Kayaking is a popular water-based activity that people from all walks of life enjoy. It provides a unique way to explore nature, get some exercise, and spend quality time in the great outdoors. One aspect of kayaking that often goes overlooked is the ability to bring your furry friend along for the ride. That's where the sit on top kayak comes into play, specifically designed with the needs of dog owners in mind.

These kayaks are user-friendly, stable, and perfect for both beginners and seasoned paddlers alike. They are ideal for exploring calm waters, such as lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. The open design allows for easy entry and exit, as well as providing more freedom to move around. This is particularly useful when kayaking with a dog, as it gives them space to move, stretch, and reposition themselves in a safe and comfortable manner.

When searching for the best kayak for dogs, there are several factors that you need to consider. These include size and capacity, ensuring that the kayak is suitable for both you and your dog, as well as stability and durability, to handle the inevitable movement and shifting weight of a large dog onboard. It's also important to look for a kayak with easy entry points, built-in storage for your pet's essentials, and non-slip surfaces to keep your canine companion safe throughout the paddle.

We've put in the work to find the best sit-on-top kayaks for dogs, looking at how they're made, how well they work, and how easy they are to use. We want to help you pick the ideal kayak so you and your dog can have great times on the water.

Our Top Picks

Perception Hi Life 11 Lifetime Kokanee

Perception Tribe Perception Access

Emotion Spitfire Sea Eagle 300X Explorer

Best Kayaks for Dogs: Sit-on-Top Options

We've carefully curated a list of the top sit-on-top dog kayaks perfect for a day on the water with your furry companion.

Perception Hi Life 11 - Funkadelic Life

Best kayak for dogs
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The Perception Hi Life 11 is the perfect versatile kayak for you and your dog to explore the water, offering stability, comfort, and practicality.


  • Excellent blend of kayak and SUP
  • Inbuilt storage and cooler
  • Rear swim platform for easy re-entry


  • A bit on the heavier side at 55 pounds
  • Not suitable for rough water conditions
  • May lack speed compared to traditional kayaks

We recently tried the Perception Hi Life 11re-entry, and we were delighted with its perfect combination of a kayak and a stand-up paddleboard (SUP), providing maximum maneuverability in different water situations. With its unique design focused on stability, it allows you and your dog to enjoy the water comfortably, whether you prefer paddling or standing up.

The Perception Hi Life 11 has a reliable rear swim platform that enables easy reentry after a refreshing swim, which is perfect for dogs who love to jump in and out of the water. The cleverly designed seat also offers storage and a cooler, providing ample space for your belongings and cold beverages during your trip. It's perfect for solo adventures or family outings, including your furry friends.

Made in the USA, the Perception Hi Life 11 is crafted from durable polyethylene, ensuring that it can withstand various water conditions and provide you with long-lasting use. However, it's essential to note that it may not be suitable for rough water conditions due to its emphasis on stability.

The Perception Hi Life 11 may be slightly heavier than other kayaks at 55 pounds, which could be a deciding factor for some people. Additionally, its focus on stability means it might lack the speed one might expect from a traditional kayak.

In conclusion, the Perception Hi Life 11 is an exceptional and highly practical kayak for those who enjoy spending time in the water with their dogs. With its versatility, stability, and useful features, it's undoubtedly worth checking out for your next water adventure.

Lifetime Kokanee Sit-On-Top Kayak, Lime, 10'6"

Best kayak for dogs
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The Lifetime Kokanee Sit-On-Top Kayak is a versatile, user-friendly option for dog owners who enjoy kayaking with their four-legged friends.


  • Versatile design for solo or tandem paddling
  • Durable, UV-protected, and impact-resistant materials
  • Spacious deck and adjustable backrests for comfort


  • Heavier than other kayaks at 77 pounds
  • Slightly harder to maneuver due to its width
  • Seat backs could be more durable

We recently took the Lifetime Kokanee Sit-On-Top Kayak out on the water, and it proved to be an excellent choice for kayaking with our dog. The spacious deck and adjustable backrests allowed us to find the perfect balance of comfort and stability while paddling, ensuring our furry friend was always secure and at ease.

