Top 10 Best Breeds to Take RV’ing
Let’s be honest, almost every dog worth his rawhide loves a good old windows-open car ride with ears flapping in the breeze. And it’s fair to say that an equal number are also cool with settling in beside a roaring campfire or curling up for the night in a cozy tent with his best buddy (that’s you by the way) beside him.
However, none of the above means that all dogs are suited to RV travel. And the difference between camping and RVing is that while one centers around a few hours of travel followed by several nights at a site, the other is long-haul travel with few breaks and in relatively confined quarters.
While any breed can be packed up and taken “on the road”, not all enjoy the process nor are they physically suited for this style of travel. Which leads to this. Before you invest in that great big motorhome, you may want to consider whether it’s the right fit for your four-legged family member/s. Conversely, if the open road is calling and you’re thinking the only thing that could make it perfect would be a pooch riding shotgun (true, by the way), then check out our list below. Because if you want to know which breeds do the RV thing best, we’ve come up with a shortlist of the top 10 (in no particular order).
RV Credentials: Easy-going nature, love of companionship
This small-to-medium-sized scent hound has a super chill nature that sees him getting along with everyone. Pull up to any campground and he’ll be friends for life with whoever he meets. And at just 20-25 pounds, lifting him in and out of an RV isn’t a two-person job. Now, he is a shedder, so you’ll need to pack the lint-rollers and hand-held Dyson. And he can be prone to mournful baying if left alone for long periods. But he’s up for hikes, watersports and any family activities. If your goal is to keep Rover always nearby during these big adventures, you can’t go wrong with a Beagle.
2. Yorkshire Terrier
RV Credentials: Compact size, desire to sit on laps
This little guy isn’t going to accept riding shotgun with anyone. He much prefers to be sitting front and center on the lap of his favorite person - possibly offering driving tips as you go. Yes, this tiny pooch is that bold and definitely that confident. Tipping the scales at a mere 7 pounds, this mini mutt is perfect for road tripping – he takes up minimal space, is highly adaptable to any surroundings, and doesn’t require copious amounts of exercise - meaning minimal pit stops. While this breed can be a challenge to housebreak (tip: pack pee pads) and can become vocal if he feels you aren’t listening, nothing beats a Yorkie for a fun travel bud.
3. Labrador Retriever
RV Credentials: Love of outdoors, gentle nature
Who better to take the co-pilot’s chair of an RV than a Labrador Retriever? This loyal and playful pooch is the best friend you want on any road trip. And he’s up for all adventures – hike, swim, toss a ball - he’s in. Now, this solid boy is heavy, weighing in at around 70 to 80 pounds. But he’s fairly athletic so those RV steps won’t slow him down at all. He’s not an excessive barker and that, coupled with his super gentle nature makes him welcome at any campground. He is a “working” breed of dog, so pit stops will require a good walk to help tire him out before hitting the road again.
4. Cocker Spaniel
RV Credentials: Friendly nature, moderate energy levels
If you’re looking for a not-too-small breed that doesn’t require a lot of exercise and, as a result, frequent pit-stops to walk off some of that pent-up energy, this is the boy for you. Relatively compact in size, this handsome pooch sits in the 25-35 pounds range and brings a friendly nature to any campground. Bonus: those large eyes and winsome expression are a conversation starter wherever you go. Small enough for the kids to handle easily, Cocker Spaniels are avid swimmers which makes them a fun fit for lakeside adventures. While they are seasonal shedders, a good brushing should be enough to keep fur from flying and clinging to upholstery and clothing.
RV Credentials: Compact size, short periods of exercise
Never considered this feisty little dog to be a worthy outdoor companion because of his vertically-challenged physique? You’d be sorely underestimating the talents of this little hunter. He’s the only breed registered to hunt both above and below ground, so when those treats go missing in between the banquette cushions, he’s all in. And you’d be right if you thought tenacity was a big part of his personality. Loyal and bold describe the affectionately dubbed “wiener dog” who is an ideal travelling companion for those who enjoy shorter, frequent walks versus day-long hikes. While steep stairs aren’t always a friend to the low-slung Dachshund, his under-30-pound weight means helping him in and out of an RV, won’t be an issue.
RV Credentials: Travels well, total couch potato
This pooch is seriously chill when it comes to taking it easy and going along for the ride. Yes, he’s fast – when he wants to be – but remember this dog is designed for short sprints, not long runs. As a result, this sighthound is always down for a quick run on the beach or a game of fetch. But afterwards, he’s quite content to hunker down for a long snooze the moment you hit the road again. Gentle, quiet, and almost timid, this dog bonds closely and experiences separation anxiety if left alone for long periods. With an average weight of between 60 and 80 pounds, he’s going to prefer the sofa versus a lap – which can be an upside.
