Originally Posted by Bellakins
We now also have a 75 lb German Shepherd, so we'd like a boat that will be easily accessible for her. We are looking at Monks and the Heritage East 36. Does anyone have any other suggestions?
We have in the past cruised with our Pretty Good Pyrenees (~120-lbs) and his brother Golden Releiver (~75 lbs). And then later with a larger Golden Receiver, ~90 lbs).
I'll suggest you think first of more features required for big-dog-management. Swim platform is good, and then transom door is mandatory.
Over and above all that is your go-ashore system, which will consist of dinghy, motor, mounting system, and lift system if separate from the mounting system.
Plus a solution to the "how to get the critter into and out of the dinghy" and "hot to get Fido onto the dock" issues.
(On fixed docks, we could usually offload dogs from the cockpit to the coamings and then onto a dock or finger pier under their own power, and back in the same way. On floating docks, they could walk out the transom door and across the swim platform -- in between transom and dinghy -- and onto the floating dock, and vice versa. IOW, we needed two solutions to the get on/off the dock problem. Dog from swim platform to dinghy, and back, was easy.)
And then there's some safety stuff: dog-personalized PFDs with an integral chest/belly strap and a lifting handle, etc.
We also graduated to a boat with stairs (not a ladder) to the flybridge, so Golden Receiver could enjoy the view "upstairs" with us. The earlier boat had a ladder, so the big dogs couldn't rise to our occasion... but we also had a lower helm, then, and could pilot from below if they got too nervous in various weather conditions.
Ideally you might also be able to train Fido to "go" on the boat somewhere, with astroturf or whatever. We were never able to successfully do that...