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Not all canines are built for the outdoors. So if you’re an outdoor junkie, it’s important to choose a furry buddy that can keep up with your adventures. The best outdoor dogs for families are often athletic and energetic dogs with the insatiable desire to run, swim, and explore around. But just like any canine, it’s your responsibility as the owner to ensure that the pooch is safe at all times.
For this post, I listed 8 of the best candidates if you’re looking for a puppy that loves the outdoors. Take note that although they love being outdoors, it doesn’t mean that the dog will live and stay outside 24/7.
Best Outdoor Dogs for Families
Outdoor dogs are fun to have, especially if you love adventures. If you’re looking for a canine that can be your buddy, the following breeds would be amazing options:
Collies are one of the most intelligent canines. They are the best buddies if you want a doggo that loves exploring and going on adventures. As a smart canine, Collies love the physical and mental stimulation that going outside brings.
Unlike other dogs, Collies have a manageable energy level. They are playful, too, but their intensity isn’t intimidating. It’s also easy to train a Collie as long as you’re consistent. However, this dog has a strong prey drive and the affinity to bark.
Moreover, Collies are affectionate canines and they get well along with almost anyone. With proper training, this pooch can learn tricks and will be worthwhile to tag along on your outdoor activities.
A well-bred Collie would be friendly, sweet, and gentle. They also like being with kids, so they are a perfect match as family pets.
Lastly, Collies can adapt to both city and country living. Just make sure that you will keep this doggo busy or it will bark its head off to pass the time.
Remember that Collies are available in two different coats: smooth hair and rough hair. The Smooth Hair Collie is the easiest to groom.
2. Australian Cattle Dog
Another amazing outdoorsy canine is the Australian Cattle Dog. This doggo got its name from being a herding dog for cattle on massive ranches. From there, they were domesticated to become family pets.
Australian Cattle Dog is affectionate to their families, but they aren’t best for those with young children. They are also wary of strangers but can be raised with other canines.
Outdoors, this pooch will run, play, and zoom like crazy. Australian Cattle Dogs are highly energetic and will surely love a lot of outdoor exercise. They also love chewing things. Nevertheless, an Aussie Cattle Dog can be trained easily, thanks to its intelligence.
Aside from that, this breed is popular as a ‘shadow dog’ because they never want to leave their owners’ side. So if you’re going outdoors, you can expect a well-trained Australian Cattle Dog to be at your side all the time.
Remember that this breed isn’t for first-time owners. Australian Cattle Dogs require an experienced owner who knows how to curb their negative behavior. Also, they are not apartment dogs because of their energy level and size.
Vizslas were bred in Hungary as pointer and retriever canines. This is the reason why they love being outdoors. You can expect a Vizsla to run and explore outdoors to their heart’s content. This pooch is overflowing with energy and intensity fit for an experienced owner.
Moreover, Vizslas love exploring on their own so it’s best to train them well before your first outdoor adventure. They also love barking and howling, which can be addressed with proper training. Vizslas are intelligent dogs so training will be easier.
Despite their active nature, Vizslas are very affectionate. They love being with their families and even young kids. This pooch can easily befriend a stranger and go along with another canine. However, they are not suitable for homes with small pets like birds, gerbils, and guinea pigs due to their strong prey drive
Remember that this breed thrives in human companionship so busy families should look elsewhere.
Aside from that, Vizslas are chewers so it’s important to give them lots of toys. You should also socialize this dog well to prevent any aggressive tendencies. It’s also best to keep them away from very young children because Vizslas are very sensitive canines.
4. Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers are popular among families for very good reasons. First of all, Labs are affectionate canines and they are great with kids. This pooch is patient and very friendly. Like Golden Retrievers, Labs like everyone, including strangers and other canines.
Also, this doggo is always up for outdoor adventures. They need regular exercise to prevent obesity and to keep them stimulated. With high levels of energy, Labradors are ideal for families with active lifestyles.
Another reason why Labs are popular is their intelligence. It’s easy to curb their chewing and barking habits since they are very easy to train.
Since Labrador Retrievers are trained for demanding jobs, they will thrive outdoors. Still, it’s important to keep this pooch indoors during a hot day to prevent overheating.
Usually, Labs are suitable for newbie owners, but you should still prepare for the doggo. If you work long hours and there’s no one in your family to look after this pooch, it might lead to separation anxiety. Although Labs aren’t known as escape artists, they can be destructive chewers when left to their own devices.
5. Rhodesian Ridgeback
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a handsome and regal dog. They were in Africa as guardians and hunters. At home, these hunters will prefer to bury their heads on the sofa. Still, don’t underestimate the energy of this pooch because the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a force to be reckoned with. They are athletic, energetic, and built for the outdoors.
It’s important to train a Rhodesian Ridgeback before bringing them outside because of their intense drive to wander. This is due to the pooch’s strong prey drive, which is the same reason why they are not for homes with small pets.
