9 Best Small Dogs for Hiking

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We all know that medium to large size dogs are generally good at any outdoor activities. They tend to do better than small size dogs, typically tougher and have a higher energy level. And these 10 dog breeds are especially great when it comes to hiking.

But the problem here is not everyone loves big dogs.

What if you are that person. You prefer a tiny dog and would love to take your furry little friend for a hike?

Luckily, there are some small dog breeds that are just as good.

Here you will discover the 9 best small dogs for hiking.

Most people would underestimate them, but you will be surprised they can make an excellent hiking companion too! 

1. Beagle


The history suggests that Beagle was developed by several breeds and were originally bred to hunt rabbits. They are known to have a strong sense of smell and have a very similar appearance to Foxhound. Did you also know that Snoopy is a Beagle? Yes, they are just that popular.

Beagle is one of the most vocal dogs that can produce 3 different sounds, a standard bark, bay, and howl. They are determined, excited and have plenty of energy which makes them a great hiking companion. Though they will need to be kept on a leash at all times as they are very scent motivated. 

2. Dachshund


The name Dachshund was derived from 2 German words “Dachs” and “Hund” which means “badger dog”. Originated in Germany and were bred to hunt badgers back in the 15th century. They are also known as the sausage dogs or wiener dogs.

Dachshund has a long body, short legs and 3 coat varieties which includes smooth coat, shorthaired and wirehaired. They are loyal, smart, and courageous. With their hunting heritage, they will be able to keep up with you on the trail. 

3. Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier

The history of this breed can be traced back to the early 1800s. They were developed in England by a hunter named Reverend John Russell to hunt foxes. It is thought that a now extinct female English White Terrier called Trump is the foundation of the breeding program.

Jack Russell Terrier has 3 different types of coats, smooth, broken and rough. They are athletic, intelligent, energetic and are always ready for any adventure. Due to their high energy level and working nature, they will require a large amount of exercise everyday. This is why they are also one of the best small hiking dogs. 

4. Miniature Pinscher

Miniature Pinscher

Miniature Pinscher is a ratter originated in Germany. It is thought that they were initially called Reh Pinscher due to their similar look to the small German deer. But it was then changed to their current name in 1972.

Min Pin” short for Miniature Pinscher is a very famous toy breed with a fearless, energetic, and proud temperament. And as a result, they were given the title of “King of Toys”. Min Pin also has boundless energy and loves to run, which makes them a great partner for hiking.

5. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

It is believed that Pembroke Welsh Corgi was brought to Pembrokeshire, a country in the south west of Wales by Flemish weavers in the 12th century, hence their name.

They were originally bred to herd cattle and now they are one of the most popular family dogs. If you didn’t already know, Queen Elizabeth II is a big fan of them, reported to have more than 30 Corgis.

Welsh Corgi is smart, playful, and outgoing. Most importantly, they have a lot of energy to offer when it comes to hiking thanks to their herding background. They love being outdoors and often compete in many dog sports such as agility, herding and flyball.

6. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier

One of the smallest terrier breeds, Yorkshire Terrier also known as “Yorkie” was developed during the 19th century. They were employed to exterminate rats in mines and textile mills. It was not until the Victorian Era that they have become many wealthy ladies’ companions and have since risen in popularity.

And today, Yorkie still has a lot of fans thanks to their beautiful look. They are intelligent, confident, and courageous. They would be very happy to join you on your outdoor excursions, hence an ideal small hiking dog. But remember to put them on a leash because they love to chase everything they see! 

7. Norfolk Terrier

Norfolk Terrier

The Norfolk Terrier originated in England in the 19th century and was raised to hunt rats. A lot of people confuse the Norfolk Terrier (drop ears) with the Norwich Terrier (erect ears) due to their appearance. In fact, they were both classified as one breed for many years. It was only until 1979 that the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized them as an independent breed.

This cute, affectionate, and fearless dog is also one of the smallest breeds in the terrier group. They can be distinguished by their folded ears and have a wirehaired coat. With their active nature and endless energy, it makes them great for hiking.

8. West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier originated in Scotland and was used to hunt small games in the past. It is believed that they were bred by Colonel Edward Malcolm, who unintentionally shot one of his colored terriers as he had mistaken it for a fox. Since then, only white terriers were bred so that they can be easily identified in the field.

West Highland White Terrier also known as “Westie”, descended from the same root as other Scottish terriers such as Cairn, Dandie Dinmont, Skye, and Scottish. Westie has a courageous, active and playful temperament. They are always up for a challenge and would love to join you on your hiking adventure. 

9. Pomeranian


Pomeranian was named after a historical region called Pomerania, now split between Poland and Germany. You probably wouldn’t believe and may find this funny, but it is true that they were used to pull sleds and guard stocks. Their size was originally bigger but was then bred down to become a family companion.

You notice they look similar to a lot of Spitz breeds such as Keeshond and Samoyed. In fact, they are a member of the Spitz group. They are active, intelligent and curious. Despite their cute look and size, they have a big dog personality beneath them.

You May Also Like: Pomeranian Price Guide


You notice all the small dogs in the list are working breeds. The reason is that they have more energy to offer which is very important when it comes to hiking. Think about it, would you want to take a bulldog for a hike? The answer is pretty obvious, they aren’t the best breed for that.

One thing to note is that you will need to make sure your dog is well prepared before you hit the trail. For example, walk them routinely and increase the duration and difficulty gradually. This is to build up their stamina so that they are able to handle the route.

There are more things and useful tips covered in this complete guide of hiking with your dog. Ensure you fully understand them to make your hike more enjoyable and to create a positive experience for your pooch.

Just our two cents before we wrap up, always use a hiking harness instead of a collar. This is because it can prevent neck injuries as the pressure is spread across their body when you pull the leash, hence safer for them. There are also some gear that you may want to consider to help protect your furry friend such as dog hiking boots and dog GPS trackers.

Lastly, tell your family and friends before you head out. Let them know what is your estimated home time for safety reasons. You should also bathe your dog before going to bed so that there is no dirt or bacteria trapped in their coat. But if you are too tired, you would probably want to use the waterless dog shampoo to quickly freshen them up.

Remember, safety always comes first!

Enjoy your hike with your cute little friend and make sure you take lots of photos!