Paddling with dogs


Jul 5, 2014
hi guys,

I'm looking to get a canoe that would be ideal for paddling solo with 2 dogs (80 lbs and 40 lbs). It sounds like a tandem 16 footer paddled in reverse will do the job but a poly that size and weight will be a bear to load onto the car myself without you know, breaking windshields and ruining my car's paint job. Aluminum that size will obviously be way too heavy and the Kevlar and fiberglass are pretty pricy. Good thing about vessel that size is that my wife could probably join me and still have room for both dogs. I don't really care much about speed or running through rapids, as this would be mostly for getting out on flat water to get my zen on and go camping. With 2 dogs, I care more about stability and comfort. The Wenonah Solo Plus at around 50 lbs sounds perfect but is a bit pricy.

There's also a used Old Town Discovery 169 for sale near me but it weighs 90 lbs and I read it's not the easiest to paddle solo.

Does anyone have any suggestions?
I have a ascends 12 foot sit on top, and my lab and myself use it often. I also have had another dog with us and it's been fine. Wouldn't want to take it on anything but calm water that way, bug fun.

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I'm no help with a canoe, but I think an IK is also worth considering. I love my Sea Eagles and they can easily haul a couple dogs plus all the gear you'd need. They take up a fraction of the space, don't require a rack to transport and they are far more stable than most (if not all) canoes.


@Vegan.Hiker - I can attest to the quality of Wenonah Canoes - well worth the price in my estimation. I own the Spirit II and the Minnesota II. The Spirit II might work for you if you can keep your dogs at the front of the canoe to weight it down while you paddle from the back. It is an all round great canoe. Our Minnesota II at one time fit my whole family plus you can load it down with gear though it is not as maneuverable. I bet the solo would do fine as well.
I have a 10 year old 17' Wenonah Adirondack, Tuff-weave Flex-Core, about 55lbs. Nearly indestructable. Tracks great on flat water.
I can get it off and on my car. (a little sketchy). It has great stability, never tested it with a dog though. X2 what @Vegan.Hiker said. Don't turn the boat around, the dogs in the front should do the trick.
Thanks guys,

Good to hear about the Wenonah's and which models you guys like. A few of the Wenonah models are at the top of my list. I added the Old Town Camper 16' to my list and found one in royalex (59 lbs) in great condition on eBay for pickup in Allentown PA, about 2 hrs from me. There's about a week left on the auction but I'll see if I can win it at a reasonable price. There are a few Mad River models that sound like they would be good options as well that i'm keeping my eyes peeled for. If I don't find a great deal on one of the models I'm looking for I may just spring for a new Wenonah as a holiday gift to myself.

@Nick, I hear all your points about the IK. I'm just worried about getting too wet or taking on lots of cold water in the northeast during the shoulder seasons. We can get some nasty chop on flat water up here and getting wet in November or April up here sucks. So I'm kind of looking for a tank.
From my experience I'd take an inflatable over a canoe any day in poor conditions where you want to stay dry.

Class ll river water is different than choppy conditions on a lake. Never gotten wet on a rough day on a lake.
From my experience I'd take an inflatable over a canoe any day in poor conditions where you want to stay dry.

I should have been more honest up front. I'm only considering a canoe this time around. I know it's lame to prioritize form over function but I've always loved canoes, their beautiful lines, and the way they've barely evolved over hundreds of years. Twice I purchased a kayak because it made more sense on paper; and every time I paddle one of em I wish I was in a canoe, speed and agility be damned. Now that I have an 80 lb dog in the family, I finally have my excuse to go with what my heart has wanted all along.