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In your opinion, what is the best breed of dog to have as a trail riding companion?

I see a lot of discussions on this site about dogs valued as trail riding buddies which made me wonder what the most popular choice would be among our members. Which breed do you think is the perfect k-nine as a trail riding companiion, that can keep up with a horse, won't stray away, and will sit around the campfire with you at the end of the day?

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Mike,

We have an aussie/border collie mix. She was 14 years old this past December and made (2) 20+ mile rides 2 weekends ago at Big South Fork. She is still in good health with the exception that hearing has diminished. She lives to trail ride. She is probably the smartest dog we have ever owned...she gathers the horses from the pastures when she thinks they are moving too slow...she'll put a unwilling horse on a trailer in a matter of minutes...she comes back in the pack and sits or stands beside the trail and watches up to see who is going by and when she sees us...and we seldom ride in line or side by side...then she'll take off to the front...she'll even try to keep other riders separated from "her wards" (which is whoever started out from camp with us) by either staying in the front or the back. She has traveled all over the US with us...she is probably more traveled than most people I know. I realize that some people don't like to ride with dogs but we always have and if they (the dogs) are "trail savvy" then they make a good companion especially when riding alone...my horse will actually watch her as she trots along out in front...we went to look at puppies (aussie) when we were in BSF. A guy we know up there raises them and he has some that will be ready to go next weekend...Mom and Dad are on the premises and they seem like excellent dogs. we have talked about getting Sydney (our dog) a puppy for awhile now....it is easier for her to "train" a pup than for us to do it...she has trained many in her time...ask anyone we know who has an aussie...Sydney has schooled it in some fashion. FYI I prefer female dogs.
My personal preference - no dogs on the trail. I have dogs of my own that would love to go with me. I have seen too many wrecks due to dogs on the trail. There are a few that I ride with that stay on the trail, next to their "person" but the majority of them seem to enjoy zig zagging from one side of the trail to the other, assuming the horses will "yield", which most do but some don't. I don't like having to watch to make sure my horse does not step, stomp or kick these dogs. My one horse would love the opportunity, so I am always "on guard" when I would prefer to just ride at ease.
One instance, we rode up on another group of riders, coming our way, the first horse shied at "our trail savy dog" who came bounding out of the woods, that horse whirled, (guess the horse wasn't dog savy) dumping her rider and proceeded to run in the opposite direction, which spooked the 2 horses following, resulting in another fall and another loose horse. In the end, the first lady had a broken collar bone, the second just shook up and the 2 loose horses were caught by riders coming up from the rear. All this because of one dog who couldn't be left at home and and "didn't bother anybody". The "victims" didn't even have a dog with them. Please note, this is just one instance of many that I have seen involving dogs/horses/trail riding. My opinion- horses - trail riding and dogs do not mix. If you must take your dog, don't ride in a group and try to stay away from other riders.
Even though I made a comment about Chesapeake Bay retrievers, I also think dogs should be left in camp or at home, not brought on a trail ride. I know some people are rabid about their 'rights' to have their dog with them, but it certainly isn't worth someone getting hurt, or worse, killed because their horse spooked because of a dog. I adore dogs myself, but I don't take my dog to my own barn and ride with her...I don't want to be responsible for some else's train wreck. Of course, if you are on your own property and riding your own horses, having a dog along can be fun for all concerned. On public trail rides it is just too risky!
Stephanie -- I couldn't agree more -- I don't care how good your DOG is. The dog here, really, has nothing to do with it. The point of the matter is what will the HORSE do. You give a perfect example of a dog just being and acting like a dog and someone breaks their collar bone. I had a horse that didn't like dogs, would lunge and HISS even (I had never heard a horse hiss) when a dog was just standing there. I believe he was kept in a pasture that had coyotes. Therefore the reaction. I agree with your point tho.

