Best Kayak and Canoes For Dogs

The Best Dog Kayaks and Canoes in 2017

Outdoor enthusiasts are more and more to adopt the kayaking experience while exploring their location of choice.
It allows us to explore new places that can be inaccessible by land, gives a great workout and taking time to reflect surrounded by water lapping is a stress killer.
But sometimes you just want to share your passion with your loved ones, and if you are anything like me, that mostly includes your dog.

Nothing compares to the feeling you get when kayaking with your beloved pet. The dog-owner kayaking experience has a positive effect on the dog, and you might even realize that this experience will change you as well !

While you might think at first that your dog can fit anywhere, an experienced pet-accompanied kayaker will tell you to consider a few things. There are many things that people don't think about, for example, you don't want to see your dog struggling and slipping on the plastic kayak decks, or maybe you do for a good laugh, but you definitely don't want him to get injured.
If you are interested in how we made our selection check out below what makes a kayak a good dog-friendly kayak.

We tried over 10 of the best canoes and kayaks with different pet sizes and personalities, evaluating stability, durability, dimensions, shape and floatability. This review will provide valuable analysis on how to choose the best all-around kayak, the best fishing kayak for dogs, the best inflatable dog kayak, the best kayak for your dog size, and the best value.

Here's the list of the selected products, you can scroll down further to check the complete review:

These are all excellent products, depending on your profile and budget you might choose one or another, this is why we added an "award" column to help you choose.

Name Capacity Dimensions Award  

Folbot Greenland II

600 lbs. length: 17 ft.

width: 34 in.
Premium Best All Around Dog Kayak

Sea Eagle 385FT FastTrack

635 lbs. length: 12 ft. 6 in.

width: 36 in.
Best Inflatable Dog Kayak

Bolt X2

374 lbs. length: 12 ft.

width: 37 in.
Best Budget Dog Kayak

Old Town Vapor 10

325 lbs. length: 10 ft.

width: 28.5 in.
Best Small-Medium Dog Kayak

eMotion Spitfire 12'

500 lbs. length: 12 ft.

width: 35 in
Best Large / Multiple Dog Kayak

What makes a Kayak a good Dog-Friendly Kayak ?

Choosing the right kayak in itself is a hard task: between the sit-in and sit-on-top models, the different build types and the variations in hull design and outfitting, it can make you crazy.
So our pooch doesn't make it easier since choosing the right dog-friendly kayak adds a new unknown to the equation. 
Fortunately (for you, not my wallet), we went through enough trial and error to be knowledgeable about what to look for in a good dog kayak.

The boat needs to be built for good performance and comfort, otherwise what's the point of even going kayaking if you can't take pleasure from it ? Factors such as good floatability, capacity and durability should be your first basic concerns.
This should already limit your search to only good tandem kayaks or canoes, your dog needs space: don't let him suffocate between your thighs for hours.

Kayaks and canoes are not built with dogs in mind, but you can easily make the right boat a lot easier for your dog by sticking a piece of foam mat to your boat so your dog can have a better grip and be stable. If he's unstable, you are unstable, and you'll visit the fish quick enough ! Trust us.

The other part of choosing the right dog kayak, is having a properly trained dog and having the proper equipment.
Indeed, you need to accustom him to the kayak / canoe and teach him when to sit and don't move (to avoid tipping over or when loading/unloading).
Here's the gear you'll need for your dog:

  • A Dog Life Jacket
  • Treats
  • Water bowl (+ water if at sea)
  • A mat for your dog comfort and stability
  • Poop bags

Also, don't forget to take a leash with you, but never attach your dog to the boat. In case of emergency, your dog needs to swim freely to safety.

If you want to get into more detail we recommend this guide by Lou Racine, an experienced dog-owner kayaker. The book is plenty of tips and recommendations on safety, what to take with you, and other ideas like the kanoe mat !


Best Kayak and Canoes for Dogs in 2017

We wrote down a list that contains the best dog kayaks and canoes in the market, that have been selected for their durability, capacity, ease of use, floatability, and comfort.
Now, let’s get into the heart of the matter of the best kayak and canoes for dogs of 2017.

1. Folbot Greenland II – The Best Premium Dog Kayak

Folbot is an English brand founded in 1933 ! They have been around for ever and remain one of the longest running kayak companies in the world.

The Greenland II is the first Folbot built with aluminum longerons and polycarbonate cross frames, making it sturdy and lightweight.

