People hike for different reasons, some for the fitness benefits, some to discover and enjoy the beauty of the wilderness, and others for the sense of accomplishment. And yet others find immense pleasure in taking their dogs hiking with them.
Various breeds of dogs have become known for different activities. Pointers are known for their skills as hunting dogs while St. Bernard’s are famous as cold weather rescue dogs. German Shepherds have made their place as police dogs and bloodhounds are used for tracking. Blue Healers make great cattle workers and Doberman Pinschers will guard everything you own.
While hiking the trails of the Colorado Mountains, we often meet other hikers accompanied by their dogs, 95% of which are of a ‘large dog’ breed, such as Labrador Retrievers. They seem to enjoy running the trails, chasing squirrels, and jumping into the mountain streams.
One day while hiking with our little Yorkshire Terrier, we met other hikers on the trail and the comment was made, ‘Hey, Yorkies don’t like to hike!’
Well, let me introduce you to Kokamo, five pounds of purebred Yorkie, and he loves to hike. No, he lives to hike! As soon as he sees the hiking gear being rounded up, he acts like the Energizer Bunny on Steroids! Jumping up onto my legs, nonstop as to say, ‘Hike? Yeah, let’s go hiking! I love to hike! Can’t wait to hike! Hiking! Hiking! Oh yeah, hiking!’
Once in the pickup, he goes repeatedly from paws on the dashboard looking out the front to the floor board to get out, then from one side window to the other, back and forth, can’t wait. Finally at the trailhead, he’s the first one out of the truck and takes off without a clue as to which way to go. Once on the trail, it’s out 20 yards and back, out and back, never stopping.
Soon, it’s the showdown. Here comes the ‘big dogs’ down the trail. Who will intimidate who, the lab vs. the Yorkie. Both sides posture, both sides sniff. ‘How cute,’ says the big dog. ‘My trail, move over big guy,’ says Kokamo. And off they go in opposite directions.
As an aside, I know that large dogs tend to be fiercely loyal and protective of their owners and Yorkies, well, not so much. I remember when our previous Yorkie, Alex, was camping with us when a bear came into camp during the night. He made a beeline for the bottom of my sleeping bag and just tremored in silence – no protection there! But I digress.
After a day hike, Kokamo lies by my side, exhausted and content, like he’s in Doggie Heaven on Earth. Yes, Yorkies do like to hike, and Kokamo lives for it.