Mountain Bikers Should Have Dogs

03.20.2008 | 8:17 pm

Somehow, at some point, I stopped worrying about separating my private life from this blog. Mostly, this is because I am lazy. It was too much work to remember to not talk specifically about my real name, my wife’s name, where I work, or where I live.

In short, I am as open with my identity to pretty much the same extent as Bike Snob NYC is guarded with his.

And yet, there is one member of my family I believe I have never mentioned.

The cat.


Everyone, meet the Nelson family cat. Her name is Kisa. "Kisa," by the way, is Finnish for "cat." Kisa is a resentful cat. Ostensibly belonging to my 12-year-old son, this cat (which I have nicknamed "El Gato Stupido") does not like anyone in the family except Susan. Kisa follows Susan everywhere, earning an occasional angry swat on the nose from me when she nearly trips Susan up. (It’s not cute to trip someone walking with a broken hip. Plus I really like to swat the cat on the nose.)

This cat is as large as a raccoon, with similar coloring, while exhibiting the playfulness one expects from a cat nine times her age (i.e., 27).

If I Had My Druthers
I bring up the cat mostly to point out that I consider this cat a perfect example of what a mountain biker doesn’t want in a pet.

Mountain bikers should have dogs. And dogs, clearly, should have mountain bikers.

The only reason we don’t have a dog is because Susan has explained to me that if I were to get a puppy (and I would definitely want to start with a puppy, so I could raise it in the ways of mountain biking), she would be the one taking care of it day in and day out, while I’m away at work. This is a fair point and I do not dispute it, and so we do not have a dog.


Even though it’s kind of a shame and should maybe even be a crime that a guy who loves mountain biking and owns a truck doesn’t have a dog, too.

Good Dogs
The reason I want a dog is because I’ve been mountain biking with friends who bring their dogs along. Provided the dogs have learned the cardinal rule — yield to descending bikes — dogs are invariably the most popular member of the riding group.

Seriously, it’s a privilege to have the dog choose you to hang with, even for part of the ride. It makes you feel like there’s something inherently good about yourself. In reality, of course, it could be nothing more than that the dog finds your stench intriguing or figures you look like the type to share your water bottle. Doesn’t matter. The dog doesn’t offer an explanation, and you don’t ask.

A long time ago, the first guy I ever went mountain biking with — Stuart — had a terrific dog for riding. Her name was Daisy. She ran back and forth during the climb, policing the group, and then made a game of staying out front as long as she could on the downhill.

But when you got close and wanted her to get out of the way, all you had to do was hiss at her: "Tsss tsss tsss." She’d find a way to yield, immediately.

I know so little about dogs that I don’t even know what kind of dog it was. Short tail, short hair, blunt nose." A really good dog.

What I Would Want In A Dog
I actually hadn’t thought about getting a dog in quite some time until a couple weeks, as we were driving to Disneyland. We split the drive into two days so we could spend the night at Susan’s mom’s.

Susan’s mom has a very good dog. She’s not sure of the breed, except that it’s half St. Bernard. I would wager that the other half is Yellow Lab, since the dog — his name is "Pal," a good name for a dog — looks like the largest, most barrel-chested Yellow Lab you’ve ever seen.

I was thinking that Pal would be a good mountain biking dog, until I thought about the fact that I like to climb. I’m not sure Pal’s built like a climber. On the other hand, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a dog really have to work to keep up with a mountain bike on the climbs. So maybe a big dog would be just fine.

The fact is, I don’t really know what are the most important qualities a dog needs to have to be a good mountain biking companion. The list that occurs to me sounds kind of like a bizarre "personals" ad:

  • Must tolerate heat well
  • Must be able to last for a three hour ride
  • Must be social (I don’t want it threatening other riders or other dogs)
  • Must have short hair (I am not going to take the time to brush out brambles from long hair after rides)
  • Must be able to handle the climbs

What kind of dog is that? I don’t know, really. Maybe it’s a Lab. I’ve always liked how friendly they are. Maybe it’s a German Shepherd. Maybe it’s an Australian Shepherd (I watched an Australian Shepherd competition once and was astounded at how capable they are).

What’s the best kind of dog for mountain bikers? I’m guessing some of you have strong, informed opinions on this.


  1. Comment by the greg | 03.20.2008 | 8:57 pm

    haha first to comment. i always wanted huskies growing up. good, solid dogs. good for the trail. my wife, however, wants a pomeranian. small, hyper, no stamina, and always under foot. so, we’re gonna compromise and get a pomeranian. i can tell ya, fatty, what IS NOT a good trail dog… go ahead. guess…

  2. Comment by kreger | 03.20.2008 | 9:50 pm

    my buddy has a jack Russel, meets all your requirementsl. Great dog, we use “hep” instead of”TSS” plenty of energy, I would reccomend. He has plenty of energy yet he can curl up for a 5 hour drive across the state,

  3. Comment by AdamBomb | 03.20.2008 | 10:01 pm

    English Springer Spaniel – not as big as a lab, no big otter tail whacking things over in the house, but leggy and fast enough to keep up on the trail, smart enough to train. Pretty dogs.
    Oh, and lots and lots of energy. You’ll have to take him on a daily ride or he’ll be bouncing off the walls in the house. This could be considered a pro, not a con.

  4. Comment by buddah on a bicycle | 03.20.2008 | 10:58 pm

    I have ridden with two different dogs, and each had its pros and cons. During highschool I used to take the family dog for short rides. He was a lab/irish wolfhound. The pros were he did extremely well and stayed with the bike the whole ride. The cons were he never really had the energy for long distance runs if you went over 10 mph. My sisters dog is a lab/collie/something else and can keep up even at speeds of 20mph the problem is she is the worst behaved dog I have ever known.

  5. Comment by dawn | 03.20.2008 | 11:06 pm

    Unrelated to your dog topic, but essential to this site, where is your weight? We have this wonderful bet going with you, yet when we the reader might actually win..your weight disappears.

    Hmm…got error message when I first tried posting this…so it confirms my theory of a cover-up

  6. Comment by radirpok | 03.21.2008 | 12:07 am

    What you may want is a hunting dog.

    I may be a little biased, but if I were to get a dog for biking, it would be the Hungarian “vizsla” (pointer). They have very short hair, they are so playful that they are completely inept at guarding the house (they would try to play with unknown persons instead of barking at them), and if trained well, they are very-very obedient and extremely tolerant, love children and love nature (water, too), and a three-hour ride may not even be sufficient for warming them up – vizslas have an unbelievable amount of energy.
    The only thing to consider is, however, that they *require* attention and care, and they are very much attached to their masters.

    Check this:

    “Do Vizslas get along well with children, cats and other dogs?

    Like most dogs, Vizslas who are well socialized will get along very well with children, cats, and other dogs. They love affection and companionship. In general, the more people and animals that are around them, the happier they are.

    Do Vizslas make good jogging partners?

    Vizslas have excellent stamina and would enjoy the companionship and exercise. They should not be introduced into jogging until they are at least 18 months of age to allow for the growth plates in their bones to fully mature. Of course, making a Vizsla a pleasant jogging partner requires lots of positive obedience training with an emphasis on leash manners! ”

    What else could I say? I want my vizsla! ;-]

    Here is a site with an awful design but lots of pictures:

  7. Comment by medstudentitis | 03.21.2008 | 3:38 am

    Boarder collie. My boyfriend’s boarder Kippy loves to go riding with us and she’s got good biking manners…

  8. Comment by Don Juan DeMarco | 03.21.2008 | 3:43 am


    Read the temperment section.

    Of course, you realize you probably shouldn’t be taking any dog on 3 hour heat excursions until they are probably over 2 years old. Just guessing.

  9. Comment by Big Boned | 03.21.2008 | 3:47 am

    Hands down, best mountain biking dog around is a Rhodesian Ridgeback. I don’t even need to justify that answer. You don’t believe me – go look it up.

  10. Comment by KatieA | 03.21.2008 | 3:52 am

    Best phrase ever heard to describe the cat / dog philosophy.

