By Mel Lee-Smith
Published: 10/05/2021, edited: 10/05/2021
What are the easiest dogs to travel with? That all depends on where you're going, how you're getting there, and what you plan to do when you arrive. Small dogs are an obvious choice for frequent flyers, but they're not always the best hiking buddies. The opposite is true for larger breeds. That's why we've sniffed out the best four-legged travel companions for couch "puptatoes" and outdoor adventurers alike!
There's a reason why the biggest bus company in the US is named after the Greyhound. These gentle dogs are known for their friendly nature and eagerness to experience new things with their favorite humans.
You'd think one of the best-known racing breeds in the world would need a ton of exercise. Not so! Greyhounds require a moderate amount of activity compared to other breeds their size — "ruffly" 60 minutes per day. So, if your trip involves a healthy balance of exploring the city and chilling out on the couch, the Greyhound is a great choice.
Best for: Pet parents planning a mix of downtime and activity
Although the Maltese is renowned for being a doggy diva, they're also an agreeable travel companion. Weighing in at under 7 pounds on average, the Maltese is super easy to transport.
While they require daily grooming, they don't shed much, which means you won't have to worry about aggravating anyone's allergies. Their low activity levels make them a "grrreat" companion for any pet parents planning a laidback vacay.
Best for: Beach bums who plan to spend their vacation relaxing
You'd be hard-pressed to find a better four-legged travel companion than America's sweetheart, the Labrador Retriever. These mild-mannered mutts never meet a stranger! Eager to please their humans, Labs are highly trainable, so they'll learn essential travel commands quickly.
Your Lab will also need a healthy dose of physical and mental stimulation while you're away. When creating your itinerary, don't "furget" to add activities that will keep their adrenaline pumping!
Best for: Active pet parents planning a range of outdoor adventures
A small dog that packs a big punch, the Jack Russell Terrier is known for being somewhat hyper and curious. Historical walking tours, "pup" crawls, long hikes in nature reserves — whatever you're planning to do, your Jack Russell will be down for just about anything! These cuddly canines love nothing more than spending time with their humans, so they're happy to follow your lead.
Jack Russells shed and bark a bit more than your average pup. The good news is, they're super intelligent and learn commands quickly. That means training them to be brushed and not bark will be a walk in the (dog) park!
Best for: Pet parents looking for a small but active dog to travel with
Affectionate and active, the Border Collie's energy levels know no bounds. If you're a sporty type who's always on the go, look no further for a four-legged travel buddy. They'll happily tag along for a kayaking excursion, strenuous hike, long swim, or anything in between. Then, once you're both tuckered out, your Collie will cuddle up next to you for a well-earned nap! Border Collies can be a bit wary of strangers — work on socialization before your trip to keep them comfortable.
Best for: Athletic pet parents whose travel itineraries include a variety of sports
The "pawfect" addition to your next family vacay, the Miniature Schnauzer is a devoted doggo that's good with children and adults alike. While Schnauzers are known to bark, they're highly trainable, so you should be able to nip this bad habit in the bud pretty quickly.
These pint-sized pups might be on the small side, but their hunting instincts give them relatively high energy levels and prey drive. Provide plenty of mental and physical stimulation during your trip, and keep your Schnauzer on-leash while exploring natural areas.
Best for: Families traveling with children and other dogs
The American Kennel Club describes the Cocker Spaniel as "big enough to be sporty, but compact enough to be portable" — what more could you want from a travel pal? Their moderate energy requirements and balanced temperament mean they're happy to accompany you while sightseeing or lounging by the pool.
Best for: Pet parents looking for a mix of activity and relaxation
Sure, some breeds are better suited for traveling than others, but every dog is different. Training makes all the difference in how they'll behave both on the road and once you've arrived. Here are 3 of our top tips for planning a stress-free trip.
Know your dog's training needs
Earlier, we mentioned that Jack Russells shed a bit, so you'll need to train them to sit still while being brushed. Border Collies have a high prey drive, so work on their recall command. If you're having trouble training, consider hiring a dog trainer to lend a helping paw. Check out our breed guides to learn more about your dog's training requirements.
Invest in a car safety seat
Did you know more than 80% of pet parents don't use car safety seats for dogs? Your seatbelt can save your life in an accident, and a car safety seat can do the same for your dog. If you're driving, resist the temptation to let Rufus roam free. Not only will this protect them in case of a crash, but it will also protect you, other passengers, and other drivers.
Check in with your hound's health
Schedule a check-up with your vet to ensure your pup is fit to travel. Some of the breeds listed here suffer from health conditions like arthritis and hip dysplasia. Before you travel, consider investing in pet insurance to prevent unexpected costs due to accidents and sudden illnesses.
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