Why you should never allow your dog to ride in the front seat

There’s something romantic about hitting the road with your dog as your co-pilot—even if you’re only going as far as Starbucks. But—beep, beep—this is actually a huge no-no, and you aren’t doing your dog (or yourself!) any favors by offering up the passenger seat to your pup. Here’s why you should never allow your dog to ride in the front seat, no matter how much he begs.

RELATED: So, What’s the Deal with Therapy Dogs Anyways?

Accidents

This goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: Accidents happen. They also happen fast. Like, in a few seconds. Hundreds of pets are injured and killed every year in car accidents because pet owners get soft about safety. We don’t blame you—it’s super easy to get lax about a quick trip or ease up on the rules during a long haul. Who can say no to those sad puppy eyes?

The thing is, a dog chilling in the front seat is just as much at risk during a collision as a person in the same spot. This could mean going through the windshield, hitting the dashboard or getting extreme whiplash from the impact.

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How different dog breeds show love
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How different dog breeds show love

Asian 

Common breeds: Chow Chow (pictured). Akita, Chinese Shar Pei

Many of these kinds of dogs were originally bred to guard people and property. They're often seen as independent and more reserved around strangers, although fiercely loyal to their family. They like their space, so you should let them come to you — let them give you love on their own terms. They'll usually show their love by sitting close to you (but not on you).

Arctic 

Common breeds: Siberian husky (pictured), Alaskan Malamute, Samoyed

These types of dogs were bred to be highly active and social dogs. They get along and work well with other dogs (think: sled dogs). They often show their love by playfully jumping, roughhousing and playing with toys. To show them love, they should get proper exercise and lots of playtime. 

Companion

Common breeds: Maltese (pictured), Bichon Frise, Lhasa Apso, Maltese, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Pug, Shih Tzu

Companion dogs were literally bred to be lap dogs, often finding companionship with royalty. They're friendly, intelligent and show their love just by being with you and "kissing." Show them love by petting them while they sit on your lap.

Guard

Common breeds: Mastiff (pictured), American Staffordshire Terrier, Boxer, Bulldog, French Bulldog, Rottweiler

These types of dogs are known to be loyal to their families. Although often large, they show love by playfully jumping and "smiling." They enjoy belly rubs and just being near you, like snuggling up with you on your couch or in your bed.

Herding

Common breeds: Australian Shepherd (pictured), Australian Cattle Dog, Border Collie, German Shepherd, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Shetland Sheepdog

These breeds of dogs are very smart. Give them a job to do and they'll show their love through their hard work. They love to keep a group together and will herd most things as well as stick by your side waiting for the next command. Show them love by giving them plenty of play time and a job to do, like playing fetch.

Sporting 

Common Breeds: Golden Retriever (pictured), Cocker Spaniel, English Setter, German Shorthair Pointer, Labrador Retriever, Poodle

These dogs are known to be friendly, happy, active and loyal companions. They were originally bred to work with hunters, and they show their love by helping. This is why many of them make for great therapy or guide dogs. They'll lean into you or put their nose in your lap to show their love. To keep them happy, play retrieving games that provide exercise and cuddle them close.

Terrier

Common breeds: Chihuahua (pictured), Russell Terrier, Schnauzer, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier

Terriers have a lot of energy and often want to be with their humans, but they can also be stubborn and more reserved around strangers. They'll show their love by playing with you and coming into your space. To show them love, give them some exercise and keep them close.

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What could make accidents even worse for dogs, though, is lack of restraints. More often than not, dogs allowed to ride shotgun aren’t buckled up or harnessed in any way. You wouldn’t let your friend ride without a seatbelt, so why risk it with your dog? This practice is incredibly dangerous and increases the likelihood that in the event of an accident, the dog will be thrown either through the windshield or around the car, potentially causing greater injury to herself and other passengers.

According to Paws to Click, an organization dedicated to pet safety during travel, if a 75-pound pup is in a car traveling 30 miles per hour and the car crashes, the dog will exert roughly 2,250 pounds of force on whatever it hits. Sound like a question on a math test? Sure. Super important to understand? You bet. That’s like getting hit in the chest with a small horse. 

