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Finding the Best RVs for Traveling to Dog Shows can be a game-changer for competitors and their furry friends.
As a dog enthusiast taking part in dog shows around the country, your prize-winning pup deserves a comfortable place to travel on the road.
That’s where an RV can be the answer for a safe and spacious place for both you and your furry friend.
Not only does an RV provide your show dogs with a comfortable place to sleep, but it also gives you the freedom to travel wherever you want without worrying about finding a pet-friendly hotel.
We understand the challenge of finding the perfect RV for traveling with your show dogs. However, you need to consider many factors and features before making a purchase.
With so many models and features to choose from, it’s difficult to know where to start.
This article guides you through the maze to help you narrow your search so you can discover the best RV for traveling to dog shows.
We also provide tips on traveling with your dog with safety and comfort in mind. We’ll answer common questions about using an RV for the dog show circuit.
So, whether you’re a first-time RV buyer or an experienced traveler, our guide to the Best RVs for Traveling to Dog Shows will get you to the next dog show in style with happy, well-rested dogs.
The 10 Best RVs for Traveling to Dog Shows
1. Gulf Stream Ameri-Lite 19RD
- Length: 23.1 ft.
- UVW: 3,552 lbs.
- CCC: 1,238 lbs.
- GVWR: 4,790 lbs.
- Tongue Weight: 390 lbs.
- Sleep: 2-4
After nine months of living out of your Ford Explorer for the various dog competitions you and your Clumber Spaniel have driven to, you finally have a proper RV to travel for dog shows. The Ameri-Lite 19RD has the storage, features, and ideal weight for your SUV.
The rear dinette was supposed to be your RV workspace, but once Clubber Lang, Who Pitties The Fool But Won’t Be Knocked Out (but you call him Clubby), jumped up on it when it was in bed mode, you knew it would be a useless battle. At least the RV sales rep got a laugh out of it during the demonstration.
The center aisle between the water closet and the shower has two feet of space, giving you enough room to kneel down to bathe Clubby before showtime. All of the overhead cabinetry above the dinette fits his grooming supplies and other things, so you can keep the bedroom storage all to yourself.
Adding a web camera on the TV mounted on the side of the refrigerator gives all of your social media followers a chance to interact with you while you are preparing for the show or gives them a glimpse into all the adventures you and Clubby have in between dog shows.
2. KZ Escape E20 Hatch
- Length: 23.7 ft.
- UVW: 3,510 lbs.
- CCC: 930 lbs.
- GVWR: 4,400 lbs.
- Tongue Weight: 540 lbs.
- Sleep: 2-4
The KZ Escape E20 Hatch is a great option for those who want an SUV-friendly RV that tows easily.
SUVs with a towing capacity of 5,000 lbs., like the Toyota Highlander, are the perfect companion for the Escape E20.
Dog-friendly features for this travel trailer include:
- The tongue and groove vinyl wood flooring is waterproof. You can also sweep it clean with a broom.
- The folding tables between the rear two rear sofas are great for grooming. There are a good amount of electrical outlets nearby for all of your equipment.
- The tub-style shower gives you full access during bath time since you do not have to worry about a vanity being in the way.
3. Forest River Cherokee Alpha Wolf 23DBH-L
- Length: 29.4 ft.
- UVW: 5,658 ft.
- CCC: 2,042 lbs.
- GVWR: 7,700 lbs.
- Tongue Weight: 770 lbs.
- Sleep: 4-8
Your dog will feel right at home traveling in an RV called the Alpha Wolf. The word alpha, which means “the first or most important,” aptly describes this RV.
The Cherokee Alpha Wolf 23DBH-L is designed with your dog’s comfort in mind, with features like an entrance/exit from the tub-style shower and a spacious layout to store your supplies and equipment.
Other dog-friendly features include:
- A 15,000 BTU air conditioner will keep your dog comfortable in warm climates.
