Whilst it seems impossible to even bathe some dog breeds, others can’t get enough of the wet stuff. They’re jumping in and out of every lake, river, or even puddle they see. Historically, there are many breeds that were specifically bred to accompany humans on boats, help with fishing, and retrieve waterfowl during hunting trips. So, which breeds are typical water dogs? And which prefer to watch from the pier, warm and dry?
Before we dive in, it’s worth mentioning that all dogs should be watched when they’re in the water, even confident swimmers. Some breeds, such as brachycephalic breeds, find it difficult to swim at all and shouldn’t be left alone around water sources. Whilst many smaller dogs can be great swimmers, they might not do so well in colder water and will tire more easily than bigger dogs.
These wonderful, super-friendly pups have long been family favorites. They’re incredibly loyal to their owners, great with little ones, fun-loving, and just want to spend time with their humans. They were originally bred to retrieve game in water, so are strong swimmers that are the happiest when they’re running in and out of any form of water. Especially if there’s a frisbee or ball to retrieve.
Newfoundlands might not look like it, but they’re very agile in water. Their thick, water repellent coats are perfect for protecting them in colder waters and their strong bodies make them great swimmers. They were first bred in Canada to haul in fishing nets but their large bodies, gentle nature, and incredible swimming abilities have made them great lifesaving pups.
You might be more used to seeing them elegantly walking down the streets of Paris, but Poodles are real water dogs. They’re highly intelligent and make great water companions. Their tightly knit, fluffy coat keeps them warm – in fact, the classic grooming design of having a fluffy head, knees, and tail was first done to keep their important parts protected from the cold. Just like a labrador, they were originally used to retrieve waterfowl.
Spanish Water Dog
When it comes to dogs that love water, you can’t get much more of a keen swimmer than the Spanish Water Dog. They’re pretty unique in the fact that they are also incredible herders, not to mention seriously cute. Their naturally tight curls flop over their face and can grow fairly long all over their body, meaning they’re protected from cold water. Their sturdy, strong bodies mean they’re good swimmers too!
Portuguese Water Dog
As their name might suggest, these dogs love water. Really, any kind of it. They’re the happiest splashing around and cooling down in it. Portuguese Water Dogs were bred to be a fisherman’s best friend, herding fish into nets, retrieving broken nets, and just generally being a content little pup when jumping from a boat. They’re the perfect family pet for a water active family and would love to spend all day onboard a boat enjoying the water!
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Not exactly the most catchy name, but the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever – or Toller for short – is a beloved family pet. As the name indicates, they were primarily used to toll (lure) ducks within shooting range of their owner and retrieve them afterward. They’re strong swimmers and keen hunters, so need a lot of exercise.
These beautifully elegant animals are another water dog breed. They’re easily recognizable by their red, sleek coat, their agility, and sweet nature. Their long, strong limbs make them a great swimmer, as does their glossy coat that just lets water run off it. They’re wonderful family pets that are fun, inquisitive, great with children, and that are loyal.
American Water Spaniel
This mid-sized water dog is perfectly shaped and sized for jumping in and out of little boats. They’re originally from Wisconsin and the Great Lakes area, meaning they were bred to purposefully hunt on land and in water – they even have webbed toes! Their beautiful, curly coat is water-resistant and their paws well padded so they don’t mind the ice and snow.
The Lagotto Romagnolo was used for many years as waterfowl retrievers in the lakes and marshlands around Ravenna (Lago means lake). Nowadays they’re more commonly used for hunting truffles in the Italian countryside. But they still love water. Their fluffy, teddy bear-like coats keep them warm and dry and their strong bodies make them excellent swimmers
Do German Shepherds like to swim? Yes, although not all dogs in a breed are the same, German Shepherds generally like water. They’re one of the most trainable dog breeds there are and are incredibly athletic, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that they’re also good swimmers. They love playing in water, chasing and retrieving, and generally splashing around.
These are just a few dogs that like water. Do you have a breed that likes swimming that isn’t on the list?
I’m Charlotte, a content and copywriter from the North of England and currently living in Berlin. Animals have always been a huge part of my life, so writing about dogs is a total pleasure! I love all kinds of dogs and their cheeky personalities, but I’d have to say Weimaraners are my favourite!