Best Dogs for Van Life: Top Breeds for Van Life with a Dog

Dog on bed in mercedes camper van with lady looking at the sea

Best Dogs for Van Life: Top Breeds for Van Life with a Dog

Buy or Sell Campers

Buy or Sell Campers

11 April 2023

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If you’re considering van life with a dog, it’s im-paw-tant to choose the right breed that fits your lifestyle. Living in a camper van with a furry companion can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, but it’s crucial to find a dog that’s adaptable to a nomadic lifestyle, has a manageable energy level, and is comfortable with travel.

In this blog post, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide to the best dogs for van life based on specific criteria such as size, energy level, temperament, exercise requirements, and grooming needs. We’ll also include some honorable mentions and tips for traveling with your furry friend.

Criteria for Choosing the Best Dogs for Van Life

When choosing a dog for van life, there are several factors to consider. Here are some criteria that can help you narrow down your options:

1. Size and Energy Level

The size and energy level of a dog are crucial factors to consider when selecting a breed for van life. A dog that’s too big or energetic may not be comfortable in a confined space and may require more exercise than you can provide. On the other hand, a dog that’s too small may not have the stamina for outdoor activities or be able to handle extreme temperatures.

2. Adaptability and Temperament

Adaptability and temperament are essential qualities for a dog to have when living in a van. You want a dog that’s easygoing, adaptable, and comfortable with new experiences and environments. A dog with a calm and friendly disposition is also ideal since you’ll be encountering many new people and places during your travels.

3. Exercise and Training Requirements

Van life with a dog involves a lot of outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and exploring. Therefore, you want a dog that’s comfortable with physical activity and can handle long walks or runs. It’s also important to choose a breed that’s easy to train and responds well to commands.

4. Grooming and Shedding

When living in a van, you want a dog that’s easy to groom and doesn’t shed excessively. Dogs that don’t require frequent grooming or shedding are ideal for van life since it saves time and keeps the living space clean.


Top 5 Best Dogs for Van Life

It’s tough to make a list of just 5 great pups for this list because, ultimately, the best dogs for vanlife are ones with a chilled temperament, consistent energy level, and great adaptability. Based on the criteria above, here are the top five best dogs for van life. These are the pups that are likely to be well-suited for van life with a dog:

Best Dogs for Van Life No.1. Australian Cattle Dog in woodland with harness on

1. Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog, also known as the Blue Heeler, is a medium-sized breed that’s highly adaptable and energetic. These dogs were originally bred for herding cattle, so they have a strong work ethic and require plenty of exercise.

They’re also intelligent, easy to train, and loyal to their owners. With a short, low-maintenance coat, the Australian Cattle Dog is one of the best dogs for van life.

Labrador Retriever van life dog looking happy on pier

2. Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever is a popular breed known for its friendly and outgoing personality. These dogs are also highly adaptable and intelligent, making them a strong contender when it comes to the best dogs for van life.

Labs are also easy to train and love physical activity, which is perfect for outdoor adventures. With a short, water-resistant coat, the Labrador Retriever is an ideal breed for van life.

Border Collie van life dog in moorland area surrounded by heather

3. Border Collie

The Border Collie is a highly intelligent and energetic breed that’s perfect for van life. These dogs were originally bred for herding sheep, so they have a strong work ethic and require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.

They’re also highly trainable and eager to please their owners. With a medium-length coat that’s easy to maintain, the Border Collie is up there as one of the best dogs for van life. The only downside could be their longer hair when it comes to shedding.

Vizsla - Best Dogs for Van Life holding a stick in wooded area van life hack

4. Vizsla

The Vizsla is a medium-sized breed that’s known for its high energy and affectionate personality. These dogs love to be active and require plenty of exercise, which makes them the perfect companions – and one of the best dogs for van life.

They’re also highly intelligent and easy to train, which is a plus when you’re traveling. With a short, sleek coat that requires minimal grooming, the Vizsla is a great breed for van life.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel running towards water

5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a small breed that’s one of the best dogs for van life due to its small stature and all-round content attitude. These dogs are known for their affectionate and gentle nature, which makes them perfect for traveling companions.

They’re also adaptable to new environments and don’t require a lot of exercise, which makes them ideal for van life in cities or built-up areas. With a silky, medium-length coat that’s easy to maintain, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a great choice for those looking for a smaller breed.

A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel isn’t going to drive fear or be the best security dog for van life, but for what they lack in attitude and fear factor, they more than make up for with cuteness.


Honorable Mentions

While the above breeds are our best dogs for van lifeg, there are plenty of other breeds that can also make great traveling companions. Here are some honorable mentions:

  • Poodle
  • Whippet
  • Greyhound
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • German Shephard


Tips for Traveling with Your Dog

If you’re planning on van life with a dog, here are some tips to make the experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible:

  • Make sure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations and has a collar with identification tags.
  • Bring a comfortable bed or crate for your dog to sleep in.
  • Pack plenty of food, water, and treats for your dog.
  • Plan your route ahead of time and make sure there are pet-friendly places to stay along the way.
  • Take breaks frequently to allow your dog to stretch their legs and go to the bathroom.
  • Be respectful of other travelers and clean up after your dog.

Looking for more hints and tips? Check-out this great read: Vanlife with Pets: Over 20 Tips for Van Life with a Dog or Other Pets


Key Takeaways

In summary, when choosing the best dog for van life, it’s important to consider factors such as size, energy level, and temperament. Our top picks for van life with a dog include the Australian Shepherd, the Labrador Retriever, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the Border Collie, and the Vizsla. However, there are plenty of other breeds that can make great travel companions.

When selecting your furry friend for van life, be sure to take into account your own lifestyle and needs, as well as those of your dog. It’s also important to remember that traveling with a dog requires planning and preparation, but the rewards of having a loyal companion by your side are immeasurable.

If you’re ready to hit the road with your furry friend, be sure to check out camper van options on With a wide selection of quality camper vans to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect home on wheels for your next adventure!

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