RV Credentials: Low-shedding, highly obedient
If you’re looking for a dog that travels well – meaning he doesn’t require constant pee breaks or your ongoing attention – this pooch fits the bill quite nicely. Now, he is an active boy and that means he’s going to need a physical outlet such as long hikes, walks or rigorous playtime versus being tied up, once you’ve set up camp. But if you’re looking for a loyal sidekick, this is the one for you. Bonus: he’s an under-10-pound fun-loving pooch that’s low-shedding, low-barking and quick to respond to your commands. And while most Affenpinschers get along with other dogs and pets, they’re not typically fans of young kids. Which may or may not be an issue for some.
8. Border Collie
RV Credentials: Super friendly, great for outdoor activities
If RV travel for you is simply a means to get from one outdoor adventure to another, then you want a dog that can keep up. Here he is. Yes, the beloved Border Collie is not only super smart and highly trainable, but he’s ready for any high-energy activity, from a game of catch-the-frisbee to day-long hikes and even a swim in the lake. He’s that Swiss-army-knife of dogs that can do anything. His friendly personality makes him a hit at campgrounds and his alert nature makes him highly responsive the moment it’s time to pack up camp and hit the road again. Weighing in at between 30 and 40 pounds, this busy boy is perfectly sized for curling up on that captain’s chair or navigating from a willing lap.
9. Jack Russell Terrier
RV Credentials: Compact size, highly affectionate
For families packing up for a fun summer of RV travel, nothing beats having the right dog riding along. And with this busy boy, your kids will be busy All. Summer. Long. Yes, this active little dog is known for his high energy, lively personality and crazy affection for his humans. His smaller, under-20-pound frame, is ideal for kids to take on nice long walks during pit stops or when you stop/break camp the next morning. Now, he does have a high prey drive and doesn’t always play nice with other dogs, so keeping him leashed when not in play mode, is recommended. And separation anxiety means he simply won’t have you heading out without him – fellow campers will be the first to hear of his displeasure.
RV Credentials: Low-energy levels, zero separation anxiety
Surprised this quintessential lap dog is recommended for RV travel? Don’t be. It’s his independent, self-assured streak and willingness to sit back and be chauffeured from campsite to campsite without the need for undue attention, that landed him on this list. Yes, he does require short walks and does expect you to engage in play from time to time, but beyond a good brushing to clear out any debris he may have picked up while escorting you on a hike, he’s pretty self-sufficient. Want to go out? Go ahead, he won’t miss you. Want to borrow his toys and treats to share with another dog? Don’t you dare. Yes, the under-15-pound Pekingese is polite, friendly and also possessive, so be aware. Oh, and he’d rather you left the kids at home, thank you very much.
Six Simple Steps to a Fun RV Trip for All
We all know that Rover loves to be included in family activities. And while long-haul RV travel can be fun for selfie-taking pet parents, you need to make sure it’s the right fit for your ever-loyal, four-legged family member. Here are a few things to consider when planning that big trip.
1. Given he will be travelling in a vehicle that’s in constant motion, does he get motion sickness? A nauseous dog is no fun for you or him. And although your vet may prescribe Gravol-type medications, you need to decide if he might be happier staying with a family member, pet-sitter or a trusted kennel during those longer road trips.
2. Does he adapt well to new situations or make strange? A constantly barking dog is persona non grata at many campsites and if your pooch tends to become fretful and yappy, even the security of the RV won’t soothe his frazzled nerves (or muffle his barks). Try short-haul trips and overnight camping to get him used to the sights, sounds, smells and experiences of outdoor living, before you head out for that three-week road trip.
3. The size of your pooch is understandably a factor, but also worth considering is how heavily he sheds. With RV travel typically enjoyed during warmer months, you may find your downtime dedicated to de-shedding your good buddy, vacuuming furballs and lint-rolling furniture. For any heavy-shed breed, be sure to bring a sturdy brush as well as his bed and favorite blankets to keep him off the seating yet still cozy and comfortable.
4. For dogs that already suffer from separation anxiety when at home in familiar surroundings, you should expect to include him each time you venture out of the RV and away from your campsite. For many people, that’s not a problem – hiking, swimming, cycling and sitting by an open campfire – all can be enjoyed with Rover at your side. But if you plan to head out on your own for longer periods, leaving an anxious dog alone won’t end well for the interior of your RV.
5. There are no reasons older dogs can’t enjoy RV travel as long as you’re able to make their needs a priority. Frequent potty breaks allow him to stretch his legs and get some relief. Replenish water bowls so he has ready access and strategically placed beds and blankets on the floor for when bumpy roads create slip and fall scenarios. And beds with raised side bolsters help add some stability and security when the RV is in motion.
6. Lastly, bring your pet’s health records with you and take a moment to scout out the 24-hour vet clinics along your intended route. You may never need them, but if something happens when your own vet’s office is closed, you’ll need to be able to share, shots, medications and medical history with whoever is treating your pet.
More by Mary Simpson