Header image

Best Dogs for RV Living: Top 13 Dog Breeds

Best Dogs for RV Living: Pug just being cool next to an RV

Best Dogs for RV Living: Discover 13 Ideal Breeds for your road adventures. From pugs to retrievers, find your perfect travel companion!

Table of Contents

What Are The Best 13 Dog Breeds For RV Living?

Overview of RV living

Recreational Vehicle (RV) living offers a sense of freedom and adventure that is unparalleled. Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a full-time lifestyle, living in an RV allows you to explore new places while bringing the comforts of home along with you.

It’s a thrilling way to travel, but when it comes to bringing your furry friend, choosing the best dogs for RV living becomes a vital consideration.

Choosing the right dog breed for RV life

Not all dogs are suited for life on the road. The right breed can make a huge difference in your RV living experience. Selecting a dog breed that matches your travel style, the space available in your RV, and your outdoor activities ensures that both you and your canine companion will enjoy the journey.

From small breeds that are perfect for compact spaces to larger dogs that love outdoor exploration, identifying the best dogs for RV living is crucial for a harmonious travel experience.

Having traveled extensively with dogs in Class A, B, and C Motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth-wheelers, pop-up campers, and camper trailers, we have learned a thing or two about what makes a dog breed ideal for RV living. Through years of experience, we’ve seen firsthand how different breeds react to life on the road, and we’ve come to recognize the best dogs for RV living.

In a Class A Motorhome, the extra space may allow for larger breeds, while the more compact Class B might be better suited for smaller, adaptable dogs.

Understanding your RV’s size and the specific needs of various dog breeds will guide you in finding the perfect match.

Whether it’s the energetic Australian Shepherd or the low-maintenance French Bulldog, each breed offers unique characteristics that may or may not suit the RV lifestyle.

The best dogs for RV living are those that align with your travel patterns, activity levels, and available space. They can make your journey not only more enjoyable but also create unforgettable memories as you explore new horizons together.

So, when planning your next RV adventure, consider the breeds that are known to thrive in this unique environment. The selection of the right dog breed for your RV lifestyle is not just a choice; it’s a critical decision that influences your travel joy and comfort.

Make it wisely, keeping in mind the best dogs for RV living, and set yourself on a path to unforgettable journeys with your four-legged friend.

Best Dogs for RV Living: Australian Shepherd napping in the sun

Understanding the RV Lifestyle with Dogs

Classifications of RVs and Their Space Considerations

Class A, B, and C Motorhomes

When considering the best dogs for RV living, understanding the different types of RVs is crucial. Class A Motorhomes are the largest and often resemble a bus. Typically, these RVs provide plenty of room for you and your pet. You might find that larger breeds are more comfortable in this spacious environment.

Conversely, Class B Motorhomes are more compact. These are best suited for smaller breeds or those dogs that are more adaptable to confined spaces. However, with the right training and equipment, many dogs can thrive in Class B RVs.

Class C Motorhomes fall between the other two in size, offering a balance between space and maneuverability. They might be the perfect option if you have a medium-sized dog, as they usually have enough space for both comfort and freedom of movement.

Travel trailers, fifth-wheelers, pop-up campers

Travel trailers and fifth-wheelers are towed behind your vehicle and can vary widely in size. From small teardrop trailers to expansive fifth-wheelers, your choice in these types of RVs will significantly impact which breeds are the best dogs for RV living.

Pop-up campers are typically more compact and require a dog that can adapt to smaller living areas. This type of RV is great for those who want to maintain mobility and don’t need the extensive space that larger RVs offer.


Dog Needs and RV Living

Space requirements

The space requirements for your dog are a vital aspect to consider when determining the best dogs for RV living. Larger breeds often require more space to move around, while smaller dogs may feel more comfortable in compact areas. Therefore, the type of RV you choose should align with the breed of dog you own or plan to bring along.

Exercise and mental stimulation

Living in an RV doesn’t mean that your dog’s need for exercise and mental stimulation diminishes. In fact, it becomes even more critical. When traveling, especially for extended periods, ensuring that your dog has enough physical and mental engagement is key to a happy and healthy pet.

Regular stops at dog-friendly parks, hikes, and playtime can all contribute to fulfilling your dog’s exercise needs. Toys and interactive games can also keep them mentally stimulated during travel days.


Breed Considerations


Different breeds have various temperaments, and this is a critical factor when considering the best dogs for RV living. Some breeds are more adaptable to travel and new environments, while others might struggle with the constant change.