The high-density polyethylene (HDPE) construction provides durability and UV protection, guaranteeing this kayak will withstand the elements and last for years to come. The bungee storage system and hatch also make it easy to keep our gear within reach during the adventure.

However, we should note that at 77 pounds, this kayak is heavier than some of its competitors. The extra weight did make it a bit more difficult to transport and maneuver, especially for solo paddlers. Additionally, we found the seat backs to be somewhat lacking in durability, and they may need replacing over time.

In summary, the Lifetime Kokanee Sit-On-Top Kayak is an ideal choice for those who love to kayak with their dogs. Its versatile design, durable materials, and comfortable features make it a suitable option for any adventure, though it may require some extra effort to transport and maneuver.

Perception Tribe 9.5 Kayak

Best kayak for dogs
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The Perception Tribe 9.5 sit-on-top kayak is an ideal choice for dog owners seeking fun and versatility on the water.


  • Superior comfort and stability
  • High-back frame seatback for added support
  • Ample rear storage with tie downs


  • Heavier than some competitors
  • Not the fastest on the market
  • May be challenging for smaller paddlers to handle

As dog owners ourselves, we've found the Perception Tribe 9.5 sit-on-top kayak to cater well to our furry friends. The kayak's design offers superior comfort and stability, making it a dependable choice for a variety of water activities - from tranquil lake cruising to navigating mild ocean waves.

One of the standout features of the Perception Tribe 9.5 kayak is its high-back frame seatback. This added element provides increased support and cushioning, along with adjustable recline positions that make paddling a truly relaxing and enjoyable experience for us and our dogs.

Additionally, the kayak is equipped with ample rear storage secured by durable tie-downs to accommodate all our gear, including life jackets and dog treats, for our four-legged companions. With its robust weight capacity of 300 lbs, the Perception Tribe 9.5 can easily support paddlers of all sizes and their canine buddies.

On the downside, the Perception Tribe 9.5 kayak is relatively heavy at 46 lbs. While its sit-on design makes it easier for dogs to climb on and off, smaller paddlers might find it challenging to handle on land. Also, due to its design prioritizing stability and comfort, this kayak may not be the fastest on the market. However, we think the overall features and performance outweigh these drawbacks.

In conclusion, the Perception Tribe 9.5 sit-on-top kayak offers a fantastic all-around water adventure experience for dog owners. Its comfort, stability, and well-designed storage space make it an excellent investment for those planning to spend quality time with their furry friends on the water.

Perception Access 11.5 Sit on Top Kayak

Best kayak for dogs
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This kayak is an excellent choice for dog owners seeking comfort and stability on the water.


  • Comfortable molded-in high seat and leg lifter
  • Lightweight and easy to transport
  • Integrated fishing rod holders and storage console


  • Limited attachment points for accessories
  • Stability may be compromised with sudden movements
  • May experience some tracking issues

We recently had the pleasure of trying out the Perception Access 11.5 Sit on Top Kayak, and it quickly became clear that it's an ideal option for those looking to take their furry friends along for the next kayaking adventure. Its comfortable molded-in high seat and leg lifter make for a relaxed paddling experience, and the 55-pound weight means it's relatively easy to transport the kayak to and from the water.

One of the standout features of this fishing kayak, is its integrated fishing rod holders and center console. This adds extra storage and utility for those who want to bring their canine companions along for a fishing kayaking trip. Additionally, the molded front, rear, and side handles make carrying the Access 11.5 a breeze.

However, there are a few potential drawbacks to the Perception Access 11.5 Kayak. For instance, there are limited attachment points for accessories, which could be inconvenient for some paddlers. The kayak's stability might be somewhat compromised with sudden movements, so cautious handling is advised, especially with a dog on board. Lastly, some users have reported tracking issues, which may impact navigation during longer trips.

Overall, the Perception Access 11.5 Sit on Top Kayak offers a comfortable and enjoyable experience for both paddlers and their canine companions. Its lightweight design and integrated fishing features make it well-suited for a variety of outdoor adventures.

Emotion Spitfire Sit-On-Top Kayak Glacier Blue Kayak

Best kayak for dogs
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Emotion Spitfire Sit-On-Top Kayak is a perfect choice for dog-loving kayakers with its stability, comfort, and storage features.


