General Question

FluffyChicken's avatar

What's the best kind of dog for traveling(see details)?

Asked by FluffyChicken (5486points) May 14th, 2011

In 3 months time, I will be purchasing a Westfalia camper van, and a puppy, and hitting the road!

I am allergic to most dogs, but I do OK around poodles and the like as long as they are regularly bathed. It is my intention to get some kind of poodle or Portuguese water dog (also good for allergy sufferers) mix.

I understand that both these dogs are high energy and need daily, if not constant mental and physical exercise. While I do intend to walk and/or run my dog multiple times a day while on my journey as well as mental training and tricks, I am worried that hours on the road could cause the dog to get bored, and could lead to behavior problems.

What would be the best mix to get, bearing in mind the allergies, road trip hours, and size? (I’d like something that’s about knee high at the shoulder as an adult.) Also are there any activities I could give my puppy while I’m driving and can’t play with it?

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18 Answers

MilkyWay's avatar

Check out this site. Really helpful.

dabbler's avatar

Most dogs have fur, while some dogs including poodles and the water dog have hair (pugs too).
The hair is more hypo-allergenic than the fur.
As far as I can tell most dogs need daily exercise, and the smarter the dog the more it’ll want some stimulation/fun/company.

FluffyChicken's avatar

@queenie for what reasons?

@dabbler Yes, I’m aware of these facts, which is why I’ve chosen to get a mix with poodle or water dog (I think I’d probably prefer the water dogs they’re about the size I want, and are more carefully bred since they’re less common) And as I said, the dog would be getting exercise daily, I’m just nervous about the long hours on the road.

MilkyWay's avatar

Sorry @FluffyChicken. Ignore what I said earlier. My mistake.

FluffyChicken's avatar

@queenie Thanks! I didn’t know Airedales were on the hypoallergenic list! I’d been using the list on wikipedia which is apparently not as complete. My mom had an Airedale when she was a kid that I’ve heard soooooooo many stories about. . . there’s a lot more big dogs on the list than I thought. I was thinking they were almost all little dogs.

crisw's avatar

An adult mix, from a rescue group, that is already known to be calm and to like cars. Please don’t get a puppy. Not only do puppies and travel not mix, people who breed mixed-breeds deliberately are in it for the money, not the health and welfare of the dogs.

FluffyChicken's avatar

I’d rather get a puppy that’s about a year old. Not a tiny puppy, but young enough to still be impressionable.

Also, isn’t that a bit of a hasty generalization that people who breed hybrids are only in it for the money? I doubt if that’s any more true than people who breed purebred dogs. If anything it’s more responsible since there would then be less inbreeding, and less chance of resulting diseases like hip dysplasia or blindness, as often comes from purebred lines.

MilkyWay's avatar

@FluffyChicken My pleasure :)
Have a good time on your road trip and I hope you find the perfect dog.

Coloma's avatar

Don’t forget Pugs. They are so funny and personable, but not sure about the allergy thing.

They were bred for companionship and easy goingness, although they are on the small side.

FluffyChicken's avatar

@queenie thanks! I hope so too!

@Coloma pugs are not my type at all, but thanks for the suggestion. Like I said, I’m interested in a dog that is at least knee-height at the shoulder.

rooeytoo's avatar

I would contact a poodle rescue group. I would not opt for toy but rather miniature or standard. If you adopt an adult from a rescue and let them know what your plans are, they will advise you which dog would adapt to your situation. It would be health checked and you know exactly what you are getting temperment and health wise.

You are still saving a life but giving yourself a better chance to get the dog you want and one that will fit your situation.

crisw's avatar


“Also, isn’t that a bit of a hasty generalization that people who breed hybrids are only in it for the money?”

No. Not at all.

Responsible breeders of purebred dogs breed only when they themselves intend to keep a puppy. They breed only from parents who have passed every health check available for that breed. They breed only dogs who have been judged, usually by an impartial third party, to be outstanding specimens of the breed. If the breed performs any kind of work, then working aptitude is also a priority. When they do breed, they choose a mate that compliments their dog, whose ancestry will best make up for any faults their dog has.

Responsible breeders always breed to better the breed. Without them, we would lose all of the wonderful, valuable breeds that humans have created.

Mixed-breeds are not breeds. They are mutts. Now, there is nothing wrong with mutts. But there is something wrong with people who breed them deliberately. They are not breeding to better the breed- there is no breed. They almost never health-test their dogs. They have no goals in mind. They do not breed quality animals (no responsible breeder will sell to them!) They do not show or work their animals (no legitimate registries exist for them.) They are in it for the cash.

