15 of the Best and Friendly Small Dogs for Hiking

best small dog for hiking

Hiking is a relaxing and fun activity, but sometimes the long trek can be lonely and boring. However, with a furry companion on your side, you can certainly ease this loneliness and improve the quality of your hiking trips. 

If you are planning on a hiking trip soon, it’s high time that you get yourself a dog. For starters, a small dog is ideal as they are easier to control. So, to give you some ideas as to what dog to get, here are 15 of the best breeds for hiking: 


1. Chihuahua

Feisty, quirky, and intimidating, the Chihuahua has a spirit of a large dog trapped inside a small body. Although they’re small, they are very smart and energetic. Plus, they love to take long walks and play under the sun. 

Despite their reputation as a lap dog because of their small size, they can definitely guard well. The Chihuahua is a loyal and overprotective breed. Thus, they’re not only a great hiking companion but a wonderful guard dog as well. 

This breed comes with a lot of different colors, head sizes, and coat types. Chihuahuas can grow from 6 to 15 inches and should weigh about 2.7-3 kilos. One of the best things about them is that you can take them wherever you want to go. You can just carry them inside a special dog bag whenever they are getting tired from the long walk. 

2. Pomeranian

This adorable pooch is known for its confidence, vivaciousness, and free-spirited demeanor. Most people think that this small dog is a passive breed. However, they are proven wrong. Just like the Chihuahua, the Pomeranian also has a large personality and are known to be very athletic. It can be stubborn and aggressive, so you’ll have to train it first before embarking on a trip. 

This breed is also known for their curious behavior. Pomeranians tend to explore and smell new places and even hop around whenever they feel excited, making them entertaining and fun to be with during hiking trips. 

3. Yorkie

The Yorkie or the Yorkshire Terrier is one of the smallest and smartest dogs and are said to be the second most popular breed all over the world. Though small, they have a big personality. They are known for their Napoleonic complex and are never afraid to take dogs that are twice bigger than their size. 

These dogs are independent and smart. They need mental stimulation, exercise, and proper socialization, so these make them a perfect hiking companion. If you plan to take a Yorkie on a hike, make sure to keep it on a leash as they have a tendency to run around or dart whenever they see something interesting. 

Grooming wise, you get them in the puppy cut, especially if you are a regular hiker since the show-type long coat can be a little difficult to maintain. Healthwise, Yorkies are known to have eye and dental problems and issues with their knees like luxating patella. Thus, have them checked before you bring them on a hike. 

4. Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier is known to be an excellent fox hunter during the 19th century. Weighing about 14 to 18 pounds, the Jack Russell is known for their intelligence, hard-working demeanor, and vibrant energy.

This breed is perfect hiking partners because they need a large amount of exercise. Hence, you need to stimulate them mentally and physically. Hiking is one of the best activities that you can do with this breed since the environment quenches their inquisitive behavior and the physical movement keeps them pumped up.

Jack Russell Terriers have two types of coat, the wired and the smooth. Wired-coated Jack Russell Terriers need to be brushed daily to keep dirt off their coat, so after a hike, make sure that you thoroughly clean them. 

5. Terrier

They are known as an old breed of terrier. The Cairn Terrier was bred in the Highlands of Scotland as a hunting dog for the working class. Just like its other breeds in the terrier family, they are intelligent, hardworking, and energetic.

One of the best things about this dog is that they have a heightened sense of smell. They are perfect hiking companions because they can help you navigate throughout the hike with their strong noses. Cairns are relatively healthy, but they can be prone to hereditary health issues like hip dysplasia and cataracts. 

6. Norfolk Terrier

The Norfolk Terrier is considered to be the smallest of the terrier family. They weigh about 11-12 pounds and stands about 10 inches. They love the companionship they get from humans, and they do well with other dogs.

One of the best things about the Norfolk terrier is that they are even-tempered. The Norfolk are hunters with a heightened drive to search for prey. They also have a more compact build, which makes them look stronger and safer to be around with when you’re outside. Because of their hunting nature, they love to run and walk at all time. 

7. West Highland White Terrier

The Westies are the friendliest dogs under the terrier breed. Westies are often seen as happy and extroverted dogs, and they like to welcome people whenever they can.

Westies were originally from Scotland and were breed as fox and vermin hunters. These busy-bodies are energetic and smart. They love activities as these stimulate their mental and physical needs. They are well-built for rigorous activities and are really entertaining during the hunt. They are also good with navigation but are prone to darting when excited, so look out for them at all times. 

8. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

These breeds are known for their elongated and peach-liked butt that people can’t help but adore them. Pembroke Welsh Corgis were bred in Wales as a dog for herding. They are athletic, agile and, energetic.

