Ever dreamt of traveling the world with your beloved furry friend? You’re not alone! Many pet owners want to experience new adventures with their canine companions. The good news is that certain dog breeds can fit under an airplane seat! This can make air travel with your pup more feasible.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the top dog breeds that fit under airplane seats. We’ll also cover tips for preparing your dog for air travel, airline policies and procedures, and how to ensure a stress-free flight with your pup. So buckle up and get ready to embark on a journey with your four-legged friend!

Key Takeaways

  • Choose the right dog breed for air travel, such as Chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, and Yorkshire Terriers.
  • Prepare your pup with health checks & vaccinations, plus carrier training before flying.
  • Make sure to research airline policies and provide in-flight care & post-flight recovery for a stress-free journey!

Top Dog Breeds for Airplane Travel

A picture of a variety of small dog breeds that can fit under an airplane seat

Traveling with your pup can be a wonderful bonding experience, but not all dog breeds are suited for air travel. The key is finding a breed that fits comfortably under an airplane seat. Most airlines will have a weight limit of 20 pounds, so it’s important your furry family member also meets the weight restrictions.

Several small dog breeds are known to be ideal for flying in the cabin. These breeds are little enough to fit under the majority of airline seats, ensuring your best pal can accompany you on your adventures.

Let’s dive deeper into these top dog breeds that are perfect for air travel.

1. Chihuahua


Chihuahuas are one of the smallest and most travel-friendly dog breeds. They typically range from 3 to 6 pounds, and stand no taller than 11 inches. With their small size, Chihuahuas can easily fit in your carry on baggage in a cute little dog carrier.

These little dogs are known for being agile, obedient, and fast learners, making them excellent travel companions. Their small size allows them to fit comfortably in airline-approved soft-sided carriers, ensuring their safety and comfort during the flight.

It’s worth noting that Chihuahuas can be prone to anxiety and may bark a lot, so they might find traveling a bit worrying. However, this depends on the dog and how you introduce them to travel. My Chihuahua loves going on adventures and is always eager to visit new places with me (as long as she has her cozy blanket with her).

2. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu 

The Shih Tzu is another excellent breed for air travel. Their laid-back and friendly nature makes them a favorite among dog owners looking for a canine companion that can fit under an airplane seat. Shih Tzus are extroverted, sociable, and have a friendly demeanor, making them great travel buddies.

However, it’s essential to be aware that the short snout of a Shih Tzu may cause breathing problems during air travel. Despite this potential issue, many pet owners still choose these small dogs as their travel companions due to their affectionate and loving personalities.

3. Yorkshire Terrier

Two Yorkshire Terriers

Yorkshire Terriers are small dogs that can easily fit under most airline seats, making them an excellent choice for air travel. These little dogs stand 8 to 9 inches tall at the shoulder and usually weigh between 4 to 7 pounds.

In my experience, Yorkshire Terriers have the typical terrier personality! They’re known to be bossy, brave, and energetic, making them an exciting travel companion. Keep in mind that Yorkshire Terriers can be quite anxious, so it’s crucial to prepare them well for the flight and ensure their comfort throughout the journey.

4. Pomeranian


Pomeranians are a popular breed for air travel, thanks to their small size and friendly nature. They usually weigh between 3 and 7 pounds. The breed gained popularity during Queen Victoria’s reign. Their loyalty and affectionate nature towards families with children and other dogs make them an excellent choice for in-cabin travel. My Pomeranian adores meeting new people and will even stand up on her back legs to beg for attention!

My pup always enjoys visiting new places, but she does get a bit nervous and often overexcited. So, I’d recommend taking some comfort items with you to make your pooch as comfortable and calm as possible during the flight.

5. Havanese


Havanese dogs are small and fluffy, with a height ranging between 5 inches and 11.5 inches and a weight of 7 to 13 pounds. Their small size allows them to fit under airline seats, making them a suitable choice to fly in cabin.

Havanese are friendly, affectionate, and love exploring new places, making them excellent travel companions. As with any breed, it’s essential to ensure your Havanese meets the airline’s weight restrictions and is comfortable during the flight.

6. Maltese


Sweet-tempered, gentle, and loyal, Maltese dogs make fantastic travel buddies. With their small size (standing up to 10 inches in height and weighing between 3 to 8 pounds), Maltese can comfortably fit under airplane seats.