    “Dogs have masters. Cats have staff.”

    I’ve had both.

    Cat would smack the blinds, making sure to get your attention (as if she wanted to go outside to use the plants) and then as soon as you were up, wander into the kitchen and meow at her plate. She also used to beat up the dobermans that lived next door.

    Dog used to lick anyone within a 10ft radius, love running and cycling (which we did every day) and wake me up by panting with dog breath at 1″ from my nose.

    Dogs make you want to exercise and do fun things (because the dogs needs to get out and run), whereas cats, well… cats just make you get them food, then use their claws to tenderise your lap before graciously seating themselves.

    Cattle dog or border collie really. They like to herd things, hence, great for bikes. :)

  11. Comment by Andrew Brautigam | 03.21.2008 | 3:52 am

    German Short-Haired Pointers are fun dogs, run well, etc. Other cyclists like weimaraners, another short haired hunting dog that likes to run.

  12. Comment by fatty | 03.21.2008 | 4:05 am

    katieA – you’ve had both masters and staff?

    dawn – i dropped the weight thing for this year. i posted about it a while ago. as far as winning stuff from me, last week i spent more than $1000 giving away 100 t-shirts and bottles. i’m sure most blogs routinely give their readers more, but that’s the best I can do.

  13. Comment by Swirlgurl | 03.21.2008 | 4:08 am

    I am both a dog lover and a bike rider. I think people need to realize that not all dogs are suited to a 3 hour bike ride. I have seen riders with their dogs and their dogs looked about ready to drop dead. You mention tolerating heat. Dogs are not really designed to take exercising in the heat.Sure they can acclimate but they simply cannot perform the same. Their bodies cool off differently than ours. Sure sled dogs can run amazing distances but they are conditioned like an elite athlete. I think some bikers make the mistake of taking their dog on a occasional bike ride and expect them to be out there for 20-30 miles. And the dog is simply not up to the task.

  14. Comment by Tim D | 03.21.2008 | 4:34 am

    Trouble with dogs is dog pooh!

  15. Comment by Mike Roadie | 03.21.2008 | 4:35 am

    I have two Schnauzers and a Yorkie. No good for biking unless you put a “dog seat” or basket on your bike (I’m trying to imagine my Cervelo with a basket on the Saturday AM ride).

    Go with Aussie, Border Collie, Pointer idea—although any of them will beat you going up the climbs; you’ll catch them on the way back down!

  16. Comment by mgr | 03.21.2008 | 4:39 am

    A Standard Poodle (the big one), white, in full, glorious, poofy show trim.

  17. Comment by Lori | 03.21.2008 | 4:49 am

    A boxer, definitely a boxer! They are great dogs. Loads of energy, extremely smart, very social, rarely bark! I don’t think I ever really worked at training mine to do or not do anything-she just had an uncanny ability to know what I wanted. Her mother was the same way. An added bonus-they are great with kids and they look mean enough to ward off potential evil-doers. One downside-slobber, which is worse in males.

  18. Comment by Mocougfan | 03.21.2008 | 5:01 am

    Border Collie hands down. I have one (Jet). She loves to run, she is very obedient, and fun to be around. She loves comining with me on the trails as long as I don’t go tooo fast. If I say “heel” she obediently gets right behind the bike and stays there till I tell her to go play. Then she’ll take off looking for rabits or deer to chase after. I think I’ll take her out tomorrow. She’s getting fat like me.

  19. Comment by bdg | 03.21.2008 | 5:03 am

    The best dog I’ve ever mt. biked with was a friends Dalmation who stayed out in front of us through a tough 12 mile ride w/o ever slowing down, and then rode back comfortablly between us in the truck with its head in his lap.

  20. Comment by Boz | 03.21.2008 | 5:09 am

    I’m sorry, but I don’t have a lot of dog pointers for you, as my dogs are about the size of my cats. A yorkie-poo, a pom-chow, and a weiner dog. I would like to take the pom-chow on a bike ride. A one way bike ride. I call her Supidawg. Constantly runs in circles and barks. But she is cute.
    BTW – You may love your dog more than life itself, but that doesnt mean others feel the same way. I don’t want your dog shedding on me, licking me, or cutting me off on the trail. I don’t like to hear it bark, nor do I like steeing in or riding through it’s excrement. Leash it and clean up after it and we’ll get along just fine. Or maybe I’ll dump my litter box on your front stairs. Have a nice day.

  21. Comment by Yeagermeister | 03.21.2008 | 5:15 am

    As someone (a single someone, as well) who travels for races almost every weekend and is hardly ever home, I decided that a dog was too much trouble. It’s one more thing to deal with on trips, packing dog food and water bowl and leash, and having to have a dogsitter for my big trips every year… I wouldn’t have the time to train it, and I wouldn’t be able to spend any time with it, likely producing a less-than-well-mannered dog.

    So I have two “masters”. And frankly, they love it when I ride, because they have the house to themselves.

  22. Comment by Don ( | 03.21.2008 | 5:33 am

    I’ve really been wanting a Lab a LOT lately. I just think they’re great dogs. As far as behavior, it’s almost all in how you raise them. My father had some massive hunting dogs years ago and they were gentle as could be… unless you too ‘em hunting.

  23. Comment by Tim | 03.21.2008 | 5:39 am

    Don’t want to nitpick here, but a cat is kissa in finnish. Kisa on the other hand means a race or a competition.

  24. Comment by hades | 03.21.2008 | 5:44 am

    I’ve have a miniature poodle/shitsu (a shi*poo – ha!) No shedding and has crazy stamina (we can trail run for about 10-20 miles) but his legs are too short to keep up with bikes, so no mountain biking for him. I can trim or not trim him to keep him dressed for the weather (short or long); he gets a schnauzer cut.

    I also got him sled dog boots because snow packs up in the fur in his paws. Another dog owner noticed this a couple weeks ago, and commented about how “cute’ it was, we just asked how far he and his dog had walked (we were on mile 12 at that point, he & his dog were on mile two and the parking lot was around the corner)

    I could imagine that a standard poodle (w/out the fluff cut) would be great, since poodles, in my experience, tend to be good all-around dogs (fairly smart, good stamina (someone did iditarod with poodles ) , good personality – don’t excel at anything but are above average in most aspects)

  25. Comment by stack | 03.21.2008 | 5:45 am

    My training partner is Mabel, a mega bassett ultra hound – her cheetah like speed is augmented by the lift generated by her wildly pendulous ears. Thanks to a Silver Surfer like sheen of drool she leaves in her wake, I am sure never to lose her path. When I stall on the climbs, she bays nobly from the summit, urging me forward. Her keen intellect…

    Oh, who am I kidding. All she does is lie on the couch watching me get fat reading about bikes online.

  26. Comment by Blorgh | 03.21.2008 | 5:46 am

    To me you seem like a mutt dog. Maybe something with lab or australian cattle dog mixed into it, but definitely one of the unpedigreed mongrels.

  27. Comment by Michele | 03.21.2008 | 6:05 am

    I used to go mt biking with a friend (before she moved away) who had a lab. The dog was great — she could keep up on long rides, loved to be second wheel, and always got out of the way promptly when asked. She always had fun and made me feel sorry for labs who don’t live with mt bikers.

  28. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 03.21.2008 | 6:07 am

    You described Kenny.

  29. Comment by Ninja | 03.21.2008 | 6:16 am

    Whatever you decide about getting a dog, please consider adopting a dog. Look for Foster type situations. In the midwest, we have Midwest Lab Rescue, DobRescue, etc. We adopted a 1 yr old yellow lab and he has turned out to be nothing short of awesome. If you do not adopt, please do not buy from a petshop, Petco, “puppy mill” or any other place like that.

    A lot of dogs can be good for riding on the trails. You can teach younger dogs new tricks. Most labs love to learn, so they will work with you and want to please. I tought my dog to run with me. I taught him to ride with me. I did not start doing that until I had him a couple of years. It is like anything, though, you need to start out small, slow, and build on miles. You have to train with your dog and build their stamina.