- A 5,200 BTU fireplace your doggie can relax in front of during those cold weather.
- An add-on option for the Leash Latch is a pet safety technology that connects to the trailer’s chassis to keep your dog safe while tethered outside.
- An outside hot and cold shower for quick cleanups after long walks or when they find that mud puddle ruining hours of your work.
4. Keystone Outback Ultra-Lite 291UBH
- Length: 33.8 ft.
- UVW: 6,494 lbs.
- CCC: 1,271 lbs.
- GVWR: 4,400 lbs.
- Tongue Weight: 440 lbs.
- Sleep: 4-10
The Keystone Outback Ultra-Lite 291UBH RV for dog show traveling is perfect for those who need extra space.
This travel trailer can sleep up to ten people, meaning there is room for everyone to spread out. For those who are bringing their junior dog show presenter, who need the 4H experience, the bunkhouse has plenty of room for them.
It’s also chock full of features convenient for dog lovers, including a built-in kennel and a large pantry to store large bags of dog food and other doggie accessories.
The pass-through bathroom is another example of how you can have an unimpeded “Operation Clean Dog” experience.
5. Jayco Eagle HT Fifth Wheel 24RE
- Length: 29.2 ft.
- UVW: 7,880 lbs.
- CCC: 2,115 lbs.
- GVWR: 9,995 lbs.
- Hitch Weight: 1,480 lbs.
- Sleep: 2-4
If your day job includes running a farm, ranch, or another type of lifestyle that requires a 150/1500 series pickup truck, you may want to consider a half-ton fifth wheel. Mid-profile fifth wheels give you the stability and storage of a fiver, but the weight and maneuverability of a mid-length travel trailer. We recommend the heavy tow package on a half-ton pickup.
The Jayco Eagle HT 24RE is the shortest in the lineup, but gives you and your champion the storage and features both of you will enjoy. The stall-size shower is easy to access and the linen closest stores plenty of towels and other fur care products.
Bedtime for both of you can be luxurious. The queen-size bed can be changed out for a king and you can remove the freestanding dinette for her/his majesty’s bed. The trifold sofa adds additional human sleeping space, but if it is not needed, opt for the theater seats with the removable tables to substitute for a dining table.
Besides the humongous front pass-through exterior bay, the hidden walk-in pantry behind the rear entertainment center gives you massive storage space.
6. Heartland Bighorn 3960LS
- Length: 43.10 ft.
- UVW: 15,212 lbs.
- CCC: 1,740 lbs.
- GVWR: 16,500 lbs.
- Hitch Weight: 3,020 lbs.
- Sleep: 2-4
There are some breeder/owner/trainers that have the ability to live the most-timer RV lifestyle, traveling around between the AKC and Westminster circuit. Full-profile luxury fifth wheels can be their home away from home, giving them all the comfort and dog show features they need.
What makes the Heartland Bighorn 3906LS so unique is the placement of the features. The rectangular shower has full access because it is placed opposite of a residential-sized closet. Even with a stackable washer and dryer inside, there is still space to hang clothing.
The front cap has a reading nook with a panoramic window and a thick mattress-like foam cushion to sit on. Although you may find that your Weimaraner fur baby has declared that space as her travel bed, so close your eyes when you tell her to get down (if you cannot see, she can’t pull the puppy-dog eye look).
During the show, the living room space has plenty of seating to entertain your dog show friends after the day’s events. The 55-inch LED TV can keep you updated on who wins each best in class so you know your competition in the best in show competition.
7. Grand Design Momentum 397THS
- Length: 44.2 ft.
- UVW: 15,600 lbs.
- CCC: 4,400 lbs.
- GVWR: 20,000 lbs.
- Hitch Weight: 4,000 lbs.
- Sleep: 2-10
The Grand Design 397THS may confuse you at first glance. Is it a luxury fifth wheel or travel trailer?
