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A History of Traveling in Cars with Dogs

Written By: Christine Dantz

Dogs and Cars


When we debate the history of automobiles in America and around the world, we rarely hear anyone discussing the history of man's best friend traveling alongside him. Actually, there weren't many that put dogs in the front seat, which was probably the safest spot for their furry friends.


Much like the pooch in the picture below, transport systems in early vehicles involved the running board. The narrow step found on most trucks and SUVs today was a standard part of all cars in the early 20th century.


Carrying your dog on the running board


How to carry your dog in the trunk




On the left side, this pup might've been a bit safer, but there was only a porthole in the trunk for your favorite canine to stick its head out to catch a breeze (or a drink if it's raining!)





History of dog auto seats





And on the right, you have a propped up seat for your pup to sit right behind you . . .in a convertible, without a seatbelt or harness. . .was this the beginnings of letting a pooch ride in the bed of a truck?





The Dog Palace





This "great" contraption also sat on the cars running board. It was made of steel and didn't allow Fido to run away. Of course, in the case of an accident (and they happened a lot in the early days of automobiles) it couldn't escape safely either.











A canvas sack to hold your dog


Grommet's Large Canvas sack was a little softer, but not much safer. It did provide the hole for the pup's head and clearly beats the Mitt Romney treatment of the early 1980s. Let's just hope it was safely secured to the car!

Dog trainingby car



Racing dogs need to train in order to win the race and that's exactly what this Chevy station wagon was set up to do. This picture depicts the "dog stroller" devised by Dewey Blanton of Columbus, Ohio in 1955. While the side board prevented the dogs and their leashes from getting caught in the vehicles wheels, it's still frowned upon by animal lovers as inhumane. The six dogs could run at speeds up to 35 miles per hour alongside their owner inside the vehicle.



How to carry your goat in the car


And it's not just beloved pet dogs riding dangerously, not even a child's prized goat was safe!




A dog poered car


Why drive your dog when your dog can drive you? The "Poochmobile" debuted in November of 1939. Invented by Z. Wiggs, an 80-year old dog trainer, the reverse transportation system didn't catch on. (Thankfully!)


Luckily for your prized pets, the transport has improved greatly over the past century. This sketch of a pet trailer was designed by Florida resident Marie French in 1975. The trailer has two wheels and is intended to be hitched to the back of a vehicle. It is roomy with full ventilation and windows, all guaranteed to make your pooch one of the happiest travels on the road!

Plans for a dof Trailer

These are just a few of the odd, interesting, and downright scary transports invented for our fury friends since the dawn of the automobile age. It's going to be interesting to see the inventions of the future as technology completely changes how we view the automobile.

Car Exercises Dogs (Sept, 1955). (2006, December 20). Retrieved from Modern Mechanix.
Grossman, A. J. (2012, June 22). A Brief History of Pet Transportation Makes Romney's Dog-on-R$oof Method Seem Almost Humane. Retrieved from Huffington Post.
Jones, R. (n.d.). 1923 Albert 12hp automobile. Retrieved from Old Classic
Linsay. (2012, September 12). Modern Mechanix--Dog Transportation. Retrieved from The Hydrant.
Ngo, D. (2011, March 4). Archive Gallery: Popsci's Most Impractical Inventions. Retrieved from Popular Science.
Tochinsky, J. (2012, April 11). Why Your Dog Is Probably Glad Running Boards Are Dead. Retrieved from


Other Articles of Interest:

The Dummy Tank that Beat Hitler

A Patent for Sarah E. Goode: A Space Saving Folding Bed That Transforms into a Desk

Vintage Cigarette Ads: Crazy Ads that Encouraged Smoking

Vintage Lysol: All-Purpose Disinfectant and Feminine Hygiene Product?

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