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Best dog breeds for kids
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Best dog breeds for kids

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

"The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a wonderful family pet; a gentle, calm dog, who is happy to be combed and brushed," says Dr. Emmett. "This breed is, however, less enthusiastic about games, such as tug of war, and rough-and-tumble play. King Charles Spaniels are a good match for a more urban lifestyle and a sensitive child." What does that wagging tail mean?

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Golden Retriever

"The Golden Retriever is one of the most well-known dogs because of their gentle, caring temperaments. They are able to lounge around the house for an afternoon or take a hike through the woods," says Pete Lands, DVM, Director of Emergency and Critical Care at Saint Francis Veterinary Center. Goldens are very bright and easy to train. They're also stoic when it comes to kids. "While they may not like it, Golden Retrievers tend to be apathetic to young kids pulling on their ears or tugging at their tails. This makes them one of the best family dogs you can find," he adds.

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Labrador Retriever 

They look large-and-in-charge, but Labs are famously child-friendly. "The Labrador Retriever is a reliable family pet," says Dr. Emmett. "This breed has an insatiable appetite for games and play and is well suited for an active outdoor lifestyle and a child who likes to run, throw balls, and play Frisbee." These are the most popular breed dogs in every state.

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Beagle

Cute as a button, sweet, and gentle, these pack animals thrive on companionship. According to the American Kennel Club, these charmers make excellent family dogs because they are loving by nature, love to play, and have goofy personalities. If you want a dog who wants to be with people, this is a great breed for your family. Pass Beagles up, however, if your house is always empty during the day.

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Irish Setter

Does your family love a good group jog or a game of beach Frisbee? If so, an Irish Setter will be the perfect fit for you. Regal to look at and energetic beyond words, this breed grows to be large, around 50 to 70 pounds and has a long lifespan, so they can grow up with your kids. Irish Setters make great companions, are wonderful with children, and have lively dispositions. They also love to play with toys and balls. Don't miss these secrets dog trainers won't tell you.

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French Bulldog

Frenchies, as they are affectionately known, are diminutive in size, but big in personality. Known for their affectionate natures and silly "bat" ears, French Bulldogs were bred to be companion dogs. The perfect family dog for apartment dwellers, Frenchies do well in small spaces, and love being around kids. French bulldogs also love getting dressed up for Halloween.

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Boxer

Make a Boxer part of your family, and you will never feel unprotected again. Fiercely loyal and protective of those who love them, these energetic, medium-sized dogs have calm dispositions, but love to play. They need lots of exercise, but beware of driving them too hard in hot weather. Like all squish-faced (Brachycephalic) dogs, they tend to overheat. Keep your pooch safe all summer long with these 28 warm-weather health tips for dogs.

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Cocker Spaniel

There's a definite possibility that Cocker Spaniels think they are people. They're gentle, loving, very smart, love being around children, and tend to always put themselves in the middle of the action. They also make great therapy dogs and may be a good fit for an anxious or special needs child. Their beautiful, floppy ears make them prone to ear infections, so keeping them clean and groomed is essential.

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Bichon Frise

These little bundles of low-shedding fur are some of the friendliest dogs on the planet. Sweet, affectionate, and playful, the Bichon Frise is a fantastic playmate for energetic children. Their small size makes them a great city dog, provided you give them lots of walks. According to Animal Planet, they're loyal to a fault and do best with consistent training and moderate amounts of activity. These are the dog breeds most compatible with your (or your child's) Zodiac sign.

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Collie

Rough Collies are known for their majestic, flowing coats, while smooth Collies have shorter coats. Rough or smooth, Collies make great family pets. (However, rough collies require more grooming.) This breed is incredibly intelligent and likes nothing better than to engage in activity with the children who love them. They're fast learners, loyal to their families, and protective. Just ask Lassie.

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Poodle

Have an allergic child? According to Health, Poodles might just be the ticket for you. While no dog is completely hypoallergenic, Poodles seem to come close, because they appear to produce fewer allergens. They also come in three sizes—standard, miniature, and toy—and an abundance of colors. These adorable goofballs are super-smart, easy to train, adapt well to new situations, and love kids. Here's your official guide to picking the best dog breed for you.

