7 Small Dog Breeds You Can Bring on Planes

Some small dog breeds you can bring on planes include Boston terriers, French bulldogs, and Yorkshire terriers.

Jun 1, 2024By Colt Dodd
small dogs you can bring on planes

Most airlines have strict rules about what sized dogs can fly in the cabins with their owners. Generally, any dog above 20 pounds must ride in the cargo hold. Understandably, this is not ideal for many pet parents, who may have reservations about their dogs being treated as luggage.

This prompts many travel-savvy dog lovers to consider what small dog breeds they can bring on planes. While the specific weight requirement varies from airline to airline, in general, dogs in the toy group are accepted on most aircraft.

1. Yorkshire Terriers

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Ah, Yorkshire terriers––little dogs that resemble Chewbacca from Star Wars. What’s more, they love being handled and hate being separated from their owners. While they may initially seem fearful in their carriers while waiting to board, they’ll settle with time.

2. Chihuahuas

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Chihuahuas are good flying companions for obvious reasons: they’re small. This means they can easily fit in carriers, surrounded by their favorite toys and blankets.

Yet, Chihuahuas are a vocal dog breed, and just like how no one wants to listen to a crying baby on a plane, no one wants to listen to a whining dog, either. For that reason, dog parents may consider administering dog-friendly CBD treats or vet-approved anti-anxiety medications to ensure smooth travels.

3. Pomeranians

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Who doesn’t want a little cotton ball with eyes as a pet? That’s why Pomeranians are one of the most popular toy dog breeds. Additionally, they seldom weigh more than seven pounds, making them ideal travel companions in purses and on planes.

4. French Bulldogs

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Frenchies have gained notable popularity in the last few years––and for a good reason. These alert, amicable pals make great travel companions. Their muscular, compact bodies also make them very portable. They’re not big barkers, either, and they generally fall asleep once the plane takes off.

5. Alaskan Klee Kais

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Many people love the idea of owning a husky but don’t want to deal with the yowling and excessive shedding. Enters the Alaskan Klee Kai. These feisty little guys prove that big things really do come in small packages. They seldom exceed 25 pounds, and their pack mentality makes them fiercely loyal to their owners.

6. Mini Poodles

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Mini poodles are so soft, they feel like holding a stuffed animal. When dealing with turbulence, uncomfortable seats, and bad airline food, who wouldn’t want to hold one? These hypoallergenic dogs weigh anywhere from ten to 15 pounds, making them great to travel with.

What’s more, many people are breeding mini poodles with other dog breeds, creating “doodles.” This gives prospective dog parents more options when choosing a small breed that’s right for them.

7. Boston Terriers

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Imagine a French bulldog with long legs. Add a bit of comic relief, and boom! It’s a Boston terrier. Described as “friendly” and “amusing,” Boston terriers love a good game of frisbee. Yet, on a plane, they generally fall asleep in their carrier and keep quiet until landing.

Before Bringing a Dog on a Plane

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Many major airlines allow small dogs on planes. Examples include:

  • Frontier
  • Spirit
  • Hawaiian
  • Delta
  • American
  • United
  • Alaskan
  • JetBlue

There are many other airlines not on this list. It’s important to note that airlines periodically change their policies about pets. So, when booking a flight, dog owners should check the airlines’ rules.

Flying with a Small Dog Comes with Fees

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Airlines are in the business of making money. These days, it feels like they charge for nearly everything, from extra bags to four more inches of wiggle room. The same applies to traveling with a pet.

Bringing dogs on a flight is an added expense for many travelers. For instance, JetBlue allows passengers to bring a dog or cat aboard for a modest $125 fee. American Airlines charges a similar rate. So, when traveling with a small dog, you may have to pay an additional fee. This is generally in addition to your ticket and any add-ons.

Airlines cannot charge dog handlers to bring service dogs aboard.

Airlines Can’t Discriminate Against Handlers with Service Animals

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Today, there are about 500,000 service dogs nationwide, each in varying sizes. These dogs learn to perform specialized tasks that help accommodate their owners’ disability. Think eye-seeing dogs. But what happens if someone wants to bring their service dog on a plane? How can a 70-pound Golden Retriever fit in a carrier under a seat?

The Air Carrier Assess Act (ACAA) is a federal law that makes it illegal for airlines to discriminate against individuals with disabilities. This means, if someone requires a service dog on a plane, the airline cannot deny access––even if it’s a larger breed (like a Great Dane).

Each airline has its own protocol for bringing a service dog on a plane. Some require that handlers to fill out forms and provide copies of the animal’s vaccination records. Others have different specifications.

What to Know Before Flying with a Dog

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As stated, dog handlers should check with their airline to learn what they need to do before traveling with a pet. To ensure happy trails, however, dog owners should:

  • Bring high-value treats. Shredded pieces of grilled chicken breast can pacify even the fussiest Frenchie.
  • Plan ahead for anxious pooches. If someone knows their dog has general anxiety, they should consult their veterinarian about getting medication. They may also consider other measures (like a thunder jacket) to make the dog feel secure.
  • Know space matters. If someone’s worried that their dog’s carrier is too large, they may consider opting for a larger seat. For instance, JetBlue offers “more space” seats. Here, for an additional cost, a passenger can get seven extra inches of legroom.

When thinking about what small dogs do best on planes, there are many things to consider aside from size. One should plan ahead to ensure their dog feels comfortable on their journey.

Colt Dodd
By Colt Dodd

Colt Dodd is a sighthound enthusiast with three years of freelance writing experience. He has an Italian greyhound/Shetland sheepdog mix named Homer. In his spare time, he enjoys going to dog parks and writing fiction.