The suggestion in my last post that Irish Setters are notoriously bad drivers — really, a gratuitous, baseless slur —  led me to thinking: Which breeds or particular dogs would excel or fail,  and why?

Frankie isn’t fond of cars, for example, but that could be because he would prefer to be in the driver’s seat; being a terrier mix, he likes to be in charge. He’s also extremely smart, so he could learn the traffic rules, no problem, but he’s easily distracted. He would be like one of those teenagers who texts behind the wheel. Final assessment: Under close supervision, with someone to force him to pay attention, he would do fine at city driving. I would not trust him on the highway for long distances, however.

And your dog?

P.S. I’ve moved the comments thread from my last post to this one, but have already had responses about Huskies (another slur without documentation — what say you, Phetched?) and one from GoodDogNess:

Shelties would be horrible drivers….imagine one car, with a sheltie at the wheel, trying to round up all the others…..and since Shelties are very vocal , especially while *working*, I would assume they’d be honking that freakin car horn the entire time too.

10 thoughts on “Would Your Dog Be a Good Driver?”

  1. Greyhounds would be good drivers because they are sighthounds.

    They can see a moving object half way down the blog. They also have an entire bus fleet named after them so transportation must be in their genes.

  2. At the risk of betraying my pro-terrier bias, I have to argue that smooth fox terriers (adult and presumably old enough to get a license) excel behind the wheel. I even have evidence. In his lovely smooth fox terrier memoir, My Dog Skip (not to be confused with the dumbed-down movie of the same name*), about life in c. 1940 Mississsippi, Willie Morris reports that Skip used to stand on the driver’s seat of the family auto, paws on the wheel, Willie boying the pedals, while the pair drove through town. Much to the amazement and delight of the elderly men sitting on the porch of the general store. The problem, of course, would be convincing any terrier to go to a destination other than the doggie bakery and pet boutique!
    * How dumbed-down was the movie? I could cite the entire recasting of the plot into an pedestrian father/son conflict, the wildly improbably addition of a sub-plot with bootleggers, etc. But enough to say that Skip was played by a Jack Russell, not a fox, terrier. No offense to the Jack Russell fans, but, really.

    1. Thanks for the telling me about the book, Rebecca; I did think the movie was kind of corny. And it’s just wrong to substitute one breed for another. Jack Russells have their own books to make into films. I’m thinking of Jane Smiley’s Horse Heaven, partly told from the point of view of a JRT, Eileen. Admittedly, it might be tough to make into a movie, though both dog and horse actors aren’t members of equity so it wouldn’t be that expensive.

  3. Perhaps my husky slur seemed offhanded, but I assure you I have *personal* anecdotal as well as photographic evidence that huskies are born criminals. They are sweet and beautiful, but can’t be trusted any more than a skinny cook. 😀

    I’m thinking a hound could *possibly* be trained to be a good driver, as they’re good about doing a job they’re given, yet oh so easily distracted… an interesting scent comes through the air and who knows where they’ll end up.. and for sure won’t be stopping to ask for directions. And it should be noted that a basset hound probably would have to be disqualified right off for not being able to see over the steering wheel.

    A golden retriever, maybe? They’re so eager to please and congenial — no road rage or furry little paws poking out the window and giving the bird.

    1. Ok, you’ve redeemed yourself regarding those huskies. You are of course welcome to submit photographic evidence of Huskies Behaving Badly.
      I love the image of a dog giving someone the bird. Hmmm. I’ll have to think about which breed would be most likely to flip other dog drivers off.

  4. A chihuahua would probably flip other dogs off. They have muy attitude especially for their size.

    I miss those Taco Bell commercials. I wonder if Taco Bell sales went down when they pulled the chihuahua ads?

    1. I don’t know that they pulled the Taco Bell ads (though I gather some people complained that they were stereotypical); I think they just ran their course. Definitely chihuahuas have ‘tude!

  5. Shelties would make great drivers! I picture them as tough, gritty soccer moms looking out for their pack, not afraid to honk the horn and flip the bird/paw to drivers who cut them off or do anything to harm their precious cargo.

    1. You and GoodDogness who commented on shelties’ driving skills negatively in the previous post are going to have to duke it out. I’m sure SammySan would drive safely; I can’t speak for other shelties, however.

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