  30. Comment by sans auto | 03.21.2008 | 6:17 am

    A pit bull (I think that’s what it was). Name it Eddy. He’ll make you a better sprinter.

  31. Comment by bradk | 03.21.2008 | 6:26 am

    I don’t think it coincidence that todays post is about dogs. The only thing standing in my way of doing the rim ride with Kenny tomorrow is finding someone to watch Marz. As you know Kenny shouldn’t be out there by himself.

    Marz, a GSP, is the perfect trail dog and family dog. I’ll let you test drive him over the weekend and see if you have a different opinion about dogs come Monday.

    I’ll drop him off at your house this afternoon.

  32. Comment by dirtonly | 03.21.2008 | 6:38 am

    You need to get a hungarian vizsla. They’ve the endurance of a weimaniener, but they’ve got smarts also. If you like retrievers I’ve got one you can have, please take this dog. For the love of pete, please.

  33. Comment by cyclostu | 03.21.2008 | 6:43 am

    Your cat looks awesome and seems to embody all that is cat.

    I would steer clear of any toy dog breeds – they’re not very durable. I would also recommend against a greyhound. I’m pretty sure that they could smoke you on any type of ride (road, atb, motorcycle, uphill, downhill) and your fragile ego may not be able to handle that. A St. Bernard is kind of intriguing because they always have that flask around their neck. Maybe you could get one in a short-haired variety?

  34. Comment by Jared | 03.21.2008 | 6:43 am

    This is my dog, Kelby

    He goes out with me pretty much every weekend. He’s a Golden Retriever/German Shepherd mix. He’s extremely social and LOVES to RUN! He’s built like a German Shepherd but his personality is 100% Golden Retriever. He loves going out with me…he usually starts whining and dancing around as soon as we drive up to the trails. He’s also pretty fast and easily keeps up…best I’ve “clocked” him at was 22mph sustained on some flats, and it seemed like he could have gone faster if he wanted.

    Another buddy of mine has a “cow dog” of some sort. She’s older but she does really well on the trails. She knows to yield to everyone (something I’m still working on with my dog) and she’s a lot of fun since she checks up on everyone in the “pack.”

    Salukis are supposed to be great mountain bike dogs…but I believe they are hounds which means they’ll be a little more difficult to train.

  35. Comment by pantaloonfan | 03.21.2008 | 6:50 am

    We just got a puppy two weeks ago, and while he’s fantastic, and loving and all that, it definitely is going to make it much harder to get rides in for the near future. The amount of time/energy/mental bandwidth that they absorb is pretty overwhelming, and he’s even over 4 months and doesn’t need a bathroom break every hour.

    He’s a pretty much giant breed, and with large dogs I would caution that you want to watch for over-exercising them before they are about 2. With high drive breeds like border collies and cattle dogs they will indeed keep on hauling away as long as you ask them to, but dogs with that kind of commitment can easily run themselves far past the point of exhaustion.

    That scene in Cool Hand Luke where the bloodhounds run themselves to death is not entirely impossible, is all I’m saying.

    However, border collie/cattle dog would definitely keep with you, and have the desire to do so. Our Bernese Mountain Dog pup already gets to the point that he will just sit down and sack out while we are walking him around the neighborhood.

  36. Comment by DrCodfish | 03.21.2008 | 6:54 am

    Think fences, and leashes, and a new dog fur seat cover that comes with you whenever you slip out of the truck in your black shorts.

    Dont forget that a dog has to dump about as frequenty as you do so, unless you can teach him to use the toilet it means that someone is going to be out in the yard policing up the doggie loads about 2 or 3 times a week. Unless of course you like to stock pile dog poop in the back yard. I especially like those brown and yellow stains decorating the snow out in the back yard that last all winter.

    I think you better wait till Susan is a little more mobile.

    Yr Pal DrCodfish

  37. Comment by Megan | 03.21.2008 | 6:55 am

    Funny that both you and pioneer woman posted about dogs today.

  38. Comment by rharding | 03.21.2008 | 6:56 am

    Weimeraner…hands down the best dog I’ve every owend. I cannot stress enough what a good breed of dog this is for people with active lifestyles. She takes my wife running everyday and keeps me company on my longer weekend rides. You need to be firm with them as they’re always testing their boundaries an have boundless (…seriously boundless) energy. We didn’t officially train her to run with us as we road, she just kinda picked up being second wheel and yielding on downhills. Her coat is short and hard so we let the mud dry and then just wipe it off. Any dog in the same “family” would be a good choice (i.e., Rodhesian Ridgeback, Vizsla, and/or German Pointers).

  39. Comment by MJ | 03.21.2008 | 7:00 am

    Since I was a kid, my family has always owned either chocolate or black labs. They seem to be the dog of choice out here in Colorado and are very good mountain biking dogs. Lately a friend (who has also owned and rode with labs his entire life) got a pair of Catahoulas and I have been riding with them several times. I have to say, I have been very very impressed so far (plus his look pretty damn cool) and am considering looking into getting one of my own. If you trust wikipedia:
    one of his looks exactly like this:

  40. Comment by FliesOnly | 03.21.2008 | 7:05 am

    Well, it’s quite apparent that everyone with dogs is telling you to get “their” dog. I will not do that. We have a Brittany (undoubtedly the BEST dogs in the World), but I’d go with the guy that suggested the Rhodesian Ridgeback. Manly enough to be a “Mans Dog” but not stupid, like labs.

    Ah, screw that, get the Brittany. Best damned dogs in the World. Friendly…full of energy…can run all day…smart…friendly…and friendly.

  41. Comment by eunicesara | 03.21.2008 | 7:13 am

    Springer Spaniels. Super personality and work ethic, and indominable spirit. Mine got me through some dark times.
    Now I have Akita(s). Love them. Always buy from a reputable breeder who puts personality way up there. My Akitas even handle small children very well. And, when it’s indoor time, they curl up into a nice doggy-donut without first clearing all horizontal surfaces with their tails.

  42. Comment by swtkaroline | 03.21.2008 | 7:17 am

    I’m trying to teach my Bucket — –how to ride alongside me on my bike–on leash. It’s been a bit scary, as he is wont to charge off at the least provocation. I live in Arizona, and most of the trails I ride are very wide open and relatively flat, so the leash is a non-issue as far as obstacles go, but I’m pretty sure a lizard or fantastically interesting rock will be the death of me.

    If anyone rides with their dog on leash, I’d love some hints on how to survive. :)

  43. Comment by Tikki | 03.21.2008 | 7:17 am

    As a volunteer for a Boxer Rescue organization, I strongly encourage you to consider adopting a young dog from a breed rescue. A good Rescue will match the dog to the family and activities they are interested in. The bonus is that the dog will already be housebroken and likely have some other basic training. Any dog can be taught to run with you. It just takes patience.
    There were many good suggestions given in these comments as far as which breed would work well for you. Of course, I’m going to be partial to the Boxer. They are smart and have fantastic temperaments for the most part.

  44. Comment by dawn | 03.21.2008 | 7:18 am

    My mistake..plan B in action…still, fun to see if you stayed on goal.

  45. Comment by Tikki | 03.21.2008 | 7:21 am

    Sorry, just saw the comment from swtkaroline. -A good idea would be to attach the leash to the bike with an attachement that will release if pulled forcefully by the dog. Of course, making sure the dog is trained to come to you on command is essential with that. Otherwise, you’ll be chasing Bucket instead of enjoying your ride.

  46. Comment by Joe | 03.21.2008 | 7:44 am

    Check out where the labs are rated, let me give you a hint, only 6 dogs ahead of them. Fairly ignorant to call them “stupid” I would say.

  47. Comment by andrewc | 03.21.2008 | 7:48 am

    Wow people are really into dogs. I had one once, i took it back because it ate my door. Dumb dog.

    maybe I should have kept it as proof there was one thing dumber than me. hmm maybe in that sense we were made for each other.

    Great now im gonna cry. Dumb dog wherever you are i hope theres lots of doors.

