It’s not hard to recognize a Welsh Corgi. They’re the dogs with short legs, a tail-less butt and a long yet thick body. But because they don’t have long legs or loping strides, it’s natural to wonder if Corgis make good hiking dogs.
Despite their short legs and stature, Corgis are surprisingly excellent hiking companions. Don’t let their looks fool you, as this breed has exceptional physical endurance thanks to their long history as herding dogs. In fact, Corgis actually require a good amount of exercise to stay healthy. So, it’s likely a Corgi would love nothing more than to go on occasional hikes.
But before you take your Corgi out on your favorite trails, there are some safety tips to cover. Plus, there are things owners should be aware of when it comes to hiking with your Corgi. Read on to learn more on how you can safely hike with your dog.
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Why Corgis Are Good Hiking Dogs
A Corgi’s appearance hardly looks like it would go well with the demands of a hike. Many owners will question whether they can even complete a moderate trail in the mountains. But of course, the dog’s looks are deceiving.
Corgis and their short legs have been running laps around longer-legged folk for generations. In fact, the Corgi was originally bred as a herding dog. In other words, these funny-looking dogs needed to be athletic from day one.
But what about the Corgis’ infamous short legs? Not a problem. In fact, their shorter legs made them more effective at herding cattle safely. With a shorter statue, they were able to effectively dodge the potentially fatal kicks by cattle.
Hiking with a Corgi is a piece of cake. He only shows that he is tired when we’re back in the car! He’s actually surprised me with the difficult terrain he is willing to navigate.– Rachael & Waffle (My Corgi)
That being said, modern-day Corgis still have all those herding skills and agility bred into them. But all too often, they don’t get a chance to use it. Because many owners assume they don’t need it, Corgis usually don’t get enough exercise.
To stay healthy and fit, a Corgi needs at least 1 hour of exercise every day. Usually a nice walk or jog can do the trick. Or even a trip to the local dog park.
However, hiking is an excellent way for you to not only spend time with your Corgi but for them to get a great workout. Still, not all hikes are going to be suitable for Corgis. So read on to ensure you pick the right ones!
Can Corgi Puppies Go for Hikes?
Corgis can show athleticism from a very young age. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they are up for hiking from early on. And according to AKC experts, there is no easy answer to this. This can vary by breed and size of the dog.
For example, a Pug and a Corgi will both have very different exercise needs. Corgis are working dogs and tend to have a higher exercise tolerance. On the other hand, Pugs are lap dogs that don’t need to go on 3 mile hikes.
The good news is that Corgis need a decent amount of exercise and they’re a relatively small dog breed.
In addition, the size of the breed will matter as well. According to studies, there may be a link between too much exercise and orthopedic disease when it comes to larger dog breeds. As such, it may not be a good idea running with your Great Dane pup.
Hiking Checklist for Corgi Puppies
Still, a young Corgi could certainly benefit from the exercise as long as you follow some extra safety tips and precautions. In addition to other tips we cover, try the following to ensure a safe time for you and your Corgi pup:
- Stay on Leash: The closer your Corgi pup is to you, the safer they are. And because puppies may wander, you’ll want to keep them close by in case of wildlife appearing.
- Be Socialized First: For a socialized Corgi, a hike can be a fun experience. For one not yet socialized, it can be stressful. After all, hiking trails are small and you may very well likely bump into another dog on the path.
- Be Ready to Carry Them: If you Corgi pup is exhausted, just scoop them up! If you’re unsure you can carry them down, consider getting a backpack built for carrying medium sized dogs.
- Stick to Mild Trails: No steep inclines or raging rapids for Corgi pups! Unstable terrain can be tough on your Corgi’s hips and knees, which they’re prone to injuring.
As long as you follow these tips and guidelines, you’ll likely have no problems with your hiking trips with your Corgi puppy. However, it’s essential you stay alert, especially when starting off.
Are Corgis Good Dogs for Day Hikes?
Absolutely! If you are a fan of going on day hikes, then we have good news for you: your Corgi likely will love it as well. In fact, we only suggest you go hiking during the day with your Corgi!
The amount of time that your Corgi can spend hiking will vary on quite a few factors, including:
- Their age
- The local climate
- The terrain
- How physically active they are
- Their general health
However, a general rule is that Corgis can handle hikes that are about 8-9 miles at a time (round trip!). But all those above factors can change this. Also, we don’t suggest you taking them on a 9 mile hike the first time around!
Rather, we recommend knowing your Corgi and their physical ability before taking them on a hike. It’s best to start off with easy hikes and progress from there. Or at least be attentive to how they fare on a hike and know when it is time to let them rest.
Can Corgis Go On Extended Hikes?
This is also a big YES! But let’s clarify a few things. When we say “extended hikes” we mean the type of hike when you go out for a day or more and camp while hiking. In other words, when you go hit up a “camping trail.”
While Corgis generally should be able to manage on such hikes, it is important to know that there is a slightly elevated risk that comes with them. For example, if your Corgi gets injured, it’ll be hard to get the proper care and treatment.
This means their owners will need to spend extra care and attention to ensure their companions are safe throughout the journey. Also, you’ll want to bring basic medical supplies for your dog – just in case something happens.