This beautiful toy hauler is a great ride for the show dog traveler who wants the features of an up-scale fifth wheel with the functionality of a toy hauler.
Towing it through New York City traffic to attend the AKC National Dog Show should earn you extra points with the judges for surviving the endeavor. Yet once you put the jacks down, you and your contestant can unwind in luxury.
If you end up parked in the back of the lot, there is no need to worry. The 397THS comes with a 60-gallon fuel tank, so you can gas up your Rolls Royce-styled golf cart you brought with you and drive up to the contestant entry.
A full bath with a shower in the garage makes it a perfect prepping area. There is no carpet except under the theater seating, creating a cleaner and healthier environment.
In addition, the ramp and side doors provide easy enter/exit access for your dog, and the large cargo area is perfect for hauling gear.
8. Winnebago Travato 59k
- Length: 21 ft.
- Engine/Chassis: V6/ Ram ProMaster 3500
- GVWR: 9,350 lbs.
- Tow Capacity: 3,500 lbs.
- Tanks: Fuel- 24 gal/ Fr- 18 gal/ Gr- 12 gal/ Bl- 13 gal
- Sleep: 2
The Winnebago Travato 59k Class B gas camper van is one of the best-selling B-vans in America and could be a great fit for smaller show dogs.
The Travato is an RV that offers the comforts of home in a smaller, more fuel-efficient package. The 59k features a wet bath with a sliding door, making it easy to stand outside and prepare your dog for competition.
the large wardrobe in the rear wet bath is the perfect place to store your dog grooming supplies. There may be enough drawer space for your own personal items as well as the overhead cabinets throughout the campervan.
The ample living space and onboard amenities make the Travato an excellent choice for extended or short road trips.
9. Coachmen Freelander 31MB
- Length: 32.1 ft.
- Engine/Chassis: Ford 7.3L V8 Triton/ Ford E-Series Chassis
- GVWR: 14,500 lbs.
- Tow Capacity: 7,500 lbs.
- Tanks: Fuel- 55 gal/ Fr- 50 gal/ Gr- 32 gal/ Bl- 29 gal
- Sleep: 3-8
The Coachmen Freelander 31MB is a Class C gas motorhome that is sure to provide a comfortable and convenient RV experience when traveling with your furry friends.
They designed this motorhome with a considerable 32-foot length that can accommodate larger dogs, making it an excellent option for RV traveling to dog shows.
The Freelander 31MB comes complete with several dog-friendly features and amenities, including:
- A sizable exterior storage area.
- A walk-through bath with full access to the shower.
- A loft for storage or an extra sleeping area.
- A dinette that can convert into a bed for additional sleeping space.
- For larger dog prep, lowering the dinette without the cushions brings your champion to the right height for grooming. We recommend laying down a drop cloth.
Thanks to the Freelander’s slide-out feature, there is also a generous amount of living space. The kitchen is well-equipped with a three-burner stove, refrigerator, and sink. There is also plenty of storage space in the cabinets and drawers for doggies on the go.
10. Newmar Canyon Star 3927
- Length: 39.9 ft.
- Engine/Chassis: Cummins B 6.7L Inline 6/ Freightliner MC Chassis
- GVWR: 30,000 lbs.
- Tow Capacity: 6,000 lbs.
- Tanks: Fuel- 80 gal/ Fr- 75 gal/ Gr- 60 gal/ Bl- 40 gal
- Sleep: 2-10
The best Class A motorhome for RV traveling for dog shows is the Newmar Canyon Star 3927. We added the Newmar to our dog-friendly list because this motorhome has a toy hauler rear garage, an addition virtually unknown in the RV industry.
Having a garage attached to a Class A is a tremendous advantage to show dog owners, creating a safer and more comfortable transport experience.
During your pre-show prep, the garage has a dedicated A/C unit, an entertainment center with a TV, and many electric outlets for your equipment. The rubberized floor is anti-slip, so your attention can focus on your champion.
