Bulldog Bud: The Grandpappy of all Road-Trip Dogs

Wondering if y0u should take your dog on a road trip this summer? Need inspiration to pack his doggy bag and hit the road? Rest...

Maria Goodavage  |  Aug 1st 2011


Wondering if y0u should take your dog on a road trip this summer? Need inspiration to pack his doggy bag and hit the road?

Rest assured you’ll be following a well-trodden tradition. Millions are doing it as we speak, thanks to the tremendous increase in hotels, parks, and outdoor eateries that welcome dogs.

Before the relatively recent surge in dog-friendly travel, John Steinbeck took to the road in 1960 with his French standard poodle, Charley. I consider Charley the father of all traveling dogs. But it wasn’t until a trip to the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History, in Washington, D.C., last week that I realized there was also a grandfather of traveling dogs.

Meet Bud the bulldog. He’s the first dog to hop in a car and travel acrossmost of the U.S.

In 1903, H. Nelson Jackson made a bet at a San Franciscogentleman’s club thathe could cross the country in a car in under 90 days.He bought a gently used Winton touring car, and hired mechanicSewall K. Crockerto accompany him. Together they hit the highway. Only there was no highway. And most of the time there was no road. They found themselves in all kinds of difficult situations, and used ingenuity and physical strength to continue the journey.

In Idaho Jackson aquired a bulldog, named him Bud, and packed him along for the rest of the trip. Bud loved riding in the car. Since the car was an opentwo-seater (like a modern-day convertible, but for different reasons), they must have either put him on thecarriage/storage area in the back or put him on their laps. The latter is highly unlikely, but then again, so was crossing the country in these newfangled inventions.

Along the way they realized the dust they inevitably kicked up was bothering Bud’s eyes. So they ordered a pair of goggles for him, and Bud traversed much of the country wearing these protective – and rather stylish – lenses.

Sixty-four days after they started their trip, they ended in New York. It was a triumph for the trio, and for the car company (imagine the publicity this brought it), and for dogs everywhere who wanted to stay by their best friends’ side no matter where they went.

Bud spent the rest of his years enjoying life in Jackson’s Vermont home. I guess they decided against the round trip.

OK, ready to think about hitting the road with your dog now? You’ll be following in wonderful pawsteps.