It will also be important to break up the hike into manageable portions for your Corgi. You may be tempted to press on for 15+ miles a day, but your Corgi might not. Always keep water on hand and check to see how they’re doing frequently.
What Terrain Can Corgis Hike On?
While Corgis can handle all manner of terrain, we typically recommend staying on a path for whatever hike you take them on. It’s not because Corgis can’t handle rough terrain. It’s because “off the path” is unpredictable and can lead to injuries.
That being said, Corgis can still handle relatively steep ascents and descents with little to no problem. Earlier we mentioned they are super athletic, and we weren’t kidding.
But remember that the more extreme or difficult a path is, the higher the risk. Paths that require steep movement or jumping from one point to another all increase the risk of injury for your Corgi.
Risks of Hiking With Your Corgis
Stepping outside your door will always bring with it risk, though most of the time minor, of course. But if you plan to take your Corgi to an unfamiliar place, such as a hiking trail, then the risk will obviously increase by a substantial amount.
Though hiking is a relatively safe activity for both humans and canines, there are still a few risks to go over. Fortunately, most of these are easily avoidable with a little preparation and attention.
1. Dehydration and/or Contaminated Water
While on a hike, your Corgi is certainly going to get thirsty. And keeping your dog hydrated will end up being entirely your responsibility. These dogs can’t tell you when they’re thirsty and want to stop and drink some water.
For any physical activity, hydration is crucial. But even more so for hikes, since they take far more exertion than, say, a walk to the store. And depending on the weather, hikes on a sunny day will be a lot more draining for them.
However, don’t let your Corgi drink from any natural bodies of water (lakes, rivers, streams) as it can be highly dangerous! Yes, it may be tempting – but can cause a lot of problems.
Letting your dog drink from a river, stream, or lake isn’t a guaranteed shortcut to illness, but it can be a major risk. Specifically, this water can be filled with dangerous bacteria.
So it is just best to bring plenty of water with you and take regular water breaks so both you and your Corgi can stay hydrated.
However, if your Corgi runs off and takes a few sips from a body of water, you don’t need to panic. In most cases, a few gulps is not a problem. Just be sure to keep an eye out for any signs of illness and visit your vet if you do.
In some parts of the country, this will never be a problem. But in other areas, like California, it can be a year-round risk.
After all, Corgis do have thick double coats. So that means their fur is much more suited to cooler or snowy temperatures, than higher ones.
If you are going to hike on a day when the sun is shining down for at least 80 Fahrenheit, you might want to rethink taking your Corgi along. Or at least, take frequent breaks and choose a mild hike.
For warmer days, you can still hike with your Corgi, but try the following to keep them from the risk of overheating:
- Choose well-shaded hiking paths
- Pick a path with bodies of water your Corgi can splash in (but not drink from!)
- Take frequent rest and water breaks (ideally in a shaded area)
- Limit the hikes to under an hour
3. Unpredictable Wildlife
This one will vary significantly from hike to hike and often depends on the region you live in. Most of the time, popular hiking trails are relatively safe from large threats.
But it can be smaller creatures like fleas, snakes, or scorpions that you need to watch out for. These rarely are risks for humans, but a dog has less protection against them.
Every part of the world has different creatures in it. So, it helps to know about what lives around your area before hiking.
To ensure optimal safety during hikes we recommend two courses of action:
- Read Up: Before a hike, read about the local animals (and plants!). Learn if there are any in the area that might pose a risk, and just be attentive and take any recommended precautions.
- Supervise: Generally, the closer your Corgi is to you during a hike, the safer they are. When hiking with a Corgi (or any canine), just be sure they are always in your line of sight.
- Stick to the Path: The further from a path you go, the wilder things get. While trails are generally safe, the rest of the world is less certain. You can still let your Corgi explore a bit, but try to stay as close to the well-beaten trails as possible to maximize safety.
4. Physical Injury While on Hikes
Many hiking paths are little more than a walk on a dirt path. Other trails are far more intense. Finding the right one for you and your Corgi will be crucial.
Yes, Corgis can hike. But they also have limits. Since Corgis are already prone to back problems, hikes with jumps or portions that strain your Corgi’s spine will be poor choices.
Instead, the flatter a hiking trail the better it is for a Corgi. Or rather, the less they have to leap, the better. Again, a watchful eye is best here. Know your Corgi’s limits and don’t let them go past them!
5. Bikes and Horses
Not all paths and trails will have bikes or horses moving along them. But those that do pose a slightly increased risk. But only very slight. So, it’s essential that you read up on the trail that you plan to bring your Corgi to.
For trails with bikes, we recommend keeping your Corgi near and on a leash to avoid the risk of a sudden biker collision. When the bike is approaching, keep the leash short. The same for with horses, though they are a lesser risk.
If you and your Corgi come across a horse and rider on a trail, it is best to stand to the side and let them pass. A socialized Corgi won’t likely bark at the horse, so make sure they’re well adjusted to all types of encounters.
Have you gone on hikes with your Corgis? If so, we would love to hear about your experience and any tips you would like to add. Let us know in the comments below about your favorite hiking memories with your Corgis!
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