It is also huge with it's 17 feet length allowing two rowers to fit, a medium size dog and cargo !
The inside is very spacious and minimalistic which allows you to set it up as you wish for the comfort of your pet.
Built like traditional Inuit kayaks, the Folbot Greenland II is a premium high quality boat that you will love for years to come. This is backed by their lifetime warranty, just in case.

A beautiful lab on a Folbot Greenland II

Since the kayak is long and narrow, you might wonder about it's stability... well thanks to it's broad beam and inflatable sponsons it will be very difficult for you to tip over.

Another main advantage of this boat is it's portability, Folbot built their business around folding kayaks, so this one is no exception. It takes 15 minutes to assemble, even less if you are two (two humans !), and you are ready to go. No more kayaking for the day ? Disassemble it and throw it in the back seat.
The Folbot Greenland II is very eye-pleasing when assembled and a great space saver when you don't use it.

We tried other well respected kayak brands (Klepper and Feathercraft) and they handle the same way as our Folbot (those 3 brands are as good as it can get). But we chose the Folbot because it is more fairly priced for the same type of equipment and experience. Plus, with Folbot's lifetime guarantee the best choice wasn’t hard to make.

And don't take our word for it, check out all it's customer reviews, there's not even one that's bad !

  • Beautiful & high quality build
  • Fast
  • Very spacious
  • Very stable
  • Can seem expensive to the beginner
  • Beware of rocks to avoid damaging the outer-fabric

2. Sea Eagle 385 FastTrack – The Best Inflatable Dog Kayak

You might think that inflatable kayaks won't endure your dog paws, and you would be right if we were are talking about those cheap sea-canoes that you can buy at beach stores.
But modern inflatable kayaks are regulated by a committee that requires all inflatable kayaks to be tough enough for Class III rapids, meaning they should be able to withstand hitting sharp rocks at great speeds!

So don't worry about your dog puncturing the tough fabric and even if he has hardened steel claws and punctures a layer, most kayaks have several ! Good luck trying to drown us Fido !

Sea Eagle is a well-known and trusted brand specializing in inflatable boats since 1968. Every "serious" kayaker knows this brand as it's a reference (I put "serious" in quotation marks because kayak is all about having fun 🙂 ).

The Sea Eagle 385 FastTrack is highly customizable with a lot of different packages you can choose from (also available in 2 seats or in a fishing version for example). It comes with everything included : seat, kayak carry bag, paddle, skeg, repair kit, pump and of course the boat itself.
Which is a huge plus, because it's such a bummer to get ready to kayak and realize you have no paddle, or no seat to sit on...

Inflatable kayaks are a great choice for dog-friendly kayaks because they have a wider base than standard hardshell kayaks. This makes them a lot more stable which will make the difference if you have a nervous pet.
It also allows him more space which is always a good thing.

Sea Eagle, being experienced in the inflatable boat business have developed patented technologies such as the NeedleKnife™ Keel included in this kayak. It allows better performance and stability, and this is what this kayak is all about.
You can also stand on the kayak because of it's special floor that can become super rigid. Great for fishing ... or having your dog around !
The Sea Eagle 385 FastTrack is the perfect combination of experience, safety and fun. You will have great adventures and stories to tell with this kayak.

  • Excellent stability
  • Fast
  • Cargo Capacity
  • 3 year warranty
  • Quality at a price
  • Poor control without skeg (included)

3. Hydro-Force Bolt X2 – The Best Budget Dog Kayak

The Hydro-Force Bolt X2 is not perfect, but for the price you won't find better than this.
It includes everything you need to get started from the boat to the paddle without forgetting the pump and the seats.

It's an inflatable kayak with a good length and width once filled with air.
The main advantage with inflatable kayaks are their space saving abilities when not used.
But they are also great for stability thanks to their wide base, which is always good when you have an excited pet on board !

The seats are removable, so as you can see, there will be enough space for any size of dog.
However, since the flooring is made of horizontal air chambers, it can be quite unstable for your four-legged pet paws, and we highly recommend installing a piece of mat for better comfort.

While the Hydro-Force Bolt X2 is not built for performance, you will still be able to enjoy a nice chill day on the water.
Indeed there is a enough space on board for your whole day needs, but don't forget to keep an eye on the 374 pounds capacity limit.

A removable skeg is also included allowing more control, which can be useful with the length of this boat, especially if you are the only one paddling.

Overall this is a good inflatable kayak that comes with a few disadvantages like it's mediocre flooring and easily puncturable material.
You should pick the Bolt X2 if you have a lower budget and are willing to take greater care of your equipment since it is not as tough as the other selected boats.

