Huskies are known for having a big exercise requirement, but are huskies good hiking dogs?
Huskies are one of the most ideal hiking partners. They are capable of hiking for hours on end and love to exercise, so they will have no problem keeping up on even the most challenging routes.
In this guide, we’ll explore what makes huskies so great at hiking, as well as some top tips for having success when hiking with your husky. Let’s get into it.
Why Huskies Are Great Hiking Dogs
Huskies make great hiking dogs for several reasons.
Huskies have incredible endurance, which is perfect for those longer hikes with plenty of elevation and different surfaces.
When properly trained huskies are capable of pulling sleds for over 100 miles per day, so there’s no doubt that they can take on most hikes.
Love To Exercise
Huskies are not only capable of intense exercise, but they love to exercise as well.
You may run into some stubborn stages here and there, but generally speaking, most huskies will jump at the opportunity to hike with you.
It can be tricky to tire out a husky.
They are highly intelligent, so even if you meet their exercise needs they still require mental stimulation like socializing, puzzle toys or training to fully tire them out.
Hiking combines the best of both worlds; not only does it provide great exercise, but it gives your husky the chance to meet new dogs and people and explore new areas and smells.
Tips For Taking Your Husky Hiking
Here are some top tips for having success when hiking with your husky.
Ease Them Into It
If you’re an avid hiker you might be tempted to take your husky on a long route right away, but you should start with a few smaller hikes just to get them used to it.
Huskies definitely have the capability to hike for miles on end, given their history of pulling sleds for miles and miles, but you should still start off slow as they gradually increase their fitness.
Bring Water & Food
You should always pack extra supplies for your husky if you’re taking them hiking with you.
Huskies will happily walk for hours on end, but you should offer them a bite to eat or a drink around once every 30 minutes to see if they want some.
Always bring enough to cover more than you would need for the duration of the hike, just in case.
Check The Weather Beforehand
Huskies do great in most temperatures, but they can struggle if it starts to get too hot.
When the temperature starts to approach or exceed 70°F (21°C), you should avoid taking your husky hiking and take steps to keep them cool. This includes keeping them in the shade and providing plenty of water.
Below this temperature, you should be fine to take them out for a hike but always check the weather before. The last thing you want is to be caught out in the heat with a husky.
For more details on huskies in hot weather, you can read our full guide here.
Keep Them On Leash
Huskies should be kept on a leash at all times during hiking.
This may sound unfair, but it is purely for their own safety. Huskies have a high prey drive, which means they are prone to chasing small animals without giving it a second thought.
During this time they are very difficult to recall, and when you combine this with the natural stubbornness and independence of the husky it can be impossible to recall them.
This can put your husky at unnecessary risk of injuring themselves while they are chasing after an animal or even getting lost. Most hiking trails specifically state that all dogs should be kept on a leash, but with huskies especially you should listen to this advice.
Take Poop Bags
This is another no-brainer, but you should always take poop bags if you are going to take your husky hiking.
Part of the joy of hiking is to share the experience with other people, so you need to be respectful of others and clean up after your husky when you can.
Be Prepared To Turn Back
Huskies are super stubborn, and sometimes they will decide that enough is enough, even on their favorite hiking route.
This is something that all husky owners need to be aware of – you may need to cut your hike short so it could be worth planning loops if your husky has shown this kind of behavior before.
Pack Sun Screen
Huskies can suffer from snow nose, or a loss of pigment in the nose, which means they will need dog-safe sunscreen to keep their nose safe from the sun.
Even if your husky doesn’t have this condition, sunscreen is still a good option when the UV index is high. Dog-safe sunscreen should contain no zinc.
Hiking With Older Huskies
Older huskies can be prone to issues that limit their mobility and ability to exercise. A couple of these are listed below:
- Hip dysplasia – Huskies can suffer from hip dysplasia, which is a deformity of the hip joint that occurs during growth leading to pain and stiffness.
- Arthritis – Huskies are prone to arthritis because of how active they are. Arthritis affects their joint health and makes movement more painful and difficult, and while it can be managed with medication and treatments you should avoid long hikes if your husky suffers from it.
Our advice for hiking with older huskies or those that suffer from issues relating to mobility is to speak to your veterinarian first. They will be able to advise what kind of exercise your husky should be doing.
If your husky is still able to walk without issues we would recommend keeping hikes to a shorter duration to make it easier for them.
There aren’t many dogs that are more suited to hiking than huskies.
As long as you avoid hot weather and bring supplies, you should have no problems at all.
Take extra care with older huskies, and consider doing a loop if your husky is particularly stubborn.