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Labradoodle

An intentional mix of Poodles and Labrador Retrievers, Labradoodles are as adorable as their name. A medium-shedder, Labradoodles were originally bred to be even-keeled and empathetic, so they could be trained as guide dogs for visually-impaired people. This breed couldn't be more affectionate, or more adorable. Note that they need lots of exercise and tend to get along great with other dogs.

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Pug

This Instagram-darling brings with it major cuddle-factor. Their cutie-patooty smiling faces and cozying-up tendencies make Pugs a popular favorite for children who prefer gentle play to roughhousing. These playful pups were bred to be lap dogsand adore being around people. They're clever, quiet, and make great family pets.

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Chihuahua

Long-haired or short, Chihuahuas are the tiniest of all dog breeds. They tend to adore children and are very loyal to their families. Chihuahuas love the indoors and are not fond of very cold weather, perhaps because they're thought to have originated in Mexico. They're easy to train and love the lap of the person who loves them best. Watch out for these secret signs that your dog is mad at you.

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Chug

Chugs are a specific breed comprised of Pug and Chihuahua ancestry. Many have the best characteristics of both popular breeds, making them great pets for children. According to Pet Guide, Chugs are a designer dog with characteristics that vary from liter to liter. Like their forebears, most will make good family dogs. They're loyal, affectionate, intelligent, and love to play.

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Havanese

This tiny charmer is the national dog of Cuba. They have exuberant personalities and adore people of all ages. Havanese dogs are very social and outgoing. A loving breed, they also enjoy playing games. They're a toy breed, so not a great fit for rough-and-tumble play, but they're perfect for families who are looking for a silly, outgoing friend for their child. Read on for the 50 secrets your pup won't tell you.

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Bull Terrier

Bull Terriers and Miniature Bull Terriers make fantastic pets for older kids. They are sweet beyond belief, very protective, and very trainable. The American Kennel Club calls them mischievous, playful, and charming. Known for their silly, comical antics, and crowd-pleasing behavior, Bull Terriers need lots of exercise and lots of love.

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In addition, unrestrained pups have been known to exit a vehicle after a crash and dart directly into traffic. The trauma and confusion of a collision is terrifying; dogs able to get away will want to run from the wreckage as soon as they can. Harnessing them will help prevent against injury not only during an accident but after, as well.

Airbags

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that kids under 13 years old shouldn’t ride in the front seat because the positioning of the airbags could do some serious damage should they go off during an impact. This probably has more to do with height than age, so a good rule of thumb is to remember that a seat belt should fall across a person’s chest, not their neck.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the same airbag risks apply to dogs. A dog sitting in a driver’s lap or the passenger seat could be seriously hurt (or killed) by an airbag.

Distraction

Your dog probably gets amped up to be allowed into cars for fun excursions to the dog park or beach. The problem is, many of these pooches perch themselves in the front seat, becoming a huge distraction to drivers. Even small dogs sitting quietly can get spooked or find their way under your feet, blocking the brake, or onto your lap, interfering with the steering wheel. And honestly, they’re just so dang cute, you want to pet them and look at them and keep them from chewing on the radio knobs and all of a sudden you’re at a stop sign you didn’t see coming.

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30 least expensive dog breeds
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30 least expensive dog breeds

30. Manchester Terrier

The spirited and observant Manchester Terrier costs an average of $600 to purchase and has a life expectancy of 14 to 16 years. Over the years, these game terriers can rack up a potential minimum healthcare cost of around $10,500, due to common breed health issues such as cataracts, patellar luxation (kneecap issues) and cardiomyopathy.

Luckily, Manchester Terriers are easy and inexpensive to groom with a typical bathing cost of $27.

Related: 15 Affordable Ways to Spoil Your Dog

Photo credit: Capture Light/Shutterstock.com

29. Shipperke

These small dogs, weighing in at only 10 to 16 pounds, are often referred to as little black devils thanks to their mischievous and energetic temperament. Schipperkes cost an average of $650 to purchase with typical bathing costs coming in around $30.

Schipperkes are at risk to develop eye problems, patellar luxation and autoimmune thyroiditis, bringing their minimum potential healthcare costs to $7,200 throughout their 13-to-15-year lifetime.

