These Are the Worst Dog Breeds to Travel With
If you love traveling, you probably assume that your dog will want to go with you the next time you go on vacation. However, not every dog breed makes a good travel companion.
In fact, some dogs don’t make happy or healthy travelers, no matter how thoroughly you prepare. Some dogs don’t breathe well and are actually banned by some airlines. Others are prone to anxiety or motion sickness. Still others are just too big to take along, whether you’re flying or road-tripping.
Below, check out the dog breeds that will be happier staying at home the next time you book a getaway.
Some dogs are prone to separation anxiety, and they may even develop anxiety or compulsive disorders. While they may just need time to get used to riding in the car, some dogs simply don’t respond well to stress. These dogs aren’t likely to be happy going on vacation with you. Any dog can develop anxiety. However, Anxiety.org notes that some breeds seem genetically prone to responding to stressful situations with anxiety. The chihuahua, for instance, typically measures high on the five dimensions of anxiety when faced with stress-inducing scenarios.
Dachshunds — both the standard dachshund and the miniature dachshund — also typically score high on the five dimensions of anxiety, according to Anxiety.org. Experts typically cite stressful situations such as meeting unfamiliar people, meeting other dogs, hearing loud noises, or being separated from their owners as scenarios that can trigger an anxious response in dogs.
But when you think about it, travel can present some pretty stressful situations, too. A road trip in the family car exposes your dog to plenty of unfamiliar sights and sensations. Flying, even if your dog stays in the cabin with you, also feels unfamiliar and perhaps uncomfortable for your dog, who will have to stay in a travel kennel the whole time.
Anxiety.org names the Maltese as another dog that typically responds with anxiety when faced with stress-inducing situations. A small dog such as the Maltese can probably fit into a carrier you can place under the seat in front of you when you fly. However, navigating the airport, going through airport security, and traveling on a plane present plenty of stressful situations for a dog unfamiliar with the process.
Pet Maltese reports that you may not be out of the woods if you decide to drive to your destination, either. Many Maltese owners report that their dogs suffer from car sickness. Plus, small dogs like the Maltese can be easily thrown if you get into a car accident, and that’s not safe for you or your dog.
4. Toy poodle
The toy poodle also scores high on the five dimensions of anxiety. Not every toy poodle will have a problem with getting in the car or traveling by plane. However, Anxiety.org notes that the breed seems genetically predisposed to develop anxiety. Toy poodles, and other breeds, can have a hard time staying inside their carriers for long periods of time. They might dislike the hectic environment at the airport or the strange noises on the plane. And though toy poodles are often small enough to fit into a carrier that you can slide under the seat in front of you, all of those issues are amplified if your dog has to fly in the plane’s cargo hold.
5. Yorkshire terrier
Though the Yorkshire terrier’s small size makes the breed easy to travel with in one regard, the breed’s anxiety makes things harder all around. Anxiety.org notes that the breed tends to score high on the five dimensions of anxiety. That means that you might want to leave your Yorkie at home the next time you go on vacation.
While some pet owners decide to use sedatives to make it easier for a dog to travel with them — an option that sounds tempting if you have an anxious Yorkshire terrier — experts don’t unanimously agree that sedation is a good idea. In fact, it can interfere with your dog’s ability to regulate his own body temperature, which can have dangerous consequences.
6. French bulldog
Some dogs are tough to travel with not because of their anxiety, but because of their anatomy. The New York Times reports that many airlines ban brachycephalic breeds, also known as short-faced or snub-nosed dogs, from their planes. These breeds have smaller openings to their noses and elongated soft palates on the roof of their mouths, which makes breathing more difficult for them. On top of that, breathing difficulties get worse in stressful situations, like air travel and in extreme heat. Therefore, many airlines won’t accept French bulldogs — and other brachycephalic breeds — either in the cabin or in the cargo hold.
7. English bulldog
The English bulldog is another brachycephalic breed that many airlines ban. So you might have to reconsider your plane to take your English bulldog on a cross-country flight.
