Best Dog Breeds For Travel: Top 5 Adventure Buddies Most Recommended By Pet Experts

For many people, one of the major benefits of dog ownership is having a companion for all of life’s adventures. That can include everything from road tripping across the country, flying around the world, or just exploring a nearby city during a “staycation.” Having one of the best dog breeds for travel can be an amazing thing for thrill-seeking canine lovers — as long as the pup in question is equally excited to make the journey.

Experiencing the world through travel is an important and valuable part of many people’s lives. In fact, it may even have a lasting impact on your happiness. In a survey of 500 people, study author Chun-Chu “Bamboo” Chen from Washington State University examined the impact of traveling on long-term emotional wellness. The results reveal people who regularly take trips of at least 75 miles from their home are about seven percent happier than respondents who rarely travel. “While things like work, family life and friends play a bigger role in overall reports of well-being, the accumulation of travel experiences does appear to have a small yet noticeable effect on self-reported life satisfaction,” Chen says in a university release. “It really illustrates the importance of being able to get out of your routine and experience new things.”

But travel isn’t the only thing that can enrich lives and improve emotional wellbeing. A new survey finds that people who own pets are happier, earn more money, and exercise more frequently than those who don’t. In a poll of 1,000 British dog and cat owners over 55 and 1,000 people in the same age group who don’t have any pets, researchers calculated that pet owners were twice as likely to consider themselves a success. In fact, 9 in 10 owners agreed that their furry family members were good for their health and well-being. The belief makes sense: the survey showed that pet owners log nearly twice as much exercise, getting a good sweat about five times per week, versus just three time a week for the non-owners.

Clearly, both pet ownership and travel can have a lasting positive impact on one’s happiness. But for many people, getting a dog may make seeing the world feel out of reach. Fear not! While traveling with a dog may seem difficult or stressful, the right breed may just become your permanent co-pilot for all kinds of new experiences. Of course, not all breeds are built for the open road, so to help you find your perfect adventure buddy, StudyFinds sought out expert opinions on the best dog breeds for travel. This list includes the most frequent recommendations, but as always, be sure to let us know in the comments if you have a favorite we missed.

person with dog sitting on Grand Canyon cliff
Someone sitting with their dog at the Grand Canyon (Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash)

The List: Best Dog Breeds for Travel, According to Experts

1. Labrador Retriever

The 50+ pound Labrador Retriever may not be the first pup that springs to mind when thinking of traveling, but believe it or not, this ultra-friendly breed makes for a phenomenal road trip co-pilot. “Labrador Retrievers are ready to jump in the car and go wherever you go,” says Chewy. “Gentle, intelligent and easy to train, Labs have been the most popular dog in the country for the past 22 years and are active, happy family members. They also do well as sporting dogs alongside hunters and fishermen on their outings.”

medium short-coated white dog lying on green grass field
Labrador Retriever (Photo by Angel Luciano on Unsplash)

“Everybody knows this dog breed and sees them with traveling pet owners all the time, and there’s a reason for that. Labs are one of the friendliest dog breeds you will ever meet. They are also highly intelligent and love to please their owners. For this reason, they are easy to train and are perfect for traveling,” notes Top Dog Tips. “Not only do Labrador Retrievers learn the basics, but they can also be taught to retrieve things, along with several other useful tricks that can make active travel fun for you and your dog.”

A major bonus for lab owners is the breed’s signature happy and outgoing demeanor. When on-the-go, these pups are ready to greet new people, rather than barking or creating a disturbance for other travelers. “Labs are the quintessential family dog: They’re outgoing, eager to please and play well with others,” adds Elle Decor. “These attention-loving pups wouldn’t do well sitting in the cargo hold of an airplane, but they are perfect for car rides—and you can count on them being friendly with other travelers at rest stops.”

2. Jack Russell Terrier

This fun-loving pup is sure to make for an eager travel buddy. Weighing in at less than 20 pounds, they’re also compact enough to catch a flight. Make sure you’re prepared to provide plenty of mental and physical stimulation for this high-energy pup and you’re sure to have a smooth and successful trip together. “Compact, energetic, and extremely playful, Jack Russell Terriers are perfect for those looking for a breed that will keep up through all your travels,” says Elle Decor. “Opt for the short-haired Jack Russell to insure minimal shedding.”

white and brown short coated dog on brown field during daytime
Jack Russell Terrier (Photo by Valeria Dubych on Unsplash)

“Jack Russell Terriers are tiny and powerful dogs. They are affectionate and playful, with tons of energy for the owner on the go. They are independent, but still easy to train when the handler knows what to do,” notes Top Dog Tips. “This short hair breed is great for the traveler that is also an experienced dog trainer. Jack Russells are one of the most active breeds out there and will constantly be doing something.”