Breeds with a calm and adaptable temperament, like Golden Retrievers or Poodles, are often easier to travel with. On the other hand, breeds known for being more territorial might find the transient lifestyle more challenging.

Grooming requirements

Grooming is another aspect that can’t be overlooked when living on the road. Some dogs require regular grooming that might be challenging to manage in an RV environment. If you are traveling extensively, a breed with minimal grooming needs might be more suitable.

However, with the right tools and planning, even dogs with extensive grooming requirements can be great travel companions. It all boils down to understanding your dog’s needs and ensuring you can meet them while on the road.

Exercise needs

We’ve already touched on exercise in the context of RV living, but when considering the best dogs for RV living, understanding the specific exercise needs of different breeds is essential.

High-energy breeds like Border Collies or Australian Shepherds might find life in a confined RV challenging unless you plan regular exercise routines. On the other hand, breeds like Bulldogs or Basset Hounds have lower energy levels and might be more adaptable to RV living with less rigorous exercise schedules.

Choosing a breed that aligns with your travel style and activity level ensures a happier pet and a more enjoyable travel experience for everyone involved.

Best Dogs for RV Living: Loving RV Life

Top 13 Best Dog Breeds for RV Living

Small Breeds

1. Pugs:

  • Great companions and suitable for confined spaces.

Pugs are one of the best dogs for RV living, particularly in smaller spaces like Class B Motorhomes or pop-up campers. They’re affectionate and easily adapt to confined areas. Pugs don’t require a lot of exercises, but they do enjoy socializing, so regular interactions and playtimes will keep them happy and content.

2. French Bulldogs:

  • Low-maintenance grooming and good with families.

French Bulldogs are renowned for their low-maintenance grooming and affectionate nature. Their short coats require minimal grooming, making them one of the best dogs for RV living, especially for families with children. Socialization and moderate exercise are key to keeping them happy, but they adapt well to various living conditions.

3. Dachshunds:

  • Energetic but adaptable to smaller living areas.

Dachshunds are energetic dogs but adapt well to smaller living areas, making them suitable for travel trailers and fifth-wheelers. They have a strong hunting instinct, so regular mental stimulation and controlled outdoor activities are essential. Being part of the best dogs for RV living, they offer a lively and engaging travel companion.

4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels:

  • Friendly and good for travel.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are renowned for their friendly and easy-going nature. As a travel companion, they are one of the best dogs for RV living, enjoying the company of their human family. Their grooming needs are moderate, and they easily adapt to various environments, whether in a Class A Motorhome or a compact camper.


Medium Breeds

5. Australian Shepherds:

  • Intelligent and active; great for outdoor adventures.

Australian Shepherds are incredibly intelligent and active dogs. They are perfect for those who love outdoor adventures, making them one of the best dogs for RV living if you’re an outdoor enthusiast. Regular exercise, mental stimulation, and engaging activities are essential for this breed to thrive in an RV lifestyle.

6. Boxers:

  • Loyal and energetic; require regular exercise.

Boxers are loyal, energetic, and good-natured dogs that require regular exercise and mental stimulation. They adapt well to various environments and are suitable for larger travel trailers and Class C Motorhomes. Their loyalty and energy make them one of the best dogs for RV living, especially for active travelers.

7. Labrador Retrievers:

  • Good-natured and adaptable to various environments.

Labrador Retrievers are known for their good nature and adaptability, making them ideal for various RV environments. Whether in a spacious Class A Motorhome or a compact travel trailer, Labradors are among the best dogs for RV living. Regular exercise and socialization are key to keeping them happy and content on the road.

8. Cocker Spaniels:

  • Gentle and easy to train; suitable for families.

Cocker Spaniels are gentle and easy to train, making them suitable for families and various RV types. Their loving nature and adaptability put them on the list of best dogs for RV living. With moderate exercise and grooming requirements, they are a joy to travel with.


Large Breeds

9. Golden Retrievers:

  • Loving and tolerant; great with children.

Golden Retrievers are loving, tolerant, and exceptional with children. They thrive in larger RVs like Class A Motorhomes but can adapt to smaller spaces if needed. Their friendly disposition and minimal grooming needs make them one of the best dogs for RV living, particularly for families.

10. Greyhounds:

  • Low-energy indoors and require minimal grooming.

Greyhounds are known for their speed but are surprisingly low-energy indoors. They are suitable for various RV types, including travel trailers and fifth-wheelers. Their minimal grooming needs and calm indoor temperament make them one of the best dogs for RV living for those who prefer a more relaxed travel companion.