  • Ultra-stable and great tracking
  • Comfortable and secure seating
  • Convenient storage options


  • Slightly heavier at 45 lbs
  • Limited color choices
  • May not be suitable for advanced paddlers

We recently had the pleasure of testing the Emotion Spitfire Sit-On-Top Kayak and found it to be an excellent kayak to enjoy with our furry friends. The boat's hull design ensures ultra stability and great tracking, making it easy to paddle with our dogs without the fear of capsizing.

One of the standout features of the Emotion Spitfire that we truly appreciated is the built-in padded CRS + UltraLite Seat, which would provide hours of comfortable paddling. The molded-in Freedom Footwells also ensure secure foot bracing while paddling, adding to the comfort factor.

Storage is another key element we considered in this review, and the Spitfire does not disappoint. The rear tankwell with cargo net lacing, storage hatch under the deck, and molded-in paddle keepers and side carry handles make it a convenient option for both you and your dog.

On the flip side of things, the Emotion Spitfire has a few drawbacks to consider. We noticed that it's slightly heavier compared to some other kayaks at 45 lbs, which may make it harder to transport for some people. Additionally, the kayak is available only in Glacier Blue color, limiting choices for those who prefer other colors.

Lastly, while the Emotion Spitfire is a fantastic option for recreational kayak and paddlers and those with dogs, it may not cater to the needs of advanced kayakers looking for a more performance-oriented boat.

In conclusion, we believe the Emotion Spitfire Sit-On-Top Kayak is a fantastic option for dog lovers and kayakers seeking a stable, comfortable, and dog-friendly kayak. Its built-in features ensure a fun and stress-free paddling experience with your furry companion.

Sea Eagle 300X Explorer

Best kayak for dogs
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  • Lightweight Design: Easy to transport and perfect for adventurers on the go.
  • Quick Inflation: Ready for water in just 5 minutes.
  • Heavy-Duty Construction: Built with 1000 denier reinforced PVC for durability.
  • Class IV Whitewater Rating: Engineered for challenging waters and skilled kayakers.
  • Multiple Air Chambers: Enhanced safety with separate inflatable sections.
  • Convenient Accessories: Includes a carrying bag and a removable center fin for stability.
  • Reinforced Floor: Features a separate drop stitch floor for added rigidity.


  • Hand Pump Only: Does not come with an automatic pump.
  • Limited Space: Compact interior may not suit larger breeds or extra gear.

The Sea Eagle 300X Explorer stands out as a top-tier inflatable kayak that can withstand the test of rough waters and even your dog's claws. Crafted from robust 1000 denier reinforced PVC, this kayak is designed to tackle Class IV whitewater rapids, offering an adrenaline rush for those with advanced paddling skills. The reinforced seams add an extra layer of durability, making it a safe choice for you and your furry friend. Although it's wise to trim your dog's nails for added precaution, the kayak's interior is optimized for small to medium-sized breeds, given its 9-foot length and space utilized by the inflated borders.

Unlike traditional hard-shell kayaks, inflatable kayaks may not be as agile, but they compensate with a high-pressure, drop stitch floor that provides the necessary rigidity for a more structured paddling experience. The kayak features three separate inflatable chambers, ensuring that even in the unlikely event of a puncture, the kayak remains buoyant and secure.

Designed with rough waters in mind, the Sea Eagle 300X is equipped with 16 drain valves for easy water expulsion. The removable fin is a boon for calm waters, aiding in smooth and straight steering.

Whether you're navigating turbulent rapids or enjoying a serene lake, the Sea Eagle 300X Explorer inflatable kayak is a resilient and versatile choice for paddlers looking to share their adventures with their canine friends.

Buying Guide

When choosing the best dog friendly kayaks for you and your dog, there are several factors we need to consider. Ensuring a comfortable and safe kayaking experience for both you and your furry friend is our top priority.


One of the most critical factors when selecting a sit-on-top kayak for your dog is stability. Look for a wide and stable kayak that can accommodate your weight and your dog's comfortably. A wider beam will provide greater stability, which is especially important when you have a pet onboard.

