Selecting a boat for me & my dog

I’m looking for some advice on boats.

I’d like to get a kayak that both me and my dog will fit comfortably.

My dog doesn’t spend too much time in the boat, preferring to swim or run along the river, but there are times when she needs to be in the boat with me. (specficially if it’s a long stretch of water deeper than her legs are tall).

So, mostly, I’ll be in Missouri’s rivers, possibly playing in a lake or two.

What’s everyone’s experience with a dog?

I was considering sit on tops because it’ll be relateively calm water i’m in and it seems easier to hoist the dog up onto a sit on top.

Any advice is appreciated.

i’m 5’2, dog is 75lb lab!

it’s called a canoe …
micky and i canoe together all the time. kayaking with a dog is much more difficult. IMO, any vessel that can take a dog and you with any facility at all is called a canoe.

A lot to consider
You said that the dog doesn’t spend too much time in the boat. What have you been using thus far? Going into deeper water with a dog that might prefer to be in the water rather than a small boat could be problematic if the dog isn’t under control. Will it bail out and dump you when it is least desirable? Dogs can get hypothermic and exhausted just like other mammals (incl. people) Do you have a PFD for the dog? The RuffWear model has a handle on the top of the dog/PFD assembly to assist in lifting the dog in or for grabbing on for control. I paddle an OT Loon 138 and enjoy having my brittany’s company occasionally. The new Loon design doesn’t have quite as big a cockpit. You can still get the old hull design in a package called the OT Predator, the fishing version of the boat. I prefer the lower riding design over the tall sides of a canoe. You will have to demo a few craft to see what is best for you.

A good sit on top model might be the way to go. The dog can lay down on the deck and it will have good stability if the dog starts moving around.

I have pondered this
…it seems that a SOT might work for a small dog that you could lift into the boat, but for a large dog I wonder if you might tow a styrofoam raft/ramp?

You can also buy dog PFD’s.

more info on my situation
Thanks for all the help in the replies… things I need to think about.

Here’s some more information:

The dog is a great swimmer, well behaved and is obedient, has a pfd (and wears it).

We’ve been in a canoe together and she did fine in the boat; she’d rather be swimming, tho.

I thought a SOT would be better for me to maneuver by myself… we’re going to increase the number and frequency of river trips this year and i’m not sure i’ll always have someone to go with us.

a canoe vote from a kayaker…
I am primarily a kayaker (whitewater), but for flatwater river trips with my dog, I have a canoe. My canoe is a Mohawk Solo 14. It weighs only 30 lbs (maybe a pound or 2 less), so it’s easy enough for me to load it and carry it all on my own. I think a SOT or canoe will both work for you, but you might want to see how heavy a SOT would be. When you say “more maneuverable” and talk about going alone, I wasn’t sure if you meant maneuverable ON the water, or maybe even before you get to the water which is why I thought I’d mention weight as a factor. As far as maneuvering on water, it’s not that hard to learn to paddle a solo canoe with a single blade, but you can also paddle it with a kayak paddle if you prefer or while you’re mastering working with a single blade.

A canoe also would make overnight camping trips easy if you decide to add that to your adventures. I’ve camped out of my canoe on overnight river trips with my dog, and that works great.

Her area is limited to the bow in front of the thwart. I have a rubbery mat in there to make it easy for her to keep her footing getting in and out and standing up there. It’s easy for her to hop in and out in shallow areas (on command).

As far as hauling your dog in, I’m not sure you could haul a 75 lb dog onto a SOT or into a canoe from deep water without joining your dog swimming! At least I can’t imagine it. My dog gets in and out only in shallow areas. If she were to exit the boat in a deep area, she would need to swim to shore to get back in (she doesn’t exit the boat though unless she’s given permission to do so).

Good luck finding the right boat for you and your pooch! It’s great fun to explore a river with your best friend on board!


Meyer, labs are great dogs!
as far as my experience goes (I’m originally from NE so I know the Missouri river); you shouldnt get any boat for your lab, they would rather be swimming (even in freezing water) than sitting in some boat. Why not just buy yourself what you want and let the dog swim along, head towards shore every 10 minutes or so to allow the dog to get out and take a breather. Now as far as “non-labs” go (my wife has a shelty); i’d just as soon use the boat to take it and dump it in the middle of the lake w/a brick attached to it…heheh…just kiddin!

good luck, enjoy that lab as much as u can.

How about the Perception Sundance
I kayak mostly on flat water and have room in the Sundance 12.0 for two 20 lbs dogs.

The Sundance has a very long cockpit and it very shallow. So it is not easily tipped even when dogs are moving from one side to the other looking at birds. The front of the kayak is very roomy and on long trips one of my dogs usually crawls under the front overhang and naps.

I have a few pictures in my albums of the perception sundance with both dogs and me in it. Of course with these small dogs, it is easy for me to grab the handle on the back of their pfd if one of them decides to take a plunge in the lake!


SOT Kayaking with dogs
I would look into the Cobra Fish and Dive …

SOTs work well with dogs … check out this link…

Also check in the forums and articles.

My 50 lb dog could easily capsize a canoe when she decided she was getting out in a hurry and you weren’t watching, she did better in our Hobie sit on top tandem, but she did not like it… was not a water dog.

An AIRE Sea Tiger will hold several dogs
with ease and is tough enough for their nails. Easy to paddle and steer and being 37" wide with 11" side tubes its very very stable. My kids can stand up on it in the ocean and dive in.