Are Golden Retrievers Good Hikers?

Are golden retrievers good hiking dogs

Bored of solo traveling and thinking of taking your Goldie along on the trip? Here’s everything you need to know about hiking with a Golden Retriever.

Are golden retrievers good hiking dogs

Hiking alone can be boring for some people. In that case, taking a furry friend together can be a great idea.

First of all, it will keep you and your canine physically fit. The second thing is it will strengthen your bond with your canine.

Note that not all dogs are ideal for hiking. It’s just that some dog breeds are not made for traveling.

Now the question is, are Golden Retrievers good hiking dogs?

Yes! Golden Retriever is one of the best hiking dog breeds. Goldens are energetic, fun-loving, and eager to please. They were bred to work. They enjoy long walks, running, and playful activities. This is what makes them the best travel companion dogs.

Why Go Hiking With A Golden Retriever?

Now you know that Golden Retriever is the best dog breed for hiking; let’s discuss why you should choose the Golden Retriever and not any other dog for hiking?


Golden retrievers are pups with plenty of energy. So if you are concerned your canine would get tired hiking with you, don’t worry about that. In fact, Goldens enjoy different kinds of outdoor activities.

If you take a peek at the Golden Retriever’s history, you will know that it was bred to work for hunting roles. In the past, Goldens were used by hunters to retrieve shot waterfowl undamaged. For performing such tasks, they have to be active and keep on working.

Smart + Easier to train

Golden Retrievers are so intelligent and easy to train dogs. A higher intelligence level means the ability to learn new commands faster. They are obedient; you won’t face difficulty making them follow your instructions. You can easily teach stuff like how to wear a backpack.

In Stanley Coren’s “The Intelligence of Dogs” book, Golden Retriever ranks number 4th (out of 130 dog breeds). This shows that Goldens have pretty high instinctive intelligence, adaptive intelligence, and working & obedience intelligence.

Strong build

Just because Goldies are gentle and not aggressive doesn’t mean they are weak. After all, they are working dogs; having high endurance levels.

They are sturdy and strong. With a Goldie dog, you do not have to carry all the loads; your dog can carry some loads. There’s no doubt Goldens have high endurance. However, it’s still not advisable to overload as your canine’s so much energy will be used in running itself.

They enjoy long walks

Whether it’s running, walking or any other physical activity, Golden Retrievers are the best companions. They enjoy the activity more when their favorite person is together. Thus, your canine would definitely enjoy hiking with you.

As retrievers are very energetic, hiking also helps to burn excess energy. This way, destructive behavior like excess chewing, barking unnecessarily, etc. can be avoided.

Things To Know Before Hiking With Golden Retriever

Before you go hiking with your furry friend, it’s important to plan everything well in advance. Here are several things you should consider before hiking with a Golden Retriever:

Prepare Your Canine For Hiking

You made up your mind that you’ll take your Goldie along next time you go for a hike, but is your Goldie prepared for it?

If this is the first time you are hiking with your dog, you don’t know about his stamina. Firstly, it’s important to make sure your canine has enough stamina so that he doesn’t get tired during a long hike.

To build the endurance level, you can start by going on long walks or light runs several weeks ahead.

Another crucial thing here is training. Provide basic training and recall training. Basic training includes teaching commands such as sit, stay, come, down, heel, off, and no.

Recall training includes teaching the dog to respond when called. This training can be really useful in emergency situations. To ensure your and your dog’s safety, you must provide recall training.

The good thing is, you have the smartest dog i.e., Golden Retriever. Thus, providing basic and emergency recall training shouldn’t be difficult.

Research in Advance

Before going on a hike with your Golden Retriever, do proper research about the place. Sometimes what happens is you choose the trail and later on you come to know that the trail doesn’t allow dogs.

Another thing is, knowing the trail’s regulations. For example, some places require owners to keep their dogs leashed all the time, while some places don’t have such rules.

Also, do some research about the weather. Make sure the chosen place doesn’t have too hot or too cold weather.

Golden Retrievers can live in a hot climate, but temperature exceeding 86°F (30°C) is not suitable for them. Goldens have thick & long coats which makes them ideal for cold climates. However, extremely low temperature is also not suitable. Make sure it’s not less than 45°F (7°C).

If the temperature level is between 60°F to 80°F (16°C to 27°C), there’s nothing to worry about.

Food and Water

Food and water are the basic needs for you and your furry friend. During the hike, your dog is going to need more food than usual as he’ll be burning more energy.

To keep your canine active throughout the trip, provide him with food with high amounts of essential nutrients like protein, fat, carbs, vitamins, minerals, and water.

To get the exact idea about how much nutrition your Golden Retriever will need while hiking, talk to your vet.

Like food, your canine will need more water than usual. To calculate how much water your canine will need, you need to know two things: your dog’s weight and the number of days you are planning to hike. While hiking, Goldens need about 0.5 to 1 ounce of water per pound weight per day.

