The Right Car For Your Dog

Has your family vehicle gone to the dogs? Take comfort in our handy, breeder-approved, consumer guide.

By | Posted: Mon Feb 28 00:00:00 PST 2005

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A luxurious motor home is probably every show-dog owner's dream. "It's the convenience," says Old English Sheepdog exhibitor Edy Dykstra-Blum, of Ocala, Fla. Not having to drag crates in and out of motel rooms, having everything you need right at handcertainly a motor home ranks high in this regard.

Beardie and Lwchen exhibitor Mary Billman, of Ortonville, Mich., agrees. "I like the motor home for my dogs' convenience as well as mine," she says. "On hot summer days, I can leave them in air-conditioned comfort." She likes being able to load up her crew and take them with her, rather than boarding them while away, or entrusting their care to someone else. "You take your motel and your restaurant with you," she says.

With an estimated 75 to 100 RV manufacturers, there are innumerable sizes, configurations, and prices. In recent years, "slides" have become popular extensions, creating additional interior space on a parked RV, and then retracting when it's time to drive. Prices range from relatively modest to right out of sight. But despite the luxury, "Coaches were not made to do what we do to them," remarks Phil Briasco, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier breeder and RV sales rep. Not designed with dog owners in mind, Briasco notes that RVs are usually overloaded and subjected to heavy wear with dogs and crates constantly ferried in and out. In fact, most people who purchase RVs for dog-show travel remove some of the furnishings to make room for crates.

If you're not sure if an RV is for you, try renting one. Call your local RV dealer for prices and conditions.

One RV that might solve the problem of sufficient crate room is the Fun Mover by Four Winds, with the living area forward and a cargo area in the rear. The entire back end lowers into a ramp. Available in six lengths, from 27 to 39 feet, the lowest price is in the neighborhood of $80K.

The hottest item is the Renegade. "It looks like an RV and a semi had a baby," quips dealer Bill Schernekau. At 45 feet in length, and built on a Freightliner body, the Renegade is serious stuff. The forward section is all plush motor home, while the rear can be anything you wantlike a cargo area with full grooming facilities, and its own wide-exit door. Slides are available should even more space be desired. How about such nice touches as three outside quartz lights, full-length awning, and an outside water connection? Manufactured in northern Indiana, the Renegade can be built to the owner's specs in about four months. As might be expected, gas mileage is not great. A 350 Cad engine delivers about 7 to 8 mpg. The price tag? Base is $175,000.

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