8 Best Dog Breeds For Van Life

Are you thinking about living in a van with your dog? While it may seem like a far-fetched idea, there are actually many breeds that can thrive in this lifestyle.

Choosing the right dog breed that’s suitable for van life can be challenging with over three hundred breeds to choose from how do you know which dog is the best?

Well, your first thought would be a small dog, right? Which is a lot easier to handle and move around in the van or (RV) and, although you may be correct they are some owners that would say large dogs are also perfectly fine.

Typically you want a dog that can adjust to change. You see! a lot of animals find it hard to adjust to different surroundings, once they have been in a certain area for long periods of time.

This has been seen in cases where owners have recently moved house only to hear that their pooch has returned to their previous address.

With that said, Most dog breeds can adjust to the change in their routine and habitat,

however, there are some dogs that do struggle with change and take longer to adjust to the surroundings.

So what does this have to do with (van travel) you ask?

Well, generally when people tend to travel in their (van) it’s usually for a long vacation or weekend.

“but” for the hardcore, campers you find yourself changing locations and campsites quite often for better scenery.

This is where having a dog that can easily adapt to a change in their areas and surroundings can cope better in a van.

Typically, a puppy will be much easier for moving around especially for (RV) travel as puppies are not yet “territorial”, unlike adult dogs.

So if you’re looking for a certain dog breed to join you on your adventures in the van then check out our list below of 8 dog breeds that will be perfect for van life.

8 Dog Breeds Perfect For Van Life

1. Beagle

Beagle dog breed for van life

We start this list off with the beagle! This type of breed is a fantastic dog to have and easy to train.

They are very obedient “but” most importantly they have a good temperament.

This dog is also good around kids which is great when in campsites where there can be a lot of children and because of the beagle’s size they are very easy to transport and move around in a van.


  • Intelligent
  • Obedient

Beagle Size

  • Weight: 8kg – 15kg
  • Height: 33cm – 38cm

2. Greyhound

The Greyhound is a very kind and gentle dog and like the beagle, Greyhound has a good temperament and are very obedient making these types of dog breeds a great choice for van travel.

But what’s great about this breed is they can adapt to new areas and love exploring and going on long walks, which is perfect if your someone who likes hiking and camping with your dog.


  • Intelligent
  • Easy To Train

Greyhound Size

  • Weight: 28kg – 30kg
  • Height: 70cm – 76cm

3. Maltese

The Maltese is a very adorable and glamorous breed and loves being around people.

They have a good temperament and are very obedient which are also used in a lot of competitions for agility, and obedience.

They are very easy to handle and because of their size, and the fact that these types of breeds are used as show dogs and they can travel in multiple ways without problems including a van.


  • Intelligent
  • Obedient

Maltese Size

  • Weight: 1.4kg – 3.6kg
  • Height: 20cm – 25cm

4. Labrador

Labrador breed for van life

The popular Labrador is a well-known family dog that’s loyal, easy to train, and very obedient.

They are also known for being hardworking and for being very friendly.

These breeds are great for going on hiking and camping trips and can adapt too quickly to strange environments, however, these breeds don’t do well when left alone.


  • Friendly
  • Obedient

Labrador Size

  • Weight: 28kg – 30kg
  • Height: 54cm – 57cm

5. Chihuahua

The Chihuahua is very popular with celebrities, and this is mainly due to how small and easy they are to transport and the fact that they like being carried by their owners.

This breed is an excellent choice for going on road trips in the car or (van) and because this dog is very small they will have no trouble moving around and won’t feel restricted.


  • Friendly
  • Gentle

Chihuahua Size

  • Height: 15cm – 25cm
  • Weight: 1.8kg – 2.7kg

6. Dachshund

The dachshund was originally bred to hunt badgers and smaller tunneling animals.

however, they make fantastic house pets around children which is good if you’re visiting a campsite in your van or RV.

Dachshunds are calm dogs that will sit happily on a chair or in this case in your (van) without getting restless and like the Chihuahua, they are quite small making it easy for them to move around inside the vehicle.


  • Affectionate
  • Easy Going

Dachshund Size

  • Weight: 4kg – 14kg
  • Height: 13cm – 23cm 

7. Jack Russell

The Jack Russell was commonly used back in the day for clearing out the rats in the basement and this was mainly because of the breed’s intelligence and for being a clever little dog.

However, they can be hard to train, but with that said, these dogs are very charming, affectionate, and local.

They can also adapt to new surroundings and love exploring new areas.


  • Friendly
  • Affectionate 

Jack Russell Size

  • Weight: 5kg – 8kg
  • Height: 36cm

8. Golden Retriever

dog breed for van life

The Golden Retriever is very popular throughout Europe and is easily recognizable for there blonde, yellow color coat.

Their undercoat can also keep the retriever cool in hot weather conditions and warm in winter

Golden Retrievers make good family pets and although these breeds are quite large they are very easy to handle.

These breeds are great for taking with you on road trips and adapt well to new areas.


