Meet my hiking buddy, Bella (short for Belladonna). Bella is an entledoodle, or the offspring of an Entlebucher Mountain Dog and a mini-poodle. If you had not previously heard of the Entlebucher Mountain Dog, you are not alone! They are in the same family as Bernese Mountain Dogs, but are the smallest of the breeds within that family. When crossed with the hypoallergenic mini-poodle, what are produced are adorable, intelligent, compact, herding/hunting, mountain-scrambling, active, non-shedding, fun-and-cuddle-loving, loyal puppies.
For someone who has typically had larger dogs in the home, having what I consider to be a small dog (she is around 22 pounds), is very different. When my kiddos were younger, our house was full of the baying, barking, and fur of a very happy and active German Shepherd/Border Collie mix (Sig), German Shorthaired Pointer (Sir Galahad), Treeing Walker Coonhound (Babe), and my son’s therapy dog, who was a Rescue Dog, Origins Unknown (Zorro). Those dogs shed their fur (a lot), did not like to go on hikes (at all), and were happier chasing squirrels than playing fetch.
Although she does love to chase squirrels (and play fetch!), Bella does love hiking. She is a tireless trail companion, and can navigate tricky rock scrambles with ease. When faced with a large rocky obstacle, she will stand on her tiny hind paws, scrutinize the rock for a few moments, and then perform a complex doggy ballet of maneuvering from one teensy ledge or miniscule protrusion on the rock to another, quickly bouncing up and over the obstacle. Once gracefully perched on top, she will then wag her entire body in excitement, waiting for her slow and lumbering hiking buddy to catch up.
Although Bella does wear a hiking harness vest, I am the one to carry the gear for now. In addition to the usual gear that I bring for myself, I am now carrying extra water, a dog first aid kit, a collapsible bowl, a reflective bandana (especially important when hiking during hunting season), and snacks. Although Bella isn’t exactly picky about her snack options, she does love these Peanut Butter and Banana treats. She knows that the scent of these, cooking, means that she will be hiking soon, since she only gets them when hiking. She isn’t the only one in the house who is excited to smell these biscuits cooking, as her human brother also loves to eat these (dog and human-approved recipe).
We hope that you and your canine hiking companions enjoy them as much as she does!
Bella’s Biscuits (Baked Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Biscuits)
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup mashed banana
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the egg, peanut butter, banana, and honey. To that
bowl, add the flour and wheat germ, mixing well.
3. Dump dough on a lightly floured board and pat or roll until around ¼ inch thick. Use a
cookie or biscuit cutter to cut dough into shapes, placing cut biscuit sections on
parchment paper-lined baking tray.
4. Place biscuits in the oven until fully cooked (they will turn a light golden brown), for
about 30 minutes.
5. Remove biscuits from oven and allow to fully cool before giving them to your pet or
storing them in an air-tight container.
*Recipe adapted from Allrecipes
Photo at top: MB Mitcham’s hiking buddy, Bella, an entledoodle. Photo provided by MB Mitcham.