Photo credit: Svetlana Valoueva/Shutterstock.com

28. Irish Terrier

Don’t get an Irish Terrier if you’re looking for a lap dog. These feisty dogs have a life expectancy of 13 to 14 years and have an average purchase price of $650.

Their lifetime healthcare cost is lower than other dog breeds' at only $1,000. Grooming costs sit around $42 due to a coat that requires careful attention. But at least these dogs hardly shed.

Photo credit: Rita Kochmarjova/Shutterstock.com

27. German Wirehaired Pointer

If you dream of owning a German Wirehaired Pointer, you might want to consider adopting instead of buying one. These medium-sized hunting dogs cost an average of $700 to purchase with minimal bathing costs of just $35.

German Wirehaired Pointers make the least expensive dog list because they’re generally healthy, with potential minimum healthcare costs equating to about $1,700 throughout their 12-to-14-year lifespan.

Photo credit: Alisa/Shutterstock.com

26. Border Collie

Smart working dogs that hate to be bored, Border Collies land on the list of least expensive dogs thanks to an average purchase cost of only $525 and lifetime healthcare costs that are around $1,800. Just look out for hip and eye health issues, which can progress over time throughout their 13-to-16-year life expectancy.

To groom a Board Collie, expect to pay around $50. And, be sure to brush them two to three times a week for minimal shedding.

Photo credit: LSphotoCZ/Shutterstock.com

25. Beagle

A Beagle’s easy coat and low bathing cost of only $23 make this one of the least expensive dog breeds to own. These friendly and happy dogs cost approximately $650 to purchase and have a life expectancy of 11 to 15 years.

Their minimum lifetime healthcare costs could potentially total $7,700, thanks to common health conditions such as spinal problems, hip dysplasia, chronic ear infections and allergies. To offset these high healthcare costs, consider taking advantage of the tax breaks for pet owners.

Photo credit: SomPhoto/Shutterstock.com

24. Australian Silky Terrier

The Australian Silky Terrier comes in a smart and sassy, 10-pound package at a purchase price of $550. This terrier’s silky coat requires frequent brushing to prevent matting, and typical grooming costs total $45.

These dogs are fairly healthy and can live 12 to 15 years, but common genetic health problems can add up to a minimum of $2,500 in healthcare costs.

Photo credit: Utekhina Anna/Shutterstock.com

23. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

These active, low-to-the-ground dogs are a favorite of the Queen of England, who has owned and bred Pembroke Welsh Corgis. With an average purchase price of $550 and average bathing cost of $40, Corgis make the cut as an affordable dog breed to own.

These dogs live 12 to 14 years and have a minimum potential lifetime healthcare cost of $4,000 due to genetic conditions like hip dysplasia and the most serious breed-specific issue: degenerative myelopathy, a type of spinal cord disease.

Photo credit: TatyanaPanova/Shutterstock.com

22. Otterhound

The Otterhound was originally used to hunt — you guessed it — otters in Great Britain. They cost around $550 to purchase and require careful bathing practices that typically cost around $40.

An Otterhound usually lives 10 to 13 years and is at risk of developing health issues like hip and elbow dysplasia, epilepsy and gastric torsion (bloating), which can lead to potential minimum health costs of $3,500.

Photo credit: Christian Mueller/Shutterstock.com

21. Dalmatian

These spotted dogs are famous for their running abilities and their firehouse mascot status. A Dalmatian has an average purchase price of $700 and bathing costs of only $30. But it’s the low cost of healthcare that makes these dogs inexpensive.

Dalmatians live an average of 10 to 13 years and have a minimum healthcare cost of only $700, although they are prone to genetic health problems such as deafness and kidney and bladder stones.

Photo credit: volofin/Shutterstock.com

20. Chihuahua

These tiny, feisty dogs have become famous as the purse-sized companions of rich celebrities, and they make the list of least expensive dogs due to their cheap $23 bathing price tag. On average, they cost $650 to purchase.

Chihuahuas have a life expectancy of 12 to 18 years, with potential lifetime healthcare expenses adding up to a minimum of $5,500.

