12 Dog Breeds that fit well under an airplane seat

If you’re an avid traveler searching for your perfect furry companion, look no further! This blog post is tailored just for you. Imagine exploring breathtaking destinations with a loyal canine companion by your side. In the following blog post, we’ll look at 12 dog breeds that fit well under an airplane seat. Whether you have a weekend getaway or an ambitious cross-country expedition in mind, these compact and travel-friendly breeds are the ideal companions for your globetrotting adventures. So, let’s delve into this exciting world and discover the pint-sized pups ready to accompany you as you soar through the skies!

This page may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read the full disclosure here.

12 Best Dog Breeds that Fit Well Under an Airplane Seat (Weight and Size)

The size of your dog and your dog’s weight is important to know before traveling on an airplane with them. It should be no surprise that all the dogs listed below are small breeds as they are best suited to fit in that small space under an airplane seat. Be sure to check out our pawesome pairings service for additional advice on finding the right pup for you!

1. Chihuahua

These pint-sized pups are perfect for flying with their tiny stature and lightweight build.

  • Weight: Typically between 2 to 6 pounds (0.9 to 2.7 kg)
  • Height: Around 6 to 9 inches (15 to 23 cm) at the shoulder

2. French Bulldog

With their small, muscular bodies and friendly demeanor, French Bulldogs are a popular choice for jet-setting adventures.

  • Weight: Generally between 16 to 28 pounds (7 to 13 kg)
  • Height: Approximately 11 to 12 inches (28 to 30 cm) at the shoulder

3. Shih Tzu

These affectionate and well-behaved dogs are compact enough to fit comfortably under the seat while bringing joy to your travels.

  • Weight: Typically around 9 to 16 pounds (4 to 7 kg)
  • Height: Roughly 8 to 11 inches (20 to 28 cm) at the shoulder

4. Yorkshire Terrier

Known for their elegant appearance and small size, Yorkies make excellent travel companions due to their adaptability.

  • Weight: Usually between 4 to 7 pounds (1.8 to 3.2 kg)
  • Height: Around 6 to 9 inches (15 to 23 cm) at the shoulder

5. Maltese

These gentle and playful dogs are easy to transport and fit snugly under an airplane seat.

  • Weight: Typically between 4 to 7 pounds (1.8 to 3.2 kg)
  • Height: Approximately 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm) at the shoulder

6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

With their friendly nature and compact size, Cavaliers are well-suited for travel and can comfortably fit beneath the seat.

  • Weight: Generally between 13 to 18 pounds (5.9 to 8.2 kg)
  • Height: Roughly 12 to 13 inches (30 to 33 cm) at the shoulder

7. Boston Terrier

Their compact yet sturdy build, combined with their easygoing personality, makes Boston Terriers a great choice for travel enthusiasts.

  • Weight: Usually between 12 to 25 pounds (5.4 to 11.3 kg)
  • Height: Around 15 to 17 inches (38 to 43 cm) at the shoulder

8. Pomeranian

Despite their fluffy appearance, Pomeranians are small enough to fit comfortably under the seat, making them delightful travel companions.

  • Weight: Typically around 3 to 7 pounds (1.4 to 3.2 kg)
  • Height: Approximately 6 to 7 inches (15 to 18 cm) at the shoulder

9. Shiba Inu

These spirited and alert dogs are relatively compact, making them a suitable choice for plane travel.

  • Weight: Generally between 17 to 23 pounds (7.7 to 10.4 kg)
  • Height: Roughly 13.5 to 16.5 inches (34 to 42 cm) at the shoulder

10. Bichon Frise

These cheerful and hypoallergenic dogs are not only great for those with allergies but also make fantastic travel companions.

  • Weight: Usually between 10 to 18 pounds (4.5 to 8.2 kg)
  • Height: Around 9.5 to 11.5 inches (24 to 29 cm) at the shoulder

11. Havanese

Their small size and adaptable nature make Havanese dogs an excellent choice for jet-setting adventures.

