10 Dog Breeds That Love the Water

On a hot day, a cool dip in the pool or a lake can be just about perfect. For certain dog breeds, a cool dip sounds just about perfect in most circumstances. Which dogs want to “just keep swimming, just keep swimming”? Read on to find out!

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Chesapeake Bay retriever at attention in field

Chesapeake Bay retrievers are good hunting companions, as they were bred to dive into cold water in the Chesapeake Bay to retrieve ducks. Even if you’re not doing any hunting yourself, this breed is ready to dive on in anyway. They greatly enjoy swimming, and would love the chance to fetch toys or sticks thrown out into a lake to practice their retrieving urge. Their bodies are great for this pastime, too, with a water-resistant double coat. The outer layer is short and wavy, and the inner layer is wooly with natural oils that keep the dog warm during cold swims.

English Setter

English setter on the water at a beach

English setters were also bred to hunt, with their name coming from the position they take to show that they’ve discovered game. These dogs are energetic and need to exercise more than many breeds. With their hunting background, that exercise can include swimming. After you get him harnessed up and go on a fun hike to a lake, this little fella may be up for a bit of a splash as you cool down.

Golden Retriever

Golden retriever enjoying the water with kids

Golden retrievers are always up for a bit of fun, especially with their families. Heading to the water with their people? Sounds like dog heaven to the golden. This breed loves splashing around in the water, whether it’s an ocean beach, a pool, or a lake. It helps that they have a dense water-repellent coat. This breed also has a history of carrying game through water, so it’s in her genes.

Irish Water Spaniel

Profile of Irish Water Spaniel

Another dog that has the water in her genes – and name – is the Irish water spaniel. This breed was also historically tasked with retrieving water fowl. Known for being a bit silly and affectionate with their families, they continue to be strong swimmers and feel at home in the water. Their coats help, as they’re densely curled and waterproof with natural oils that repel moisture.

Labrador Retriever

Chocolate, black, and yellow Labrador retrievers on the water

Much like many of the other dogs on this list, the Labrador retriever was bred to head into the water and snag waterfowl, including Canada geese. As a result, they’re at ease in the water and will happily swim and retrieve, even if they’re not a hunting dog. They also have a tool that powers them through the water: A broad-based tail that tapers, helping them maintain balance.

Lagotto Romagnolo

Lagotto Romagnolo playing in the snow

The Lagotto Romagnolo breed may not be as familiar to everyone as some of the others listed, and they’re largely known for sniffing out truffles these days, but their history is also as a bird hunting companion. To this day, they’re great swimmers, though they may not be able to sniff out any delectable truffles in the middle of a lake. Their curly waterproof double coat keeps them warm, though.


Newfoundland dog swimming in water at a beach

The Newfoundland breed, named for its origins in eastern Canada, is in the water so much that it became a reliable lifeguard. Its life-saving skills were so renowned that it was actually a required feature on lifeguard stations on the English coast for a time. The breed was historically a companion to fishermen, helping with nets and other tasks. It could even haul small boats to shore. Hopefully you won’t be in need of any life-saving during a day on the lake, but this big fluffy swimmer will be ready if needed, and it won’t even get too cold, with its coarse, oily outer coat and dense undercoat.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever playing in water at the beach

Another strong swimmer with origins in eastern Canada is the Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever. This breed would get into some antics on the water to lure ducks to within gun range. They’d then retrieve them after they’d been shot. These days, hunting companion or not, they love to play, and some fetch on the water would be right up their alley. They even have webbed feet to help them swim after the stick.


Playful poodle running around outside

While people may think of poodles as being a fancy dog, they come from a similar background to most of the other pups mentioned here: hunting companion. The American Kennel Club says the breed’s name derives from a German word that means to splash in water. Even if they’re not getting a duck, they’re still all about that splashing. They do have to live up to their name. They also don’t shed because they have hair, not fur. Their coat is wiry on the outside and dense on the inside.

Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese water dog sitting in front of water on dock

Another dog with water in its name. Not so surprising that the Portuguese water dog would make this list, huh? This breed was another helper of fishermen, handling tasks like herding fish into nets, retrieving gear from the water, and taking things to other ships or to shore. Today, you may not need to communicate with stranger’s boats on the lake, but this pup will be more than happy to play out in the water regardless.

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