Sometimes you want your dog to come for the ride with you.
And if a motorcycle is your only way of getting around, you’re going to need an accessory of some kind (unless you’re like our friend in east Asia with a patch of carpet glued onto the tank and a dog who’s been riding there since he was a pup).
Solutions range from boxes that mount to your bike to rucksacks specifically designed to house your dog comfortably. Here’s our list.
Best Motorcycle Dog Carriers Reviewed
This is the premium pet-carrying solution on our list.
Its design incorporates a roll cage to keep your dog safe in an accident and a cleverly designed chain and carabiner that allows him/her to turn around without getting tangled up (rated to 30kg.)
The internal space comes in at 39cm x 62cm floor space with a height of 55cm.
Crucially, this box is designed to be narrower than your handlebars, so you won’t get surprised if you forget it’s attached while weaving through traffic.
With its aluminium frame, the total weight of the Pillion Pooch is 15kg. The unit uses heavy-grade, waterproof PVC.
One and two dog units are available, and both feature a zipped front door in case it gets hot, or your dog wants to feel the breeze.
The initial installation takes about an hour, but after that, a quick-release system means you can have the box off in seconds.
If you’re the kind of person who’s willing to pay for the best possible solution, this might be for you—a premium product at a premium price.
- Lightweight and durable
- Quick-release system
- Premium price tag
Kuryakyn Grand Pet Palace
The Kuryakyn Grand Pet Palace comes with a multitude of backrest straps, adjustable nylon straps, and D-rings to make it easy to attach to a variety of bikes and scooters and features a shoulder strap so you can easily take your pet off the bike.
A rigid frame, UV-rated, rugged 1200 denier nylon, and removable rain cover keeps your pet safe from the elements and safer in the event of a fall.
We like the rigid base, easy-to-clean, removable cushion, and adjustable leash – easy to see a pet being comfortable there for an hour or so.
A top window lets you communicate with your dog and keeps things cool when needed in combination with the mesh side panels.
The floor space comes in at 47cm x 33cm and the Kuryakyn is 35cm tall.
This might suit someone serious about taking their dog with them regularly but isn’t ready to pay the premium price for the Pillion Pooch.
- Can be adapted to fit a variety of bikes
- Decent construction and waterproofing
- Some users report getting 5 years of regular use
RC Gear Pro Pet Carrier
This is a backpack-type solution and can be used to carry both cats and dogs.
Decent padding in the adjustable straps and a rigid, padded back area means this could also be used for activities like hiking too.
The top opening allows your pet to stick their head out while still attached by the leash and sturdy D-ring. This is a nice option if your pet gets nervous when they can’t see what’s going on.
Mesh panels in the lower section of the bag also help with ventilation and visibility, meaning that your pet should feel in the loop, no matter the situation.
One important thing to note here – while this is reinforced to some extent, it’s not a motorcycle-specific solution like some of the more expensive options on our list.
The Pillion Pooch and Kuryakyn carriers are designed like miniature roll cages to keep your dog out of contact with the ground as much as possible in an accident.
This backpack-type solution is a lot better than nothing but not in the same league as the mounted-box solutions as far as safety goes (or price!).
- Well-made at the price
- Good for walking and hiking
- Not sturdy enough to recommend as a long term solution
Saddlemen Pet Voyager
This looks a lot like a top box, redesigned with some features to help keep your (small) dog or cat comfortable on medium-length journeys.
As advertised in the manufacturer’s copy, this can double up as a storage box when your pet’s not there (cat hairs all over your veggies, lovely!).
The Saddleman includes options to attach to a backrest bar or seat, so you’ll find a way to attach it to your seat, bar, or luggage rack. Backpack straps are a nice touch for when it’s time to get off the bike but not necessarily safe to let your pet free.
The short leash slides with the animal’s movements, so they’re unlikely to get caught up.
Lots of vents keep things cool, and there are lots of stash pockets for any extra accessories you might need to pack for your pet, and a longer leash is included for time off the bike.
We couldn’t find a lot of concrete information on the construction of this carrier. It’s semi-rigid, uses what feels like high-dernier polyester, and is water-resistant but not waterproof. This may be a deciding factor for some UK potential customers.
Overall, this is a decent, motorcycle-specific solution with a construction and feature set that seems right for its price tag.
- Well-made, bike-specific
- Can use as a storage box
- Not waterproof
This is another backpack-type carrier solution. It’s advertised as a small pet carrier with a recommended weight of 7kg, so we’re confident you could get some smaller breed, mature dogs in there too.
600D Oxford cloth is durable, if not waterproof, material to construct the pack with, and we can’t fault the way this is put together.
Vents on the top and bottom ensure a decent amount of airflow, and the 30cm x 21cm base and 41 cm height will keep your pet cool and comfortable so long as they meet the size guidelines.
A removable fleece lining for winter is a nice extra feature, and the mat at the base of the pack is removable and machine washable.
The foldable design is easily one of this solution’s best selling points for motorcyclists, easily making this bag stashable in a pannier or box pocket.
- Foldable design
- A bit lightweight for full-time use
Considerations, care and cost
Crate VS Backpack
The safest solution (and probably the most comfortable for both of you) is to mount a box onto the bike.
Safety is covered by this kind of solution having a stiffer, more durable construction and the fact that they stay mounted on your bike in the event of an accident.
If you lose control and need to go down, sliding on the armour at the back of your jacket is often where you want to be. Just not if your best friend is strapped there.
If you expect that you’ll be carrying your dog regularly, consider a mounted crate-style solution.
For UK riders, this is always something worth thinking about.
Most of the units on our list are, at least, water-resistant.
The level of protection from the cold and elements tend to climb with the more you spend.
The backpack-type solution offers the one advantage of keeping your pet next to your body as a heat source. Still, if you’re going to be riding in cold, wet conditions, it’s worth spending a little extra.
Mounting And Safety
We can’t make any claims about the safety of any of these solutions other than the obvious. Those with roll cage protection and higher dernier nylon will perform much better in a crisis.
Mounting solutions are considered safer than backpack types because of the unpredictability of coming off a motorcycle at speed.
Under normal riding conditions, a pet is less likely to be crushed by the bike’s weight when mounted than be crushed by the rider in a backpack.
I’ve landed on my back before with enough force to kill a timber wolf.
The backpack-type solutions have off-bike portability in spades. But even the mounted box-style options on our list have features that help mitigate this disadvantage.
The Pillion Pooch uses a quick release system to get eh box off quickly, but I can’t imagine carrying that around for very long.
The Kuryakyn and Saddlemen offer better solutions with carrying straps that allow you to lift the box off the bike like a piece of luggage and carry it around.
When it comes to the legality of carrying pets in boxes and backpacks, there is no specific offence being committed by carrying the animal.
However, a creative prosecutor could get a dangerous driving charge to stick, depending on how the dog is secured.
There are a few ways to mitigate this risk. Using purpose-made solutions where the collar secures your pet and inside a box/bag helps. If you live in a small, rural area, dropping into your local police station for a chat about it first might be an option.