  • Weight: Typically around 10 to 16 pounds (4.5 to 7.3 kg)
  • Height: Approximately 8.5 to 11.5 inches (22 to 29 cm) at the shoulder

12. Pug

Pugs may have a sturdy build, but their compact size allows them to fit comfortably under most airplane seats, making them ideal for travel.

  • Weight: Generally between 14 to 18 pounds (6.4 to 8.2 kg)
  • Height: Roughly 10 to 13 inches (25 to 33 cm) at the shoulder
Please note that the measurements for each breed listed above are averages and can vary slightly depending on the individual dog. It's always best to consider the specific size and weight of your dog when determining if it will comfortably fit under an airplane seat. 

Quick Note: Dog Size

Most dogs are at their full size around the age of 1 and larger breeds can still grow from year 1 to 2. If you decide to adopt a mixed pup and you know you will travel a lot with them, best to choose small dogs over the age of 2 to make sure they are fully grown. Plus, they are likely already house-trained by this age too!

What Personality Traits in dogs make them good travel buddies?

When selecting a dog for travel, there are several key personality traits to consider that can make the experience more enjoyable for both you and your furry companion:

Size and Weight

Opt for a smaller or medium-sized dog that can comfortably fit under an airplane seat or in a travel carrier. Lighter dogs are also easier to handle during transportation. A toy breed or one of the 12 breeds listed above will fit well under an airplane seat. Always be sure to have a great harness and leash while walking through the airport with your pup too. Be sure to click on the image below and check out some of our favorite harnesses!


Look for a dog with a calm and adaptable temperament. Traveling can be stressful, so a dog that remains composed and adjusts well to new environments will make the journey smoother.

Energy Level

Consider your travel plans and choose a dog with an energy level that aligns with your activities. If you enjoy long hikes or outdoor adventures, a more active breed might be suitable. However, if you prefer a relaxed travel experience, a lower-energy breed may be a better fit.


A well-trained dog is essential for travel. Look for a breed known for being obedient and easily trainable. Good manners and reliable recall are particularly important when you’re in unfamiliar places. Consider a service dog and then you don’t have to have them be small size, they can be a large breed dog!


Dogs that are adaptable and comfortable in various situations tend to handle travel better. They should be able to adjust to different climates, accommodations, and modes of transportation. I can’t say I am a fan of having your dog placed in the cargo hold. But I recognize that it’s required in some pet owners who are moving or traveling with a large dog. You don’t want to traumatize your dog so ensure they can adapt to different environments, such as loud noises.

Health and Stamina

Prioritize a dog with good overall health and stamina. They should be able to handle the physical demands of travel, such as walking long distances or enduring extended periods of transit.


If you plan to encounter other people and animals during your travels, a dog that is sociable, friendly, and well-socialized will make those interactions more enjoyable. Nobody likes a snappy dog in the airport with children running wild!

What are the best carriers for traveling with a dog on an airplane?

When it comes to choosing a carrier for traveling with your dog on an airplane, there are several options available that prioritize comfort, safety, and convenience. Even if your carrier states that it is an airline-approved carrier, it’s still important to double-check it against the airline’s requirements. Here are some of the best carriers commonly recommended for air travel:

Soft-Sided Carrier

Soft-sided carriers are a popular choice as they are lightweight, easy to maneuver, and typically fit well under airplane seats. Look for carriers with sturdy construction, ample ventilation, and secure closures. Some popular brands include Sherpa, Sleepypod, and PetAmi.

Hard-Sided Carrier

Hard-sided carriers provide more protection and stability for your dog. They are generally made of durable plastic or fiberglass and have secure latching systems. Ensure the carrier meets airline requirements for size and ventilation. A Hard-Sided Carrier is likely needed for the cargo hold of your dog. Examples of reliable hard-sided carriers include Petmate Sky Kennel and Vari Kennel.

Expandable Carrier

Expandable carriers offer the flexibility to provide your dog with additional space during the flight. They have zippered panels or mesh walls that can be expanded or collapsed as needed. One popular expandable carrier is Sleepypod Air. It’s on the pricey side but many pet owners are big fans. Click on the image below to find out more about it to see if it’s a good fit for your pup.