While you may think of the Jack Russell as boisterous and lively (and these things are true!), these dogs also love to cuddle up with their owners for some quality time. Preferring the company of their people to time spent alone, these pups are more than ready to join your adventure. As Chewy says, “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.”

3. Chihuahua

It’s no surprise that the world’s smallest dog breed would make for an ideal travel companion. If you’ve always got a plane to catch, the extra small chihuahua might just be your new best friend. As Elle Decor says, “have a long flight ahead of you? The Chihuahua is the perfect breed to take. Their little bodies don’t require much exercise, making them an ideal pet if you travel overseas often.”

white and brown chihuahua puppy
Chihuahua (Photo by Jairo Alzate on Unsplash)

“This is the ultimate in travel-sized companions – in fact, the Chihuahua is so small, many people won’t even notice you have a dog with you (and those that do, will usually happily accept such a tiny canine),” notes Purina. “They do need a lot of early socialization and habituation to turn them into a really confident, outgoing dog – and toilet training can take a long time because of their tiny digestive systems – but they can be trained to an unexpectedly high standard and will love accompanying you everywhere you go.”

While you may have heard that these dogs are loud and unfriendly, a well-trained Chihuahua can actually be the complete opposite. “Chihuahuas have a great temperament and have been known to curl up and sleep through an entire flight. In fact, you may have even traveled alongside one and not even realized,” claims BringFido. “They weigh under seven pounds on average, which makes them a breeze to pick up and move if your gate changes at the last-minute. Chihuahuas are also easy to train, smart, and while they can be set off by loud noises, won’t bark for long.”

4. Pomeranian

At first glance, you may mistake this fluffy pup for a stuffed animal come to life. But in addition to their signature looks, these dogs are also known for their lovable temperaments and trainability. Utterly adorable and super compact, this breed makes for a fantastic travel buddy. As PetCareRX explains, “these fuzzy cuties are amazing travel companions because of their no-nonsense attitude. They are well-behaved as they are adorable. Pomeranians are small and non-fussy dogs, so you can take them anywhere.”

white Pomeranian dog running in green field
Pomeranian (Photo by Alvan Nee on Unsplash)

“Pomeranians tip the scales at seven pounds, which makes them one of the smallest breeds on the list and easiest to carry through the airport. Poms are smart, easy to train, and fit comfortably in the smallest and most convenient carriers,” lists BringFido. “Additionally, this adorable breed is perky and friendly, which is why they make great pets in small apartments, and will be sure to win over your seatmates with their awesome personality. Spend time training your dog for summer travel before your flight to make sure your new addition is on her best behavior in the skies.”

The Pomeranian is an affectionate and highly lovable dog that you’re sure to bond closely with. In fact, some Pom owners may even go to extreme lengths to include their pup in their travels. As K9 of Mine explains, “Pomeranians make great companions, especially for traveling. Pomeranian’s small size means they are compact enough to travel as carry on, under-the-seat companions on most airlines. Sharon Osbourne dedicated an entire chapter in her autobiography to her pooches (who really do go everywhere with her), and her and Ozzy’s daughter Kelly recently spent an incredible reported $11, 000 to fly her precious Pomeranian to LA – wow!”

5. Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier is a pint-sized pup that’s built for easy travel by plane, train, or automobile. And as an added bonus, it’s nearly impossible to imagine a friendlier face to accompany you on your next trip. “The Yorkie is one of the smallest dog breeds of the terrier type, making them one of the world’s most portable pets,” boasts Newsweek. “Yorkshire Terriers are also considered a particularly sociable dog breed, meaning they are often more than eager to accompany their owners on their travels.”

adult tan Yorkshire terrier
Yorkshire Terrier (Photo by Madeline on Unsplash)

This is a pup that loves to come along for the ride, much preferring to be with their people than staying behind at home. And thanks to their ultra-compact size — most weigh in at less than 10 pounds — that’s not too tall of an order. “A social breed that gets along well with other dogs and is dedicated to its owner, Yorkshire Terriers like going wherever their people go.” claims Chewy. “One of the most portable breeds, Yorkies are the most popular breed in New York City and do very well in small spaces. With their confident personalities, they excel as travel companions.”

This breed may be tiny, but they can certainly keep up with their owners. If you’re planning a particularly adventurous itinerary, you can be sure that your Yorkie pup will be equally up to the challenge. “The Yorkie is brave and confident, so they will be ready to explore as much as you are on your travel trips,” says Top Dog Tips. “These dogs are also very loving and adaptable. They are ready to take on the world with you and aren’t too difficult.”

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links.

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