Looking to hit the open road or see the world with your four-legged bestie? Fortunately, there are a variety of dogs in all shapes and sizes that are well suited for travel, regardless of your mode of transportation. With the help of the American Kennel Club (AKC), we’ve rounded up the 10 best travel-friendly dog breeds, as well as some tips for traveling with your pup.
A friendly, inquisitive breed, Dachshunds are generally adventurous dogs that are willing to try new things with their owners, including travel, says AKC spokesperson Stephanie Smith. Small dogs are much easier to fly with, Smith said, because they take up less space on plans and can usually be carried-on with you instead of flying in cargo, and the Dachshund is no exception to this. Their long, low bodies fit easily in a pet carrier or crate.
“Taking your dog [with you on a trip] can make family vacation more fun for everyone, if you plan carefully,” Smith says. “To keep your dog healthy as you travel, bring along a supply of his regular food and some local or bottled water [and] be sure to bring any medication he needs.”
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Portuguese Water Dog
An athletic, happy breed that’s adventurous and loves being with family, this medium-sized dog with a history of swimming loves taking trips to the lake or beach. Because the Portuguese Water Dog is easy to train and loves to please, he should learn how to ride in the car quickly. Additionally, this dog is a non-shedding breed, Smith says, so you won’t have to worry about hair getting all over your car!
Before you hit the open road with your pup, make sure to bring you dog to the vet for a checkup, especially if you’re going on an extended trip. Smith recommends making sure your dog’s vaccinations are all up to date and that you bring your shot records along with you. For airline travel, certain health certifications will be required, which you can get from the specific airline you’re flying.
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A tireless companion, Norwich Terriers are alert and love to explore the world around them. With small, compact bodies, their size makes them easy to travel with. However, just because they’re small, doesn’t mean they’re lapdogs; Norwich Terriers like to stay busy and have a job to do, according to Smith. The breed was once used to hunt foxes and is used to being with a pack, so they tend to be more sociable than other terriers may be—a definite perk when traveling. Although most car and air travel is pet-friendly, train or bus travel is a bit trickier to navigate.
“Dogs aren’t permitted on Amtrack trains or busses operated by Greyhound and other interstate bus companies,” Smith says. “Local rail and bus companies have their own policies … [and] you may fare better on a cruise. The QE2 luxury liner, which sales from New York to England and France, provides special lodging and free meals for your dog.” Service dogs are allowed on all public forms of transporation.
Check the policies of the cruise line, rail or bus company you’re planning to travel with before making plans to bring your dog along.
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Another active breed, Labrador Retrievers are ready to jump in the car and go wherever you go. Gentle, intelligent and easy to train, Labs have been the most popular dog in the country for the past 22 years, according to Smith, and are active, happy family members. They also do well as sporting dogs alongside hunters and fishermen on their outings.
If you plan to fly with your Lab (or any large dog breed), you’ll want to make sure you have the appropriate gear for travel, most importantly, a crate. Smith recommends looking for these features when purchasing travel dog crates:
- Large enough to allow the dog to stand, turn and lie down.
- Strong, with handles and grips, and free of interior protrusions.
- Leak-proof bottom covered with absorbent material.
- Ventilation on opposing sides, with exterior rims or knobs to prevent blocked airflow.
- “Live Animal” label, arrows upright, with owner’s name, address and phone number.
- A comfortable mat, your pup’s favorite dog toys and a water bottle for the inside of the crate.
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A social breed that gets along well with other dogs and is dedicated to its owner, Yorkshire Terriers like going wherever their people go. One of the most portable breeds, Yorkies are the most popular breed in New York City, Smith says, and do very well in small spaces. With their confident personalities, they excel as travel companions.
A fun-loving sporting dog that’s slightly smaller than other sporting breeds, Brittanys are extremely versatile dogs and enjoy many different dog sports, activities and riding in the car. As you prepare to take your dog on a car trip, keep these tips in mind, says Smith:
- Avoid car sickness by letting your dog travel on an empty stomach. However, make sure he or she has plenty of water at all times.
- Keep the car well-ventilated. If the dog is in a crate, make sure that fresh air can flow into the crate.
- Do not let your dog ride with his head sticking out of an open window. This can lead to eye injuries.
- Stop frequently for exercise and potty breaks. Be sure to clean up after your dog.
- Never, ever leave your dog unattended in a closed vehicle, particularly in the summer.
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Toy Fox Terrier
Sweet and funny, the Toy Fox Terrier is a mischievous breed that can entertain fellow travelers with its tricks. Its small size makes it easy to travel with, but it’s feisty, terrier-like personality means you’ll want to keep a close eye on this breed’s antics, Smith says. She recommends training your Toy Fox Terrier—and any dog—to get comfortable riding in a carrier or in the car at an early age.
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Born and bred travelers, Dalmatians were originally used to trot beside horse-drawn coaches and guard them at night. These strong, active dogs are durable and can handle long trips, Smith said.
Each airline has its own set of rules for flying with your dog, so if you plan to bring your pup on a plane, call the airline for information and make arrangements well in advance. Some airlines won’t transport animals or certain breeds during a particular time of year (when it’s too hot or too cold), so you’ll want to keep that in mind as well. All airlines require health certifications, proof of vaccinations and that your dog must be in an airline-approved crate when transported as cargo.
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An active breed that loves being with its family, Russell Terriers would be a great addition to a family vacation. Playful and loving, its compact, rectangular body is also the perfect size for easy travel, Smith said. If you plan to stay at a hotel with your dog, keep the following tips in mind:
- Find out in advance which hotels or motels at your destination or on your route allow dogs. Many do not, or have size or breed restrictions.
- If your dog is allowed to stay at a hotel, respect other guests, staff and the property, ask the management where you should walk your dog, and pick up after it.
- Do not leave the dog unattended. Many dogs will bark or destroy property if left alone in a strange place.
Remember that one bad experience with a dog guest may prompt the hotel management to refuse to allow any dogs. Be considerate of others and leave your room and the grounds in good condition.
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A toy breed that generally weighs less than seven pounds, the Maltese is quite easy to carry and is always happy to make new friends. Their long, flowing coat is low-shedding (a bonus for the car) and can also be cut down into a “puppy cut” for easier travel, Smith says. Though your Maltese may be small enough to be carried everywhere you go, in the event that your dog does get away from you while you’re away, make sure that he is always wearing a dog collar with identification tags (including the dog’s name, your name and phone number and proof of a rabies vaccination). You’ll also want to keep them on a sturdy dog leash whenever outdoors in a new area. Smith also recommends bringing a recent picture of your dog with you when you travel, just in case.
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Jessica loves writing about pets and spends her days trying not to helicopter parent her beloved shelter pup, Darwin.