Do German Shepherds Like to Hike?

Do German Shepherds Like to Hike

So, Do German Shepherds Like to Hike? As long as they are physically fit and trained, German Shepherds love to hike.

They are the large, agile, and muscular breed naturally designed for surviving outdoors. No matter how long the hike is, German Shepherds will complete it while maintaining up with your pace.

Also, Hiking is one great form of exercise to maintain both mental and physical stimulation in Shepherds. Originally, German Shepherds were breaded as working dogs who would spend most of their day walking around.

They are always high on energy, and thus spending their energy in the right forms is required. However, before going on a long hike, it is your responsibility to learn about your dog’s health and physical limit.

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about hiking with your German Shepherd dog. How old should the dog be, what to take along and what steps you should take before taking a hike with this wonderful breed? How far can they hike and what to bring with you.

Article Published on 20th November 2021 » Updated on 13th January 2022

aditi chef editorWritten By Sergey Uhanov Certified Veterinarian.
Sergey Uhanov is a certified veterinarian for dogs over 10 years, breeding 3 dogs. He loves dogs and has his own pet clinic in Israel. He likes to help other people with their dogs by sharing his experience and knowledge.

Are German Shepherds good hiking dogs?

German Shepherds are also known as herd dogs and guard dogs, which makes them ideal for Hiking and outdoor stress.

They are energetic, intelligent, and fearless, which makes them more hiking appropriate than other breeds.

Also, because they take commands and instruction more rightfully, taking them to different trails and new location proves convenient.

How Old should be my German Shepherd for Hiking?

The amount and level of Physical stimulation in dogs decide whether they are ideal for Hiking or not. And during different phases of their life, this too will vary.

While all German Shepherds are built the same, not each may prove a good hiking buddy.

For instance, until your German Shepherd has touched the age of 1 year, it is not ideal to stress them on hiking trails.

Once they are 10 to 12 months old, you can begin with small and easy hiking trails.

Beginning long hikes with German Shepherd puppies can stress their joints making them prone to Hip Dysplasia.

Similarly, once your German Shepherd has touched the numbers for old age, stressing them for long hikes and difficult trails is unpolite.

No matter how much energy your dog possesses, consider age before taking them for small or big hikes.

How far can a German Shepherd hike?

As a Standard, German Shepherds can hike 2 to 4 or even an hour extra for the day. In miles, the number can touch around 8 miles.

German Shepherds are highly energetic, and thus they will keep navigation the trails for hours.

You may lose energy before them, but this breed makes it strong when it comes to Hiking.

However, it is advisable to keep a check on your Shepherd monitoring if they had enough walk for the day.

Also, you can take several breaks in between to ensure that your dog makes it to your ultimate hiking destination at the end of the day.

Proper food, water, toilet, resting, and sleeping breaks for dogs in between are a must, especially during long hikes.

How Do You Get Your German Shepherd habitual to Hiking?

Unlike Swimming, Hiking is not something that comes naturally to dogs.

Despite how energetic or exercise-loving they are, it never means they know what Hiking is.

Some German Shepherds who are healthy may refuse to carry forward on trails at times. It is because they were not rightfully familiar with this adventure.

Before you plan long-distance Hiking on steep trails:

  • Introduce your Shepherd to small and easy trails first.
  • Begin choosing those small park walks, making the process habitual to your dog’s body their body and for building their stamina.
  • Slowly increase the hike at paved paths but still keep them short.
  • Go for more such hikes frequently and sense how your dog behaves or copes up with.

Once your dog is familiar with the idea, process, and stress, you can slowly plan for a long-distance hiking trail.

Though without keeping your Shepherd’s age and health in mind, never plan hikes that are over 90 minutes.

Hiking with Your German Shepherd – Checklist

Hiking with German Shepherds is fun but not as easy as it sounds. Especially because the trails will take you close to wilderness and nature, preparation for it is a must.

Hiking with dogs is not like that evening walks you take every day in the park.

Thus, you cannot simply head with a lease on those trails that may make you want certain things going forward.

Here’s the complete checklist of things, situations, and considerations before taking your German Shepherd for Hiking:

  1. Ensure your German Shepherd is ready to hike

As we emphasized earlier too, introduce your Shepherd to hiking only when their age is right. Until their growing plates are closed (age of one year), hiking with them is a bad idea.