Why use an RV for the Dog Show Circuit?
There are many reasons RVing is the best way to travel with your dog to dog shows.
Perhaps the most important reason is an RV allows you to have your own space and privacy, which is essential when preparing your dog for competition.
RVs come with various features that can make preparing your dog for a show much more manageable, including spaciousness, storage, and kitchen amenities.
Imagine being able to cook your own meals, store your equipment, and have a comfortable place to sleep right next to the show ring.
RV traveling for dog shows is the ultimate in convenience and luxury for the dog show traveler.
5 Things To Look For in an RV for Show Dogs
People passionate about showing their dogs often invest in a recreational vehicle to make the trip to dog shows easier.
However, not all RVs are created equal for accommodating show dogs.
Mary is a dog lover who has been showing her beloved American Staffordshire Terrier, Bella, in dog shows for the past few years. She recently decided she needs a more reliable way to travel to these events. Her current vehicle just doesn’t cut it for transporting Bella and her equipment.
There are a few key factors Mary should keep in mind when searching for the perfect RV for Bella.
1. RV Size
You’ll want to make sure you have enough room in the RV for your dog(s) to move around comfortably. Bella weighs about sixty pounds and is eighteen inches in height. Larger RVs, such as the Grand Design 397THS or Newmar Canyon Star 3927, mentioned above, would be a good fit for Bella.
If you typically travel with more than one dog, make sure the RV you choose has enough space for them all. For example, some RVs come equipped with kennels that can comfortably house multiple dogs at once.
2. Storage Space
Besides enough room for your dog(s), you’ll also want to make sure the RV has ample storage space for equipment, such as crates, special grooming supplies, food/water bowls, toys, leashes, harnesses, and more.
Storage space is also essential for your own food, clothing and anything else you might need on the road.
3. Climate Control
A critical feature for any RV is climate control. Dogs are susceptible to extreme temperatures and can get very uncomfortable if the air conditioning or furnace isn’t working correctly.
Make sure the RV you choose has good climate control so that your show dog stays comfortable no matter the weather.
RVs can be expensive, but your local RV dealership can find a motorhome or travel trailer that can fit most budgets.
If you’re just starting out in the dog show world, renting an RV might make more sense instead of buying one outright. We always recommend trying before buying. Peer-to-peer RV rental companies like Outdoorsy, RVnGo, and others let you rent as many different coaches until you find the right one.
5. RV Category
Different types of RVs are available on the market, such as motorhomes, travel trailers, and fifth wheels. But first, you’ll want to decide which type of RV will work best for your dog show needs and budget.
6 Best Tips for Traveling With a Dog
RV owners and their dogs have been hitting the road in record numbers over the past several years. So it’s not uncommon when you see an RV; there’s likely a dog or two inside enjoying the ride.
But traveling with a dog in an RV isn’t as simple as picking up and hitting the road. So there are some essential things to consider when traveling with pets.
When traveling with a dog in an RV, people’s most significant challenge is not knowing how to prepare.
As a result, not being prepared can easily lead to common issues and problems, such as:
- Pets become anxious and stressed in a new environment, leading to accidents inside the RV.
- Dogs getting injured or lost while exploring unfamiliar surroundings.
- Pets becoming ill from eating something they shouldn’t have while on the road.
- RV owners struggle to keep their pets clean and healthy in a small space.
Another challenge is keeping your pet safe. Pets can easily escape an RV if you’re not careful, and something can injure them while the vehicle is in motion.
These are just some of the potential challenges that can occur when traveling with a pet in an RV. However, by following the tips below, you can significantly reduce mishaps and disasters.
1. Start with a Veterinarian Visit
Before you debark on your trip, it’s important to take your pet to the veterinarian for a check-up to ensure your dog is healthy and safe for the journey.
The veterinarian will check for any potential health problems and advise how to care for your pet while on the road based on your dog’s unique personality.