Wheeled Carriers

Wheeled carriers come with built-in wheels and a handle, allowing you to roll your dog through the airport with ease. These carriers are particularly helpful if your dog is on the heavier side or if you have other luggage to manage.

Backpack Carrier

Backpack carriers are a hands-free option, enabling you to carry your dog on your back. They are convenient for smaller dogs and shorter trips. Look for backpack carriers with proper ventilation, adjustable straps, and supportive padding. The K9 Sport Sack and PetAmi Deluxe Backpack are well-regarded choices. I mean how cute is it to see a dog on someone’s back?

Remember to check the airline's specific requirements and regulations for pet carriers before purchasing one. It's essential to choose a carrier that meets the size restrictions and provides adequate ventilation for your dog's safety and comfort. Additionally, consider the size and weight of your dog, as well as their comfort level in enclosed spaces, when selecting the carrier.

Airline Requirements for Pets Traveling

When traveling with a dog within the United States, there are some common airport requirements to keep in mind. However, it’s important to note that specific regulations can vary slightly between airports and airlines. Here are some general guidelines:


Most airports will require you to have appropriate documentation for your dog, which typically includes a valid health certificate issued by a veterinarian. The health certificate should state that your dog is in good health, up-to-date on vaccinations, and free from any contagious diseases.

Carrier Requirements

Your dog must be transported in an airline-approved dog carrier that meets the specific size and ventilation requirements of the airline. The carrier should be secure and well-ventilated, and provide enough space for your dog to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Soft-sided carriers are generally preferred for in-cabin travel. Some carriers have a weight limit to consider as well.

Check-In and Security

Arrive at the airport well in advance to allow enough time for check-in and security procedures. Inform the airline staff that you are traveling with a dog, and they will guide you through the necessary steps. You may need to present your dog and carrier for inspection at the security checkpoint.

Leash and Collar

Dogs must be properly leashed and collared or harnessed while at the airport. Ensure that your dog is wearing identification tags with your contact information.

Restricted Areas

In most airports, dogs are not allowed in certain areas such as airport lounges, food establishments, or security clearance areas. Familiarize yourself with the airport’s pet policies and plan accordingly.

Behavior and Cleanliness

Your dog should be well-behaved, calm, and non-disruptive during the airport experience. Make sure your dog is clean, groomed, and free from any strong odors.

Noise and Comfort

Keep in mind that airports can be busy, noisy environments that may cause stress or anxiety for your dog. Consider using a calming aid recommended by your veterinarian, and bring familiar items (such as a blanket or toy) to provide comfort.

For dog owners, it's crucial to check the specific requirements and regulations of the airline you are flying with and the airport you are departing from or arriving at. You don't want to miss your flight because you missed a guideline you needed to follow. Always contact your airline in advance to confirm their pet policies and any necessary documentation needed for your specific travel plans.

Major Airlines Pet Requirements

Each airline will take you to the guidelines for traveling with a dog and likely have a pet fee. Be sure to double-check the latest and greatest information posted by your airline at the time of your ticket purchase. The breeds listed in this post are best to fit under an airplane seat but a mixed pup from the shelter can also meet airplane requirements too. Most airlines require you to notify them that you are bringing a dog. This requirement is often needed for service dogs as well as emotional support animals.  And of course, there will be different requirements for international flights vs domestic flights. 

Delta Air Lines

American Airlines

United Airlines

Southwest Airlines


In this blog post, we have explored 12 dog breeds that are well-suited to fit under an airplane seat. These compact and travel-friendly breeds make excellent companions for jet-setting adventures. From the tiny Chihuahua to the friendly French Bulldog, each breed has its own unique characteristics that make them ideal for in-cabin travel. Whether you’re planning a short weekend getaway or embarking on a longer journey, these pint-sized pups will fit comfortably under the seat and bring joy to your travels. Remember to check the specific airline requirements and regulations before you fly, and consider the size, temperament, and energy level of each breed to find the perfect travel buddy. Don’t forget to grab a comfortable pet carrier for your furry friend too!