11. Newfoundlanders:

  • Gentle giants; love swimming and water activities.

Newfoundlanders are gentle giants that love swimming and water activities. If your RV adventures include lakes and beaches, Newfoundlanders could be among the best dogs for RV living for you. They do need space, so larger RVs are typically more suitable for this loving and protective breed.

12. Bernese Mountain Dogs:

  • Loyal and calm; good for cooler climates.

Bernese Mountain Dogs are loyal, calm, and thrive in cooler climates. If your RV travels take you to mountainous regions or cooler areas, they might be the best dogs for RV living for your journey. They require space and regular exercise, so consideration of your RV type and travel destinations is essential.

13. Standard Poodles:

  • Intelligent and hypoallergenic; adapt well to travel.

Standard Poodles are intelligent, hypoallergenic, and adapt well to travel, making them one of the best dogs for RV living. Their intelligence and minimal shedding are attractive for many RV travelers. Regular mental stimulation and moderate exercise keep them happy, whether in a Class A Motorhome or a compact pop-up camper.

Best Dogs for RV Living: Boxer Loving the RV Life

Tips and Tricks for Traveling with Dogs in RVs

Preparation and Planning

Vet Visits, Vaccinations, and Microchipping

Traveling with dogs, especially in RVs, demands proper preparation. Start by scheduling a visit to the vet to ensure all vaccinations are up to date because it’s essential to ensure that your dog is healthy and fit for travel.

If your pet isn’t microchipped yet, this is a prime time to have it done. This ensures that if your dog gets lost, you have a higher chance of being reunited. This preparation aligns with the goal of choosing the best dogs for RV living.

Travel Essentials (Crate, Leash, Food)

Packing essential items like a crate, litter box, leash, and enough food is crucial for a comfortable journey. Crates are useful for securing your dog while driving, while leashes are indispensable for walks and bathroom breaks.

Additionally, packing your dog’s regular food will help avoid any digestive issues that might arise from changing their diet. Keeping familiar items around will make the best dogs for RV living feel more at home.


Safety Measures

Securing the Dog While Driving

One of the essential safety measures to take when traveling with the dogs in your RV is to secure them while driving. Whether using a crate, a dog seat belt, or a secured area in the RV, making sure your dog is safe while the vehicle is in motion is paramount. It prevents the dog from being thrown around during sudden stops and keeps both the dog and passengers safe.

Temperature Considerations

Considering the temperature is a significant safety concern when traveling with dogs in RVs. Your RV can quickly become very hot or very cold, depending on the weather. Always ensure proper ventilation and temperature control to keep your dog comfortable. Keep in mind the specific needs of dogs for RV living, as some breeds may be more sensitive to extreme temperatures.


Training and Behavior

Recall Training

Recall training is a vital skill for any dog but especially when on the road. Whether you’re exploring new campgrounds or parks, having a dog that responds to recall commands can be a lifesaver. Training your dog to come when called, even in unfamiliar environments, is a valuable investment and complements the lifestyle of the best dogs for RV living.

Managing Barking and Anxiety

Managing barking and anxiety while on the road is key to a pleasant RV experience. Many dogs might feel anxious or excited in new environments, leading to excessive barking. Providing comfort items, following a routine, and spending quality time with your dog can help ease anxiety. Training to manage barking is part of responsible RV living with dogs and ensures that both you and those around you enjoy the trip.


Finding Dog-Friendly Destinations


Finding dog-friendly campgrounds is essential when traveling with your furry friend. Researching in advance and booking spots that welcome dogs ensures a hassle-free stay. Campgrounds that offer dog parks or walking trails are ideal and align with the concept of having dogs accompanying your RV lifestyle.

Parks and Recreational Areas

Exploring new parks and recreational areas is one of the joys of RV living. However, not all parks are dog-friendly. Research and planning ahead will help you find suitable places where your dog can enjoy the outdoors safely. Selecting the perfect dog for RV living also means knowing where they can run, play, and explore without restrictions.

Best Dogs for RV Living: Cocker Spaniel lying on a bed

Conclusion: Best Dogs for RV Living

Traveling with dogs in RVs is a rewarding experience that combines companionship and adventure. From small breeds like Pugs and Dachshunds to large breeds like Golden Retrievers and Newfoundlanders, selecting the best dogs for RV living depends on your lifestyle, RV type, and travel destinations.

