Retire - RV - Hiking - what dog?

2:52 p.m. on September 24, 2016 (EDT)
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When I retire in a few years, I'm planning on RVing (23ft RV) and hiking lots across Canada. I'm a single female, have camped lots in the past, and also owned a variety of dog breeds (German Shep, Lab, Akita, and presently Beagle).  I would like to get opinions on what would be the better travel dog. One that would be great for RVing and hiking.

I've had a German Shep, and she was a beautiful well tempered dog. Extremely friendly, great with other dogs. But could be protective, when needed- happened once. (I trained her well). However, the breed has now been really messed up (ie hip dysplasia)

So - I have been considering a Blue Heeler. I have heard good and bad about them. I plan to spend a lot of time training (as I have all my other dogs). I need a dog that is obedient, loyal, will walk on leash and off, good hiker, with low 'maintenance' (ie combing, trips to vet).

I'm considering the Blue Heeler as they are smaller than the German Shepherd. I don't know anyone that owns a Blue Heeler, so would like to hear opinions.

4:05 p.m. on September 24, 2016 (EDT)
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Sue,

I have had herding dogs for almost 50 years, usually more than one. As a group their are smart, durable, loyal, and not prone to run off.  They are pretty easy to train.  They love being outdoors and do not run off like the hunting and pulling breeds.

Heelers can be aggressive, especially uncut males.  They need a little more socialization when they are young than most dogs.  Then they are fine around people and other dogs. I had a Heeler/Aussie cross that I adopted at about a year old. She loved people. I took her everywhere including airplanes, boats, and pack trips. She was by far the best cow dog I have ever had. But she liked to fight other dogs.  She was very good at it.

We did plenty of 25 mile days horseback and she was right there at the end of the day. I trained her to stay behind my horse unless I told to do something.  She chased bears out of camp several times, usually with at least one other dog.  She was a gentle dog and one of my best companions. Snuffy lived to be 15.

6:40 p.m. on September 24, 2016 (EDT)
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Now I have a Border Collie, my third in a row. They are the King of Dogs, but not as easy to train as some because they think several steps ahead all the time.

I have had some great regular Collies, Australian sheperds, and Border Collie crosses.  All made great outdoor dogs.  They have all carried packs, been great watch dogs, and learned how to ride in a canoe, raftrs, and sailboats. They make good riding and fishing partners. 

7:10 a.m. on October 1, 2016 (EDT)
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Confines of an RV might be tough with a herding dog.

I suggest getting a shelter dog.  Find a shelter that categorizes their individual dogs by temperament and let them know what you are looking for.

My half Labrador Retriever/half Beagle, Dixie Mae.  ~40 pounds and her head is knee high on an average man.  .
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This is what I wake up to every morning.  Life is grand!
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My son's mutt wasn't what we thought.  DNA shows her great grandparents to be 3 American Staffordshire Terriers (two mated together), 1 German Shepard (mated with the other Am Staff), 1 Siberian Husky, 1 Chow Chow (mated with the Husky) , 1 Cocker Spaniel, and 1 indeterminate mutt (mated with the Spaniel).  The same height as my dog, but much thinner/sleeker and only ~25 pounds.  He takes her everywhere.  Tzofi-Gene.  He wanted a larger German Shepard size dog but ended up with a much smaller dog.  Matters not now.  He'd lose his right arm for her.
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Started her on trails as a pup as soon as she finished her inoculations. Pup pics below.
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Mostly full grown:
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Both dogs are just sweet sweet animals. 

Such dog just make life better.

 

 

2:21 p.m. on October 2, 2016 (EDT)
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Hi Bill - Love the pics - beautiful dogs!

5:38 p.m. on October 2, 2016 (EDT)
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I just returned from an 8 day trip in a small trailer with 3 dogs, 2 corgis and a BC.  All were well behaved and a joy to be around.

10:18 a.m. on October 10, 2016 (EDT)
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If you are retired and living in the outdoors all the time there will be ample opportunities for hiking and staying active. It will be a much better life for a dog than living in someone's home where their owners are gone all day. 

Herding dogs need exercise, but living in an RV would be perfect for them in my opinion.

