Corgis originated as a herding dog in Wales. For instance, herding cattle around a farm and to market many miles away means Corgis have energy and endurance. But how well can they hike?
Are Corgis good hiking dogs? Yes! Corgis are active dogs who enjoy plenty of exercise in the great outdoors. The caveat is that they must be fit and not overweight. Watch your Corgi with steep tracks, especially stairs. Their short legs and long backs can find these tracks more challenging.
In this post, we will address all you need to know before you take your Corgi hiking. In addition we will include the unique challenges that the Corgi’s body shape presents on a hike. We will also cover how to prepare for the hike and which accessories will ensure the hiking experience for a Corgi, and their owner is enjoyable.
Why Trust Me?
I’ve been a Corgi mom to Tucker (Pembroke Welsh Corgi) for 14+ years. I’ve also cared for my own little guys’ siblings and helped place a Corgi mix for a friend. That means I can give you my honest “Corgi Mom” opinion, especially when hiking was one of Tuckers’ passions.
Are Corgis Good Hiking Dogs?
According to YouDidWhatWithYourWeiner.com, Corgis, specifically Pembroke Welsh Corgis like mine, are among the top five small breed dogs for hiking.
Most Corgis love to hike.
They’ve been bred to work on rocky and mountainous terrain to herd cattle and sheep.
Consequently, they’ve got the stamina and drive needed for the long haul.
Tucker went hiking with us regularly – city walks, suburban trails, and mountain hikes in NH and Maine. He was excellent on beach hikes, loved to ramble through fields, and explored winding trails along rivers and waterfalls.
He enjoyed sniffing his way down new trails, and lolling by the local beaver pond for a cool break and some lunch. Then, head down, ears up, continuing the journey with that Corgi smile forever on his face!
The Corgi’s short legs mean that clambering over roots, rocks, and steep stairs may make an otherwise simple hike more challenging.
Those short legs also provide less cushion for their shoulders and spine whenever jumping.
No one wants to have to cut a hike short in the middle. Make sure you research the trail ahead of time.
How Far Can Corgis Hike?
A Corgi in good shape can hike between 6 and 8 miles. The pace needs to be moderate. Strenuous activity can contribute to back problems.
Young Corgis Need to Grow a Bit First
In their first year, Corgis do a lot of growing. Above all, they love to be outdoors, love to play, and have endless energy!
Short walks at this age, rather than full-on hiking, are a great way to get started.
Even a few short walks a day will help build their stamina and get them accustomed to traveling with “the pack” (your family).
But too much exercise, especially on rocky or paved trails, jumping, or hilly areas, can cause joint and bone issues.
According to Puppy Culture, it’s a matter of waiting until puberty.
“Until the growth plates close, they’re soft and vulnerable to injury….injuries to the growth plate may not heal properly or not heal in time for the puppy to grow straight and strong.”Puppy Culture
So yes, Corgis are good hiking dogs, but start out slow.
Give them time to mature.
It’s also a good idea to complete their training on basic commands like sit, stay, leash walking, and a reliable recall.
Once they’re ready for those longer hikes, you’ll both enjoy yourselves.
Problems You May Encounter On Your Hike
Corgis have a deeper chest compared to other dogs. This deeper chest and larger relative lung capacity make it easier for corgis to go on long walks. That’s another (of many) reasons why Corgis make good hiking dogs.
If it’s a hot day, you might like to take your Corgi swimming in a lake or at the beach during the hike. A note of caution about swimming, the deeper chest of the Corgi makes them front-heavy, so be careful near water. Unless your Corgi can swim, I’d recommend you get him a life jacket.
The stubborn streak
Corgis have a stubborn streak.
I took my Corgi Tucker on a 6K hike one day through a pretty little island town.
He loved the first 3K and enjoyed snuffing at the field of alpacas we walked past. He was also happy to wander past antique houses and little shops. But as we headed into the backside of the loop, he made a quick exit to the left and stretched out on someone’s lawn.
It was clear he either wanted to be carried or was hoping we’d send for the car to pick him up! Cheeky chappy!
A similar Corgi-decision ended a 10K fundraising walk we did with him. He put up with helium balloons tied to his collar and laid out flat for little children to pat him, but about halfway back he was done. Corgis usually weigh between 22 and 31 pounds. Tucker came from solid working dog stock, so he weighed a lean 35 pounds. Not a weight you want to have slung over your shoulder on a hot day when you’ve been walking!
The best way to avoid this stubbornness is to make sure you gradually ramp up the distances you hike with your Corgi to make sure they get used to it. I would also bring a backpack to carry your Corgi, just in case.
Interacting with people
Another great thing about Corgis is, they’re people dogs.
They love to interact with others.
We trained Tucker early to lie flat for children to pet him.
Caution: Corgis start out with a tendency to nip. It’s part of their herding instinct.
You need to work on this with training before being out and about on a hiking trail.
Because of their short legs and low back, if the trail involves lots of steep stairs going up and down, look for discomfort in your Corgi.
You can avoid this challenge by researching your hike ahead of time to assess the terrain. I’d also bring a backpack in case.
Check Your Corgis Feet
If you’re hiking on packed trails or pavement, check your Corgi’s feet regularly.
Blisters or cuts can appear. Made from tough working dog stock, your Corgi may not complain but instead, continue walking.
By the end of the day, he will be in a lot of pain.
Don’t forget to bring a doggie first aid kit on your hike. It should contain anti-bacterial cleansing cloths, and some gauze and tape.
But rather than reacting to the cuts and blisters, you can protect your dog before and during the hike.