Make sure all records are up-to-date, including rabies and vaccinations that many campgrounds require.
2. Plan Your Stops
When traveling with a dog in an RV, it’s essential to plan your stops in advance. One of the best ways to plan your stops is to check for rest areas on your route that are pet-friendly.
Be aware that stopping frequently may be required because of added excitement and nervousness your dog may be experiencing. Make sure you have plenty of supplies on hand, including a leash, poop bags, and water.
Doing a bit of research ahead of time will also help you find pet-friendly campgrounds and have the amenities your dog needs, such as a park or walking trail. Websites like GoPetFriendly and RV Life Trip Wizard have pet-friendly trip-planning features to help you find public dog parks and other related locations.
3. Prepare for Emergencies
One of the scariest things that can happen when traveling with a pet is an emergency. That’s why it’s crucial to be prepared for anything that might occur.
- Keep electronic medical records for easy access.
- Enroll your dog in rattlesnake aversion training and have a plan should a pet get bitten.
- Have a pet emergency kit that includes a first-aid kit, food and water, toys, and a blanket.
- Ensure your dog is wearing a collar with up-to-date identification and is microchipped and registered, which is often overlooked.
4. Creating a Routine
When traveling with a dog, you should create a routine as much as possible. This will help your dog feel more comfortable in an unfamiliar environment.
A good routine to follow includes feeding your pet at the same time each day, walking them regularly, and providing plenty of playtimes.
This will help keep your pet happy and healthy while on the road.
5. Prepare Your RV
Not all dogs are comfortable in an RV, so it’s important to take steps to make sure your RV is pet-friendly.
- Place a rubber mat or runner in critical areas where your dog is likely to roam, such as the kitchen, living room, and center aisle.
- Equip your RV with a secure kennel or crate in a quiet space where your dog can feel safe and secure.
- Store dog toys and belongings in an easily accessible spot.
- Clean up any messes immediately to avoid attracting pests.
- Provide plenty of places for your pet to rest and relax, such as beds and soft blankets.
- Purchase a travel water bowl and food dish that can easily be transported and cleaned.
6. Staying Safe on the Road
When traveling with a dog in an RV, it’s crucial to take measures to keep them safe while on the road.
- Always restrain your dog when the RV is in motion, and never leave them in a towed RV.
- Park within well-lit areas where there is plenty of activity and avoid stopping near heavy traffic or isolated sites.
- Monitor your dog at all times when they are outside and never let them run loose.
- Do not leave your dog alone in the RV during extreme weather in case of power loss and severe storms.
Final Thoughts about RV Traveling for Dog Shows
RV traveling is a great way to take your dog to show across the country.
Not only will your pet have plenty of space to relax and move around, but you’ll also have the amenities you need right at your fingertips.
Many dog shows allow RV parking so you can come and go as you please for those much-needed breaks. Just be sure to check with the event organizers in advance to make sure RV parking is allowed.
And remember, you can always find great deals on RV rentals if you’re not ready to purchase one right away. But when you are ready, we hope the dog-friendly RVs listed in this article will help you find the ideal one for your needs.
Now it’s time to hit the dog show circuit and start racking up those blue ribbons!
– DIY RV Cabinet Project to Memorialize a Pet
– Is it Safe To Leave a Pet in an RV?
– 6 Best RVs for Traveling with Dogs
– Are Dogs Allowed In RV Rentals?
– 11 Essential Dog Accessories for RV Camping
– Tractor Supply Pet Wash: Wash Your Pet for $10
About the Author:
Mike Scarpignato is an avid RVer and outdoorsman. He travels with his wife Susan in their Class A 2021 Thor Challenger and their Class C 2008 Gulf Stream Conquest. Mike is the owner of RVBlogger.com, TravelTrailerPro.com, MotorhomeFAQs.com, the RVBlogger YouTube Channel, and the private Facebook group called RV Camping for Newbies.