11:13 a.m. on October 21, 2016 (EDT)
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Look into Tibetan terriers. You have to get them young to train them to stay with you and not get distracte. They are hyper-allergenic. Brushing is a must. Dual coat can handle hot and cold. 20 to 30 lbs. very athletic agile and have been used to heard. They do require good walks  runs. The temperament is great. Funny always happy. Mine is glued to me somehow and always at my feet. I was lucky to find the pup in rescue. Good luck.  

3:55 p.m. on October 21, 2016 (EDT)
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Sue there are a few things to consider. 

1: You will not be all the time RVing. Most of the time you will be at home in your usual surrounding. And since a dog lives 12-14 years you need to consider the situation you are in then in about 10 years or so. Do not get a dog entirely based upon the time you drive around. The other time at home is so much more important and the dog should have a good life with you and you with the dog.

2: for the time you are rv-ing, what is the task for the dog. Guarding the camper or carrying/ pulling the stuff you need on an outing? If it is carrying/pulling th dog must be at least over 20 kilos, 30 is ideal, 40 will be the upper limit IMO. The reason is this. A dog in summer carries 1/2 its weight, in winter it pulls its weight in a pulka under most conditions. A 15 kilo dog has trouble carrying its own food ona week hike. A 30 kilo dog manages its food easily and even some of your stuff.

We are also pensioned and have been rv-ing in Europe the last 10 years. It was a wonderful time with our Border Collie but sadly he died in june. BCs are so obedient and willing to please you, but not all are suited to have them. They demand extensive training and exercise. But if you can give this, they reward you with unforgettable love and affection. They do not like to be petted like a golden retriever, they are more a working type dog that like to have a job to do. Fetching a stick or anything.

We already miss our dog, but we are not yet ready to get a new one yet. 

Good luck with your rv-ing and the dog. 

10:09 p.m. on November 18, 2016 (EST)
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It sounds like you are an experienced dog owner so I am going to throw chessie out there. Ours is 5 months old and loves being out and about, especially if there is water. They will have the slightly protective stance like your German, but have not been overbred.

11:34 a.m. on November 19, 2016 (EST)
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Thank you - I will add that to the list!

11:37 a.m. on November 19, 2016 (EST)
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So sorry to hear of your loss. They are such great friends and family members. I remember each and every dog I have had, their characters, natures, how they liked to be cuddled (both big and small dogs), everything about them. The great memories never fade.

6:57 p.m. on November 19, 2016 (EST)
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Thank you Sue. Yes they are all personalities with their own characters. We have had three dogs, 2 Siberian Huskies and the last one the Border Collie. Since we are hiking a lot in our mountains here in Norway, we have used the dogs for transport and friendship. In winter they pulled a pulka, in summer they carried a backpack. The dogs love to do work for you, and they know that you are pleased for the effort.

9:35 a.m. on November 21, 2016 (EST)
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The simple answer to this question is any dog.  But the durable outdoor oriented breeds are best. Teaching a dog to carry a pack is easy.  They are in charge of security, and fun to have around. Here's to dogs. Life would not be the same without them.

10:40 a.m. on November 29, 2016 (EST)
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From experience - Don't camp with a Border Collie.

He/she will keep you awake at night discussing the next day's activities.

5:05 p.m. on November 29, 2016 (EST)
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i'm partial to retrievers; our current dog is a mix between a poodle and a lab/poodle.  he weighs about 50 pounds.  i hike with him all the time.  the breed is great - he's smart, friendly, calm, very active in the sense that he can walk for long periods of time, yet happy to crash afterward.  loves the water, a great swimmer.  ours is particularly good in the car, has taken the long ride from DC to Northern New England happily.  only caveat is that mixing in a poodle means having to cut the dog's coat back, including between their toes and in their ears, at a groomer periodically b/c they don't shed.  then again....they don't shed.  

11:38 p.m. on November 30, 2016 (EST)
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I'm partial to purebred Adventure Dogs. Otto has a mixed Husky dad, and a mixed Shepherd mom. Nice fat gene pool, and a great hard-wired security system!
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9:39 p.m. on December 1, 2016 (EST)
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Otto is beautiful!!

4:23 a.m. on December 3, 2016 (EST)
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Oh thank you so much! :)

6:09 a.m. on December 3, 2016 (EST)
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Nice lookin' dog!

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