Size and Weight Capacity

It's essential to consider the size of your dog and the kayak's weight capacity. Ensure the kayak can safely support you, your dog, and any additional gear you might bring along. Measure your dog's size and weight to help you find the right kayak that offers ample space and weight capacity. If you have a large dog I recommend going with a tandem kayak.

Material and Durability

The material of the kayak is crucial, as it directly affects the kayak's durability and performance. Most sit-on-top kayaks are made of polyethylene, a type of sturdy and lightweight plastic. Make sure to choose a kayak that is made of high-quality, UV-resistant material to prevent damage from the sun's rays.

Comfortable Seating

Comfortable seating in plastic kayaks is essential for both you and your dog. Look for a kayak that offers an ergonomic and adjustable seat with proper back support for you. Fishing kayaks may be you best bet here. Additionally, ensure there is enough space for your dog to sit or lie down comfortably. Some sit in kayaks come with molded-in seating areas or attachable pads designed specifically for pets.

Safety Features

Safety is paramount when kayaking with your dog. Check if the kayak has non-slip surfaces or mats to prevent your dog from slipping while onboard. Additionally, opt for a kayak with grab handles or attachment points where you can secure your dog's leash or harness.

Considering these factors and using our advice as a guide will help you find the perfect sit-on-top kayak to enjoy a fun and safe experience with your dog. Happy paddling!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top kayaks for dog owners?

When considering the best kayaks for dog owners, it's essential to prioritize stability and comfort. Some top options include the Perception Pescador Pro, the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120, and the Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem. These kayaks provide ample space and stability for both you and your beloved pet.

How to choose a sit-on-top kayak for my dog?

Choosing the ideal sit-on-top kayak for your furry friend involves a few factors. Consider the size and weight of your dog, as well as your intended kayaking environment. Look for kayaks with ample deck space, a non-slip surface, and easy entry and exit points for your pup. Additionally, prioritize kayaks with a high weight capacity and stability, ensuring a comfortable ride for you both.

What are the pros and cons of tandem kayaks with dogs?

Tandem kayaks offer some benefits for dog owners, such as extra seating space and additional weight capacity. However, they also come with some drawbacks. Tandem kayaks can be less maneuverable, which might prove challenging in certain conditions. It might also be hard to maintain control of your dog if they're seated far away from you.

What features should I look for in a dog-friendly kayak?

When selecting a dog-friendly kayak, consider features that cater to your pet's needs, such as a non-slip deck and a stable design. Ample storage space is crucial for stowing pet essentials like treats, leashes, and safety gear. Additionally, look for kayaks with comfortable seating and adjustable footrests to ensure you and your dog can voyage in comfort.

How do I ensure my dog's safety on a kayak?

Prioritize safety by investing in a dog life jacket or a well-fitting canine life jacket for your dog. Familiarize them with the kayak on dry land before venturing onto the water, and practice commands like "sit" and "stay" to discourage sudden movements. Be mindful of weather conditions and water currents, and always carry a leash, first aid kit, and enough water for both you and your pup.

Are any popular kayak models suitable for dogs?

Besides the aforementioned Perception Pescador Pro, Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120, and Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem, other popular kayak models suitable for dogs include the Jackson Riviera, Hobie Mirage Compass, and the Old Town Loon 106. Each of these affordable kayak models offers features that enhance the kayaking experience for you and your four-legged companion.

In A Nutshell...

When it comes to kayaking with our furry friends, sit-on-top kayaks are the best choice for both safety and convenience. These kayaks provide a spacious and stable platform for our dogs to sit in, lie down, and enjoy the ride. We'll discuss some of the key features to look for in a dog-friendly sit-on-top kayak.

Stability is crucial when paddling with our canine companions. A wider and more stable kayak ensures that our dogs can move around with ease and minimizes the risk of capsizing. It's essential to choose a kayak with a high weight capacity to accommodate the combined weight of the paddler, the dog, and any additional gear.

A kayak with a non-slip deck is another essential feature for our canine friends. The dogs will undoubtedly feel more confident and secure as they move around the kayak. A non-slip deck also prevents injuries due to slipping and falling in a wet environment.

We hope this information will help you choose the best sit-on-top kayak for you and your dog to enjoy adventures on the water together.

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