10 Best Dog Breeds for Swimming and Water Activities

Dogs have long been loyal companions to people both on land and in water. In fact, some dog breeds were bred to accompany people on boats while others were developed to be hunting companions for waterfowl. These dogs tend to have an inherent love for the water, and they possess traits that allow them to be successful when navigating the waves. For example, they sport thick, water-repellent coats to insulate their bodies against the dampness. They also generally have athletic builds with webbed toes to enable them to be good swimmers.

If you live by water, spend a lot of time boating, or are an avid swimmer, here are 10 dog breeds that love to make a splash.

1. Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese water dogs have such a natural affinity for water that it became part of their official name. These avid splash masters don’t have to be asked twice to enter the water. They were originally bred for life as a fisherman’s friend, so it’s a natural sight to see these dogs on boats. Today, they’re often used in dock-diving competitions and other water-related dog sports. They are a natural fit for water-loving families and will happily spend the day aboard a vessel.

2. Poodle

You might imagine a poodle to be more at home strolling a city street than pouncing into the water, but the truth is these are true water dogs at heart. The name “poodle” derives from the German word “pudl,” which translates as “to splash in water.” The dog was bred to plunge into water to retrieve game, and its characteristic curly coat would keep it warm. The familiar puff balls of fur over a poodle’s knees, feet, head, body, and tail were originally a functional grooming choice, rather than a fashion statement, to keep these vital areas warm.

3. Labrador Retriever

Labrador retrievers have long been one of America’s most popular pooches, and these dogs are happy on land or sea as long as they’re with their people. The Lab was bred with waterfowl hunting in mind. And today, these dogs are always game for hopping into pools, ponds, lakes, oceans, and anything else wet—especially if there’s a toy to retrieve involved.

4. Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Known as the Chessie, these retrievers are a slightly stockier dog with a thicker, denser coat than the Lab. The Chesapeake Bay retriever’s double coat is oily and provides excellent water-resistance as well as insulation. These dogs were originally bred in Maryland and Virginia to be hunting companions in search of waterfowl. Their warm coat, combined with strength and stamina, made the dogs a natural fit for spending hours in the wet estuaries of the mid-Atlantic region.

5. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

One of Canada’s most treasured breeds is a small-stature, water-loving retriever that possesses a unique tolling talent. The Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever, sometimes referred to as a “toller,” gets its name from its peculiar ability to toll, or lure, ducks within range of the hunter by using playful antics. Once the waterfowl is downed, the toller is happy to jump into the water and retrieve the game.

6. Newfoundland

The Newfoundland is a gentle, water-loving giant. This big breed got its start when European fishermen brought dogs on boats that landed in Canada. These fishermen lived and worked by the sea, and they began breeding a capable, hardworking companion that also had a knack for water rescue. These powerful dogs can adeptly navigate through the water. And their intuitive ability to help a person in distress have made them literal lifesavers.

7. Curly-Coated Retriever

Like other retrievers, the curly-coated retriever is a natural fit for life by the water. The tight, curly coat of this dog assists in maintaining its body temperature when diving into water on a hunt. These dogs are descended from two extinct breeds that also served as water dogs: the English water spaniel and the retrieving setter. It’s also believed that the poodle might be responsible for lending this breed some of its characteristic curls—and its affinity for water.

8. Boykin Spaniel

Hailing from the Southern United States, the Boykin spaniel has a reputation for being an easygoing family companion that’s well-suited for life on water. It sports webbed toes and a compact, athletic body that is perfect for swimming. Take this dog on the boat or out for your next waterfowl hunting adventure, and you’ll have a happy pal that’s always ready to swim.

9. Schipperke

The little schipperke originated in Belgium and became popular to bring on ships and keep in dockyards as a rodent exterminator and watchdog. In fact, “schipperke” is Flemish for “little captain.” Despite its small size, this pup is quite energetic, agile, and fearless. And its thick coat helps to keep it warm in the water.

10. Irish Setter

The Irish setter was developed from mixing the Irish terrier, Irish water spaniel, English setter, and pointer. It was designed for hunting and retrieving waterfowl. Its long and powerful limbs help to keep it afloat in water for long periods of time. And its glossy, flat coat helps to repel water and insulate its body.

Published On: May 26th, 2023Categories: Dog News