The best dog breeds for every type of traveller

Everyone knows a dog is man’s best friend. With increasing numbers of people having brought a dog into their lives during the pandemic period, the joys of dog ownership are being felt across the world.

For keen travellers, though, bringing a dog into your life might seem a bit out of reach. Do I take them with me? Do I leave them at home? What if they don’t like sand, or new people, or large crowds? Fear not. Dogs can be adaptable and, just like humans, some are incredibly well suited to the travelling life.

Leading airline Icelandair spoke to Gayle, dog trainer and owner of, a dog training and behaviour modification company based in Essex, UK, about her recommended dog breeds for every type of traveller. Whether you’re a beach bum, a city break afficionado or a family travelling troop, these are the perfect dog breeds to fit into your lifestyle and travelling habits.

Best dog for beach lovers– Labrador Retriever

Credit: Danielle MacInnes

So you like to spend your well-earned holiday lying on golden sand, sipping a cocktail and getting stuck into a good book. Luckily for you, a Labrador Retriever is just as chilled, and would be the perfect vacation buddy for you. They love the water and are a great companion that, whether you’re having a lazy day or indulging in some beachside exercise, will match your activity level and energy.

Gayle’s top tip: “Get your lab used to grooming from a young age so that brushing that sand out of their fur is no big deal!”

Best dog for outdoor adventurers– German Shorthaired Pointer

Credit: @stastny

 If hiking, climbing and exploring the great outdoors is more your vacation style, a German Shorthaired Pointer would be your ideal canine partner. They’re high energy, up for adventure and built for exploring. They’re great swimmers, so perfect if your adventure takes you to the water. Originally bred to work long days in the field or at the lake, GSPs are known for power, speed, agility, and endurance- the perfect adventure buddy.

Gayle’s top tip: “Start recall training early on to avoid any disappearances on your trip, and get your GSP used to a harness.”

Best dog for urban explorers– Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Credit: @austinkirk

If you enjoy a city break or like to base your trip in a more urban setting, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a great choice for you. Their friendly temperament and adaptability mean that they’re great around lots of people, and, as highly social dogs, new faces and friends aren’t a problem for them. They aren’t bundles of energy, but also aren’t lazy dogs, so will be happy to trot alongside you as you explore urban jungles without needing a large green space to run around in.

Gayle’s top tip: “Start socialising your dog with the whir of the city from a young age so that they’re used to the sounds and smells.”

Backpacker– Boston Terrier

Credit: @bostonterrier

Getting your backpack ready for a longer trip? A Boston Terrier should be top of your packing list! For someone who goes away for longer periods of time, often to multiple locations, the friendly nature and relaxed sociability of the Boston Terrier makes them the perfect backpacking buddy. They have enough energy for exploring but are chilled enough to sit on transport for longer periods of time, making them the perfect companion for longer trips. They’re intelligent, sociable dogs with bundles of personality, so if you’re a solo traveller they’ll be helping you to make new friends in no time at all!

Gayle’s top tip: “Acclimatise your Boston pup to public transport straight away so they are calm during travel.”

Best dog for business trippers- Border Terrier

Credit: @emilpriver

If you don’t get much separation between your work and leisure time and your only opportunity to travel is flying between business meetings, a Border Terrier is the pup for you. They have low grooming needs, which is ideal for busy people, and are intelligent and independent so can be left on their own when you need to run to your next meeting.

Gayle’s top tip: “Socialise your Border Terrier with other animals early on and layer in early obedience. Make sure you get them used to cats popping out in urban areas for example.”

Best dog for family holidays– Golden Retriever

Credit: @enisyavuz

Part of a travelling pack? If your family likes to holiday together, you need a dog that’s friendly, patient and active. Enter: Golden Retriever. They are both social and tolerant, meaning they have patience with children and are happy to meet new people and be around strangers. They’re active enough to take part in family activities but are equally as happy to chill out when the rest of their pack is. They’re playful and gentle dogs, and don’t get stressed easily in public places.

Gayle’s top tip: “Start retrieve training early so that the family has a fun way to keep your golden healthy & fit whilst on the road.”