Best Kayak for Huge Dog ?

Will be tested!
Of course we’re going to test the boat first with the dog! The Newf pup is only a month old now, in Belgium, bred for certain water affinity.

Planning to test boats with us humanimals first, list the top runners and then test and buy in March or April with our puppy.

Already have 3 kayaks and space for 2 more in garage. Have to be really careful that we buy the right one. All this costs mucho dinero $$$$. Smart to research and plan ahead!

Several new boats out for 2010, quite exciting.

Never even considered a SOT before; will take a learning curve and paddling a few to get the hang of it. It’s a “fair weather boat only” I’ve been told so that may be too limiting. Will have to try.

Any of you have experience trying different kayaks with a big dog? I find lots of pictures on the Net but not that many anecdotes.

Grooming & nails
Thanks for the tip about the Newf nails – yes we’ll be keeping them trimmed and sanded. There’s a Petco near us that has a self-serve bathing room, $10 per visit.

We have a roll-in tiled shower but are afraid all that Newfie hair will plug up the sewer lines.

Newfoundlands have a thick oily double coat meant for water and cold temps. These are the famous water rescue dogs, perfect for kayakers. Why we chose this breed, plus excellent temperament, smart, friendly, very teachable, awesome companion.

I’ll say it.
Dogs do not belong in kayaks. There are many places that dogs do not belong, but their owners for various reasons, are blind to sensibility. Can you say, DUMB ?

Rob Roy by Bell Canoe
Great boat. Two sizes. I suggest the 15 footer. Call it a canoe with partially covered deck, or a kayak with big openings. You can outfit it

with a spray skirt and inflated underdeck bags to make it very seaworthy.

It handles waves and wind remarkable well. And with a big dog and you and gear it has the load limit to handle you all.

Where would you be going?

– Last Updated: Dec-29-09 9:14 AM EST –

Lots of comments about the idea of this dog in a kayak - add mine to SOT or canoe. I just can't see any reason to put a dog, especially one of size, in a kayak when other craft exist that are more suited for the purpose. So maybe you'll have to be a slightly better paddler in some of them - I don't see a problem with that.

But - what I am missing hasn't been mentioned is where and how far you plan to paddle with the dog. Just messing around, actually hunting or fishing, distances or not,with camping gear or not?

The right boat
Sundance 12 isn’t going to work. The cockpit is large, but I had to give up on mine. It didn’t have quite enough float…let alone enough to carry a large dog, too.

We bought an Acadia II. The seats are on rails, so you can reposition them (downside of the tandem SOT). It will hold my 300 pounds and a big dog with ease. The Pamlico tandem is the same idea. Look for those moveable seats, so you can change the fit of the boat.

An SOT might work, but forget the Tandems. That molded forward seat isn’t helping you. Instead, look at a big single. You might think about the Malibu Kayaks XFactor. There is a large hatch area forward. If that isn’t cut out to form the hatch, it yields a large flat depression.

Both of these boats are 14.5 long and carry a lot of weight. They can also double as the pack boat.

big dog in kayak
I paddel and pole with MOLLY a yellow lab. PLEASE buy a canoe, a big one. Good luck with whatever boat you try. Paddling with your dog is a lot of fun.

Kat’s Yak
You mentioned two issues, but you left off a big 'un… It’s an ugly blue color!

two persons + dog

large vs. huge
Our 140# newf requires nearly 4’ of length to lie down. Sitting up takes less space obviously. Even people with “large” dogs, like a lab are suprised by the size of our pup, so what works for most large dogs might not work for a newf.

I’d look for stability as a primary consideration, and maybe a cockpit that is narrower than the boat. 140 pounds, especially sitting up, shifting from one side to another has the potential to tip even a relatively stable boat.

Maybe a boat like a Old Town Loon 160 double would be good. More canoe than kayak, in a way, but this definitely has the room and capacity for our newf. We have one, though I’ve never taken the dog in it. She’s too skittish in small boats to be worth the trouble. (We use it as the family minivan.)