If you want a mutt, it’s foolish to pay more for one than you will pay a pound or a rescue group. When you adopt from a rescue group, you’ll get an animal that’s healthy, temperament-tested, vetted, neutered, and probably even trained. And then you won’t be supporting the backyard industry that profits from people’s current fad with any mixed-breed with a silly name tacked on to it.

Here’s a quiz I wrote on the subject if you are interested.

rooeytoo's avatar

I completely agree with @crisw – these folks who charge thousands for a designer dog and get it amaze me! 9 times out of 10 they have not done any health checks on either dog. I deal with dogs every day and believe me, there are a lot of nut case, unhealthy mutts, pure breds do not have the corner on that market.

Just as an example, a friend has a pure bred bitch who is as USA, Canadian Champion, also has CDX and I forget what they call the certificate in Rally O. She is also a therapy dog. My friend has spent over 3000 just on health checks which the bitch passed with flying colors, however she is still hesitant to breed because the bitch has skin problems, a hot spot now and again and itching. So now she is taking the bitch to an allergy specialist to see what they have to say. She will never recoup what she has spent unless she has about 20 pups. If she decides to breed, she has been studying pedigrees since she brought the bitch home, trying to decide what male would produce the best pups when mixed with her bloodlines. MOST breeders do not inbreed, they linebreed, some more closely than others.

As I said if you get a dog from a breed specific rescue, the dog will be health and temperment tested, you know what you are getting.

And keep in mind a one year old dog is like a 7ish year old kid, not going to be good at sitting calmly in a camper for long hours. I would be thinking maybe a 5 or 6 year old, still plenty of pep and life but sensible and calm.

This is not preaching, just experience talking. No one (except back yard breeders who just want your money and don’t give a damn) wants to see anyone invest time and money in a dog or see a dog invest love and devotion in a human, only to find out it just isn’t going to work because of age, coat, size, temperment, etc. So please do your homework before you make a decision.

Anemone's avatar

I don’t have an opinion about which kind of dog you should get*, but I wonder if you could wait until you’ve settled somewhere. I don’t think the road is a good place to try to raise a puppy of any kind. They need training, consistency, and a lot of space to roam in… which I think would all be in short supply even in a relatively large RV.

An adult dog would be better for self-protection, too… which is something you might need or want on a trip alone.

*(except a shelter dog of any type)

Blueroses's avatar

I cast another vote for a young adult miniature or standard poodle. I’ve done rescue fostering for years and the poodles are just delightful! I never thought I was a poodle person but they’re intelligent, bond easily with new people and are pretty low maintenance if you keep them clipped short. An adult (2–4 years) won’t require as much activity to be happy. The last 3-yr-old miniature I had was equally happy running around the yard or napping on the couch and he’d do either for hours at a time.

john65pennington's avatar

My answer is short. A border collie.

My border collie will be 12 years old in a few days. To a humans life, thats 84.

My border collie, Mickey, is great on long trips. He, like most other dogs, love to go riding in the car. Mikey is like all other humans. He has to pee and border collies will let you know when they have to go.

Border collies are very intelligent dogs. I have no complaints with Mikey, except I wish he were getting younger, instead of older.

FluffyChicken's avatar

@crisw I think you are mostly correct, the key word however is “responsible” breeders. There’s plenty of irresponsible breeders out there, like puppy mills for examlpe, unfortunately but at least they are easy to spot if you know what to look for.
All the labradoodles I have met have been really great dogs, and I understand that they are sometimes used as companion/seeing eye dogs for disabled folks with allergies.
And yes, I do intend to adopt from a rescue group.

@Anemone Yeah that’s something about my plan that’s been bothering me. I’ve never actually had a dog, and really want to raise it from a puppy. I’m not leaving for three months though, so if my landlord allows it, I might get it a couple months before I go so I have time for training/bonding/socializing etc. before hitting the road.

@john65pennington It’s true, I’ve never met a border collie I didn’t like.

crisw's avatar


Glad you are planning on adopting a rescue dog!

There are scads of these large poodle mixes in rescues- there are entire rescues devoted to them – and the reason such rescues exist is because these mixes are not what people think they are, and people end up dumping their expensive fuzzy purchase. Many of them shed. They are often groomer’s nightmares with their tangly, fluffy coats. They are products of two very active sporting breeds, and, especially with the poor-quality stock often used to breed them, they can be extremely hyperactive, destructive and mouthy. They often also get much bigger than people expect. In addition, again due to poor breeding practices, they can be nightmares when it comes to genetic disorders, as they combine those of the Labrador with those of the poodle.

If you took my quiz, you’d find out why the “labradoodles were bred as seeing-eye dogs” bit is a myth.

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