Please do NOT bring your dog on a group ride. Trail ride your dog on your own. Why risk it, really? Thanks.
same thing could have happen if a deer or a bear or some kind of wild animal come out of the woods a good trail horse should not spook so easy over a dog i would hate see what there horses would have done if it was a bear i have rode in the smokey mtns. and had bear come up near us on trail rides a few times
I use to take my golden retivers on over night trail rides we use to go to East Fork. One year me and 2 other ladies we got to stay at the Apartment over the barn I payed for the dogs to be with us. One I kept behind cause she was older and slower than the other one was younger. I did that for about 2 years, I think. Now I got a friend that has room to camp in together, no dogs allowed, and I leave my dog at the Kennel. I only got 1 now. But when I am trail riding at my friends farm, she can go then it's only 4 miles ride good exersise for the horses and the dogs. And plenty of water to get into.
Another thought, I would not bring a dog, if you leave it tied up at East Fork (say) that pup will bark all day or when it get disturbed. I have seen them left in the trailer. Don't for get it can get hot. But everwhere you go you got to have it on aleash. I have learned, my old golden didn't understand why she was tied up and put in the stall, and when I try to leave here with someone, she would pull that other person down to get to me. And so would the young dog that was not to good on a leash. I think you leave them home at the kennel, or your farm who care for the horses and house. When you get back you can bond with your dog at home. He won't be freaking out with all the extra horses around your campground.
Less likely to loose your dog at home, as you would when you get out of your truck.
Not to offend anyone but I think dogs are better left at camp or home and not on the trail. I have seen folks, on several occasions, have problems with their horse as a result of some one's dog (or two) ranging through the woods away from their trail riding owner. The safety of and consideration for others we meet on the trail should be a concern for all responsible trail riders! With that having been said, I am a big dog lover and spoil my german shepherd, but won't be taking her on the trail out of concern for her and others. If you are taking a dog (s) on the trail with you, be considerate of other riders and be sure you keep them close and under control...Happy Trails...to all.
I agree with you Katy. I have never found a better way to accustom horses to things rustling in brush behind them and around the trails. I bring my dog, mostly because I ride alone and he is a trianed bite dog. I have never worried about strangers when he is with me. I don't bring him on large group rides, or places he is not allowed. He doesn't race through the woods unless he has permission. He follows the rear horse in a line, unless told to come up, which he doesn't like. I will stay at the back of the group, except if I am leading the trail. You don't have to steer around Roscoe, he moves. He has never been kicked, bitten, or stepped on. IMO- riding a horse that attempts to bite or kick a dog, or another horse for that matter, shouldn't be on a group ride either. The horse should be taught to respect others and not act out. My dog has been taught not to bite at horses, and minds his manners.
Thank you Gary! It's not just about the person who owns the dog having a good experience. People's dogs can cause too many problems. Please for other rider's sakes, leave them home.
We do not ride w/anyone who brings their dogs on trail. We've seen a friend's dog almost get bit by a cotton mouth in a creek. We've seen another person who had two Australian Shepherds w/them, the dogs TORE A RACCOON to bits. We've seen horses kick at dogs & almost kick a person. We've seen dogs tear in & out of the trails & spook horses & almost get people hurt. So that is why we do not ride w/dogs. No matter how well trained they are, they are safer at home or in the trailer.
I have EXCELLENT trail horses. My horses do not shy at dogs. I have just seen too many wrecks involving dogs and horses. Another example, once when riding beside a pond, the dog jumped in and came back out covered with that green algae stuff which was scary enough but then the dog shook, jumped , rolled and ran in circles not paying any attention to where the horses were and what was happening. The dog's owner was "screaming" at the dog who totally ignored the commands. We had a young horse in the group and another green horse. What do you think the outcome was ?? I think people who have dogs that have no "manners" should LEAVE THEM HOME. I said originally that I rode with some who had dogs who behaved and that was not the problem. If you can control your dog and keep it BESIDE YOU AT ALL TIMES, fine.

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