Encouragement for Responsible RV Living with Dogs

As we’ve explored, the journey of RV living with dogs is filled with excitement and novelty, but it also requires responsibility and planning. Following the provided tips and considerations will ensure that you and your pet have a safe and enjoyable adventure on the road. With proper preparation, safety measures, training, and destination planning, you can make the most of your time with the best dogs for RV living.

FAQ: Best Dogs for RV Living

What are the most low-maintenance dogs for RV living?

When choosing the best dogs for RV living, consider breeds that require minimal grooming and exercise. French Bulldogs, Pugs, and Dachshunds are known to be low-maintenance, adaptable, and great for confined spaces.

How do I prepare my dog for long-term RV travel?

Preparing your dog for long-term RV travel involves acclimating them to the RV environment, keeping vaccinations up-to-date, and packing essential items like a crate, leash, and food. Additionally, considering their specific needs will ensure they are comfortable as one of the best dogs for RV living.

Can large dog breeds live comfortably in smaller RVs like Class B Motorhomes?

Yes, large dog breeds can live comfortably in Class B Motorhomes, although space considerations are vital. Creating a designated area for your dog and choosing breeds known to adapt well to various environments, such as Labrador Retrievers or Greyhounds, will support them in smaller RVs.

What should I do if my dog gets sick while on the road?

If your dog gets sick while on the road, consult with a local veterinarian immediately. Keep a first aid kit on hand and maintain a list of nearby vets as you travel. Knowing your dog’s health conditions and being vigilant helps in recognizing symptoms early.

How can I ensure my dog gets enough exercise while living in an RV?

Ensuring enough exercise for your dog involves planning stops at dog-friendly parks and campgrounds. Taking regular walks and engaging in playtime is crucial, even in confined spaces. This care and attention make them one of the best dogs for RV living.

Are there specific training techniques for dogs living in RVs?

Yes, training techniques for dogs in RVs focus on behavior adaptation to smaller living spaces. Recall training, managing barking and anxiety, and teaching them to stay secured while driving are essential practices to create a harmonious RV living experience.

How do I keep my dog safe in hot or cold weather in an RV?

To keep your dog safe in extreme weather, provide proper ventilation, heating, or cooling in the RV. Monitoring the temperature and being mindful of your dog’s breed-specific sensitivity to heat or cold ensures their comfort and safety.

What are some must-have items for RV living with dogs?

Must-have items include a crate or secured area for travel, leash, food, water dishes, toys, grooming supplies, and a first aid kit. Keeping these items readily available ensures that your dog enjoys being one of the best dogs for RV living.

How can I find dog-friendly campgrounds and parks?

Finding dog-friendly campgrounds and parks involves researching and booking spots that specifically welcome dogs. Many online resources and apps can guide you to the best locations for RV living with your canine companion.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when living in an RV with a dog?

Common mistakes include failing to secure the dog while driving, neglecting temperature considerations, lack of proper planning, and forgetting essential items. Avoiding these mistakes contributes to having the best dogs for RV living.

What dogs are good in RVs?

Breeds that adapt well to various environments, require minimal grooming, and have a good temperament make good dogs for RVs. Examples include Pugs, Australian Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and Standard Poodles.

What is the best pet for full time RV living?

The best pet for full-time RV living depends on personal preferences and lifestyle. Dogs, especially those that are adaptable and low-maintenance, tend to be popular choices for full-time RV living.

What is the best dog for van life?

For van life, small to medium breeds that require minimal space and adapt well to constant travel are ideal. French Bulldogs, Dachshunds, and Boxers are often considered the best dogs for van life.

Can my dog live in an RV?

Yes, with proper preparation, safety measures, and consideration for their needs, your dog can comfortably live in an RV.

Where do dogs sleep in RV?

Dogs can sleep in designated areas like a crate or bed within the RV. Ensuring a comfortable and familiar sleeping space helps them adapt to RV living.

How do I dog proof my RV?

Dog-proofing your RV includes securing loose items, creating a designated area for your dog, and removing or protecting anything they might chew or damage. Keeping your RV free of food scraps and rubbish waste at all times is also a good idea (for the more inquisitive pooches).

How many dogs do most RV parks allow?

Most RV parks allow one to two dogs, but this can vary. It’s advisable to check the specific policies of each park to confirm their pet rules.

How do you keep a dog in a campervan?

Keeping a dog in a campervan requires planning for space, securing them while driving, and considering their comfort, exercise, and safety needs.

Is it OK to leave a dog in a caravan?