How much water does a Golden Retriever need while hiking? = 0.5 to 1 ounce of water x dog’s weight (in lbs) x no. of days

golden retriever dog in tent while hiking

Pack All Essential Items

Carry all the essential items you and your furry friend will need throughout the hike. Prepare everything well in advance to avoid last minute rush. Besides food & water, these are the essential items to carry:

  • Dog backpack
  • Leash
  • Treats & snacks
  • The tent
  • First aid kit
  • Food & water bowl
  • Dog shoes
  • Poop bags

Dog backpack

Golden Retrievers are medium-to-large dogs with high energy levels. Carrying some stuff in the backpack would be a physical exercise for your canine. It would release excess energy and keep your canine relaxed.

Inside the dog backpack, you can include items like poop bags, dog food, bowls, etc. Remember not to overload the backpack. The backpack’s weight should not exceed 25% of your Golden’s weight. I recommend keeping it somewhere between 10% to 20%.

Get a backpack with sufficient space to store all essential items.


Golden Retrievers are always excited and playful. Sometimes, their enthusiasm can make it difficult to control them. Keeping your dog leashed on the trail is essential due to the following reasons:

  • Protect your dog from predators & trail hazards
  • Protect native wildlife from your dog
  • Ensure the safety of other hikers
  • Many trails require pet owners to keep their dogs leashed

You need a sturdy leash through which you can control your large Golden Retriever. Get a leash with enough length so that you can let your canine explore wildlife while being in your control.

Treats & snacks

Golden Retrievers love it when they get positive reinforcement from their favorite people. It’s a good idea to carry some treats & snacks, such as dog biscuits, bananas, and jerky along so that you can keep him motivated by rewarding him for good behavior.

The tent

In a long hike, staying in the tent will protect you and your Golden from various climates. Get a lightweight & weatherproof tent. The tent should have enough space to fit you and your canine.

First aid kit

Nothing is predictable. You never know when something unfortunate happens and you find your furry friend in an emergency situation. It’s best to be prepared for medical emergencies in advance. So, don’t forget to include a first-aid kit in the backpack. While you can make an emergency kit on your own, if you don’t have time for that, get a vet-approved dog travel first-aid kit.

Food & water bowl

You need lightweight bowls to serve food and water to your Golden Retriever. If you don’t already have travel dog bowls that fit easily in your backpack, get easy-to-carry collapsible dog bowls.

Dog shoes

Whether you are planning for a hike in hot summer, cold winter, or monsoon, dog shoes will protect your Goldie’s paws in all weather conditions. Get boots with reflective strips to spot your Golden Retriever in the dark.

Poop bags

Poop bag is a must-have item when traveling with a dog. Make sure you get thick, leakproof poop bags while hiking.

Ensure Safety

Besides carrying a first-aid kit, these are several other safety points you need to remember before hiking with your Golden Retriever:

  • Keep leashed
  • Take small breaks
  • Attach your dog’s ID tag on the harness (with your contact information)
  • Stop your dog from eating wild plants
  • Keep vaccines up to date
  • Have your vet’s phone number
  • Know all rules of the trail

Visit Vet

Last but not least, make sure you get your Golden checked by the veterinarian before heading out on a hike. The physical exam will tell you how healthy your pup is and whether he is ready for the trip or not.

cream golden retriever dog in nature

Hiking With Golden Retriever Puppy

I understand how excited you are about hiking with your retriever puppy. But the question is:

Is it safe to take a puppy on a hike?

Taking a puppy on a hike at a really young age is not at all advisable. If you do that, there are chances that your Golden puppy get injured.

During puppyhood, dogs don’t have strong muscle strength. Intense physical activities like long hikes and repeated jumping can damage their epiphyseal plates (growth plates).

Some common signs of growth plate injuries are:

  • Limping
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Abnormal growth

At what age your Golden Retriever is ready for intense hikes?

Golden Retrievers are more vulnerable to growth plate damage during their puppyhood. For a large breed dog like Golden Retriever, it takes around 18 months to become an adult (it’s 12 months for small breeds). However, I still recommend you discuss this with your veterinarian.

Related Questions

Can Golden Retrievers go on long walks?

Yes, Golden Retrievers are highly energetic and active dogs. They enjoy various outdoor activities like hiking, running, interactive outdoor games, etc.

How much can Golden Retriever puppies walk?

Golden Retriever puppies should be walked once or twice a day for 5 minutes per month of age. For example, if your retriever is 4 months old, he should be walking around 20 minutes a day. Longer than that can lead to serious problems like growth plate damage.

How long can Golden Retrievers hike?

It varies from one dog to another, depending on the age and how active the dog is. A fit adult Golden Retriever can hike for around 5 to 10 miles a day.

How fast can Golden Retrievers run?

Depending on the age and build, Golden Retrievers can run at 25-30 mph speed, while some Goldens can even run at 35 mph top speed.

Final Thoughts

So, are Golden Retrievers good hiking dogs?

The answer is YES! They are great for hiking. Golden Retrievers are athletic, sporty, and adventurous. They enjoy spending time outdoors with their loved ones.

Just like your Golden dog, if you are also a wanderlust, you can enjoy together various outdoor activities like swimming, hiking, fetch play, jogging/running, hide & seek, tug of war, etc.


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Brandon Dickinson

Brandon Dickinson

I love playing and spending time with pups. On RetrieverPaws, I share tips, guides, and my experiences with retriever dogs (Labrador and Golden Retrievers mainly).

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