Photo credit: otsphoto/Shutterstock.com

19. Cesky Terrier

The average purchase cost of a Cesky Terrier is only $400, and the minimum potential healthcare costs for this dog comes out to $1,500.

With a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years, this terrier's grooming costs can be pricier than other breeds, at about $57 per session.

Photo credit: Andreas Gradin/Shutterstock.com

18. Field Spaniel

A relative of the Cocker Spaniel and English Springer Spaniel, the Field Spaniel is an ideal hunting dog and family dog. These dogs live 10 to 12 years and come with an average price tag of $550.

Having this dog professionally bathed can cost around $40, and their lifetime healthcare costs add up to a potential minimum of $2,300. Common health issues include hip dysplasia and autoimmune thyroiditis.

Photo credit: Dmytro Vietrov/Shutterstock.com

17. Redbone Coonhound

Laidback and gentle, Redbone Coonhounds stand out with their striking mahogany-red coats. They have an average purchase cost of $650.

Redbone Coonhounds land on this list of the least expensive dogs thanks to a low grooming cost of $31 and a lifetime minimum healthcare cost that could possibly hit $1,500. These dogs will live 11 to 12 years.

Photo credit: Straight 8 Photography/Shutterstock.com

16. American Pit Bull Terrier

Despite a bad reputation, American Pit Bull Terriers can be loving, trustworthy and loyal family dogs. With an average purchase cost of $600 and a typical bathing cost of only $27, Pit Bulls are one of the least expensive dogs to own.

These dogs have a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years and a minimum potential healthcare cost of $5,100 for common health issues like hip and elbow dysplasia and bloat.

Photo credit: Matthew Lyon/Shutterstock.com

15. Pekingese

The Pekingese, who typically weighs in at no more than 14 pounds, is characterized by a bold attitude fit for a much bigger dog. These dogs have an average purchase price of $500 and a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years.

Professional bathing for a Pekingese typically costs $40, while the minimum healthcare cost for common issues — like Legg-Calve-Perthes disease and pyloric stenosis — can potentially reach $3,150.

Photo credit: Rita Kochmarjova/Shutterstock.com

14. Bichon Frise

Known as one of the sweetest and most affectionate dogs, the Bichon Frise is characterized by its curly, cotton-ball like hair. An average purchase price of $525 and typical bathing cost of $33 make the Bichon one of the cheapest dogs to own.

These dogs have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years and a potential minimum healthcare cost of $4,300 to treat common breed-specific issues, like cataracts and patellar luxation.

Photo credit: Vladimir Nenezic/Shutterstock.com

13. Affenpinscher

The Affenpinscher comes with a low $400 average purchase price tag and an estimated grooming cost of $42 to keep up its shaggy but neat coat.

The average lifespan of an Affenpinscher is 11 to 14 years, and over their lifetime, the minimum healthcare costs for common issues could reach $4,000.

Photo credit: iStock.com/f8grapher

12. Dachsund

Initially bred to hunt badgers, Dachshunds are characterized by their short legs, long backs and fun spirits. They’re inexpensive to own, with an average purchase price of $500 and a typical bathing cost of only $23.

Weiner dogs, as they’re affectionately called, have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. Expect to potentially pay a minimum of $7,300 for back problems, the breed’s most common health issue.

Photo credit: OlgaOvcharenko/Shutterstock.com

11. Papillon

Papillons are known for their butterfly wing ears. These small, smart dogs cost on average $400 to purchase, and estimated bathing costs total $40.

A Pappilon's life expectancy is 13 to 15 years, and minimum healthcare costs come in around $3,600 due to a number of health issues that commonly affect smaller toy dog breeds.

Photo credit: Margarita Zhuravleva/Shutterstock.com

10. Pug

Buying a wrinkly-faced Pug costs an average of $350. These dogs have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. Bathing costs are a low $27, but healthcare costs for issues common to the breed and other flat-faced dogs start at a potential minimum of $9,600.

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9. English Setter

This hunting dog is known for its distinctive feathered coat. An English Setter has an average purchase price of $350 and a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years.

It will cost about $40 to bathe an English Setter in order to prevent mats and tangles, and the breed’s potential minimum cost for common health issues sits around $3,900.

