10 Best Cars & SUVs for Large Dogs: A Comprehensive Guide

Best Cars & SUVs for Large Dogs

When it comes to finding the perfect car for a furry friend, several factors come into play. You want a vehicle that is spacious, comfortable, safe, and practical. Whether you’re taking your pet to the park, on a road trip, or just to the vet, having the right car can make a world of difference. 

In this guide, we’ll explore some of the best cars for large dogs, focusing on features that ensure a smooth ride for both you and your canine companion.

What type of Large Dogs Occupied in Cars?

Big dogs according to American Kennel Club that are commonly occupied in cars include breeds known for their size, temperament, and suitability for travel. Here are some types of large dogs that often accompany their owners in cars:

  1. Labrador Retriever: Labs are friendly, outgoing dogs that typically enjoy car rides. They are known for their easy-going nature and adaptability, making them popular travel companions.
  2. Golden Retriever: Similar to Labs, Golden Retrievers are friendly, gentle dogs that tend to enjoy being with their families, including during car trips. They are known for their loyalty and love for adventure.
  3. German Shepherd: German Shepherds are intelligent, loyal dogs that often enjoy car rides, especially if they are accustomed to traveling from a young age. They are protective of their families and can be good watchdogs during trips.
  4. Boxer: Boxers are energetic and playful dogs that may initially be excited during car rides. With proper training and safety measures, they can become calm and well-behaved passengers.
  5. Standard Poodle: Poodles are intelligent and adaptable dogs that can be comfortable traveling in cars, especially if they have been trained from a young age. Their hypoallergenic coat may also be an advantage for some owners.
  6. Bernese Mountain Dog: Bernese Mountain Dogs are large, gentle giants that often enjoy being close to their families, making them good candidates for car travel if they have enough space.
  7. Rottweiler: Rottweilers are protective and loyal dogs that may require more training and socialization to be calm passengers in cars. However, with proper guidance, they can be good travel companions.
  8. Siberian Husky: Huskies are energetic and adventurous dogs that may enjoy car rides, especially if they are accustomed to travel and have enough space to move around.

Key Features to Consider

Before diving into specific models, let’s look at the essential features that make a car dog-friendly:

  1. Space: Large dogs need ample space to sit, lie down, and move around. Look for vehicles with generous cargo areas, backseat legroom, or even third-row seating.
  2. Easy Access: Low entry points, wide doors, and rear lift gates make it easier for your dog to get in and out of the car, especially for older dogs or those with mobility issues.
  3. Durability: Durable and easy-to-clean interiors, such as leather or high-quality cloth seats, help manage fur, dirt, and potential accidents.
  4. Ventilation: Good air circulation is crucial. Vehicles with rear air vents or climate control systems keep your dog comfortable during long rides.
  5. Safety: Safety features like rear airbags, sturdy seat belt anchors for dog harnesses, and separation barriers can prevent accidents and injuries.
  6. Storage: Extra storage spaces for dog essentials like leashes, water bowls, toys, and treats are beneficial.

Now, let’s explore some of the top cars that meet these criteria.

Note: For this blog, we delved into a range of automotive reviews and pet care resources. We analyzed expert opinions from trusted automotive sites like Kelley Blue Book and Car and Driver, and incorporated insights from pet-focused platforms such as the American Kennel Club. This allowed us to identify vehicles with ample space, dog-friendly features, and superior comfort, ensuring an enjoyable ride for both pets and their owners.

1. Subaru Outback

The Subaru Outback comes with spacious interior and dog-friendly features. It offers a large cargo area with a flat floor, making it easy for dogs to move around and lie down comfortably. The low ride height and wide-opening rear doors provide easy access for large dogs.

Key Features:

  • Cargo Space: 32.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats, expanding to 75.7 cubic feet with the seats folded down.
  • All-Wheel Drive: Provides stability and traction on various terrains.
  • Dog-Friendly Accessories: Optional pet barriers, cargo area liners, and all-weather mats.

2. Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V offers roomy interior and practical features. It has a low cargo floor and wide rear doors, making it easy for large dogs to get in and out. The CR-V also offers a smooth and comfortable ride, ensuring your dog remains relaxed during the journey.

Key Features:

  • Cargo Space: 39.2 cubic feet behind the rear seats, expanding to 75.8 cubic feet with the seats folded down.
  • Safety Features: Honda Sensing suite, including collision mitigation braking and adaptive cruise control.
  • Comfort: Spacious cabin with plenty of legroom and headroom.

3. Toyota RAV4

The Toyota RAV4 is a versatile and reliable SUV that provides plenty of space for large pets. Its spacious cargo area and user-friendly features make it a popular choice among pet owners. The RAV4 also boasts excellent fuel efficiency, making it a practical option for long trips.

Key Features:

  • Cargo Space: 37.6 cubic feet behind the rear seats, expanding to 69.8 cubic feet with the seats folded down.
  • Durable Interior: Easy-to-clean materials and optional cargo liners.
  • Safety: Toyota Safety Sense suite, including lane departure alert and dynamic radar cruise control.

