not a pain in the butt (much), and most importantly wants to be with me wherever I am. Could he know more obedience? Sure, but that is his owner's fault (ME) not his. Overall, I would not trade him for any other dog. I guess my point is that I think the relationship you have with your dog is more important than what breed it is or what papers it has when it comes to will it run away or not. Good luck with whatever you choose!
    “The mountains are calling and I must go.” - John Muir

    "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

  16. #16

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    Otterpants747 is correct about the Kareilians not being natual hip dogs. It's not so much that they just wander its what they are bred to do. Being a tentatively 15,000 year old primitive breed, bred for hunting they circle a fair sized area while out hiking with you in a hunting manner. Some will tell you that they are checking for bears. Sort of but not exactly. They are in essence hunting with you as part of the pack. We would take my male Karelian on boy scout hikes when my oldest was in the scouts, and camp outs all the time. He never walked with us but was always crossing the trail in front of us and behind us and occasionally checking in with me. He has kept more than one cow moose with a calf off of us and out of the trails, and has ran off several probable bears that I never got a look at. I am thinking they were blacks from the areas we were in. It's not just the males that circle the females also circle. They love to tree squirrels. Our females do stay closer to home. The males wander more often. If we turn two out at the same time they will go hunting. They will take any dog hunting with them that will go.
    www.chasingbearkennel.com

    Any wanting to know more about Karelians, they are wonderful dogs, do a search for California Karelians. They probably have the most accurate information out there about the breed. They are very intelligent and can be trained to do anything, meaning they are not naturally a hip dog but they can be trained to do so. We have never trained our to be that kind of dog.

  17. #17

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    Lots of great info here. Any thoughts Jim?

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    Member sharksinthesalsa's Avatar
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    dont' get a beagle....unless you like hiking in circles...and chasing the darn thing through the thickest brush imaginable
    "early to bed, early to rise, fish like hell, and make up lies"

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    hey chasing bear I have a karelian lab mix and was looking for any info on training the guy. I have had labs in the family but never a karelian so looking for 2 cents anything helps

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    I say go with the Lab or a Golden Retriever. My Golden Retriever knew to stay with me even when she was 8 weeks old. And if you have kids they are a very affectionate breed and about as smart as they get. She thinks she is a lap dog still though and that doesnt always feel good. the only cons for a GR is the fur everywhere and their known hip dysplasia issues. But with good food and vitamins it will take a lot longer for that to happen to them. And German Shepherds are great dogs too. A lot of options to go with here. Don't choose the dog let the dog choose you.

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