Need suggestions: kayaks and dogs

I’m looking for a kayak with a rudder that has a cockpit big enough to take my medium/large dog along. I’d like to do mostly flat water and open lakes, but maybe have the option to do some ocean kayaking in the future. My local store is telling me that the Pungo 140 is really my only option for kayaking with a dog, but I really would like the option of a rudder. Any suggestions for other makes/models to try? I have had my dog in a Old Town Vapor kayak that I rented (cockpit size 19.5" x 48"), and that size cockpit worked - I wouldn’t want to try to fit him in one that was much smaller than that.

So, I guess I’m looking for a recreation/day/weekend touring kayak with a rudder and a cockpit that’s about 20" x 48" (or slightly larger). Would be grateful for any suggestions! This is my first kayak, and I want one that will grow with my skills.

I’m not feeling it…
… for a sit inside kayak and a dog. There seems little chance that you could ever paddle effectively with a med/large dog situated in the cockpit in front of you. Likewise, if you ever do intend to get your kayak out on the ocean, you will need a spray skirt. Spray skirts don’t work very well with giant cockpits… that’s if you could even find one that would fit a cockpit that size.

So, that being said, why not check out sit on tops? You might be able to get the dog to ride behind you (and not mess up the weight distribution too much). You wouldn’t need a spray skirt, should you venture out on the ocean.

Also are you sure you need a rudder? I’m guessing that you will do fine without one. Rudders are probably best with long kayaks with little rocker. My kayak is over 17 feet and it turns very nicely with just an edge and wide sweep stroke.

Anyhow, go back to that shop and see what kind of SOTs they can dig up and see how that works with your pooch.

You won’t “grow with your skills” if you
depend on a rudder to manage a rec kayak that doesn’t need a rudder.

competing goals
While improved skills will apply to any paddle craft, from a sea kayaker’s perspective, you can’t have a kayak to take a dog along that also works very well to become a skilled kayaker. Forget about meeting both goals. Get a kayak that will comfortably suit you and your dog if that’s your priority.

I’ve had an Old Towne Loon 160T that I’ve had for years that works great for paddling with a dog. The seats are all adjustable, so it’s easy to deal with trim for whatever sized dog and person combination. You’ll see some with rudders and some without. I’ve always gone without, and have always found it easily manageable. But I imagine it would be easy enough to add a rudder to one that was without.

Get something like this, and you and your dog will not interfere with one another while paddling. It will allow you to actually use normal paddling strokes. I would consider the Pungo 140 a terrible option in comparison. I wouldn’t even consider the Pungo 140 suitable for paddling with a medium/large dog, or any dog at all for that matter.

I agree with CapeFear
Have’nt paddled with large dog before, but did have a very rambunctious could’nt keep still hanging over sides 45# Brittany spaniel . First used was a Perception America , next a Pungo which she hated, maybe because of the V bottom , then a Mohawk Odessey solo canoe with stabilizers. Looking back I know that a tandem kayak would have been a much more enjoyable ride for both of us, offering the option of removing front seat , big cockpit , low center of gravity, and enough width for stability. By far the best ride for your dog. I see them on craigslist a lot.

faithful friend
I have a big faithful dog friend too. I bring him on all my camping and canoe trips.

I could not find a traditional kayak with an enclosed deck for my dog that I felt safe with. My dog sleeps while paddle and I am sure he would cuddle up in the cockpit.

My,concern was that if I dump, he could not get out of the cockpit fast enough or might inhale water and drown just from the shock of it

I think the open deck option is the best one

kill two birds w/one stone
use the dog as a rudder

Loon 138
I was in a similar situation - I have a 75lb ridgeback and luckily found a local Loon 138 for sale. She sits between my legs on a towel for comfort, and can even lay down under the hull when shes bored or sea-sick. The only thing I’ve noticed is I have to have the seat so far back that I get tail-heavy. But that hasn’t really slowed me down except for fast-moving water, got a little sketchy.


You don’t need a kayak
Get a canoe. You can do everything you want to do and do so safely. What you are proposing will endanger you and your dog.