– Last Updated: Dec-29-09 3:57 PM EST –

Is it going to be one or two people in the boat with the dog?

I/we have had a combined 150 pounds of dog in a canoe many times. There have been exciting moments but no real problems. You just have to stay loose -- people tend to fall out of canoes before they actually capsize.

It's a Bell Morningstar RX -- very stable.

For a Newfie, I'd take advantage of the flexibility of the canoe by removing the bow seat(for a single paddler) and rearranging the thwarts to make a space for him that'll put the boat in trim. Do put something non-skid on the floor so he'll feel secure.

For the paddler, you can lower the seat or kneel for more stability, and use a double-blade paddle if you prefer.

I built a solo canoe that's been great for a human plus 80-pound dog:

Nothing against rec kayaks or SOTs -- I just don't have much experience with them.

Ocean Kayak Sidekick
See if you can find one of these hidden somewhere. I think they quit making it last year… It was made to hold a kid or dog up front but didn’t take off unfortunately.

Paddling with dogs common
Thanks for all suggestions, looking at everything.

We just confirmed buying the Newfie from Belgium!

Dog will be with 1 paddler in 1 boat.

Did you know there’s a whole organization in Canada called


that takes dogs + owners out on the water all the time?

Check out their photo gallery:

Will find the right boat, might be hybrid, will just keep looking and carefully considering all suggestions. If we have to learn to “paddle better” or learn to enjoy a canoe so be it. But for us a kayak is leagues better feeling than the canoe we tried.


These things have high weight capacity, are VERY stable, and because they’re poly, can take a beating. The OK Malibu 2, a couple of the Cobras, and one or two of the Emotions might do quite well for you. Check them -and more -out. You can get some of these models relatively inexpensively, used, as well.

The big advantage is that even a large dog can manage to scramble back aboard one of these pretty easily, while getting your ‘furkid’ back into a rec boat might be a lot more problematic, as the dog would need to crest the coaming and then kind of ‘fall’ or ‘tumble’ into the boat, and also, the ‘grabbing’ motions of the paws on the coaming combined with the weight of the wet dog trying to get back on board may rock the boat into instability. An SOT has basically a relatively easily accessed and relatively flat deck, plus the tandems/triples have a lot of beam, such that I think stability would be a lot better.

Good luck with your pursuit of canine cavorting on the water. Let us know what you end up with, and, as the dog grows (and grows an grows, LOL!) let us kn ow how hings are (or maybe aren’t?) working out as you and the ‘furkid’


-Frank in Miami

Here ya go
Hobie Adventure Island Tandem. Its not on their website yet but it’s supposed to come out this spring. Presently, they have the single here:

I would think that the biggest problem would be when the dog decided to move around. The outriggers on these boats make them incredibly stable, even with a large dog moving around.

I’ve used my single with the grandkids and they climb all over it with no problems at all.

Native Ultimate 14 solo or tandem
Stable, comfortable/flexible seating, lots of add-ons from manufacturer. I rented the 14 solo several times with my dog. Lots of room for the dog to move around, but the hybrid hull stays solid as a rock if the dog moves around. The tandem paddles just as easy as the seat is moveable to the center position. Make sure you check this one out. Probably your best option that isn’t a canoe.

I just dont understand WHY
you need to kayak with that dog…Newfies love water…its going to jump out…then jump back in…How are your self rescue skills?


– Last Updated: Dec-29-09 8:10 PM EST –

All things considered . . .
I still think the large SOT is a good bet, especially for a big dog that will jump in and out . . . or, should I say out and in.

Short story: I was paddling down a river with friends some weeks back. We were joined by a medium-small sized dog that dog-paddled along with us for what seemed like a couple miles, shared our lunch, then paddled along side until he looked like he was getting tired. A lady helped him into her rec boat - quite a chore - for the reasons cited above. Once rested, he jumped out and swam again.

Here’s a fun thing to do: Google “Kayak” and “dog” in Google Images and see how many dogs you see on SOTs, compared to other boat types. If canoe is still an option, add that term.

Another option . . .
Check this out: .

Maybe you can add this to one of your current boats.