  48. Comment by Rachel J | 03.21.2008 | 7:53 am

    The best dog for any purpose is waiting to be adopted in a shelter. For mountain biking, you should look for a mixed breed of medium size with a thin build. From meeting several dogs and talking to the shelter workers, you could be sure to find one that is lively and also eager to please and learn commands. I have exactly such a dog adopted at the age of 10 months.

    Don’t contribute to the over-population of dogs and cats. Adopt a neutered pet!

    Also, never over-work a puppy. 2 years old minimum for the kind of activity you are suggesting. Otherwise you could be setting them up for hip problems down the road.

  49. Comment by Mt. Doom Paintball | 03.21.2008 | 7:54 am

    Your consideration of the Australian Shepherd was destiny knocking at your door. The “Aussie” would make the perfect mountain biking dog. First, they are a FUN dog that seems to have an innate sense of humor about them. Secondly they love to run and have excellent endurance as an inherent ability from their herding ancestry. Not many people know it but they are also excellent at pulling and you’d be the envy of your riding crowd when your Aussie pulled you effortlessly along level stretches or helped get you up steep grades fast. There’s a lot going for not having a tail around bikes also with chains, spokes and such nearby. The Aussie, having a strong herding past, can also dodge away from fast incoming obstacles and can jump higher than most any breed. They are not nearly as hyper intense as a Border Collie. I have German Shepherd Dogs too and though they’d make a great biking companion with their intelligence and ease of training but they intimidate the average person who may have seen their kin on COPS or on the LA PD video’s taking down a bad guy. The Aussie presents itself as a friendly character whenever they meet someone. They are often called “wigglebutts” due to the no tail feature. With no tail, the Aussie must emphasize the wiggle of the butt to signal other dogs their friendly intent and they are indeed friendly around other dogs, cats , children and even rabbits, ducks or rodents. Super easy to train, super easy to take care of … well…other than shedding year round but hey, that’s important to an outdoor type dog. You couldn’t ask for a more wonderful companion dog that fits nicely in the floorboard of a small car or truck or will ride for hours with the head out the window. If you get one with the odd colored eyes that will keep you forever entertained as well. Enough said… now go out there and get you a good Aussie for a riding partner and you’ll fulfill that destiny I spoke about earlier.

  50. Comment by Jen | 03.21.2008 | 7:56 am

    Funny, we adopted a cat name Ki, well, with a nephew named Kai, it had to change. So we found Kisa, but we’re still not sure how to pronounce it, “i” like eye I hope. She’s wonderful, loves food (thus strictly regulated) and running around. She comes to races and hangs out in the RV. If we go on a weekend trip we can leave her at home alone with no worries. A dog might be more fun, but she’s pretty low maintenance.

  51. Comment by Fish | 03.21.2008 | 7:58 am

    Daisy was the perfect mountain biking dog. It was a sad day when her arthritis got too bad for her to keep riding. My lab Jesse is a good second. I’ve trained him to ride on the ride when riding on dirt roads with traffic, to stay out of the road. You don’t have to even hiss for him to move, he just moves when you get close enough. And he’s super friendly.

  52. Comment by Jared | 03.21.2008 | 7:59 am

    My pal has a mutt that he picked up from the shelter a few years ago. I assume she’s some sort of amstaff terrier mix, cause she looks like my old dog. Anyways, she destroys everyone on the uphills, and the downhills. There are two straight drops that the goal is to try to beat Chloe down. In short, she rules. She’s down for hanging out with mountain bikes, motocross bikes, what have you. Don’t put out the idea of adopting, even an older dog. From what I’ve seen, they’re so excited to have a decent home, that they’ll jump at any chance to play with you.

  53. Comment by KanyonKris | 03.21.2008 | 8:02 am

    botched: Yes, a Hairless Kenny Collie – the perfect trail companion.

    Fatty: A Collie is a good MTB dog. Smart, love to run, long enough legs to keep up with the bikes, but not too big. The long hair is the only drawback. Is there a short-hair collie? If you want a good Border Collie, I may be able to hook you up as the in-laws have one they are tiring of – just in Orem.

    I vote no to Dalmations as I’ve met way too many high-strung ones. Bruce has a Jack Russell Terrier and she’s been on years worth of rides with him.

    Labs are good, but can often be unruly. I’ve known many black labs that could not be contained and it’s a pain to have to wander the neighborhoods to round them up. But my friend has 2 golden labs and they are, well, golden as far as behavior goes – and short hair to boot.

  54. Comment by kathy b | 03.21.2008 | 8:02 am

    Try not to be fooled with the hair situation. Labs shed like crazy. They sound like a good breed for you if the hair isn’t an issue. The arent’ used to lead the blind for nothing you know. Intelligent, boundless energy…..very long puppy hood. They lick walls they lick everything.

    There are many jack russells looking for homes b/c they don’t act like the one on frasier. They are small SMART and have boundless energy.

    Labradoodles are one way to solve your hair issue if you want a lab/type without the hair issues.

    Stay away from the short nosed breeds, smashed face types, they have breathing issues anyhow and don’t have much stamina in the heat.

    you may want to find a great dog trainer in your area, through dog friends, and give them a call for a breed.

    Puppies are a ton of work. Ask anyone who has about a 12 -16 wk old puppy. They are usually near tears. Housebreaking is the very beginning of the work.

    good luck. Im betting there will be a puppy or dog post soon.

  55. Comment by MTB W | 03.21.2008 | 8:04 am

    swtkaroline – I started my dog (golden/lab mix) off with the leash. It took many rides (OK, a several months) before I felt comfortable with her (early on, I got too comfortable and wasn’t watching her and had only one hand on the handlebar when she stopped suddenly to look at a dog across the street – I grabbed on and hit the front brake and flipped right into a chain link fence.) Now, she rides well with the leash – just takes time and training. Am now working with her off leash – expect it to take several months to teach her not to run directly in front of me (she runs next to me on sidewalks but directly in front of me on single track – she is too dainty to go off trail) and not to chase small wildlife.

    FC – great post! Yet again, you have broken into a new topic with hilarious style.

  56. Comment by KanyonKris | 03.21.2008 | 8:04 am

    Dog Fun Fact – A conditioned sled dog can run the equivalent of 5 marathons. Amazing. Heard that on PBS last night.

  57. Comment by craig z | 03.21.2008 | 8:10 am

    Fatty– I’ve got your dream dog. Belgian Mallinois/Aussie heeler mix.

    I’ve had her mtn biking with me since she was 1 yr old. she’s a pound puppy, and the best mtn biking dog ever. She is about 65 pounds, and has two speeds: All on , or All off.
    If i don’t ride with her everyday, she is tough to live with. We call her “velcro dog”, as when I’m home ( I’m the alpha dog round here) she literally is at my side at all times… wherever I go. Sounds idyllic, but sometimes a bit spooky.

    She’s ridiculoulsy fast. she picks all the best Lines when we ride ( not always the easiest, but certainly the most fun) and can clear 8 foot stream crossings with out a hitch.
    she chases bunnies, but hasn’t caught one yet in 6 yrs of riding.

    we have one section in my local ride we call “bunny alley”, where in spring time there are literally 50 bunnies crossing back and forth on the trail… she loves that.

    I just got her this seasons new nite time saftey vest, and blinking LED collar and bell so she can go on our midnite nightrides… when we ride at night, she stays between me and my bud, in the beams. She heels ( to my left rear tire) on command, and will generally only run about 20 yds ahead. She recalls to my side, sits, stays etc.

    She’s been my sole mtn biking buddy more often than not ( just actually made a new rider friend in my neighborhood) and I think has kept me on the bike with her relentless commitment to the ride.

    dogs rule.

    btw Fatty, why the heck can’t i seem to get signed into your forum dude??? i’ve emailed you a few times to figure it out, but no love!!!

    Great site you got– you make a lot of people smile.

  58. Comment by judi | 03.21.2008 | 8:31 am

    Hey Fatty! I have Dobes, they have short hair, can tolerate the heat ok, mine are friendly and run off leash in the woods all the time. I don’t recommend Dobes though for mntn biking.