While it is possible to leave a dog in a caravan for short periods, ensure proper ventilation, temperature control, and that they have access to food and water.

Can you leave a dog alone in a campervan?

Leaving a dog alone in a campervan should be done with caution. Ensure their comfort and safety, and try to minimize the time they spend alone.

Can a dog stay in a caravan?

Yes, a dog can stay in a caravan, as long as their needs for space, exercise, and comfort are met, aligning them with the best dogs for RV living.

Do dogs do well in RV?

Most dogs can indeed thrive in RV living, as long as their individual needs are met. You should consider their temperament, energy levels, and size to ensure they’re comfortable. For instance, a Labrador Retriever, known for its adaptability, can fare well in an RV if provided adequate exercise.

How do I live in an RV full time with a dog?

Living full-time in an RV with your dog requires a mix of preparation and adjustment. Firstly, ensure your RV offers enough space and comfort for your dog. Schedule regular stops for exercise, and always have a first aid kit on hand. Dogs like Australian Shepherds can love this lifestyle, given their love for exploration.

Best guard dog for RV?

For those prioritizing security, breeds like German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Doberman Pinschers stand out. These breeds are protective, alert, and can be trained to be calm yet vigilant during your travels.

Best dog breeds for camping?

When camping, you’d want a dog that’s both adventurous and obedient. Breeds such as the Border Collie, Australian Shepherd, and the Labrador Retriever have proven themselves as enthusiastic outdoor companions.

Best small dog for camping?

Smaller dogs can be just as adventurous! Dachshunds, with their energetic nature, or Beagles, known for their curiosity, can be great companions during camping trips.

Best dog breeds for van life?

Living in a van demands breeds that are adaptable to smaller spaces. French Bulldogs, Pugs, and Miniature Schnauzers can comfortably adjust to the confines of van life, given their size and temperaments.

Best dog for traveling seniors?

Seniors might prefer breeds that are calm yet companionable. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bichon Frise, or the Shih Tzu can offer affection and companionship without being overly demanding.

Best dog for campervan?

Campervan living mirrors van life. Hence, adaptable breeds like Boston Terriers or Pugs make for excellent campervan companions, given their size and easy-going nature.

Great small dog breeds for camping?

The Jack Russell Terrier, known for its burst of energy, or the Pomeranian, with its spirited personality, are both fantastic choices for those seeking small breeds for camping adventures.

Is a Boston Terrier good for RV living?

Absolutely! Boston Terriers have an adaptable nature, require minimal grooming, and are generally sociable. They’re compact, which makes them ideal for the space constraints of an RV.

Top dog to travel with in an RV or camper?

It’s hard to beat the adaptability and friendly nature of a Labrador Retriever. Their good-natured temperament and love for adventure make them an excellent travel companion.

Most important breed characteristics for RV living?

Key breed characteristics include adaptability, a calm demeanor, and low to moderate grooming needs. For example, Greyhounds, despite being large, are calm indoors and require minimal grooming, making them suitable for RV living.

Is a Golden Retriever good for RV living?

Certainly! Golden Retrievers are known for their adaptability and friendly disposition. With regular exercise and companionship, they can comfortably adapt to RV life.

Do travel dogs adapt in an RV?

Dogs bred for travel or work, like the nomadic Tibetan Mastiff or the agile Border Collie, are naturally inclined to adjust well to RV living due to their inherent adaptability.

Should RV adaptability be high on a dog training list for puppies?

If you’re planning frequent RV travels, then yes, RV adaptability should be prioritized. Training puppies early, using breeds like the eager-to-please Golden Retriever as an example, helps ensure they’re comfortable during their RV adventures.

Link to Resources for Training and Care

For more in-depth guidance on training, care, and other essential tips for RV’ing with dogs, explore our link to resources. These valuable insights are designed to support your journey in selecting and caring for the best dogs for RVs, setting the stage for countless adventures on the road.

By adhering to these principles and employing diligent preparation, you can fully appreciate the pleasure of cruising the countryside with your furry friend, knowing that you have one of the best dogs for your adventures on board.

Resource Links To Assist You With Your Dog Selection:

About the Author

Roger Bann

Roger Bann

Roger Bann, an accredited dog trainer with 35 years under his belt, is the proud owner of a dynamic canine trio: a spirited Shih Tzu, a loyal Golden Retriever, and an energetic Border Collie. When not adventuring on family camping holidays with his furry entourage, he's spoiling his Ragdoll cat at petessentials.guide.

More Articles By Roger: