While most healthy dogs can participate, the top dog breeds for bikejoring owing to their temperament and physical capabilities include:
- Siberian Huskies
- Alaskan Huskies
- Alaskan Malamutes
- German Shorthaired Pointers
- Golden Retrievers
- Border Collies
- German Shepherds
Whilst this post delves into the breeds which are best suited for bikejoring, if you are new to the sport you might also want to check out our guide to a basic bikejoring setup.
What to look for in a bikejoring dog
Most dogs can take part in the sport of bikejoring, but there are a few key character traits that make a select group of breeds better suited to pulling a bike and rider around a trail.
Whilst the rider will mostly be pedalling around the trail to make the load on their dog easier, pulling the weight of both a bicycle and a rider for even short periods can tire out smaller, lighter or less fit dogs.
Dogs that are ‘fit’ for bikejoring are those which are naturally larger but at the same time pack lean muscle rather than bulky muscle.
Beyond raw strength, bikejoring dogs need to have the stamina and drive to help them pull all the way to the finish line.
At the very least dogs need to have the ability to cover challenging terrain without overworking their body. Breeds that are capable of doing this with less exertion or rest time are automatically at an advantage.
Bikejoring races don’t normally take place on flat smooth landscapes, instead being established around dirt trails or forest tracks.
Both you and your dog need to be able to quickly navigate uneven, rough terrain at speed. Any slow or lethargic movements could cause an accident.
Of course, none of these characteristics are important unless your dog is healthy. Dogs should not have any conditions that increase the chance of them coming to harm through extended periods of exertion.
While old age is not a major inhibiting factor, bikejoring is not appropriate for younger dogs that are still developing.
Clearing your dog with a vet before participating in bikejoring is always a sensible approach to take.
Dog breeds perfect for bikejoring
Dogs that are best suited to bikejoring fall into three groups:
- Sled dogs – Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Huskies, Samoyeds, Malamutes
- Working dogs – German Shorthaired Pointers, Pitbulls, Golden Retrievers, Collies, German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois
- Sighthounds – Galgos, Whippets
The only exception to these is the Eurohound, but they are the product of cross-breeding between Alaskan Huskies and German Shorthaired Pointers.
When you think of pulling a weight this high-energy breed is probably at the top of your list. They do better in cooler climates because of their dense coat, but they are eager runners regardless of which course you take on.
Siberian Huskies are popular for their joyful nature and level of affection, but not everyone has access to the sleds they were bred to pull. Bikejoring is a great alternative to help expel some of their instinctual energy.
Likewise, the rougher-looking Alaskan Husky benefits from this easy-to-access pulling sport.
Alaskan Huskies were bred with a focus on pure functionality with little regard to appearance.
While they may not seem as elegant, Alaskan Huskies are powerful. They are great companions for mountain bikers, hikers and outdoor workers. While they are easy to train, Alaskan Huskies do have a stubborn streak to watch out for.
These gorgeous sled dogs come from the central arctic region of Russia, and they were originally used for exploration. They are a mellow breed that can be more friendly or laid back than other workers.
Samoyeds are great at adapting to their environment, and they are part of a select group of working dogs known to take to apartment living in their stride. This makes them great companions for city dwellers who still get away for activities like bikejoring at the weeken
Malamutes are the gentle giant of sledding. This Nordic breed is believed to be descended from arctic wolves, which would explain their larger size.
They are a thick-coated breed with a stoic strength that makes them a great candidate for bikejoring. Their loyalty and intelligence are helpful when it comes to training, and outside of their work Malamutes are known to be sweet and affectionate.
German Shorthaired Pointers
It might surprise you to see a gundog on this list, but German Shorthaired Pointers are one of the more popular breeds for bikejoring. As they were bred for working in terrain frequently found on bikejoring courses you can expect them to meet all the physical needs of the sport.
German Shorthaired Pointers thrive with training and discipline, two things that go hand in hand with bikejoring. They are enthusiastic about their work, using their strength and speed in tactful ways.
This powerful breed is known for its stocky build with muscles in their jaw, neck, and chest that help with pulling.
Pitbulls thrive on praise, and they want nothing more than to do a good job. Bikejoring helps them expel the boundless energy they keep bottled up, and the discipline involved in tackling courses through verbal direction does a lot to teach them self-control.
Pitbulls also tend to get along well with other dogs, so they do better in bikejoring pairs than other breeds.
The Golden Retriever is another gundog that made its way onto the list. They have a fantastic sense of loyalty that adds to their natural beauty.
This breed is great at working and navigating a field, and that instinct adapts well to a trail. Their sturdy frame is more than capable of pulling, and their laid-back gait works well with casual bikejorers.
You may not consider a herding breed to be a great contender in a pulling sport, but Border Collies have a set of skills and smarts that help them keep up with the competition. Their energy is unmatched, and they are always looking to learn new things.
They may not be the strongest breed out there, but they love to work and have a great set of legs beneath them. Their surefootedness and keen eyes are especially useful in new terrain.
This popular breed is known to be an all-purpose breed. They make fantastic companions, guard dogs, and herders, so becoming a bikejoring dog is no great leap.
Their larger, muscular frame is great for wearing the harness and pulling, as is their easy gait. German Shepherds are more than capable of picking up the pace when needed.
When they make a connection their loyalty is unparalleled, and it can completely transform your bikejoring experience.
Anyone who has met a Belgian Malinois knows that they have an unmatched level of energy, and what better way to spend it than on a trail?
Belgian Malinois have a lean, muscular appearance, but they are no less strong than any other breed. They also happen to be highly intelligent and fast, both in their wit and their physical speed.
Belgian Malinois can be a bit stubborn or even sassy, but this is easily managed through hard work, dedication, and training.
The Eurohound is more of an intentional crossbreed than a breed of their own, though they have a presence strong enough to merit recognition. Eurohounds are the offspring of Alaskan Huskies and German Shorthaired Pointers, but there is a preference towards the husky qualities.
Their short coats are more suitable for sprints, and they have an endurance that is difficult to match. This sleeker breed can hit higher speeds with more ease than some pure breeds. They provide strong competition in any bikejoring race.
The Galgo is the less known cousin of English and Irish Greyhounds, a Spanish breed prized for hunting.
Though sighthounds are slighter than other breeds on the list, their frame and lineage helps them cover ground at high speed whilst their top end speed endurance is unmatched. As Galgos are bred for hunting they adapt more easily to the terrain of bikejoring trails.
Though they seem tiny in their frame the legs on a whippet are incredibly strong, sturdy, and capable of carrying them quickly through a trail.
Whippets are prone to bursts of energy, but they are one of the more low-maintenance sighthound breeds. They are similar to Samoyeds in the way that they can adapt to apartment living as long as they have a physical outlet like bikejoring.
Bikejoring is a variation of mushing and that makes it an excellent choice of sport for dogs who have been bred to pull or work in the great outdoors.
While pretty much any healthy dog can participate in bikejoring, breeds that are powerful, naturally high in energy and have strong aerobic capabilities are genetically well equipped to bring their rider home in double quick time.