One of the joys of owning a four-legged friend is all the adventures you can have in the great outdoors. Whether you’re getting out for your daily exercise, a check-up at the vet or heading off on a new expedition, the right wheels will keep you comfortable, clean and ready for action when you arrive.
Just over half of all UK adults own a pet. More than a quarter of us own a dog or three. There are an estimated 10.2 million pet dogs across the UK. We Brits love our pets and take them with us wherever we go. When it comes to choosing cars for dogs, there are a few general points to keep in mind.
Must-haves in cars for dogs
First off, you’ll need enough room for everyone to travel in comfort. That means a reasonable boot size is a must. What’s reasonable depends on the size of your pooch. Obviously, a Chihuahua will be happier in a hatch than a Great Dane. A flat space with climate control to keep them comfortable is perfect.
An area with tie-down loops is ideal for making sure you can click-clunk before you close the trunk on every trip with your hounds.
Your canine pal should also have a window to watch the world go by when travelling. That rules out all saloons if your furry friend travels in the boot. Something easy for your pet to jump in and out of is also a good idea. Older dogs may have trouble with your typical SUV as they sit so much higher than other cars. An easy to clean area where your pet is to travel will also make life easier.
We’ve considered all types of dogs and matched them to all kinds of cars. So, without further ado, here are the eight best cars for dogs to travel in comfort and style.
Best hatchbacks for hounds
Not all hounds need a lot of space. If a hatch is more your style, look for one that has loops to secure your furry friend and a window for them too. These hatchbacks have all that and a little more.
Boot space: up to 456litres and 1,216litres with seats down
This compact hatch has SUV cross-over appeal and chunky styling to match. The boot space is the largest for our hatchback category and it’s a useful shape too. Older dogs may have a little difficulty getting in and out and you’ll need to remember to remove the parcel shelf to give your dog a view of the world beyond the window.
The boot is lined with hardwearing plastic that can be easily hosed out after muddy walks. There’s also an additional 80litre storage compartment under the main boot floor. This has a drain plug at the bottom making it ideal for muddy towels or wet equipment. Tie-down loops can be a bit tricky to access but we think this is one of the best hatchback cars for dogs.
Boot space: 360 litres, 1,250litres with seats down
The best thing about the Mini Clubman when it comes to transporting dogs is the doors at the back. These open like barn doors, so you have a better chance of containing an excited dog that wants to exit like a jack in a box.
If you prefer your pooch to travel up front, you’ll need to opt for a passenger airbag deactivation switch or find a used car that has this fitted. If you can get your hands on a Clubman with the storage compartment pack you’ll get tie-down loops to secure your dog and a two-part boot floor that makes it easy to clean.
Cool estates and MPVs for canines
If you’ve got some little scallywags to cart around along with your canine friend, an estate or MPV is just the thing. The longer layout of these kinds of cars means everyone gets their own happy space.
Boot space: 5,000litres or more
Room is not an issue when it comes to travelling with your dog in a Ford Transit! No matter how big your dog (or family) is, there’s oodles of room for them.
The boot space has tie-down loops to the side and back for securing your pup and the seats can be removed to provide even more space. Although there is a window at the back, only the tallest of hounds will be able to get a view of the disappearing road behind you.
Boot space: 519litres, 1,431litres with seats down
Well insulated from road and wind noise, the Volvo V60 is good for dogs that are nervous in cars. Volvo has some of the best dog accessories for cars to make life on the road even more comfortable. The lower floor and handsfree liftgate in the V60 make it easier to get dogs in and out of this comfy estate. Great for small or older dogs.
Perfect 4x4s for your pooch
For go-anywhere kinds of pets, a 4×4 is just the thing. Days out in the wilds of England are simple. You’ll both be able to explore without any worries of getting stuck.
Boot space: up to 497litres, 1,697 with seats down
Perfect for larger dogs, the CR-V offers plenty of room for a dog box and has tie-down loops if you prefer to let your hound ride freely with a clip-in for safety. A large window offers a great view of the countryside and there are plenty of storage pockets in the back for balls, frisbees and leads.
Boot space: up to 445 litres and 1,478 litres with seats down
Hard as nails and great for pets that like to get a little further afield than your local park. The Dacia Duster is a great value SUV with plenty of room for a sizeable dog box in the back or a guard across the rear seats to keep your hound where they need to be. The rear seats don’t fold flat, and the higher stance can make it a little hard for older or smaller dogs to get in and out.
Decadent cars for dogs
Just because you travel with a four-legged friend doesn’t mean you can’t do it in style. These luxury cars for dogs will keep you and your hound as happy as Larry on any trip together.
Aston Martin DBX
Boot space: 632litres
Aston Martin’s first SUV, the DBX will be available to UK drivers this year. The luxury SUV has some very plush interiors and a big boot space that is perfect for furry friends. The large rear window and tie-down loops ensure all the essentials are taken care of when taking your dog out. Being a larger SUV, older and smaller dogs may have difficulty getting in and out.
Tesla Model Y
Boot space: 971litres, 2,158litres with seats down
Tesla pulls it out of the bag when it comes to travelling with pets. Controls include a specific ‘Dog Mode’ that makes sure the interior is kept at a comfortable temperature for your pooch.
There’s no need to worry about leaving them as you pop to the shop either, the front console display lets passers-by know you’ll be back soon and the aircon is keeping them comfy. The interior is vegan, there are plenty of loops to secure your pooch and the large back window provides a wide view of the world outside. This is one of the cars for dogs that have been well thought through.