    I’d say a hunting breed would be best – maybe a Weim or a Pointer. Both are short hair, tolerate the heat, and can go for miles and miles. BUT these type of dogs need to release that energy EVERY day, not just twice a week. My dogs are impossible to live with unless I exercise them every single day.

    If you do get a dog, I hope you get one from the shelter. 5 million dogs are put to sleep every year. Why not rescue one instead of paying a breeder.

  59. Comment by KT | 03.21.2008 | 8:44 am

    I’ve got a Lab-Rott-Shepherd mix. Solomon will be 9 on Sunday. I love my dear ol’ Solomonster, my Sol-o, my Mr. Dog. Here’s my experience:

    He sheds– a LOT. Puppies are cute– for the first 3 weeks. They go from cute baby to teenager in about 4 weeks, and the teenager phase lasts until they’re about a year. Be prepared for chewed stuff. Definitely socialize your dog as much as possible. Get them used to bikes, stationary and moving, and lost of different people and situations. Housebreaking? That was the easy part. Convincing him not to eat doors, couches, books, anything he could reach on the counters, the knobs on the washer and dryer…. that was harder. Even harder is reining in his protection instinct as it applies to me, his mommy.

    Active breeds can have problems with their knees: my dog tore his ACL chasing a ball in our yard. You can get the “usual surgery” for about $600, but odds are after he heals up, he’ll tear it again, and again… I took my dog to a specialist (read: $$$$) and had his knee completely re-engineered. He’s now a bionic dog on one side. If one knee goes, odds are the other one will, too, at some time.

    Really hard part: the 6 weeks after the surgery. Keeping him from doing too much, to quickly. Knowing he’s in pain, and trying to keep ahead of it with pills– pain in dogs is harder to deal with (for me, mentally) than pain in people. Dogs can’t tell you what’s wrong, they can only lay there and shiver and whine. Tore me up, especially combined with a shaved and bruised leg with a big ol’ stitched incision down the front.

    Purebred dogs can have health problems that are genetic: like faulty hips, eyes, hearts; barrel-chested breeds can have problems with bloat, which can kill them.

    I definitely agree with the people suggesting a mutt, and one adopted from a local shelter.

    Labs and lab mixes will play and run until they drop; this is especially a problem in the summer. They don’t know when to stop. Heat will kill a dog faster than you think.

    Herding dogs are great, except you’ll need to teach them not to herd the bicycles. You don’t want your dog’s nose to get run over as he tries to nip the bike to make it go a different way.

    This in no way is meant to discourage you from getting a dog; you just need to do the research and be prepared. Be a responsible dog owner. Spay or neuter. Keep them up on their shots. Obedience school is a good thing.

  60. Comment by Paul | 03.21.2008 | 8:45 am

    German Short Hair Pointer. They can run more than you can possibly ride. Reasonably smart, wonderful companions. They NEED to exercise. They run & run & run…they ran my beautiful backyard BARREN. Nothing left, except rose bushes. Nonetheless, little shedding, and perfect couch potatoes at night.

  61. Comment by CoworkerAlex | 03.21.2008 | 9:35 am

    Quick Spanish grammar lesson: A word in Spanish will never start with “st” or “sp”; they always stick an “e” in front of it. For example, “special” in Spanish is “especial”. And therefore, “stupid” is “estupido”.

    So Kisa should be properly referred to as “El Gato Estupido.”

    Spanish names for family members who elicit conflicted feelings is a great way to vent. My mother-in-law is “La Quejadora” (The Complainer)

    I’ve never had a dog. But I dog-sat a golden retriever for 4 months when I lived in CO. Over time he got stronger and faster and we regularly rode a network of trails where we did fairly fast 12-15 mile loops (Buffalo Creek area). When I think about old friends I wish I could ride with again, he’s at the top of the list.

  62. Comment by FliesOnlyIsStupid | 03.21.2008 | 9:43 am

    First…FliesOnly…stupid like labs? Hmm…I don’t see many Brttanys’ leading the blind. Maybe you should read up on your breeds first before making stupid statements. Most comments are not stupid like Flies Only. :)

    Rhodesian Ridgeback?? Not for a first dog. No one should get dogs like that, or a pit bull for that matter, if they cannot handle a “strong minded breed”. You should have a lot of familiarity with dogs if you choose to get a dog that will be your master instead of you his.

    This breed requires positive, reward-based training, good socialization and consistency, and is often not the best choice for inexperienced dog owners. Ridgebacks are strong-willed, intelligent, and many seem to have a penchant for mischief, though lovingly. They do not make a good first dog, though the same traits that make them difficult often appeal to the more experienced owners.

    Also, watch out for pure bread health issues like hip dysplasia.

    BEST ADVICE I EVER RECEIVED? Get a trainer. Sign up for a class. Get a trainer to work with you and only your dog, if you can afford it. It will make owning a dog much more fun!

  63. Comment by Jessi | 03.21.2008 | 9:43 am

    The dog I learned to mountain bike with was a friend’s McNab, a herding breed. Everything you’re looking for: friendly, short hair, energetic, medium size, endurance-ready.

    I have many fond memories of biking behind this pup on the uphills and her keeping pace on the downhills.

  64. Pingback by Fort Orange Cycling » Links of the Day: 21 March 2008 | 03.21.2008 | 9:47 am

    [...] Mountain Bikers Should Have Dogs (Fat Cyclist) [...]

  65. Comment by bikemike | 03.21.2008 | 9:51 am

    OK, the dog thing is covered. let’s get back to cats.
    cats rhymes with rats, there’s a reason for this. the only reason there is a difference is that cats are bigger. that’s it. if the rat was bigger then you’d be scooping rat litter out of the box. cats and rats, just above snakes.

    hey Elden, maybe a good snake for mtn. biking. no one would bother you then. get one that barks though.

  66. Comment by Carl. | 03.21.2008 | 10:17 am


    I think you would best be served by a mid sized dog (around 40-60 pounds). I dont think you can go wrong with labs, vislas, border collies, Aus. shepards, german short haired pointers, or ridgebacks. (Im sure there are plenty of others)

    I actually think adopting a lab mut is about as good as it gets. Labs do have a great temperment, but are quite crazy. A good mut generally has a nice even temperment.

    I’ve got a 95 pound yellow lab in great shape, but he’s just not built for endurance running. On the other hand, my older 40 pound lab/border collie mix can run all day with ease, and is much more agile.

    I agree with other posts that you dont want to run a puppy very hard until fully developed. However, you will want to train the dog at a young age.

    Finally, dont be fooled by a puppy. All of those cute little habits can turn into problems if you dont correct them right away.

    Sounds like you will have a dog sooner than later!

  67. Comment by monkeywebb | 03.21.2008 | 10:26 am

    I vote with the Border Collie/Aussie/McNab/cattle dog crowd. A Border Collie/Aussie mix would be best, especially if the BC bits are from brown short hair stock rather than the black ones. The heat combined with black and long hair is a bit much. McNabs are great too (a sub-breed of Border Collie that originated on the Northern CA coast)…a little smaller than an average BC.

    Check out Simon at the Cache Humane Society in Logan ( Like you he isn’t quite sure about cats.

  68. Comment by FliesOnly | 03.21.2008 | 10:31 am

    Lighten up…

    Sorry Fatty, I didn’t realize people would get so pissed about the fact the labs are stupid.

    See, there I go again…sorry Fatty.

    Labs are not stupid. Labs are perhaps that smartest animal in the entire Universe. Einstein was actually a Lab…as was Newton…and Lassie. If only everything were as smart as a lab.

  69. Comment by 6586 | 03.21.2008 | 10:34 am

    dog gmgn vmv nrhgn mvnjg vmfbm gm v fnb vmv vmb bmb vmv jb n vncncncmn v nvn jv bmjnn bn nfmfncnmcncn fh cncm vnm vng n nmvnhjn, bn cn <mvmbv)(vcb) vnc nmjc cnmvnc nvmc vm n gm bmb mbmv? bm jn hgdnn m nn nm jn bnjbnf vnncnvncvn vm n jcb nj vjbnjnjbk nvhvn gjb hblk n jbvn hjnn nnm bcn.

  70. Comment by Clydesteve | 03.21.2008 | 10:41 am

    Here are the trail dogsd we have had:
    Tyrone – 1/2 Aussie / 1/2 border collie. Great pickup riding dog, great trail dog, could literally go all day. Wanted everyone to stay together, so went back & forth from front runner to lantern rouge continuously. Had to be taught not to nip at the front wheel. Did not know when to quit – He almost drowned several times demanding yet another stick be thrown into icy water. Got out of the way automatically, though.

    Nikki – German Shepherd. Endless endurance, we once took her on a 7-hour 40-miler, including 6 miles of pavement, and about 15 miles of dust or gravel fireroad, where she easily kept up at about 16MPH average family speed. She could go a long ways, but would let you know when her feet had enough. At which point, when we were stupid enough to push her too far, we would be obliged to split up and go get the truck. She did go far enough to get sore muscles the next day on two occaisions. Stupid owner problem, not stupid dog. Purebred German Shepherd = continual skin problems. Get a mix.

    Jackie – Lab/ Pit Bull mix. A+ for everything except the Lab wanted to chase all squirrels far afield – too far afield to get her back. This can be a real pain in the butt.

    Lippy – current dog – Boxer/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix – which ended up with no smashed nose. She seems like she is going to be a winner – too young to try with anything but a backpacking trip – which she loved. Very very, very friendly, incredibly strong, good endurance, sticks fairly close, fast. We shall see this summer. Minus – Slobbers to the point of blowing saliva bubbles whenever she is in the back of the pickup, whether it is running or not. And she is in it if the tailgate is open.

    Lady – inlaws dog – An English Setter -affectionate, lean, fast, obedient, tended to get out in front too much, long hair. Stupid name.

    All but the German Shepherd were adopted from the animal shelter. Well, not the lab/pit – she was a stray – the others all were puppies. Purebreds tend to have more health issues. I love mixes.

  71. Comment by Clydesteve | 03.21.2008 | 10:46 am

    Cat. For those who wish to be put in their place, who, for strange psychological reasons feel guilt, and want to be made to feel that they are getting their just desserts by enduring the servitude of an arrogant and unlikeable mammal.

  72. Comment by Shanyn | 03.21.2008 | 10:52 am

    Sounds like a Jack Russell might fit the bill- high energy and loves to run- the added bonus is that when it gets tired, it is small enough for you to put it in a pack or a pannier. Stay away from the pushed nosed breeds, like the Boxer. They do not tolorate the heat well, and many Boxers in rescue are from back yard breeders who do not do any genetic testing. I just lost my beautiful 5 year old Boxer rescue to cardiomyopathy, a common Boxer ailment inherited from the parent dogs. Good breeders test their breeding stock for this and other inheritable disease. Although I believe in animal rescue (and have adopted 8 dogs throughout my lifetime), for what you want in a dog, get one from a reputable breeder and avoid the potential heartbreak of losing a dog too soon.

  73. Comment by axel | 03.21.2008 | 10:58 am

    I would choose a talking parrot as the perfect mountain biking pet.
    No issues going uphill and he would only have to know a few choice phrases to be used in your typical biking situations

  74. Comment by The Cosh | 03.21.2008 | 11:24 am

    I would not ride with someone who brought their dog.

    Cats are nice and furry and don’t drool everywhere and look at you disdainfully when you’re wandering around the house in the morning looking for your gloves.

  75. Comment by swtkaroline | 03.21.2008 | 12:05 pm

    pft. cats look at you disdainfully no matter *what* you are doing!

    Thanks for the leash-riding tips to those who left them. I tried to reply earlier, but it seems not to have gone through.

  76. Comment by Evin | 03.21.2008 | 12:34 pm

    The best mountain biking dog is a Bella, 1/2 Lab, 1/2 Boxer, Wish I could have included a pic in this post. Heat is the only drawback, like a previous poster said Boxers don’t like heat. In cool weather you couldn’t wear her out, but in summer heat she was good for 20 miles. Bella got too curious with a Llama. (shattered a front leg) But there is an idea, a Llama could also carry gear. Too bad they tend to have a nasty disposition, and I think the hair thing might go beyond your specs. I think I’ll order Llama next time I have the opportunity. Medium Rare please.

  77. Comment by Gillian | 03.21.2008 | 12:37 pm

    I second (perhaps third? I quit reading after comment 30 something) the weimaraner comment. My former roommate owned one, and though she was poorly trained, I could see the potential. She had stamina, and she was loyal to a fault, and would totally stick by your side.

    My dog is a corgi. They are great for laughing at because they look completely ridiculous. He would love the run and the biking, too, but couldn’t do heat or long jaunts, so maybe not your mountain biker’s dream.

    I call my cat Grumpy Butt. She and your cat look like they could be soul sistahs.

  78. Comment by Mrs. Coach | 03.21.2008 | 1:02 pm

    Our dog- Zeke- is the best dog for mountain biking. He runs along side Bob for hours. The only time he gets distracted is if he finds a bunny to chase or something. He is some kind of shepherd, heeler mix maybe.
    Zeke is from the humane society where we used to live. He was abused, taken to humane society where he was adopted, and then returned after two weeks. Thats when we got him. He would have been put down if we hadn’t taken him.
    Don’t get a puppy. Unless its a puppy from the humance society. But we’ve found that the dogs that are a little bit older and have had some training are really well behaved, and very smart. Especially when they get into a home where they are loved.

  79. Comment by Lucky Cyclist | 03.21.2008 | 1:26 pm

    My best (only) dog found me on a camping trip. Fifty pounds or so. Hairy, shaggy, nasty matted dog. Named it Cockleburr in honor of its filth. Ends up,…Killer biking dog. Been known to do 20-30 miles in a day. “trail” is the command to yield the trail. He trained quick to drink water squirted from my Camelbak and jumps up whenever he hears a freewheel. Though with all the hair I only take him on trails with streams or ponds so he can cool off.

    One observation: Dogs are like kids. Everyone thinks theirs are/is great. The opinion is rarely shared, no matter what your friends say to your face.

  80. Comment by fatfreediver | 03.21.2008 | 2:20 pm

    Well, I’m with the aussie – mutt crowd, but you’ve all entirely missed something.


    I used to be into both, and that was fun. Arabs have the endurance, and my wild mustang would follow any bike anywhere, just because of his herd upbringing.

  81. Comment by fatcat1111 | 03.21.2008 | 2:29 pm

    Dalmation! Dalmations were bread as “carriage dogs”, to run all day along side a carriage or coach. And they truly do seem to have limitless endurance. I’ve been on six hour rides, in intense heat in Hawaii, with one, and it remained by my side the entire time, even relieving itself when the humans did.

  82. Comment by Jill | 03.21.2008 | 4:56 pm

    I have four cats. How many more do I need to get before they equal one dog?

  83. Comment by conejita | 03.21.2008 | 5:26 pm

    We used to have a grey hound that we rescued from a local track that was great to go biking with. Their sprinting dogs so she loved racing you on the down hills but their not much of distance runners so while we were messing around trying to clear obstacles she would just hang out and wait and recover and not bug us or run off. The other nice thing about them is they are usually really docile and good with kids. My neighbors kids used to come over and dress her up in their old halloween costumes and paing her nails. She couldnt have cared less.

  84. Comment by conejita | 03.21.2008 | 5:28 pm

    I meant paint not paign. Oh, and “their” is spelled wrong. Uh, why dont I proof read?

  85. Comment by gus | 03.21.2008 | 6:03 pm

    I had a sheltie who went backpacking with me. They are very energetic, smart, and compact (hence less food to carry). On day hikes she could do 6-12 miles wit6h no problem. Oh yeah, they’re cute too!!

  86. Comment by gus | 03.21.2008 | 6:04 pm

    P.S. I now have a large tan cat who was saved from a life in a dorm.

  87. Comment by Barb | 03.21.2008 | 7:49 pm

    You want an English Pointer or a German Short Haired Pointer. Both breeds have short hair and tons of stamina. In fact, come down to ride the trails on Mt. Tam and take my pointer along! A bird dog is bred for hours and hours of field work in all sorts of weather.

  88. Comment by Ryan Cousineau | 03.22.2008 | 12:28 am

    I think an Australian Cattle Dog, aka Australian Heeler, aka Aussie Red/Blue Heeler (different breed from an Aussie Sheepdog) might be the right choice. It’s basically a border collie bred for heat tolerance. So that makes it a super-genius hyper-obedient working dog that thinks your three hour bike ride qualifies as “easier than herding cows.” Note that these are dogs with a strong natural following instinct, as opposed to a strong natural running into the bushes instinct.

    Downsides: smarter than average cyclist. Shorthaired, but shed so much that everything they touch for more than 1 second is covered in dog hair. Workaholics of the cycling world, and may make their own fun if you’re not there to make it for them. (“Dog fun” is pretty much what dog owners would call “dog-owner hell.”)

    They got the heat tolerance by crossbreeding border collies with dingos. I am not making that up.

    Whichever lunatics above recommended a Jack Russell are trying to trick you. Jack Russells have smarts and boundless energy and could probably keep up, but they’re aggressive, have notoriously variable personalities, and have the charming attribute of being viciously stubborn. You’ve heard of breeds that will try to test their masters? Owning a Jack Russell is like doing Oral Comprehensives about every two days until the dog dies.

    I know this because I have a charmingly cute foundling of a dog: half Jack, half Aussie Heeler. 15 pounds of loving, affectionate, hard-charging, stubborn, vicious and endearing animal. It loves to curl up and sleep on my lap, and once gave me four stitches when it bit my lip. It’s faster than me on most trails.

  89. Comment by Saso | 03.22.2008 | 12:56 am

    Weimaraner is definitely a good choice. Fulfils all your criteria:
    - has short hair and tolerates the heat
    - is used to run long distances and is a fast runner as well
    - well-behaved (with a proper owner) and social

    Bonus: good-looking dog, see here:

  90. Comment by wendy | 03.22.2008 | 1:17 am

    Another one for your list:

    ~must be able to change a flat tire

    When I had a paper route, I always picked up a friend’s Siberian Husky to do the route with me. Natasha. Tied her to my bike and WHAM we were blazing!!! Those dogs can run like ANYTHING … but they sure need frequent haircuts in the summer. Very loyal and good natured, too.

  91. Comment by tomas | 03.22.2008 | 2:39 am

    Don’t worry about getting the Finnish wrong. Kisa is Icelandic for kitty.

    Jen: The ‘i’ is pronounced like the ‘i’ in kitty

  92. Comment by Chris in Boulder | 03.22.2008 | 8:08 am

    Hey Fatty, Female cat that you think is none too bright = ‘la gata estupida’ in Spanish. Viszlas can run forever and from what I hear make great family dogs. Your cat might be stupid, but whatever dog you get is going to require a lot more attention and companionship, and therefore a lot more of your time than Kisa. Good luck, Chris

  93. Comment by Robb | 03.22.2008 | 8:57 am

    cats > dogs.

    thanks for the water bottles fatty!!

  94. Comment by Aunt B | 03.22.2008 | 1:19 pm

    I have a toy fox terrier (16 lbs. & very short hair). Rat Terriers are also as energetic as Jack Russels, but without all the attitude. The smaller size (ie. 15-40 lbs.) guarantees several things: doesn’t burn out quickly, takes less water and usually will not be as aggressive. The smaller dog is well aware they are not the “Alpha”. You don’t have to worry about attacks when running into other dogs on the trail.

    Dogs are water hogs. The more they weigh, the more they drink. You can take a big dog….if you like hauling in a butt load of water. Unless you live in Canada/Alaska, sled dogs are not good trail dogs.

    Trail dogs take a lot of patience and training. My dog was a complete spazz for the first 10 rides…and then improved slowly from there.

    Someone that doesn’t have a trail dog, sees a well trained, affable dog and thinks, “Wouldn’t that be cool?” and doesn’t see any of the effort it took to get to that point. Oh, and then there’s the bonus of having a completely dogged out car. I have one car that has been designated as “The Bike Car”. It smells of grease, sweat (human and kanine) and has paw marks and hair everywhere. MMmm……Actractive!

    Over all, I am still glad I have an awesome trail dog, Milly the wonder dog. But I had to put in the work for her……and she spazzes out completely as soon as I put on a pair of bike shoes. I don’t put them on until I am ready to leave because once their on she wants to leave NOW!

    PS…Your sister, Kellene? Not so fond of trail dogs….but shows a lot of tolerance.

  95. Comment by MTB W | 03.22.2008 | 6:04 pm

    FC, I doubt you have read all the way down here but in case you have, my friendly advice is to get a dog from the pound/rescue – 9 mos to 2 years old (avoid the puppy phase but still young). Look for a lab mix (not pure lab) – good temperament, intelligent, friendly, short hair and strong runners (but aren’t bouncing off the walls – which I think is not what Susan needs right now). But, the important thing when picking one out is to spend time with it before deciding – no matter what breed you pick, each dog is different so don’t go by breed generalities.

    Anyway, yes, it is un-American for a biker with a truck not to have a dog. It is down right unsavory! Now go do the right thing and adopt a dog to bring the universe back into balance. Ruff, Ruff.

  96. Comment by Wild Dingo | 03.22.2008 | 6:45 pm

    Duh! A dingo of course! A dingo LOVES trails. At least mine did. She was half dingo/half german shepherd. She hated the ocean, but put her on any trail and she could go for hours. She really loved single track. Unfortunately, by the time I had her socialized (i inherrited her at 8 years old an she was very aggressive/anti-social, i had to take her to school and train her, which she just soaked up like a sponge because her brain needed the challenge), I could run with her on trails, but never made it to mountain biking with her because as I was working with her, she was diagnosed with liver cancer and I had to cut her activity for the last 3.5 years of her life. But had I worked with her sooner, there’s no doubt in my mind, she would have met all the requiremens: 30-40 lbs. could leap a 6 foot fence w/o a running start, really agile, long deer-like legs. In public, very social (at home a little anti-social toward strangers). LOVED being a “pack” whether human or human & dogs. So the hard part is getting a dingo in the states. So the next best thing would be an Austrailian Shephered, a Austrailian Heeler (descendents of dingos), or a Native American Indian dog (which seem kind of pricey). If you can, rescue. It’s a good thing. Maggie always loved her dad for springing her out of “jail.”

  97. Comment by Wild Dingo | 03.22.2008 | 7:00 pm

    oh…if you want to read about “the” dingo (as we often called her:

  98. Comment by Moabmedic | 03.22.2008 | 7:22 pm

    my 4 lb yorkie loves going for bike rides. his favorite is slickrock!!!

  99. Comment by Emily | 03.22.2008 | 8:52 pm

    Answer: not my dog. A lab-mix rescue I adore, he is dumb as a post and not much of a bike dog. He is known to stand dumbly in the way of descending bikes, and to get terrorized by coyotes and rabbits alike. And prone to the dry heaves if he runs more than 5 miles in any weather. If your dog is dry heaving on the side of the trail everyone who passes looks at you like they are about to call PETA to report cruelty to animals.
    I wish I had one of these ideal bike dogs everyone else seems to have but no such luck!

  100. Comment by Moondoc | 03.23.2008 | 4:29 am

    What dog lovers you guys are!! Dalmatians were bred to run, no doubt. Labs have endurance also, with short hair, and only take about 10 seconds to train. I have bog “built” on the dalmatian model. She has short hair, tolerates heat and will run all day during my hikes in the Allegheny Mountains, occasionally cooling off in the streams. She is descended from a wild dog the roamed the plains of Africa. Also she bred to protect “her family”. Great tempermant. “Big Bones” is right. Your ideal dog is the Rhodesian Ridgeback. Check it out at

  101. Comment by Moondoc | 03.23.2008 | 4:37 am

    Follow up you folks out West. The Rhodesian Ridgeback was also used to hunt lions in Africa. It is the only dog that can keep a lion “at bay” and survive. Watch out for cougars!!