However, you do have other options for traveling with this breed. PetCareRX reports that English bulldogs do well on road trips. These laidback dogs typically enjoy chilling out in the car with their owners. And according to PetCareRX, these dogs “won’t mind time spent in a hotel room or cabin, as long as they get a few minutes to stretch their legs a couple times a day.”
8. American bulldog
The American bulldog also gets banned by airlines who don’t want to transport dogs with breathing difficulties. Delta, for instance, refuses to transport “snub-nosed or pug-nosed dogs” in the cargo hold. The airline’s list of banned breeds includes the American bulldog (and United won’t transport these dogs on its planes, either).
The Nest notes that separation anxiety is also common in American bulldogs. So even if you do fly on an airline that will let your pet travel in the cargo hold, you’ll probably want to think twice about taking advantage of that option.
The pug also lands on the list of banned breeds at many airlines. Delta, for instance, has banned the pug from its airplanes. While these even-tempered dogs probably won’t get too anxious about traveling, flying with a short-nosed pug is definitely a challenge — one that your veterinarian would probably recommend you avoid. However, plenty of pugs enjoy riding in the car. That’s a great option if you’re just traveling a short distance and want your pup to go along with you.
Some airlines are particularly cautious about dog breeds that are stereotyped as dangerous or aggressive. Pit bulls can be stressful to travel with not only because you’ll have to deal with a lot of people who believe stereotypes about these dogs, but also because some airlines have extra restrictions for pit bulls. United, for instance, requires American Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, and pit bull terriers to travel in a reinforced crate. Delta, on the other hand, bans pit bulls altogether under the guise of its rules against transporting short-nosed dogs.
11. Cane corso
The cane corso is another dog for which United requires a reinforced crate. The breed, also known as the Italian mastiff, is often stereotyped as aggressive. But, in addition to that, the cane corso is also a giant dog who won’t be easy to get to and from the airport. Mastiffs of all types are large dogs who will definitely have to fly in the cargo hold of the plane. That can be stressful for the dog, and can subject him to uncomfortable changes in temperature and air pressure. While vets agree that the safest way for an animal to fly is in the cabin with you, that’s not possible with a large dog like the cane corso.
12. Fila brasileiro
United also requires the fila brasileiro to travel in a reinforced crate. This breed, also known as the Brazilian Mastiff, is one of the most commonly banned dog breeds in the United States thanks to unfair stereotypes about their behavior. However, it’s true that many fila brasileiros don’t like to spend a lot of time around strangers. For that reason, you may want to leave your dog at home with a trusted pet sitter or at a kennel where he’s comfortable, rather than take him along on your trip.
13. Doberman pinscher
American Airlines once banned the Doberman pinscher from its flights. It eventually lifted the ban, but the damage had been done. Because of restrictions like these, many people believe unfair stereotypes about the Doberman. In fact, you may even encounter uninformed comments from both fellow travelers and airline personnel if you try to fly with your Doberman. Despite what the stereotypes may say, Dobermans are typically highly trainable and eager to please their owners. You can likely train your Doberman to travel calmly. Just don’t lose your cool if somebody says something ignorant.
American Airlines also enacted — and then reversed — a ban against flying with Rottweilers. Though the Rottweiler is a solid and powerful dog, stereotypes about the breed’s aggressive behavior typically prove untrue. Contrary to the expectations of skeptical airline staff, the AKC reports that the breed is usually reserved with strangers. The group notes that “the Rottweiler is self-confident and responds quietly and with a wait-and-see attitude to influences in his environment.”
15. Puppies of any breed
The AKC reports that many puppies, regardless of breed, have trouble with car sickness. Many adult dogs can get acclimated to the sound and motion of a car. However, puppies may need more time to get over their motion sickness. If you want your new puppy to (eventually) get used to riding in the car, the AKC notes that “One reason for motion sickness in young pups is the lack of early handling by humans. Try cuddling her upside down in your lap, pick her up in the air or roll her around on the ground like a log. These small motions a few times a day will mimic what she is exposed to in the car.”