Mike Stevens | Jun 12, 2008

There's a saying that goes, "It's better to be a rich man's dog than poor." In Japan, this is doubly true as dogs live the kind of pampered life that those of us toiling away in west can only dream of. To further accommodate the lupine, Japanese auto manufacturers have gone completely to the dogs.

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Take the Honda Dog site, for instance. A soon as a new model rolls out, such as with the recent Freed, a page appears on this site to tell owners how the car interfaces with dogs. Wonder if your akita will fit through the doors? Or how about if the low loading floor is close enough to the ground for your dachshund? Worry no more.

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Owners can also find out if the cargo hold is spacious enough for the animal, a cage, and all of the attendant gear. There's travel guides to help you plan vacations with the family pet, dog-friendly rental car agencies (hiring out Honda cars, of course), and a dog park locator. And if that's still not enough, Honda actually organizes dog/owner events on its grounds at Twin Ring Motegi and Suzuka.

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Toyota's Corolla sales channel recently got into the act when it launched the redesigned Ractis compact earlier this year. It's quite similar to the Honda site in all respects.

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We have yet to see a completely dog-centric model put to market, but at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show, Honda did unveil the W.O.W. concept, complete with custom-carved paw-print tread on its tires. It almost makes you wonder, do we own our canine companions or are they owning us? Are they, wagging the dog, so to speak?

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