There is much joy in kayak paddling with your dog

If you are like most people we talk to in our travels up and down the east coast of the United States on our kayaking adventures, given the choice, they much prefer paddling with their dogs. So, the one requirement to accomplish this is to have a kayak with a large enough cockpit to accommodate both the paddler and the pet. There are two options here, a traditional kayak with an extra-large cockpit opening, and a sit-on-top type kayak. There are many wooden kayak designs available with the required larger cockpit openings, so I will focus on these in this post.

Building a CLC Wood Duck Hybrid kayak

I have been building and my wife and I have been paddling wooden kayaks since 2003. Shortly before I retired in 2015, we rescued a Lab/Dachshund puppy from the animal shelter, that has been our constant companion ever since. While I had built a few wooden kayaks up to this point, none had openings large enough to accommodate both a paddler and a dog.

Chesapeake Light Craft (, has several kit designs for wood kayaks that are suitable for taking your dog with you on paddling trips. These include their very popular Wood Duck 14, and Wood Duck Hybrid 14 designs, along with the Mill Creek 13 and Mill Creek 16.5 designs. All of these have the extra-large cockpit openings needed to take your dog along with you.

New and Used Wooden Kayaks, Boats, and Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUPs) for Sale

Steve and Cary

I decided I would go with the Wood Duck hybrid version because I wanted to try my hand at the cedar strip planking method for kayak construction. Cedar-strip planking is much different from stitch and glue in that instead of securing wide panels to each other with wire, you epoxy thin strips of tongue in grove cedar planks together. The other unique characteristic of the cedar strip planking method is the many different shades of cedar strips that allow for a wide variety of designs for the deck of the kayak.

Interested in a wooden kayak for you and your dog?

I currently have one used wooden kayak in stock that is perfect for paddling with your dog, a 14′ Wood Duck hybrid. I can also custom build a new one from the many options available in the Chesapeake Light Craft series of kayak designs.

Another beautiful sit-on-top design comes from Bedard Yacht Design: (

It’s also a stitch-and-glue construction, is very stable, and has lots of storage room.