Their gentle temperament and intelligence make them ideal for in-cabin travel. It’s important to ensure your Maltese is comfortable and well-secured in their carrier before embarking on your journey.

7. Papillon


Papillons are small, friendly, and intelligent dogs that make excellent travel companions. With a weight between 5 and 10 pounds and a height between 8 and 11 inches, Papillons can fit under most airline seats. Plus, they’re just adorable in my opinion!

These affectionate dogs are known to be sociable and friendly. With the right training and preparation, you can ensure your Papillon is comfortable on your journey.

8. Dachshund


Dachshunds, renowned for their hunting prowess, are another breed suitable for air travel. Miniature Dachshunds, which stand about 5-6 inches tall, can fit under airplane seats and make great animal companions for overseas adventures. These dogs are known to be adaptable and can participate in sports events, making them excellent companions for active travelers.

However, Dachshunds can be quite anxious at times, especially in new situations. As a pet owner, you always want your furbaby to be happy and safe. So, take your time to do some training before you travel and find some comfy carry on bag for them to snuggle up in.

9. Pekingese

A cute Pekingese on holiday enjoying the sun.

Pekingese dogs, known for being companion dogs, can fit under airplane seats thanks to their small size. Weighing up to 14 pounds and standing between 6-9 inches tall, Pekingese can travel comfortably in the cabin under an airline seat.

However, due to their classification as snub-nosed dogs, many airlines may not allow Pekingese on board. This is because they can struggle with health problems related to their breathing. Always check with your airline before booking a flight with your Pekingese to ensure a smooth journey.

10. Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frises are small enough to fly in the cabin. This fluffy white dog is usually friendly and affectionate. They typically weigh between 7 and 15 pounds and stand no taller than 11 inches.

Bichon Frises are known for their sociable and loving nature, making them excellent travel companions. I’ve always found them to be incredibly friendly and adaptable, making them one of the best dog breeds to travel with.

Preparing Your Dog for Air Travel

A picture of a dog carrier and a dog inside it, ready for air travel

Proper preparation is essential for a smooth and stress-free flight with any size dog. Ensuring your dog is in good health, has the necessary vaccinations, and is comfortable in its carrier can make all the difference in your travel experience.

In this section, we’ll discuss the importance of health checks and vaccinations, carrier training, and packing essentials to ensure a successful flight with your pup.

Health Check and Vaccinations

Before embarking on your journey, it’s crucial to visit your local vet for a health check and vaccinations. A health certificate, issued by your vet, is usually required by most airlines. This certificate ensures your pup is fit to fly and helps prevent the spread of illnesses during air travel. Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date and obtain a passport for your pet if you’re traveling to European Union countries.

Carrier Training

Carrier training is essential for a stress-free flight with your pup. Teaching your dog to be comfortable in its carrier ensures it can travel safely and comfortably during the flight. I find it’s best to start by introducing your dog to its carrier gradually, using treats and toys to create a positive association.

Practice with your dog by placing them in the carrier for increasing periods of time each day leading up to the trip. Make sure the carrier is well-ventilated, lightweight, and secure enough to keep your pup safe while traveling.

Remember that different airlines will have different rules and restrictions on the carriers you can use, so be sure to check these carefully before traveling.

Packing Essentials

Packing the right essentials for air travel with your dog is vital for a successful trip. Bring a TSA-compliant carrier, collar, leash, harness, roll of poop bags, sturdy food and water bowls, and a blanket or old towels for your pup to lie on. Don’t forget to bring identification and vaccination papers, as well as any necessary medication prescribed by your vet.

Consider packing a DryFur pad, which is leak-proof and keeps your pup warm and dry during the flight. Preparing in advance and packing the right essentials will make the journey smoother for both you and your pup.

Airline Policies and Procedures

A funny picture of a dog in a suitcase and a pet passport, ready for air travel.

Airline policies and procedures for traveling with pets can vary significantly between carriers. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the specific rules and regulations of the airline you will be flying with.

In this section, we’ll discuss fees and booking requirements, paperwork and documentation, and airline restrictions to ensure a smooth and hassle-free flight with your best friend.