Aside from that, this breed is affectionate to their families but aloof of strangers. Nevertheless, they can be raised in a multi-canine household if introduced properly.
In terms of grooming, Rhodesian Ridgebacks will not give you a problem. They shed moderately but don’t drool so they are fairly easy to maintain.
Lastly, it’s important to keep a Rhodesian busy or it will vent its energy into digging. They can be eager escape artists if left alone without anything to do. Toys and exercise should help tone down this pooch’s negative behavior.
6. Portuguese Water Dog
Is your family fond of fishing, going to the beach, or visiting a lake? If so, the best buddy would be the Portuguese Water Dog. From its name, you can easily guess what this dog likes. They were bred as retrievers for lost gears on fishing boats and herding fish into nets. So if you’re an avid angler, this pooch would be an amazing companion. Even former President Barack Obama owns one!
This breed is affectionate and loves playtime. They are energetic canines, being bred as working dogs. Still, their intensity is manageable, even for families with young kids.
As Retrievers, the Portuguese Water Dog will mouth things. Still, they are intelligent and can be easy to train out of any negative habit.
Moreover, this breed is a relative of Poodles, which means they don’t shed. Still, their wavy coat requires a lot of attention and their affinity for water makes them prone to ear infections.
Also, make sure that you give this active dog enough exercise so they won’t become destructive. You can train a Portuguese Water Dog to adapt to apartment life with proper exercise.
7. Australian Shepherd
The Australian Shepherd was originally bred to herd livestock so they are working dogs by heart. This also means that an Aussie Shepherd would love to be outdoors.
This dog is affectionate and can be with kids as long as they are raised together. Also, they are aloof of strangers so expect this pooch to have an air of protectiveness.
When it comes to playtime, an Australian Shepherd will not disappoint. They are energetic, athletic, and ready to join your family’s outdoor trips. It’s important to give this doggo at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a dog to keep them from being destructive.
Australian Shepherds are easy to train, but beware because they have intense prey drive, affinity to barking, wanderlust, and love for chewing. A consistent and strong leader would easily curb these negative behavior.
In terms of grooming, you’ll be glad to know that Australian Shepherds are average shedders. With weekly brushing and periodic trimming, this pooch will remain in good shape. Just watch out for their diet as this pooch is a hefty eater and susceptible to obesity.
8. German Shepherd
Lastly, the German Shepherd is another breed that makes great outdoor canines. This pooch is bred to be working dogs, being the top option for police and military work. When domesticated, they become loyal and protective pets that will stay on their family’s side. These pooches don’t wander off. Instead, they stay dedicated to their task.
As a herding dog, GSDs are active canines. You can’t expect them to be couch potatoes. They are not apartment dogs either and they need an experienced owner who can be the alpha.
Training a GSD is fairly easy but you have to deal with their mouthiness, prey drive, and excessive barking. Grooming is also easy with German Shepherds although they shed a lot. Regular brushing will help manage this pooch’s coat.
But before you get this dog, take note that it’s highly prone to hip dysplasia. It’s important to regulate their activities so these doggos won’t overexert their bodies.
If you plan to get a GSD, it’s best to keep them as a solo dog. It’s not easy for them to get along with other canines.
How to keep an outdoor dog safe
As much as dogs love exploring the outdoors, there are hazards that you need to think of. This is to keep your pooch safe at all times. For starters, you should keep the following points in mind:
- Keep the pooch leashed. If you’re not swimming with your pooch, it’s best to keep it leashed. This way, the doggo won’t run away and get hit by incoming traffic. Take note that hiking trails can be pretty dangerous for canines so you should never let the doggo roam on its own.
- Eyes on the dog. Canines are like kids. They will take advantage of the opportunity when you’re not looking. It’s important to supervise your dog at all times if you’re taking it out in a public place.
- Beware of the heat. Dogs can’t sweat that’s why they are prone to overheating. While deep-chested canines overheat faster, all breeds can experience it. It’s best to keep your outdoor dog in a shaded area to cool down or indoors as the safest option.
- Bring clean water. You shouldn’t be the only one with a water supply during your outdoor adventures. You should also pack a bottle for your dog so it can drink, too. This will also reduce the risk of overheating, especially on a hot day.
- Remove any hazards. If you’re letting the dog play in your yard, make sure that you remove potential hazards. This includes toxic substances, sharp objects, and poisonous plants.
- Teach basic obedience. You should never let an untrained dog go off-leash outdoors. This is a ticking time bomb that can potentially end you up in trouble. It’s important to teach your dog the basics including sit, stay, come, and leave it.
The best outdoor dogs for families will make your next adventures more exciting. Just make sure that the pooch has the right personality and temperament to suit your family. Most of all, you must be prepared to handle all the demands of the breed.
Do you own any of these dogs? How’s your experience so far? Let us know!