  • Friendly
  • Gentle

Golden Retriever Size

  • Weight: 29kg – 34kg
  • Height: 56cm – 61cm

What to Look for in a Dog Breed for Van Life?

Choosing a dog breed that is right for you and your lifestyle can be a difficult decision, but it becomes easier when you know what to consider and It’s important to know the general temperament of the breed.

Knowing whether or not they are known for being good with children is key if you’re going to travel a lot with your dog and visit campsites where a lot of kids tend to be playing.

If you’re looking for a couch potato, then Labradors are great; if you want an athletic companion, German Shepherds are perfect. Another thing to think about before choosing a dog: how much time will I have?

Most dogs need at least two hours of exercise per day, so keep this in mind when deciding on breeds that don’t require as much attention such as Maltese or Pomeranian breeds


Dog temperament is one of the most important things that you should consider when choosing a breed for life in the van.

You see, it’s important to understand the dog’s temperament in order to establish and pick the right breed.

Dogs are often seen as man’s best friend, but when you have a dog that has a bad temperament, it can be anything but.

So it’s important that you take into consideration their needs when traveling long distances or over multiple days.

Not all dogs can handle a change of environment as well as people do.


Have you ever had the misfortune of having your dog shed all over your clothes and furniture while traveling?

I’m sure it was not a pleasant experience. Dogs can be quite messy, especially when shedding on everything in sight.

Some dogs shed more than others, however, you can reduce the mess by brushing their fur every day outside of your van.

Brushing will help remove any excess hair and reduce the amount of hair that falls in the van.

Another tip for controlling shedding is to give them baths using a hose or nearby lake regularly.

Bathing helps get rid of dirt and oil which can lead to excessive shedding as well as reduces bacteria growth in their coats which can cause odors


One thing that you will want to consider before getting a dog is how much energy it will have.

Most breeds are active and energetic, and some dogs need to be walked more often or require a lot of physical activity.

When it comes to high-energy breeds, some may be better suited than others for traveling long distances in the van or RV.

In my experience, dogs with a lot of energy are the most fun to be around.

They’re always excited about life and they show their love by being really cuddly.

However, many people have experienced the other side of this coin-

Gogs who have too much energy can be difficult to deal with when you need them to calm down or stay in one place for any length of time.

These situations can be frustrating and even dangerous for both pet and owner alike so it’s something to consider when picking a dog for life in the van.

Does The Size Of Your Dog Matter In A Van?

Many people believe that the size of your dog doesn’t matter when choosing what type of van you should live in.

There are pros and cons to living in all types of vans, depending on your lifestyle and the size of your pet.

Of course, having a small dog will make things easier for your four-legged friend to move around into the van,

however, if you are park in an open area where the dog can romp around freely then the size of your dog shouldn’t matter.

Just as long as the dog can sit and sleep comfortably then this shouldn’t be an issue.

Even the smallest caravan has plenty of space for a medium or large dog.

What Does A Dog Need To Live Comfortably In A Van?

While living in a van with your dog can be one of the most rewarding experiences, it also comes with its share of challenges.

If you’re considering going on this adventure together, then here are some things to consider first before setting off.

It’s a good idea to keep your dog as comfortable as possible while in the van or your find yourself up in the night because your dog cant sleep.

There are plenty of ways to keep your dog comfortable, one way is to use padded sheets, and not only will this soften the van floor but you can also use these sheets to keep your dog warm at night.

If you have no sheets to spare then you should consider getting what’s called a dog snuggle sack which is like a sleeping bag, or you could get some outdoor dog bedding sheets.

Other ways to keep your dog comfortable:

  • Potty breaks before bedtime
  • keep your dog cool on hot nights (fan)
  • Use a dog jumper if necessary for warmth
  • Make sure your dog has access to their bed at all times

Things Your dog needs For Van Life

Van life is an increasingly popular lifestyle choice for a variety of reasons.

It’s cheaper, it’s more green, it offers the chance to explore and see things you might not otherwise get to experience.

But living in a van with your dog can be tough if you don’t plan ahead.

One of the most popular questions we see on social media from people living in vans with their pets is “what should I get my dog?”

When living with your dog in a van, you will need certain things for your pooch, and make sure you plan correctly before jumping in the van and living that van lifestyle is very important.

For example, not all your time will be spent in the van so you will need things like a dog muzzle and leash, and depending on where you live some countries require a dog to be muzzled in public areas.

There are many affordable options out there, no matter how big or small you go, here are some essential things every canine companion needs for van life:

Here is a checklist of the things your dog will need:

  • Dog Muzzle
  • Dog Leash
  • Poop Bags
  • Dog’s Coat
  • Dog Harness
  • Dog Bedding
  • Food & Water for Dogs
  • Portable Fan (optional)


So there are the best dog breeds for van life and a few extra tips to make the van lifestyle more comfortable.

When considering the type of breed you want you should go with what you can handle.

Although having a big dog is good for security it can be hard to handle especially when other dogs are in the area.

So make sure you choose wisely before purchasing a dog.