Photo credit: Best dog photo/Shutterstock.com

8. Treeing Walker Coonhound

These tri-colored dogs are often confused for an oversized Beagle, although the two breeds are totally different.

The speedy and competitive Treeing Walker makes the list of least expensive dogs with an average purchase price of $500, typical grooming costs of $31 per session, and minimum healthcare cost of common issues starting at only $1,500. Their life expectancy is 12 to 13 years.

Photo credit: Lindsay Helms/Shutterstock.com

7. Miniature Pinscher

Miniature Pinschers think they’re bigger than they are, and often bark at and chase anything that crosses their path. The average purchase cost of a Miniature Pinscher is $500, and like many small dogs, they have a longer life expectancy of 14 to 15 years.

The typical cost of bathing is low at $25, and the potential minimum healthcare costs for common issues like patellar luxation and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease start at $2,500.

Photo credit: DragoNika/Shutterstock.com

6. American Foxhound

Although the American Foxhound is one of the older American breeds, it’s also one of the least well-known. The average purchase cost of an American Foxhound is $475, with bathing costs coming out to an estimated $27. The minimum potential cost for medical issues totals $1,500.

Photo credit: Steve Heap/Shutterstock.com

5. Parson Russell Terrier

Parson Russell Terriers are athletic, cleaver and friendly. These medium-sized terriers have a $400 average price tag, with a typical $25 professional bathing cost.

The breed, also known as a Jack Russell Terrier, is generally healthy. The minimum cost of potential common healthcare issues is a budget-friendly $2,800.

Photo credit: Christian Mueller/Shutterstock.com

4. Plott Hound

The Plott Hound is a tenacious hunting dog who will sniff out any animal, from a raccoon to a bear. The breed’s low $275 average purchase cost makes it one of the most affordable dog breeds to own.

The typical grooming cost for a Plott Hound is $31, and it will general cost a minimum of potentially $3,000 to treat health problems like gastric torsion, commonly known as bloat.

Photo credit: Will Hughes/Shutterstock.com

3. Black and Tan Coonhound

American born and bred, this hunting dog known for its black and tan coloring is happy-go-lucky and calm by nature. Ranked No. 3 on the list of least expensive dog breeds to own, the Black and Tan Coonhound has an average purchase price of $350 and estimated bathing costs are $27. Healthcare costs to treat common issues like hip dysplasia come out to only $1,500.

Photo credit: WilleeCole Photography/Shutterstock.com

2. Rat Terrier

Playful and fearless, Rat Terriers love to “talk” and socialize with their families. These small dogs are one of the least expensive toy breeds, with a purchase price tag averaging $350 and typical professional bathing expenses coming out to $25.

The low $1,500 minimum healthcare cost of the breed’s common issues helps to round-out the Rat Terrier as the second-least expensive dog to own.

Photo credit: Shane Cotee/Shutterstock.com

1. Harrier

No. 1 on the list, the Harrier, is the most affordable and also one of the rarest dog breeds. This hound is sweet and affectionate, but as a hunting dog you can expect a Harrier to be high-energy.

This is the cheapest dog to own thanks to the budget-friendly combination of a $300 average purchase price, $27 typical grooming costs and a minimum potential healthcare cost of $1,500 for common issues.

Keep Reading: 20 Pets That Make Millions for Their Owners

Photo credit: Ross Stevenson/Shutterstock.com

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In some states, having a pet in the front seat is illegal, because it’s considered distracted driving. Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts laws say drivers can be ticketed if a dog in the front seat is causing a ruckus and diverting the driver’s attention from the road.

Comfort

Sitting upright, especially for a longer ride, might not even be that comfortable for your dog. On longer journeys, dogs need as much comfort and support for their bods as we do. Outfitting your backseat with a harness or car seat and a favorite blanket is much more ideal for dogs than sitting upright the entire ride anyway.

RELATED: 9 Dog Breeds That Get Along Purr-fectly with Cats

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Most popular dog breeds
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Most popular dog breeds
5. Beagle
4. Bulldog
3. Golden retriever 
2. German shepherd
1. Labrador retriever
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