Fees and Booking

Fees and booking requirements for traveling with a dog vary between airlines. Typically, pet fees range between $95 and $150 each way. It’s essential to give the airline advance notice that you’ll be bringing your pup, and some airlines may require you to call them directly to make arrangements.

Delta Air Lines requires pet shipment orders to be made 14 days before departure. This can only be done through their cargo services. Familiarize yourself with your airline’s specific fees and booking procedures to ensure a hassle-free travel experience.

Paperwork and Documentation

When flying with a dog, you’ll need to provide the airline with the necessary paperwork and documentation. A health certificate from your vet, no more than 10 days old, is required by most airlines.

Additionally, if you’re traveling to European Union countries, you’ll need a passport for your dog. Ensuring you have the proper documentation will help you avoid any last-minute complications or delays during your journey.

Airline Restrictions

Each airline has its own set of restrictions related to pet travel, including size and weight limitations, as well as banned breeds and age requirements. For example, United Airlines requires pups to be at least 2 pounds and 10 weeks old, with a maximum carrier size of 18 inches long and 11 inches high.

Some airlines may not allow certain short-headed and bully dog breeds, like Pugs and French Bulldogs, in the cargo area due to potential health risks.

Tips for a Stress-Free Flight with Your Dog

A picture of a large dog and a pet passport, ready for air travel

By following the tips and guidelines provided in this blog post, you can ensure a comfortable and enjoyable journey for both you and your furry friend.

In this final section, we’ll offer some helpful tips for calming your dog during the flight, providing in-flight care, and assisting with post-flight recovery.

Calming Techniques

Calming techniques can help ease your dog’s anxiety during air travel. Crate training, using a Thundershirt or pheromone calming collar, and giving your pup a calming treat are all great options. You can also try rubbing lavender oil on your hands and letting your pup smell them to help them relax.

In-Flight Care

Taking care of your dog during the flight is crucial for their comfort and well-being. Keep your pup in their carrier for the duration of the flight and ensure they are comfortable and secure. Do not let them out until you’ve gone through airport security, and avoid sedating or tranquilizing them.

Providing proper in-flight care will help your dog feel relaxed and secure throughout the journey.

Post-Flight Recovery

After the flight, it’s essential to help your dog recover and adjust to their new surroundings. Give your pup plenty of rest and water, and provide familiar items from home to help them feel comfortable.

Light exercise before and after the flight can also help your dog bounce back from the stress of air travel. Following these post-flight recovery tips will ensure a smooth transition for your dog and help them enjoy their new destination.


Traveling with your dog can be a fun and rewarding experience when you choose a breed that fits comfortably under an airplane seat and follow the necessary preparation steps. By familiarizing yourself with airline policies and procedures, ensuring your dog’s health and vaccinations are up to date, and employing calming techniques, you can enjoy a stress-free flight with your pooch. So pack your bags and embark on a new adventure with your canine companion by your side!

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of dog can you put under a plane seat?

If you have a small or toy breed dog, they should be able to fit comfortably in an airline-approved pet carrier that can then fit under the seat in front of you. It’s best to double-check with your airline before booking your flight. You should always check with your airline for their exact pet policies and under seat dimensions before booking a flight.

What if my dog is too big to fit under an airplane seat?

If your dog is too big to fit under the seat, then you’ll need to make alternate arrangements. Depending on the airline, your pup might be able to travel as checked baggage in the cargo hold or as unaccompanied manifest cargo with a commercial line.

Check with your airline to see what options they have for larger dogs! If you have a service dog, the rules may be different. Keep in mind that emotional support dogs are not considered to be a service dog.

Do any airlines allow you to buy your dog a seat?

Yes, you can buy your dog a seat on certain airlines. Two notable airlines are JSX and JetBlue Airways, which have pet programs allowing dogs to be flown in-cabin for an additional fee.

This option is often preferred over booking as cargo, which tends to be more expensive.

Can a Beagle fit under a plane seat?

Yes, a Beagle can generally fit under an airplane seat – however, it will depend on the size of the beagle and the exact requirements of the particular airline. Most airlines require your dog to comfortably fit in a carrier that is no larger than 11 inches tall and 18 inches long.

Therefore, it is best to check with the airline beforehand to make sure your beagle meets their requirements.