When the weather’s nice and the beach or pool calls your name, will your dog be up for a wet adventure? If your dog takes the plunge without urging, swimming may be in his genes.
Here are 11 breeds of dogs that love to swim.
American Water Spaniel
These medium sized dogs are all-around hunters equally adept at retrieving in water or land. They’re enthusiastic workers, and like most spaniels, they live to please. Rather than "pointing" at game, they "spring" it, making the rabbit or quail spring from cover so a hunter can bring it down for them to retrieve. Their water-resistant coat is wavy (marcelled) to tightly curled like a Poodle everywhere except the forehead and tail, where it is smooth. The Water Spaniel loves to swim and is a high energy pet.
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
These water-loving dogs were developed to retrieve birds from the icy waters of the Chesapeake Bay—sometimes as many as 200 ducks a day. The modern Chessie is still a standout retriever, as well as tracking and obedience competition dog. In shape, they look a bit like the Labrador, but their thick, short coat has a wooly, dense undercoat, and the coat may be wavy on the shoulders and back to keep them warm even in the water.
This is one of the oldest of the Retrievers, thought to be descended from 16th century spaniels and setters and bred to retrieve ducks from icy water. Their tightly curled, solid black or liver-colored coat is likely due to the influence of the Poodle, a one-time retrieving dog of France. Perhaps due to their duck-diving past, Curlies love the water, and they’re also affectionate pets and standouts as retrieving dogs.
If you’re looking for a dog to win your next dock-diving competition, this is your breed—the Flat-coated Retriever can splash down with the best of them. These dogs are similar in temperament to the Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever. They are energetic, intelligent, tail-wagging and eager to please, and they excel in hunting trials. Their moderate-length coat is shiny, dense and full, but straight and flat. In fact, this dog both looks and acts like a dark Golden Retriever and is colored liver or black only. They are a wonderful hunters and family dogs—and they adore getting wet./p>
Arguably one of the most popular dog breeds, Golden Retrievers are both outstanding hunting dogs and family companions due to their winning personality, desire to please and high intelligence. The Golden is a large dog with medium-length dense fur in various shades of gold, from dark red-gold to pale yellow. Goldens are devoted and eager to please, which makes them standouts for training. They are in-your-face dogs who want constant attention. They love kids of all ages and make friends easily with strangers, making them excellent pool or beach companions for families. If a Golden can’t find somewhere to swim, you may find them rolling in mud puddles with eager delight.
Irish Water Spaniel
Like their American counterparts above, the Irish Water Spaniel loves the water—it’s right there in the name! Due to their curly, crisp and water-resistant coat, some might mistake an Irish Water Spaniel for a Poodle. The curled, liver-colored fur covers the body but is smooth and short on front of the throat, face, whip-like tail and rear legs below the hocks. They have lots of energy and are nicknamed the "clown of the spaniels" because of their precocious personality. The Irish Water Spaniel is loyal to those he knows, forbidding to strangers, and loves the water.
The Labrador actually came from Newfoundland and was developed as a hunting dog. Today, their high intelligence and willingness to please make these dogs a popular and versatile breed.
This is a short-coated dog with a distinctive "otter" tail, broad-based and tapering, that helps with balance in the water, and is always wagging when out of the wet. Labrador Retrievers come in three solid colors: black, yellow and chocolate. Labs are gregarious dogs who love the whole world, from kids to adults, strangers, burglars and beyond. They aren't great watchdogs, but they do need lots of exercise—and if it takes place in the water, even better!
The "Newfie" is a giant dog, similar in looks to the Great Pyrenees, but instead of solid white their fur is solid black, brown or gray; it can also be white with black markings (Landseer color). These dogs originated in Newfoundland, probably from dogs brought to that country by fisherman. They are superior water dogs, used at times to help fisherman with their nets or even to rescue drowning victims. They were also used as draft dogs, pulling carts and carrying packs like horses. The Newfie is a powerful dog who is loyal, intelligent and above all, sweet of temper. They’re the quintessential child's playmate and guardian, and an excellent family pet. Exercise is important—especially swimming, which the Newfie loves.
Otterhounds have the rough, coarse coat of the terrier and hound-like, floppy ears. An Otterhound may weigh up to 115 pounds, and their webbed feet and oily, water-repellant fur—in black, black and tan, liver and tan, grey, Wheaten, or blue and cream—make them extraordinary swimmers. This is a boisterous, amiable dog who needs lots of exercise (especially in the water) and is eager to show devotion to a worthy pet parent.
Portuguese Water Dog
This dog was developed to help fisherman by herding fish into nets. They also retrieved lost tackle and carried messages through the water from ship to ship. The Portie looks somewhat like a Poodle, but in fact has two accepted coat types, either curly or wavy. Typically, they’re clipped short all over, or are clipped in a "lion cut" that leaves the coat long everywhere except the middle, muzzle and hindquarters, which are clipped short. Their fur can be shades of black, white or brown. They love the water and need regular exercise.
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
These are medium-sized hunting dogs known for their distinctive, harsh, wiry double coat. Griffs are believed to have various setter, spaniel and Otterhound blood in their ancestry. The steel coat—in colors including gray and brown, chestnut brown, white and brown, roan, and white and orange—is perfect for wet hunting. Naturally, Griffs are also strong swimmers and excellent water retrievers.
These 11 dog breeds treat water like a second home, so put on your swimsuit, fill up the pool or pack your towels for a beach adventure. When you share your love with dogs that love to swim, expect to get splashed, and be prepared for muddy paws from puddle-stomping. But that’s a small price to pay for years of wet and wild memories with your pup.