  1. Know about the environment

In the wilderness you are hiking in, are there wild animals around?

Do bears, foxes, and elephants often cross those trails?

Are there poisonous reptiles and insects on those trails?

Is there toxic vegetation around?

Do your research well about the environment you are hiking in, especially for ensuring your dog’s safety.

If you are going to hike in designated trails, you can check for environmental details online through several websites.

On rough, raw, and non-designated trails, the about situation may arise more commonly.

  1. Check whether the trails allow dogs On-lease or Off-lease?

Are the pathways well-maintained and groomed, or is the surface pointy and stony?

If the situation indicated for later condition, avoid taking your German Shepherds on such

  1. Know about the weather

German Shepherds cannot tolerate extremely warm weather with high heat. Thus, choosing sunny trails and summers for your hike is never a good idea. In such circumstances, your dog will get tired early, or even it may hamper their health.

Whereas during winters, German Shepherds will do good at hiking. On the one hand, their thick coat will protect them from the temperature. And on the other hand, heat generation from walking will add to more comfort. However, if the area you are hiking at receives harsh winds during winter, drop the plan.

  1. Take your German Shepherd to their Vet

A Vet visit and some professional consultancy before a long hike will only add to you and your dog’s good time together. Despite you are actively hiking or not, always keep taking your dog to the vet before every next journey.

Ensure your dog has got his dose of all basic vaccination, including rabbis, flew, parasites, allergies, heartworms, etc. Also, take all their medical certification along with at some National parks and hiking areas, you might require to show them.

  1. Focus upon their weight

German Shepherds who are under or overweight are not fit for Hiking. They will soon give up on the exertion of Hiking, landing you in an unpleasant situation. It may also impact their health badly. Thus, long hikes are not ideal for dogs who are unfit by weight.

  1. Ensure your German Shepherd’s training and obedience

An untrained and disobedient dog can create a ruckus on a hiking trail. Also, because such trails are public, you as an owner may end up in some unwanted circumstances. Thus, before taking your dog on hiking trails or any social space, focus upon their training.

Here are three important training aspects:

Command Training: It comes in handy to control them from misbehaving with fellow hikers.

Lease Training: Not all hiking trails allow dogs off-lease; thus, lease training is a must. It also helps keep dogs under control from fleeing away or losing their way.

Sleep Training: Long distance hike means sleeping at new places and under several circumstances.

From taking naps under the open sky in the afternoon to sleeping under a tent, on a camping chair, or over a hammock, train your dogs.

Hiking with German Shepherd – Things to take along.

Hiking and camping with dogs are not as convenient as your backpacking journeys. Apart from your personal belonging, a long list goes into your backpack for keeping for dog at comfort.

Here’s a list of all those things you may require while hiking with your German Shepherd

  • A pair of leash, collar, and harnesses (additional to what they are already wearing).
  • Also, make sure their collar has all your details, including Name, Phone Number, Address, and Email.
  • You can also opt for Reputed anti-bark collars for GSD’S
  • Food bowl, water bowl, and a Portable Water bottle.
  • Dog Bed/ Mattress and sleeping supplies depending upon the weather.
  • Essential Medicines and a First-aid Kit
  • Dog Boots always keep them as a backup for harsh terrains.
  • Pet safe Sunscreen and Insect repellent
  • Your dog’s favorite toys.
  • Poop picker, pee pads, Poop bags, and Wet wipes.
  • A pair of quick-dry dog-specific towels
  • Dog food, treats, and water.
  • Pet clothes if it is Winters.
  • Get a Gsd Muzzles (it might come in handy)
  • Dog’s vaccination certificates

Wrapping up

German Shepherds make as wonderful hiking dogs, be it their age and health contribute.

They are born to survive outdoor, and unlike many dogs, they might not give you a hard time on trails.

And as an owner, all you need to do is keep your pet’s needs and comfort in mind. With that, your trip to the next National Park is all good to go.


Sergey Uhanov, a certified veterinarian, has authored all of the content here. With over 20 years of experience in dog care and breeding three dogs of his own, he has a deep passion for these furry friends. Sergey owns a pet clinic in Israel where he provides care and treatment to dogs. He enjoys sharing his expertise and knowledge to assist others in caring for their dogs.

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