The country crooner’s bulldogs, Merle and Vern, are no strangers to life on wheels

By People Staff
Updated September 14, 2011 01:00 PM

When country singer Jake Owen goes on tour, he’s got a buddy that rides shotgun on his bus – his English bulldog, Merle!

“I like to take my dog on the road,” he tells PEOPLE. “He stays up front; he likes it there.” RELATED: On the Road with Steel Magnolia’s Dog

The pooch, who turns 1 in October, is Owen’s new copilot, replacing 3-year-old Vern, the star’s other bulldog, who grew tired of the lifestyle on wheels.

“Vern was out for a few years, but we retired him from the road,” Owen explains. “He became lonesome and ornery and mean. So it’s about time for Merle to really go out there and take on the life of a desperado.”

Click on the video above to hear more about Merle’s favorite places to sleep on the bus.

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