Best Dog Breeds for RV Living

Published: 11/05/2020

If you are one of the 25 million Americans who are traveling by RV this year, you know firsthand just how woofderful it is to wake up with a new landscape outside your door. With so many people enjoying RV living, it’s no surprise that the number of dogs who have taken up the nomadic lifestyle is rising too. According to a recent study by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, over 60% of RV owners are bringing their canine pals along for the ride.

With an increasing number of businesses and campgrounds that allow pups, it’s never been easier to plan a road trip with your dog. But for those that have decided to live out of their RV, making the adjustment from a traditional house or apartment to a home on wheels can be challenging. While most dogs can adjust to the change in habitat and routine, there are certainly some breeds who are better suited to the tether-free lifestyle. 

If you are looking to add a furry bestie to your dream of RV living, check out our furbulous list of the best dog breeds to accompany you on your journey. 

What to Look for in a Travel Pooch

Whether you are traveling for work or live for outdoor adventure, RV living has become an option for many who are looking to change their life. But while living in an RV can save you mortgage and utility payments, and offer the opportunity to work from anywhere while exploring new places, there are several things to consider. 

For one, you will be driving- a lot! After all, the freedom to pick up and go anywhere is the number one reason why you bought an RV. Adding a furry furiend to the mix means finding a dog who can handle the downtime, but you may also want a companion who can keep up with your active lifestyle. RVing with a dog doesn’t mean you can just leave your pooch behind to go exploring. Many campgrounds prohibit dogs being left in an RV alone, and for those that allow it, there are many reasons why most dogs shouldn’t be

Things to consider when choosing a dog include:

  • Activity level - If you are a couch potato, you don’t need an excitable breed to drive you crazy in a confined space. Conversely, if you are big on hiking and exploring, you’ll need a dog who can tackle that trail with you. You should also be able to accommodate the amount of exercise your dog requires, whether that’s a little or a lot. 

  • Noise Level - The walls in an RV are thinner than a brick and mortar home, and you’ll usually be staying in campgrounds and state parks that place you next to other campers. This means barkers are extra annoying, so having a quieter pooch is ideal to keeping your neighbors happy. 

  • Temperament – RV camping with a dog requires friendliness, and a lack of territorial issues. Well-socialized dogs make the pawfect camping companions, as they can handle meeting new people and pups with ease, and often can adapt to new places better too.

  • Size – While love can come in any size, your RV only has so much room! Bernese Mountain Dogs are great chillaxing buddies, but if you have a smaller RV, you’ll be squished all the time. Take into consideration the size of your living space in relation to how much room you and a dog will need to feel comfortable. 

  • Loyalty - Since RV living means constantly changing locations, there’s too many opportunities for your dog to get lost. You’ll need a dog who sticks by you, no matter what, and isn’t prone to wandering off without you.

  • Shedding Factor - How much a dog sheds can make a big difference in the smaller spaces of RVs, especially if allergies are an issue. Many travelers opt for low-shed to no-shed dogs to make less of a mess, but if you choose a higher shedding breed, you’ll need to create a cleaning routine to keep the fur at bay.

  • Banned Breeds – No matter how sweet and lovable your Pit Bull is, they may be banned from several campgrounds along your travels. In fact, there are several breeds that are often prohibited from overnight camping spots, including Mastiffs, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Wolf-hybrids and Chow Chows.

Top Dog Breeds for RV Living

Due to the limited space in an RV, smaller breeds tend to be quite pupular. Not only do they take up less space, they also require less food and water, and many don’t need as much exercise as their larger counterparts. 

The best small dogs for RV living include:

#1 Jack Russell Terrier

When thinking of taking a dog on a road trip, this spunky pup should be at the top of the list. Highly active dogs, Jack Russells can keep up with you on the trail, while giving you plenty of space in the RV. They are also affectionate, and since they don’t shed much, will help keep your house on wheels clean.

#2 Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

If you are looking for a relaxed cuddle buddy, the Cavalier is the ultimutt lap dog. While this low energy pooch won’t be climbing mountains with you, they can certainly handle long driving times, while their friendly demeanor means less barking and more love to go around. They do shed, and will require some grooming. 

#3 Maltese

RV travel with dogs is always sunnier with an affectionate Maltese by your side! These playful pups can charm anyone, and are easy to train for life on the go. Their coats do need grooming, but they are hypoallergenic and shed little, so are pawfect for allergy sufferers in the tiny spaces of an RV. 

#4 Dachshund

These small pooches do great in small living spaces, and will only need a few short walks a day to tucker them out. While not big shedders, they do well with a daily brushing. A little training can curb their barking and digging tendencies, and make them pawsome camping companions.

#5 Bichon Frise

The Bichon is loyal, to a fault, and will want to be with you at all times. Their hypoallergenic coat rarely sheds, and their easy-going nature allows them to adapt to new situations quickly. These white puffballs are very cheerful overall, but may need some training to deal with any aggression or nervousness.

Driving cross country with a dog can be more challenging with a big pooch who may require more exercise and space, but if you are big on outdoor adventure, a larger dog may be the way to go

The best large dogs for RV living include:

#1 Labrador Retriever

Voted the most pupular breed for decades, there’s no end to adventure when you’ve got a Lab by your side. Their high energy means they are ready to hike, swim and play all day, and their easy-going nature makes them loved by all. Plus, they tend not to bark much and love to be near their family.

#2 Golden Retriever

If you are looking for a dog who’ll charm everyone they meet, the Golden is at the top of the list. These loyal canines form tight bonds with their pawrents and won’t stray far. Playful and affectionate, they are great with children of all ages, and their passion for outdoor adventure can’t be beat. Since they are one of the biggest shedders on this list, be sure to have a plan for fur clean-up!

#3 Dalmatian

This breed makes camping with dogs in various climates easier, as they can tolerate fluctuating weather better than many other pooches. Their friendly disposition makes them well-suited for families and social spaces, and they are easy to train for RV living. Up for any adventure, they won’t tire easily, but to keep things tidy, this heavy shedder will require daily grooming.

#4 Greyhound

For the occasional adventurer, Greyhounds can provide a pawfect balance. Loved for their speed and hunting skills, they can muster up quite the sprint. Once that’s over, though, they prefer to relax and nap the day away, making them just right for long drives in the RV. Friendly and smart, these pups can fit in with any kind of family. 

#5 Great Dane

Before you overlook this giant, there’s a few things you need to know about the sweet Great Dane. While they are very large, they tend to love cozy spaces, and will have no trouble relaxing in the smaller confines of an RV. Pair that with a mild temperament, easy trainability and low energy levels, and you’ve got a gentle companion who won’t mind relaxing for hours on end.

While these dog breeds are great for RV living, any dog can learn to adapt to your dream of a tether-free lifestyle with some patience and the right training. For more travel tips for dogs, check out these 10 Tips for RV Camping!