I have owned a Merlin II and currently own an Osprey. The Osprey definatly has more capicity and is more stable. It feels secure paddling sitting and it's seat is comfortable both sitting and kneeling. I don't have a dog,but have paddled ot a lot with my active grandaughter in front of me with no problem. It feels only slightly slower than the Merlin and turnes better,I more capible in moving water,but tracks a little less strongly. I have a preference for boats that are only as large as necessary to maximize paddling ease,low weight,and wind resistance.
Hope this is of some help.
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