  102. Comment by CLBlood | 03.23.2008 | 11:11 am

    What’s the best kind of dog for mountain bikers? They’re all equally good, because bicycles and dogs should not mix. Time to go run my black lab. It’s too cold to ride here today.

  103. Comment by Born 4Lycra 43 11 N 2 32 W | 03.23.2008 | 2:00 pm

    I agree with CLBlood. Dogs are brilliant and everyone should have one trouble is only you know your dog nearly completely. Everyone else out riding at the same time does not know or trust your dog as much as you do. Got attacked by an Alsatian once while riding and the owner also riding came over and said while the dog was still baring it’s teeth and wanting to have a go “funny she’s never done that before”. Nothing funny about it mate. As a result I am always wary around dogs while riding which sort of detracts from the whole riding experience.

  104. Comment by ChrisN | 03.23.2008 | 3:55 pm

    Boarder Collie. They’re bread to run hours. Mine never quits.

  105. Comment by Bluenoser | 03.23.2008 | 5:29 pm

    Man. I keep bouncing around in this post a comment thing . Anyway you will see this same thing in the reason to ride post so delete it fatty if you want.

    It needs to be a really tall dog fatty. With at least 18 inches of belly clearance. That way the pooch could be geared up with a spare set of wheels and a repair/first aid kit. And give the pup his own camelback so he won’t be begging your water all the time.


  106. Comment by Nancy | 03.23.2008 | 7:17 pm

    I had a cat when I was a kid, a yellow tabby male, that I put in my bike’s basket took every where with me, So not all cats are bad at biking. He was a very layed back cat.

  107. Comment by Regina | 03.24.2008 | 5:10 am

    boxers. I have two of them and they rock! Great dogs to have and they are so fun.

  108. Comment by Jen | 03.24.2008 | 5:18 am

    I forgot to say … the fairy tale about Kisa the cat is pretty good, and definitely old school with a nicely gruesome bit in it. The funny thing is I read this the week we started calling our cat the little princess because of her mannerisms (this will make sense if you read the tale)

  109. Comment by The D | 03.24.2008 | 6:43 am

    A fat one. That way, when you are home you are constantly reminded: damn, I’m gonna get hugely fat if I don’t get off my duff and ride my bike.

  110. Comment by BurkeInTheOzarks | 03.24.2008 | 11:18 am

    I will second (or third, or sixth, or …) the Australian Shepherd suggestion. They are designed to run all day long, are extremely loyal and will follow your cues with other people and animals (no random running off after wildlife unless you allow it), are very quick learners and are in the sweet spot weight-wise, which I feel is 40 or so pounds. That makes them big enough to keep up but not so big as to make fitting them in you car a hassle or require gallon upon gallon of water. No tail is a huge plus as well.

    Also, they are great protectors of their “flock”, so I always felt safe going out of town, knowing that she was home to keep watch over the wife and children. She may not have been a huge dog but she had a deep bark, an intense stare and, with odd eyes (one blue and one brown), strangers kept their distance.

  111. Comment by Oli | 03.24.2008 | 11:58 am

    I will seconde (or third etc) english springer spaniels. my Springer, Whisper, is amazingly well behaved and can run very very fast for hours on end. She stays out of the way of bikes really well and she even waits for me at the top of climbs!

  112. Comment by Tom | 03.24.2008 | 1:30 pm

    Definitely a German Shorthaired Pointer, this from having about 20 years with these lovely critters. Hard field-running dogs, but they stay and work close. Short, sleek coat makes’ em wash & wear/permanent press, too!

    Weimaraner is another good choice, if you like the color scheme…

  113. Comment by H | 03.25.2008 | 8:03 am

    A beagle…they keep up with horses on foxhunts, are obediant, and have lots of energy…love to bark though.

  114. Comment by bee money | 03.25.2008 | 8:21 am

    just get a boxer. mine is as dumb as they get, scared of absolutely everything, and has short hair that sheds all over the place. all that aside he is the funniest dog I have ever met. Most importantly he is amazing with my 10 month old boy.

  115. Comment by ibisss | 03.25.2008 | 8:28 pm

    now that this post is a couple of days old, and there are lots of posts on top of this, I feel it is now safe to say dogs are a big pain in the ass. They are messy, expensive, tie you down (or your long-suffering friends who will be roped into looking after the thing when you go away for a week or so and can’t/won’t take the dog), and give you a 100% chance of coming home to crap, pee, and vomit, as well as a bunch of ruined shoes or other things. Not only that, but they die after only a dozen years.
    Plus, getting a dog invariably makes a person think their dog is the best dog in the world (viz, the above posts), and that you and your clean pants want to be jumped upon. A wet dog is a friendly dog. I don’t know how many times I have been at the park with my little girls and some dog has run over and knocked them over, or acted agressively toward them. To which the owner says ‘oh, he’s just saying hi’ or my favourite post-snap comment ‘well, you are near the off leash area…’
    I think we have all ridden with that guy who thinks we all want to ride with his wheel-attacking squirrel of a dog, who has developed a taste for human sweat, and licks it off you when you stop.
    I am not anti-dog–had a couple as a kid. Just anti- dog owner.
    Finally, I don’t see how dog lovers are any different, really, from reptile-lovers. You know, the guy who works at the comics shop, whose apartment smells like his pet’s feces and has pet accoutrements everywhere, brings his pet’s antics up in everyday conversation, and takes time off work when it dies, because, well, ‘grief is grief–a pet is part of the family…’ (as an on-call chaplain at a children’s hospital, I disagree). Except for the comics shop bit, the above could be said of many dog owners.
    M Burdge

  116. Comment by Wild Dingo | 03.26.2008 | 6:16 pm

    Ibiss (is that like the bike? cuz i have an Ibis…): I have to say this. A dog’s behavior is only as good as his owner’s behavior or owner’s ability to teach/control his behavior. The owner should be the pack leader and teach the dog civil social skills under ANY circumstances, home or in the world. No owner should ever make excuses for his/her dog’s bad behavior. Funny, its almost like raising kids, huh? The dog who knocks your kid over or the dog who bares his teeth at a cyclist=bad owner. 99% of bad dog behavior is likely not the dog’s fault.

    If a dog can’t cut it on the trails with bikes or in any social situation, the owner needs to either 1. never put the dog in that situation or 2. invest a long time in obedience and training with the dog and that means himself or herself. that does not mean, send the dog to a trainer and hope he’ll obey your commands.

    Too many dog owners don’t get the concept of being a pack leader and let their dogs be the pack leader, which is the main mistake made and ultimately leads to bad dog behavior.

    My humble opinion.
    A owner of a wild dingo who had turned over a new leaf.

  117. Comment by ibisss | 03.26.2008 | 7:12 pm

    as I said–not anti-dog; just anti-dog-owner. If I had, say, five acres, I might consider a dog. I don’t and so I won’t.

  118. Comment by Jouni | 03.27.2008 | 8:49 am

    How about a greyhound or a whippet? Seriously, there are always lots available for adoption after their racing careers are finished. They are built like roadie climbers and run like the wind to boot.
    I know you wanted a puppy, but rescuing a dog is a great thing to do.We have three rescues (ok, not the above two breeds); curiously, all are too goofy to take running that I dare not experiment with riding.

  119. Comment by Wild Dingo | 03.27.2008 | 5:59 pm

    Ibiss: sorry, i missed your last point on “anti-dog owner.” ya, we’re lucky we have a lot of land, but no dog yet to replace my dingo, who we recently lost. I don’t care for the situation of the big doggies (or dogs who need major exercise) locked up in a small apartment all day either. And, btw: I had worked in a children’s hospital as well, and I see your point on human compassion. However, I’m hugly compassionate for the quadrapeds and have seen them do remarkable things for the love/companionship of a human. I’ve also seen them do wonderful things in the children’s hospital I worked in many years ago.

  120. Trackback by Xanax. | 06.17.2008 | 2:19 pm


    Cheap xanax. Xanax. Xanax effect.


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.