Are you ripping your hair out trying to navigate airlines’ various, yet complex, pet policies? 

To help you navigate this unruly maze, we’ve put together a list of which dog breeds are accepted and banned on major U.S. airlines. We will also cover pet service fees tied to each airline and how these restrictions might affect service animals.

Related: Pet Transport Costs and The Benefits Of Using A Pet Transporting Company


Alaska Airlines doesn’t have any restrictions for what dog breeds can fly in the cabin. Conversely, short-nosed (brachycephalic) dogs aren’t allowed in the cargo bays.

Due to a lack of heated cargo space with Alaska’s Airbus fleet, they can’t safely transport pets. Because of this, if you’re on one of these planes, you can’t have any pets in the First Class cabin. These restrictions also include sending pets as excess baggage. 

The following breeds of dogs can only travel in the cabin (carry-on) with flyers:

  • American Pit Bull and Staffordshire Terrier
  • Boston Terrier
  • Boxer
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Bull Mastiff and Terrier
  • Bulldog
  • Chow Chow
  • Dutch Pug
  • English Bulldog and Toy Spaniel
  • French Bulldog
  • Japanese Boxer, Pug, and Spaniel
  • Pekingese
  • Pug
  • Shih Tzu
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier

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For similar reasons to Alaska Air, American Airlines doesn’t allow short-nosed breeds into its cargo. These precautions are in place because it’s harder for breeds with shorter noses to breathe in the cargo holds while in the sky.

American Airlines doesn’t allow the following snub-nosed canines as checked luggage:

  • Affenpinscher
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Boston Terrier
  • Boxer (all breeds)
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Bulldog (all breeds)
  • Cane Corso
  • Chow Chow
  • Dogue De Bordeaux
  • English Toy Spaniel
  • Japanese Chin
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Mastiff (all breeds)
  • Pekingese
  • Pit Bull
  • Presa Canario
  • Pug (all breeds)
  • Shar Pei
  • Shih Tzu
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Tibetan Spaniel


Truck pulling Delta Airlines jet into taxiway.

For a fee—varies by where you’re going—you can bring any small dog into the cabin with you when flying. However, if you’re flying to one of the following areas, no matter how big your dog is, it must stay in cargo:

  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • Dakar
  • Dubai
  • Hong Kong
  • Iceland
  • Jamaica  
  • New Zealand
  • Republic of Ireland
  • South Africa
  • United Kingdom
  • United Arab Emirates

While Delta doesn’t restrict any particular dog breeds from flying in cargo, they request that you call in advance to arrange your pet’s flight.

In regard to service animals, Delta has limited it to one support animal per flyer per flight. Moreover, they don’t accept Pit Bulls as support or service animals.


Due to the possible conditions of their cargo, Frontier doesn’t allow passengers to check in pets through checked baggage. Only carry-on.

Frontier charges a one-way directional pet fee of $99. Your dog must be small enough to remain comfortable in a carrier with the following dimensions: 18 x 14 x 8 inches—Frontier’s pet carrier guidelines. Because of this, you can’t bring any larger breeds on board.

The airlines stopped accepting bookings from passengers who will travel with service or emotional support animals.


If you’re flying to Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago, you can’t bring any pets on your flight. Conversely, they do accept pets on all domestic and other international flights. However, there’s a catch.

JetBlue charges a $125 one-directional pet fee and doesn’t allow you to check in pets into cargo or as checked luggage. If you decide to fly with JetBlue, you can’t bring any big breed dogs, because they have a crate restriction of 17 x 12.5 x 8.5 inches. Moreover, the weight of the crate and your pet can’t exceed 20 lbs (9 kg).

Related: What is JetBlue’s Pet Policy


Because Spirit’s cargo holds aren’t suitable for animal transport, they don’t allow any dogs as checked luggage.

You can check small dogs in as carry-on luggage, though. However, the carrier and the dog’s combined weight must fall under 40 lbs (18 kg). Spirit also doesn’t allow any dogs on international flights or those to or from Puerto Rico or St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.


United Airlines jet docked at gate.

United allows you to bring almost any small dog breed on your flight if you can fit them beneath the seat in front of you. However, if you’re en route to or through Hawaii and select cities, you can’t have pets in the cabin. Also, United doesn’t allow Pit Bull breeds into the cabin.

This airline also charges a $125 pet fee for one way and an additional $125 for a layover lasting over four hours—inside the U.S. If you’re stuck in a layover lasting over 24 hours internationally, you also have to pay this fee.

Due to heat, between May 1st and September 30th of the same year, United won’t fly pets in cargo to the following airports: McCarran, Tucson, Palm Springs, and Phoenix Sky Harbor International.

During the rest of the year, United Air bans the following breeds from flying in cargo:

  • Affenpinscher
  • American Bully, Pit Bull Terrier/Pit Bull, and Staffordshire Terrier (AmStaff)
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Boston Terrier
  • Boxer
  • Brussels Griffon
  • American-, English-, French-, Old English-, Shorty-, and Spanish- Bulldogs
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Chow Chow
  • English Toy Spaniel/Prince Charles Spaniel
  • Japanese Chin and Spaniel
  • Lhasa Apso
  • American-, South African-, Mallorquin-, Italian-, Argentinian-, French-, English-, Brazilian-, Indian-, Turkish-, Pakastani-, Pyrenean-, Canary-, Spanish-, Tibetan-, and Japanese Mastiffs
  • Pekingese
  • Dutch- and Japanese Pugs
  • Shar-Pei/Chinese Shar-Pei
  • Shih-Tzu
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier (Staffys)
  • Tibetan Spaniel

Service and emotional support dogs

If you need your emotional dog for support on your long journey, you’re in luck. If you can provide the documentation, you can avoid many pet fees and size restrictions. Keep in mind that your support dog still must fit in the cabin under your feet.

However, airlines have cracked down on their support for service and emotional dogs.

If an airline outright bans dogs from staying in the cabins during international flights, we recommend contacting their customer service to get their input.

Related: How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Dog?

Final Word 

When flying through most of these carriers, if you have bigger breeds, you’re not in luck. However, if you’re flying domestically, can shell out money for the fees, and have smaller dogs, it’ll be easier for you to fly your dog around.

Whether you’re flying domestically or overseas, we can take the stress out of relocating your dog.