Traveling is always more fun when you can bring a friend, spouse, or even better, your dog, along to share the experience. Small dog breeds make particularly good travel companions. They can fit under a plane seat as well as in the smallest of cars or RVs. They can be trained to potty indoors and most don’t shed enough for anyone to notice. They’re less likely to be intimidating to strangers and can be held or easily crated or contained if need be. How you travel, however, can cause problems for some small dog breeds so will you need to take this factor in to consideration when choosing a small dog as a travel companion.
How Do You Plan to Travel with a Dog?
Depending on how you travel, whether by road or air, it’s important to realize some small breeds, like the brachycephalic breeds (the dogs with “pushed in noses), find travel challenging, or even dangerous. The most common brachycephalic breeds are pugs, boxers, Boston terriers, English bulldogs, and French bulldogs. While adorable, travel, stress, heat, and changes in their environments can exacerbate their breathing issues and their ability to regulate their body temperature. In fact, many airlines refuse to even allow these dogs on a flight because of their known history of respiratory issues. But don’t worry, there are many other small breeds that are just as cute. Here’s our list of small dog breeds in alphabetical order, and the reasons we think they make the best traveling companions:
Small Dog Breeds that Travel Well
Height: 13 inches & under, 13-15 inches
Weight: under 20 pounds (13 inches & under), 20-30 pounds (13-15 inches)
Life Expectancy: 10-15 years
Beagles are highly sociable dogs. Their friendly, affectionate disposition makes them perfect ice-breakers for shy owners as they love meeting new people and new dogs of any kind. They’re more likely to introduce themselves before their owner does! They enjoy company of any kind—whether it’s other dogs or people.
Bichon Frises https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/bichon-frise/
Height: 9.5-11.5 inches
Weight: 12-18 pounds
Life Expectancy: 14-15 years
All personality, these cheerful, easy-going, happy-go-lucky dogs are resilient and optimistic no matter what the situation. They make the best pals for any kind of travel, from RV to car, train, or plane. Some have even been known to take to the back of a motorcycle, or love sailing.
Height: 5-8 inches
Weight: not exceeding 6 pounds
Life Expectancy: 14-16 years
You haven’t traveled until you’ve traveled with these social creatures. Although some chihuahuas can be nervous and easily stressed, they can also be the perfect breed to travel with. Their little bodies don't require much exercise, they love to cuddle and snuggle, and they are happy to bunk down in a basket under a car seat or in an RV, or in a small crate on board a flight.
Height: 8.5-11.5 inches
Weight: 7-13 pounds
Life Expectancy: 14-16 years
The Havanese is mild-mannered, fluffy, and a very people-oriented dog. They love snuggling in laps and can be overly dependent, which is great if you don’t plan on leaving them alone long enough for them to get bored. They make great watchdogs but they aren’t aggressive. They will loudly announce visitors or people outside your RV or car but then will want to lick the person’s hand once you’ve told them it’s “okay.”
Height: 7-9 inches
Weight: under 7 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
Maltese dogs are the original lapdogs. They have an even, stable personality that can make travel enjoyable and fun. Smart, loyal and intelligent they love spending time with their owners. More than most breeds, how they’re raised and socialized will determine whether they’re friendly, approachable and humble, or arrogant and snippy with strangers.
Height: 8 inches to 1 foot, 2 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight: 5 to 20 pounds
Life Span: 10 to 13 years
Although not really a breed, the Maltipoo is a cross between a Maltese and a Poodle and has the best characteristics of both. Often referred to as a “designer dog,” they’re very affectionate and gentle. They’re easy to train, intelligent, and social animals. They make super travel companions for anyone, especially seniors, and are excellent therapy dogs. They’re also very hypoallergenic if you have animal allergies.
Mini Schnauzer https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/miniature-schnauzer/
Height: 12-14 inches
Weight: 11-20 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
Their almost human-like facial appearance, bushy mustache, and obedient personalities make these bright, friendly, dogs the perfect travel companion. They’re small enough to adapt to RV living but tireless enough to hike miles of trails with you if you want. They get along well with other animals and kids. They’re sturdy and family oriented, and they make great watchdogs.
Height: 6-7 inches
Weight: 3-7 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12-16 years
One of the friendliest, cuddliest, and perkiest small dog breeds, the Pomeranian is a great travel companion if you want a big dog demeanor in a small dog body. Great family dogs, these brave little creatures make great watchdogs, and loyal companions.
Height: 14.5-15.5 inches (male), 13.5-14.5 inches (female)
Weight: 25-30 pounds (male), 20-25 pounds (female)
Life Expectancy: 10-14 years
Whether you pick a Cocker or a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/cavalier-king-charles-spaniel/ you can’t go wrong with a Spaniel The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is gentle, friendly and easily trained. They’re very laid back dogs and are rarely if ever, overwhelmed by the chaos of travel. Cocker Spaniels are famous for their big dreamy eyes, long ears, and adoring expressions. Either makes a delightful, loving travel companion.
Height: 9-10.5 inches
Weight: 9-16 pounds
Life Expectancy: 10-18 years
These dogs know they’re cute and they enjoy showing off their adorableness. They’re renowned for their love of children and their gentleness. They don’t require much exercise and are very, very good at what they were bred to do—sit in people’s laps. They really do love their owners and are content to just be next to them whether it’s in a car, RV or a crate or purse.
Yorkshire Terrier https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/yorkshire-terrier/
Height: 7-8 inches
Weight: 7 pounds
Life Expectancy: 11-15 years
Don’t let the Yorkie’s small size fool you. These are big dogs in little bodies. They have a lot of confidence, attitude, and presence, and personality. They love to boss their owners around - if their owners let them. Yorkshire terriers are also fantastic for long-haul air travel. Like Chihuahuas, they are tiny and don't require much exercise. They are also a hypoallergenic breed if you worry about dog dander in small spaces—like your car or RV.
When considering any puppy or dog for your home, consider what you’ll need when he comes home and how you will handle potty pad training both at home and while traveling. Try a free sample of WizSmart dog pads and see the difference the right pad can make!