4. Ford Escape

The Ford Escape is a compact SUV that offers a spacious and comfortable environment. It features a large cargo area and fold-flat rear seats, providing ample space for your dog to stretch out. The Escape also comes with a range of safety features to ensure a secure ride.

Key Features:

  • Cargo Space: 34 cubic feet behind the rear seats, expanding to 68 cubic feet with the seats folded down.
  • Technology: SYNC 3 infotainment system and available Ford Co-Pilot360 safety features.
  • Accessibility: Low cargo floor for easy entry and exit.

5. Chevrolet Equinox

The Chevrolet Equinox is a well-rounded SUV that caters to the needs of large dogs and their owners. It offers a spacious interior with plenty of room for your dog to move around comfortably. The Equinox also provides a smooth and quiet ride, making it ideal for long journeys.

Key Features:

  • Cargo Space: 29.9 cubic feet behind the rear seats, expanding to 63.9 cubic feet with the seats folded down.
  • Convenience: Hands-free liftgate and easy-fold rear seats.
  • Safety: Standard safety features like rear vision camera and available advanced safety technologies.

6. Volvo XC60

The Volvo XC60 is a luxury SUV that combines style, comfort, and practicality. It features a spacious cargo area and high-quality materials, ensuring a comfortable ride for both you and your dog. The XC60 also offers advanced safety features to keep your pet secure.

Key Features:

  • Cargo Space: 22.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats, expanding to 63.3 cubic feet with the seats folded down.
  • Luxury Interior: Premium materials and advanced climate control.
  • Safety: City Safety collision avoidance technology and Pilot Assist semi-autonomous drive system.

7. Kia Sorento

The Kia Sorento is a midsize SUV that offers plenty of space and versatility for large dogs. It features a roomy cargo area and comfortable seating, making it ideal for long trips. The Sorento also comes with a range of safety and convenience features to enhance your driving experience.

Key Features:

  • Cargo Space: 12.6 cubic feet behind the third row, 38 cubic feet behind the second row, and 73 cubic feet with all seats folded down.
  • Versatility: Available third-row seating and split-folding rear seats.
  • Safety: Kia Drive Wise safety suite, including blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert.

8. Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester has spacious and practical design. It offers a large cargo area and a wide rear gate, making it easy for large dogs to enter and exit. The Forester also features Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive, providing stability on various road conditions.

Key Features:

  • Cargo Space: 31.1 cubic feet behind the rear seats, expanding to 76.1 cubic feet with the seats folded down.
  • Dog-Friendly Accessories: Optional pet barriers and seat covers.
  • Safety: EyeSight Driver Assist Technology and rear vision camera.

9. Nissan Rogue

The Nissan Rogue is a compact SUV that provides a comfortable and spacious environment. It features a flexible cargo area with easy-to-fold rear seats, offering plenty of space for your pet. The Rogue also comes with a range of modern amenities and safety features.

Key Features:

  • Cargo Space: 36.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats, expanding to 74.1 cubic feet with the seats folded down.
  • Comfort: Zero Gravity front seats and dual-zone climate control.
  • Safety: Nissan Safety Shield 360, including automatic emergency braking and rear cross-traffic alert.

10. Jeep Grand Cherokee

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a robust and spacious SUV that caters to the needs of large dogs and their owners. It offers a roomy interior with a large cargo area, making it ideal for transporting your furry friend. The Grand Cherokee also boasts off-road capabilities, making it suitable for adventurous pet owners.

Key Features:

  • Cargo Space: 36.3 cubic feet behind the rear seats, expanding to 68.3 cubic feet with the seats folded down.
  • Versatility: Available 4×4 systems and Selec-Terrain traction management.
  • Comfort: Premium interior materials and advanced infotainment system.

Additional Tips for Traveling with Large Pets

Choosing the right car is the first step, but ensuring your dog’s comfort and safety during travels involves a few more considerations:

1. Use a Harness or Crate

A harness that attaches to the seatbelt or a sturdy crate can prevent your dog from moving around the vehicle, reducing the risk of injury in case of sudden stops or accidents.

2. Keep the Car Cool

Always ensure your dog has adequate ventilation. Never leave your dog alone in a parked car, especially in warm weather, as temperatures can rise quickly and be fatal.

3. Plan Regular Breaks

On long trips, plan for regular breaks to allow your dog to stretch, hydrate, and relieve themselves. This also helps reduce anxiety and restlessness.

4. Bring Essential Supplies

Pack a travel bag with all the essentials: water, food, bowls, a leash, waste bags, a blanket, and some of your dog’s favorite toys. This helps make the journey more comfortable and enjoyable for your dog.

5. Protect Your Car

Using seat covers, cargo liners, and floor mats can protect your car’s interior from fur, dirt, and potential damage. These accessories make cleaning up easier and keep your car in good condition.

6. Train Your Dog

Training your dog to be comfortable in the car can make trips more enjoyable. Start with short trips and gradually increase the duration to help them get used to being in the vehicle.


By choosing the right vehicle and following best practices for traveling with your dog, you can ensure that every journey is a pleasant and safe experience for both you and your furry friend. 

Whether it’s a quick trip to the park or a cross-country adventure, having a dog-friendly car makes all the difference.

Stephen Madison
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