Doin’ the Doggie Paddle

Which dog breeds love the water? SitStayRunPlay

Summer is coming, and that means all things water! Oceans, lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams. No matter which you prefer, we all flock to the water to cool off and have some fun. If you are anything like me, you want to take your pooch friend with you everywhere you go! Some dogs love the water and some are not huge fans. If you are a water baby and you’re thinking of getting a four-legged friend, you’ll probably want to know which breeds make the best first mates on your water adventures!

These Dog Breeds Love to Swim:

American Water Spaniel

There’s no question about this pooch. It’s right there in the name! They are the rarest dog breed now, so finding this furry friend may be a challenge. Because they were bred in Wisconsin, you’re more likely to find this pooch in the Great Lakes region. The American Water Spaniel loves the water and is always ready to ride along on a canoe or boat and splash along with the best of them. These dogs are not made to be left in any small spaces like an apartment, without the freedom to run, play, and swim. 


This sweet pup is a rare breed but is a splendid choice for a pet! Barbet, also known as a French Water Dog, is a strong, natural swimmer and loves the water over everything else! This no-shed breed is a popular consideration for a household pet. They are a very social breed, so get ready for some summer doggie parties! They do have a lot of fur, so you will need to brush them often and make sure they are properly groomed. This breed is a fun friend to have, especially if you are a water lover!


Beagles are natural hunters, and once on the scent, will go into any terrain to get their prey, including water. They are natural water dogs and are decent swimmers too.  They love to run and play and swim, so they need an active owner or family. One of the best features of the beagle is its ability to get along with everyone and every dog. They just want to be out and about walking, running and hunting, so they’ll need some space to be who they are.  

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Another breed whose name says it all! Named for the famous bay, this pup has an oily coat perfectly suited for the water. Because of their energetic nature and natural instinct to work hard and thrive in cold water temps, like the Chesapeake Bay, they require lots of activity and are best suited for active, outdoorsy owners. They are not a fan of strangers, so they need a lot of opportunities to socialize to get used to being around others. They have a tendency to be stubborn, so training will be a bit more time-consuming, but it is absolutely worth it!

English Setter

The English Setter is a sweet and friendly breed but can also be highly energetic because of its nature of being bred as a bird dog. English Setters are naturally a lover of water and can be taught to swim as well. This gentle creature would be an adventurer’s best friend and travel companion. They are friendly but sensitive, meaning they are a little clingy and dislike being left alone. They just want to be around you! Is that so wrong?

Labrador Retriever

Our lab friends are one of the most popular choices for dogs and for good reason. These sweet babes are up for anything and are very loving to their family. Water sports for this pup is just part of who they are. They love to “retrieve” items from the water and are naturally strong swimmers. Is there anything a lab can’t do?

Lagotto Romagnolo

This densely curly-coated babe is all about the water. They are not the best for hunting, but they are great for an outdoor sports enthusiast and they are ready for any rugged terrain. The LR is a loner for the most part, so they need lots of socializing at a young age to reach optimal companion status.


Originally bred as a water rescue dog, this big boy has a natural instinct to save people! His big lungs allow him to swim large distances, which makes him THE pup for swimmers and boaters. He is a great choice for a family pet due to his nature of protecting the ones he loves. They are especially observant of children and are always watching to ensure everyone is safe. What a gentle giant! These big boys require a lot of room and need access to water regularly because they do have a deep desire to swim every day.  


The Standard Poodle was bred in France to be a bird of the water retriever. Poodles are very smart dogs and thrive on obedience. When around water, this pup will revert to their natural bred tendencies and enjoy a swim right along with you.

Portuguese Water Dog

Think of a Portuguese Water Dog as a sheepherder of fish! In Portugal, these dogs were bred to herd fish into fishermen’s nets. They were also used to retrieve broken nets from the water. In order to do this, they have to be very strong swimmers. They are very high energy so they need lots of time to explore and run and they make good family pets!

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Which dog breeds love the water?

Having a dog is a big responsibility. Before committing to getting a pup, take an inventory of your life and lifestyle. Make an educated choice for the sake of you, your family, and your dog. Know what they need to be happy and healthy and know what you need to ensure you are happy with your choice, too. Finding the right dog is such a joy. Enjoy your new family member and all the adventures you will have together.


It’s time to play!

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