  • Beginner friendly
  • Spacious
  • Price
  • No warranty
  • Medium quality paddles
  • Medium quality flooring

4. Old Town Vapor 10 – The Best Kayak for Small & Medium Dogs

Old Town is a brand with an interesting heritage. Named after the town it originates from in Maine, it was the home of the Penobscot tribe where they fished, hunted and most importantly built their sturdy birch bark canoes.
You can feel the tradition in Old Town hardshell kayaks, but that doesn't mean they are obsolete, quite the opposite actually since they've earned national awards for material innovation !

Even though the kayak weights 46lbs. (20kg), it is easy to carry as Old Town designed the frame in such a way that you can grab the boat almost anywhere. There are also holes to rest your paddles, adjustable foot pedals, pads on the side to rest your legs without irritating them, and even a cup holder !

The Vapor 10 is an excellent starter kayak offering a stable, efficient and comfortable build. The cockpit has a large opening easily offering enough room for you and a medium sized dog.
If your dog is small (toy breeds) you can also set up a comfy bed at the back of the boat, this way he will also be able to see the view !
It can actually fit a pretty large dog like a labrador, as the first 20 seconds of the video below demonstrates, but in our opinion a large dog hasn't enough space to be comfortable. Check it out:

Notice the camera placement ? There are two handles on the kayak (one at the back and one at the front) which easily allow your GoPro to be fixed. This is really cool, especially when sailing with your dog !

This kayak is the right choice if you are looking for a good and affordable hardshell kayak to use with small and medium dogs.

  • Lots of space
  • Affordable
  • Stable
  • Can endure abuse
  • You will need space to store it
  • Bad drain hole plug placement

5. Emotion Spitfire 12' – The Best Kayak for Large or Multiple Dogs

Emotion is a well-known manufacturer thanks to their great fishing kayaks. Many professionals and hobbyists around the world use their boats since they bring incredible value for the price.

The Emotion Spitfire falls in the medium price range, and still offers many elements found in more costly brands.
It includes self bailing scupper holes (no need to manually drain out the water), paddle keepers, cargo net lacing, and beneath the deck added storage.
This kayak also comes with less important features, but nonetheless essential, such as removable padded seats and a skeg wheel.

For large and multiple dogs you need a long and open kayak so they can have enough space to move around and lie comfortably.

kayaking with dogs
The Malibu Two is a similar built kayak and easily handles multiple dogs

The Spitfire is perfect for that, and another advantage it has is that it sits low on water offering a stable and easy way to climb back in if your dog decides to jump in the water.

While this kayak is the perfect match for those with multiple dogs, we highly recommend you install some sort of flooring for them so they can relax too.

We believe this kayak is a diamond in the dirt, or an uncrowned king as it is being overshadowed by it's competitor the Malibu Two, when in reality the Spitfire is better, less expensive and was designed with greater attention to detail.

  • Fair price
  • Stability
  • Capacity
  • 5 Year Warranty
  • Heavy (90lbs)
  • You will need space to store it

The Kayak for Dogs Buyers Guide

Before choosing the best kayak for your dog either from the list above or somewhere else, I recommend you to still read our Buyers Guide, that will help you understand the main differences between each type of boat.

So without further ado, let’s follow with our kayak for dog buying guide.

Kayaks vs Canoes - What's the difference ?

Kayak and Canoes are terms often used to say the same thing, but in fact while kayaks are designed to be fast and agile, canoes are conceived for stability and space.
Nowadays, most recreational kayaks are a combination of both, so call them whatever you want !

Hard-shell vs Inflatable Kayaks - What's the best ?

Depending on the build of your hard-shell kayak, it may be more prone to tipping. All the kayaks and canoes in this list were selected with stability in mind, as paddling with a dog can be unpredictable.
With that being said, inflatable kayaks tend to be more stable as they are wider and filled with air.
So if your dog is full of energy, the best is probably to buy an inflatable boat.

Bonus Tips

  • Most kayaks are not sold in packages, so always look if paddles, seats (and a pump if inflatable boat) are included.
  • Always put a personal floatation device on you and your pet, even if dogs are great swimmers they can get tired and it can end up very badly if there is current.
  • If you like to take pictures, and we highly recommend it, but are scared of your equipment getting soaked, here is a list of the best waterproof camera backpacks.

If you have any additional questions please drop us a comment below or send us an e-mail.

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