In principle, almost all dog breeds can be trained to accompany riding dogs, including mixed breeds. It is important that they are physically healthy, ready to run, obedient and used to horses. It is also advisable to only go on a ride with adult dogs: a young four-legged friend, whose musculoskeletal system is not yet fully developed, cannot and should not run long distances - running alongside a horse would put too much strain on his joints.
What makes good companion dogs?
Which four-legged friends are good companion dogs does not only depend on the dogs themselves. The relationship between horse, dog and rider must be right, the different animal species well used to each other and well brought up. Keep in mind that when riding with a dog you have to keep both animals under control so that accidents do not occur. A companion dog should be stable, able to concentrate well and listen to you reliably. This works particularly well if you get used to your fur nose as a puppy and your horse is used to dogs from an early age. Later, the animals can get to know each other, but then you should proceed more carefully and slowly and take more time. For the first ride, the dog should be fully grown. Young dogs that are already fully grown can still be impetuous. In this case, they need a little practice before they can accompany you while riding.
If you are even a little unsure about how to run your dog and horse at the same time, contact a dog trainer who specializes in training companion dogs. During training, dog and horse get to know each other, get used to each other and you learn to keep both under control and to guide the animals safely. Clarity, consequence, calm and serenity are essential - toughness or even violence are unnecessary to dangerous, after all, you don't want to scare your animals. The aim is to build a bond with both animals that is based on mutual trust, so that dogs and horses voluntarily obey you and orientate themselves towards you.
Further requirements depend on how you want to work with your dog as a whole: Should he only be a companion dog and a pet? Or do you want to work with him without a horse? Do you like to ride long distances or do you prefer short, fast laps? Depending on the different dog breeds are suitable for you. Some mixed breeds can also be good companions for riding - before buying your four-legged friend, it is best to inquire at animal protection or at the animal shelter whether you have a dog that is used to horses and is happy to walk and healthy.
Riding assistance dogs: These dog breeds are suitable
First things first: No matter which dog you want to take with you on the horse, it must be perfectly prepared and well trained, whether with or without a trainer. The fact that the representatives of certain dog breeds are well suited as companion dogs is mainly due to their sportiness and the low hunting instinct. However, dogs with a hunting instinct can also be trained to be a companion for riding, if they listen to you well when distracted and their hunting instinct is under control.
In the case of herding dog breeds, it may be that they are not happy as companion dogs because they lack their actual task - herding. However, if you live on a farm, for example, and your dog not only walks with the horse, but is also allowed to take care of your livestock, this is usually not a problem. Alternatively, if you don't have a farm, you can keep your herding dog busy with appropriate dog sports. In general, however, the following applies: Every dog is different, even within the same breed there can be different personalities. So if you are looking for a pedigree dog, take enough time, look at several breeders and get detailed advice.
These breeds usually enjoy working as a companion dog:
● Golden Retriever
● Australian Shepherd
● Australian Cattle Dog
● Border Collie
● Jack Russell Terrier
For Australian Shepherd, Australian Cattle Dog, and Border Collie breeds, make sure they have other tasks besides riding escort that satisfy their need to herd herds. Beagle and Jack Russell Terrier can only be considered if you have your hunting instinct under control.
Horse and dog rides: safety tips
If you want to go on a dog and horse ride, your animals should already be able to do a lot ...
Not every dog is suitable for running on a horse
However, dogs with the following physical conditions and characteristics should not be taken on horseback. Riding assistance dogs should not be too big and not too small. Very large dog breeds are often too cumbersome for long laps at a fast pace. Especially if they have a tendency to hip dysplasia and other joint problems, they are not made for the strenuous running on the horse. Serious breeders, however, try to reduce the predisposition to hip dysplasia by responsible breeding and thorough health checks of the parents.
Very small dogs with their short legs often have a problem with the pace of the horse. Exceptions are Jack Russell Terrier: these four-legged friends like to run and run long. Cozy little dogs like the pug are also not made to do sports for so long. In addition, small dogs quickly get under the horse's legs and are difficult to leash from the saddle. Very stubborn dogs and four-legged friends with strong hunting instincts are also unsuitable. It is simply too difficult to keep an eye on them from the horse and to react quickly when they want to become independent.