They love playing games that include chasing and running. These intelligent dogs are good followers. They can easily keep up with the hiker, so they are easy to control while hiking. However, they can be intimidating and snippy towards passersby or other dogs. If you wish to bring a Corgi during hikes, avoid going on the popular routes, or you can specifically train them to be friendlier.

9. Miniature Pinscher

We often see the Miniature Pinscher as the mini version of the Doberman. Sometimes, people would often mistake them as a Chihuahua too because of their size. 

Min Pins, a nickname of the breed, was originally from Germany. This breed weighs around 8-10 pounds. Even though they are very small, the Min Pins are athletic and sturdy. They are proud, assertive, and independent that they sometimes tend to do things without your consent. 

Min Pins love rigorous exercise, thus making them a great companion for hiking. As they are energetic in nature, you might have a hard time keeping up with them, so it is best that you keep them on a leash whenever you are out. 

10. Dachshund

Who would have thought that this weenie-pooch were descendants of the hounds? The Dachshunds are well-known for their long and slender bodies. Previously, they are bred to hunt rabbits and other preys. Because of their hunting instincts, they do well in hiking trails. 

Among the dog breeds, they are the ones with the most colors including the unique dapple patterns, which makes them stand out even more. Aside from the color and size, they also have distinct coat types which are wired, long, and smooth in texture.

Despite their different appearance and size, the dachshund has a lovely personality. They are charming, comical, lively, and brave. They are very loyal to their owners and tend to follow them wherever they go, so they will never bore you. 

11. Norwegian Lundehund

Raja Norsk lundehund

This dog is one of the most talented and flexible breeds in the world. Because they have a unique physical attribute, they are able to do quirky stunts like folding their upright ears, making them look like seals. They also have six fully developed muscled toes that help them sprint and chase, so they are down for any outdoor activities.

And because they are a playful and non-aggressive breed, they get along with well other children and dogs. Norwegian Lundehunds are generally healthy. However, you need to be careful about what you feed them. These dogs can suffer from mild to severe digestive disorders when not properly fed. They can be a little expensive due to their limited number. If you wish to buy or adopt one, be ready to spend cash on their health and general well-being.

12. Schipperke

This breed is popularly known as the little black fox because of their foxy physical appearance and black fur. They are also known as the Tasmanian Devil because of their mischievous and highly inquisitive nature. Despite all the nicknames, the Schipperke is a loving and energetic dog to be around.

They are independent and manipulative at times, but with the help of hiking, you and your Schipperke can get to know each other and bond. Overall, the breed has few health issues that you should take note. Some of them have a genetic mutation called MPS IIB. This mutation may affect their negotiation and balance. Thus, always keep them in tiptop condition.

13. Alaskan Klee Kai

The Alaskan Klee Kai was breed to create a smaller version of the Siberian Husky. Although it's not a miniature version of the Husky or the Malamute, this dog still shares some attributes from them.

The breed looks exactly like its bigger counterparts and weighs just around 10-15 pounds. Though they are generally smart and energetic, they are sometimes skittish and shy around strangers. If you are taking them on a hike, make sure that they have been socialized.

If you’ve bought them out of their comfort zones, they are fun to be with as they’re one of the best climbers and jumpers around, making them an ideal partner for rough trails.

14. Miniature Schnauzer

This breed usually weighs about 10-18 pounds and has a wiry coat. Their wiry coat protects them from dirt, so the outside environment is not that problematic. They also have a strong drive in hunting down preys and playing games that involve hiding and running.

Generally, they are tough, alert, and obedient. They are wary of strangers, but friendly to those who they know. They love to please their owners which makes them a perfect travel and hiking companion. However, when you are on a hike with your Miniature Schnauzer, make sure to leash them. They might accidentally dart whenever they’re stimulated. 

15. Beagle

The Beagle is one of the well-loved breeds in the world. They are ideal family pets because they are gentle and easily get along well with children. However, they get distracted right away because of their curious nature, so be extra watchful during hikes. 

Because of their short attention span and yowling tendencies, beagles are often taken to intentional exercises to discipline them. Luckily, they are easy to train. With constant effort and love, they will surely accompany you perfectly on a hike. 


If you are planning to be an avid hiker, a dog companion is surely one of the most fun, relaxing, and pleasing partners that you can take on a hiking trip. So, get yourself one of these breeds and see how it goes. You’ll be surprised at how entertaining they are. 

About the Author

Lauren Reese

I'm Laura. I have a huge passion for hiking and camping. Lying under the star beside the tent and camping fire with my team is the ultimate nature getaway to me. I wish to share my experience during the adventure with you through this blog. Feel free to read my stories and leave some comments if you like.

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