Once a dog’s feet are blistered or cut, you can’t expect them to walk any further. This is another reason to bring a doggie backpack with you.
Hiking booties are another option to consider if you’re going to be regularly going out on the trail.
Some trails can be rough on your dog’s feet. You would wear rugged footwear that is supportive, breathable, and flexible, so also consider your dog’s feet.
Corgis are rough and tumble dogs, but hiking on snow, rocks, fallen branches, and roots can cause a lot of irritation.
Corgis have furry feet. It protects them on ice and snow and also offers some protection from hot sand and pavement. But it can also mean that those furry feet collect stones, burs, sand, or ice on winter hikes.
Dog boots for your Corgi will protect their feet, and additionally, give them a bit more traction, and help everyone enjoy the road a bit longer.
With Tucker, we tried booties. They were a good idea, but we couldn’t get him used to them, so we went without.
He did get the occasional blister or cut on a walk. Consequently, we ended up carrying him over our shoulder back to the car.
If you’re hiking with your Corgi, consider some quality hiking booties.
Firstly, start out by having your hiking buddy wear them for short periods around the house. Slowly increase the time until he or she is comfortable wearing them. It’s a process for sure, but one that’s well worth the time. We have more detailed information on how to get your dog used to dog booties here.
Mushers Secret is a paw protection wax. So, apply it on and between your Corgi’s paw pad before, during, and after the hike. Consequently, it will stop your dog’s paw pad from drying out and being susceptible to burs, thorns, or other sharp objects. Also, after hiking, it moisturizes your dog’s paw. Think of it as a doggie pedicure!
Store the tub of Musher Secret in a zip lock bag.
Luckily with Corgis, their overall size, plus lack of leg length (yes, there is a bonus to that) makes them good candidates for a corgi backpack.
The American Kennel Club recommends a backpack for use when your dog is too tired or in situations that aren’t safe for your dog to be on the ground. But they’re also great as a Plan B on a hike.
Some doggy backpacks have cooling side panels, adjustable pockets, and additionally, ventilated shoulder straps.
When we first got Tucker, we purchased a backpack for him. We loved to hike and wanted him with us, but we knew at that young age (he was just 8 weeks old) he’d be too small to keep up with us.
He quickly grew out of the pack we’d purchased, but it was perfect for that first summer when we showed him our world and got him used to being on the trail.
There are various backpacks available, ranging in capacity, for example, from extra small (like we used for puppy Tucker) to 40 pounds. Thankfully we had only an occasional need when he’d hit his max of 35 pounds, and in those cases, we just sat and gave him a break or went and got the car!
Additional Tips and Tricks for Hiking Corgis
When you go hiking, you go prepared. Consequently, bringing your Corgi along means preparing for both of you.
We can provide a shortlist of what to bring (for a hike greater than 6K miles), but it’s a guide. But don’t forget to take your dog’s personality into consideration.
We also took Tucker camping with us. Firstly, he loved camping, loved lying by the campfire, and was great in a tent. In addition, he didn’t startle at noises, slept through thunderstorms, and ignored other wildlife. That was him.
If your dog is afraid of thunder, barks incessantly, and needs a particular pillow to sleep, maybe a short day hike is better than camping.
Corgis are good hiking dogs, but can become great hiking dogs if you take the time to prepare and get them used to being out on the trail.
- Water dish
- Cooling vest or scarves (corgis can overheat, so these are great to keep them cool)
- Hiking booties
- A backpack for your Corgi
- Lead and harness
- Small scissors (for instance, for clipping fur and removing burs or anything stuck in their very thick fur)
- Antibacterial wipes
- Gauze and tape.
If you don’t know where to find the hiking accessories, we’ve prepared a recommended list for you.
|Brand and model||Check the price|
|Dog bell – warns humans (trail runners, mountain bikers and other hikers) and bears that there’s a dog coming up the trail. Also place one on your backpack to warn bears away too!||Warner Bear Bell|
|Dog booties||Ruffwear Grip Tex|
|Dog bowl for water (collapsible)||Prima Pets Collapsible|
|Dog first aid kit||RC pet products pet First Aid Kit|
|Dog food – freeze-dried (lightest option to carry, choice #1)||Stella and Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Dog Food|
|Dog food – freeze-dried (lightest option to carry, choice #2)||Vital Essentials Grain Free|
|Dog food – dehydrated (next lightest option to carry)||Honest Kitchen Human Grade|
|Dog food biscuits||Blue Dog Bakery Natural Dog Treats|
|Dog food treats (small pieces that can be kept in your pocket)||Zuke’s Mini Naturals|
|Dog food treats (strips of meat)||Spot Farms All Natural Human Grade Chicken Strips|
|Dog food energy bars||Zuke’s Power Bones|
|Dog food jerky||Brutus and Barnaby Chicken Jerky|
|Dog food storage (dry sacks for loose dog food and treats)||Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sack|
|Small storage option for dog food||Quencher Cinch Top|
|Dog harness (no pull)||Ruffwear Front Range|
|Dog harness (no pull) with handle||Ruffwear Web Master|
|Dog leash||Ruffwear Crag leash|
|Dog LED collar||Blazin’ Safety LED Dog Collar|
|Dog poop biodegradable bags||Earth Rated Dog Poop Bags|
|Dog poop trowel for digging hole in the wilderness||Coghlan’s Backpackers Trowel|
|Dog water bottle||Highwave AutoDogMug|
|Paw wax||Mushers Secret|
|Pet sunscreen||Epi-Pet Sun Protector|
|Pet sunscreen||Wolfe & Sparky Natural|