Best cars for dogs

Find the ideal pup-mobile with the right accessories for your pooch: these are the best cars for dogs

BuyaCar team
Jul 6, 2018

Rover may be an extinct make of car but its canine namesake is alive and well – and most love the prospect of a ride in the family motor.

But is not as simple as opening the back door and letting your pooch leap in. Rule 57 of the Highway Code states that animals must be restrained to avoid distracting you, and to reduce the risk of injury in a crash. Recent research has also found that leaping from tall cars could increase strain on dogs' front legs, making them more prone to injury.

So if you want to avoid ending up in the doghouse, you’ll need to make sure you get the right car and the right equipment.

 

Best cars for dogs

Every car in the list below is especially pooch-friendly, offering easy access for dogs and a range of accessories to safely and efficiently transport them. Click to jump to more information on each model or scroll down for tips and details of all ten cars. 

Making your car fit for a dog

A car with a big boot might seem an obvious requirement, but your dog should also be happy strapped into the back seats. If you plan to do this, then you;re better off avoiding three-door cars, which can make it more difficult to coax your dog into the back. Front seats can be dangerous for you and your dog, as there's a high risk of distraction. In the event of a crash, the passenger seat airbag could also cause serious injury to your dog.

Seat covers are virtually essential and it's probably best to avoid suede-effect upholstery in the first place, which has a glue-like effect on any loose dog hair.

For a comfortable and safe journey for you and your pet, your dog should be secured and comfortable in the back of your car with a dog guard or, better still, a harness. For the welfare of your vehicle, a seat or boot cover is also recommended. Most car manufacturers sell these items as accessories that can be separately to your car, whether it's brand new or second-hand. For more information, read our full guide to transporting dogs in cars

Skoda Citigo

Best car for dogs like Chihuahuas

Paws up Comes with optional harness  Paws down Boot too small for a dog

The Citigo and the Chihuahua were made for each other. Both are small, nippy and light (on your pocket, in the case of the Citigo).

What’s more, every Skoda is available with items from the company’s dog safety and comfort range of harnesses, hammocks, seat covers and boot liners. The Citigo gets the option of the Dog Safety Belt. With a simple clunk-click of this specially developed belt, available in a range of sizes, even the cheekiest Chihuahua will be restrained on the back seat where they belong. And it handily clicks into a lead for seamless car-to-walk manoeuvres.
Skoda Citigo buying guide

    

Mini Cooper ALL4 Countryman

Best for dogs like Border Collies

Paws up Bootlid gesture control  Paws down Like all SUVs, a bit high off the ground for smaller dogs

Like a Border Collie, the Mini Countryman is great at rounding up families and heading for the hills. The dog may be able to scramble over craggier outcrops and scoot around smaller sixpences but the Mini ALL4 Countryman won't be far behind.

The interior’s probably too smart to allow your dog to muddy it but the boot is as practical as they come, and big, too. With the back seats in place there’s 450 litres of space, 70 litres more than a VW Golf, but fold them down and there’s 1,390.

The boot lip is relatively low, although the ALL4’s off-road design means the vehicle is slightly more raised than the standard car. However, that won't be an obstacle for an agile Border Collie.

Holding a lead with one hand and opening the boot with the other can be risky, as well as a chore. The ALL4 has that covered, too, with gesture-control of the bootlid on higher-spec models. Just waggle your foot below the rear bumper and it opens. A tough, optional floor mat for the boot keeps muddy paws off the trim.
Mini Countryman buying guide

  

Ford B-Max

Best cars for dogs like Whippets

Paws up Easy access to the rear seats.  Paws down Rear visibility limited even without a floppy-eared head in the back.

It’s not much longer or wider than a Ford Fiesta, but the B-Max’s sliding doors, and tall roof make it much more practical, as does the lack of a central pillar between the front and rear seats when you open the door.

It means you can really lean in and secure your mischievous whippet. When you’re in the front seat, you’ll be able to keep an eye on them, thanks to a mirror that’s trained on the rear seats. A dog guard (also known as a load-retention guard) that sits between the front and rear seats is available.

The B-Max isn’t too high, so a medium-size dog such as a whippet can easily jump up into the car; you won’t have to lift a finger. Although Ford recently stopped making the B-Max, there are plenty of used models available.
Ford B-Max buying guide

     

VW Tiguan

Best car for dogs like Poodles

Paws up Clever Pet accessory package  Paws down You need to buy a harness in addition to the Pet pack

Understated style with intelligence - and that’s just the dog. The latest hi-tech Tiguan is closer to the ground than its predecessor, making it easier for small but chic dogs to climb aboard with dignity.

But what really sets this model apart is the Tiguan Pet accessory package. It includes a sturdy grille that separates the boot from the passenger compartment. There’s also a flexible boot liner perfect for the Tiguan’s variable-height boot floor. It has a raised edge, too, that prevents dirt and liquids slopping over the sides.

There’s a transparent film to protect the rear bumper from scratchy claws as your dog climbs aboard and tie-down hooks for attaching a harness

As well as the pet kit, you can also link some GoPro cameras to your car’s dashboard display, helping you to keep an eye on your pet while you’re driving.
VW Tiguan buying guide

 

Nissan X-Trail

Best car for dogs like Jack Russells

Paws up Matching accessories for haute couture hounds  Paws down Costs £599

For the complete pup-friendly package, Nissan's Paw Pack can't be beaten. The optional extra comes with a slide-away ramp for easy access to the boot (see inset picture); a guard between the boot and rear seats; a washable dog bed; a spill resistant water bowl; a boot cover; and storage compartments for treats and leads, all branded with the Nissan logo. All that's missing is a harness, should you choose to secure your pet further.

For Jack Russells, who need extensive exercise, it's an easy way to help them race out of the car and off for their run, and then to contain the mud and debris that they return with.

The price for this convenience is steep, though. You could assemble a similar package for considerably less by buying each item separately.
Nissan X-Trail buying guide

   

Audi A4 Avant

Best car for dogs like Yorkshire terriers

Paws up Paws down

The rear seat dog seatbelt sold by Audi is ideal for a sociable dog like a Yorkshire Terrier. They can yap away with the family, safely secured in the passenger compartment, thanks to the harness which is suited to smaller animals. Use it in connunction with the optional rear seat cover (which goes across all of the back seats) for optimum seat protection.

Jumping in and out of the car is easier with a low car like the A4, than a taller SUV. The other advantage of buying an estate car such as the Audi is that you've also got space to expand the brood, should you wish to have a second, bigger dog; a dog guard between the back seats and boot is among the accessories available.
Audi A4 Avant buying guide

   

Volvo XC90

Best car for dogs like Great Danes

Paws up Clever dog gate and compartment package  Paws down It’s not Danish

A Volvo XC90 and a Great Dane: if only the dog were called a Great Swede, they’d be perfectly matched. The male can grow to 86cm in height and weigh up to 90kg; well within the limits of the XC90's boot, which has 451 litres of space with all seven seats in place. However, you’d probably want to lower the third row to give the poor animal stretching room.

As you’d expect, the big XC90 has ample power but more impressive are its safety features, there primarily to keep human occupants safe but along the way, their canine companions, too. The XC90 has multiple airbags extending to the rear, cameras that can detect pedestrians as well as animals (including Great Danes) ahead of you and warn of their presence, and automatic braking.

There’s an optional accessory gate to keep your dog safe and secure, and which is easy to open and close from outside the car. Combined with the optional protective grille and load compartment divider, you can create one or two separate dog compartments.
Volvo XC90 buying guide

  

Citroen Berlingo Multispace

Best for dogs like Labradors

Paws up Tough, convenient and practical  Paws down Ride can be bumpy – watch that travel sickness

The Berlingo was designed for mutts like Labradors, who love to bring the countryside home with them.

Whether you buy the latest vrsion, shown above or the recently-replaced model, its twin, electric sliding doors mean your hands are free to keep a firm grasp on the lead. Meanwhile, the hard-wearing interior will withstand a scrub if you forget to cover the seats.

The floor of the car is low, so a large labrador can just wander in, and there’s enough space in the back to get comfortable.

There’s plenty of space in the boot, and the back window of the boot opens separately, so you can poke through treats without worrying that your dog will leap out. The optional Modutop overhead locker is ideal for snacks, harnesses and spare plastic bags.

    

Dacia Duster

Best car for dogs like Irish Setters

Paws up Tough, cheap and available with four-wheel drive  Paws down A bit ordinary for a sophisticated Setter

When your dog needs its daily bound through a forest, then you need to ensure you can navigate muddy car parks come rain or shine.

A brand new four-wheel drive car could be yours for under £12,000 with some recent Dacia Duster deals, and you can pick up a second-hand Duster for half the cost. They should get you to the least crowded end of a boggy country car park.

At that price, you may not be too worried about your dog leaving a trail of mud through the car, but you can order a Protection Pack, which includes a tough plastic boot liner and extra protection from scratches on the top of the bumper and boot opening. You’ll also get parking sensors in case your dog distracts you while reversing.
Dacia Duster buying guide

 

Land Rover Discovery

Best for dogs like St Bernards

Paws up Conquers those dog walks other cars cannot reach  Paws down Its price would buy a lifetime’s supply of Pedigree Chum – and then some.

A large working dog bred to rescue people from some of Europe’s highest mountains will feel right at home in one of the best hill-climbing cars.

The Land Rover Discovery uses the latest technology to ford rivers, scrabble up rubble-strewn slopes and navigate deep muddy ruts, no matter that its toughest test in real life may only be through a downpour on the M1.

A standard powered bootlid makes opening the car slow but hands-free, and there’s plenty of space - with two of the seven seats folded - for a big St Bernard to settle down.

The back of the car is perfect for a snooze, thanks to the Discovery’s comfortable ride. There’s an optional protective kit that’s perfect for keeping dog paws off the leather and carpets. It includes washable rubber mats, a large boot liner with retaining lip to keep it secure, as well as protective and wipeable seat covers. For smaller pups, you can divide the boot space into two with a special guard: half for your dog and the other half for luggage.

 

Dog images: GlobalP/iStock.com

 

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