Last Updated/Info Checked on October 14, 2023 by Scott
We have developed a general understanding that dogs like swimming and cats don’t. It shouldn’t come as a surprise for you that some dogs hate it to the core.
Breeds such as Huskies, Pitbulls, French Bulldogs, Rottweilers, and Australian Shepherds do not warm up to swimming on the first go. So, you shouldn’t throw them in the pool before training them to dog paddle.
There are some breeds that are natural paddlers. They like to go into the water with or without warning you. If you are inclined toward owning such a breed, this is the list for you to pick your next companion.
Tip: Swimming is one of the highly recommended exercises for dogs as this recreational activity is safe for overweight pups because it helps them burn calories and increase their metabolism without putting them at risk of injury.
What Breed of Dog Likes to Swim? Water Dog Breeds List
I have a list of 22 Dogs That Like Swimming. Let’s get to know about them.
Now let’s take a look at each one in detail.
1. American Water Spaniel
You may not see this breed more often on the streets because it belongs to water. People are deeply attached to waterways, hunting fish from canoes or marshes own it.
They know its importance when it comes to getting the best of both worlds: Spaniels and Retrievers.
Own the dog only when you can fill its thirst for ponds and lakes. Nothing beats a good swim for AWS.
Don’t be fooled by its small size and charming personality. The barbets are astonishingly sporty. They have energy reserves that may not run out that easily when they’re cued to retrieve aquatic birds.
To get to their full hunting potential, however, you’ll have to spend time training them. Don’t worry, though, as they are easily trainable for social or work endeavors.
You won’t see this breed as commonly as others because they are mostly found in France. Bringing one to the US won’t bring harm because they seem fine with the present temperatures.
3. Boykin Spaniel
South Carolina’s official state dog, the Boykin Spaniel, has made a mark as an efficient hunter of birds. It has a thick brown coat doing wonders for its camouflaging abilities for the unsuspecting waterfowl.
They are moderately social with strangers, but their affection for families is unparalleled.
Before taking it anywhere for hunting, especially in the Eastern Seaboard, ensure you have undergone proper obedience training.
4. Curly-Coated Retriever
Curly-coated retrievers are one of the world’s oldest retrievers. They were bred to fetch games from land and water with minimal training.
This dual ability has made them a popular breed among, you guessed it right, hunters, gamekeepers, and so on.
Your hunting grounds may be icy cold waters where the curly-coated retrievers swim for fun. Own the breed to get hunting success in those waters.
5. Cocker Spaniel
A medium dog breed, the Cocker Spaniel has a cute demeanor worthy of a household. Its abilities, however, take it past your couch into the wilderness, where there’s a lot of game aplenty.
You may find grooming a challenge because coping with the high demand of brushing and washing is not everyone’s forte.
When it comes to hunting, though, you won’t have to budge as the breed knows its way around catching or hunting birds of many types even if that means going into the water head-first.
Brittanys are high-energy dogs, so before owning them, you must keep that in mind. Catering to that energy requires effort, as at heart, the breed is a bird lover.
Its medium size doesn’t deter it from going after fowl but provides it an upper hand. When it comes to hunting aquatic birds, you’ll see them splashing in shallow ponds, slowly creeping on the unsuspecting birds.
Unlike most hunting dogs, it warms up to strangers quite easily, and that alone makes it the star of pool parties.
7. Lagotto Romagnolo
The name “Lagotto Romagnolo” refers to “lake or water dog from Romagna.” They originated in that historical Italian land where the present-day Emilia-Romagna is situated.
Italians used the dog as a companion when going on a hunt for waterfowl residing or landing yearly in the surrounding ponds or mashes.
Their thick coat supported them in the harsh weather back then, and it still does when they are taken to find and root out truffles from the thick under beds of a forest.
Water and a damp environment are, thus, not a problem for them.
However, before owning them, understand that their coat requires high maintenance and that their looks do not show their less friendly nature at heart.
8. Flat-coated Retriever
With a shiny, thick, and sleek coat, the flat-coated retrievers are forever young and one of the best swimming dogs. Even at an old age, they will give many young dogs a run for their youth.
They derived that from their original breeding purpose when the breeders wanted a dog that was as good a hunter in water as it was on land.
Their duality is much appreciated even today, and beneath all that, the dog’s a loving companion suitable for families with kids but ill-suited for novice owners and apartment dwellers.
They are free souls, so they need expanded areas for running and splashing freely.
9. German Shepherd
They were originally bred to be working dogs–capable of completing a wide range of tasks after proper training. That very ability makes them eager to learn new things, and swimming is one of them.
Teach them that, and you’ll have a dog as efficient as a spaniel in water, bringing or retrieving a game, or just taking a plunge with you in your personal pool.
The name alone suggests that Otterhounds love water. They were bred originally to seek otters and hunt them down in their backyard.
You may know how agile otters are, and their elusive nature should explain the dog’s hunting skills in the water. With its webbed feet, it’s able to hunt not only them but a range of water-borne animals.
You won’t find them everywhere because they are a rare breed. Only a few litters are born in the US and Canada. According to Telegraph, this breed is rarer than the Giant Panda.
The name derives its meaning from the Flemish language, meaning “little or small captain.”
Back in the days when it reigned over barges, ready to take a plunge into the water to retrieve an animal did justice to its name. Today still, they owned that very ability.
However, allowing them freely on the boats has rendered stubbornness in their nature.
They are difficult to manage outdoors, but when not hunting, you’ll find Schipperkes loving, adapting to almost all environments, and a seriously protective dog.
12. Spanish Water Dog
The Spanish Water Dog first came about in the Iberian lands for herding. They were famous for countering any terrain – land or water – to get the flock back to its place.
In doing so, it developed a love for water and, just as any herding dog, its owner.
The dogs are, therefore, said to connect on a deeper level with their owners.
So, before owning them, realize your ability to cater to their high demands of social interaction. You won’t be able to leave them for a long time because their hyper-attachment also has a flip side – separation anxiety.
13. Standard poodle
Poodles, in general, are a breed with many talents. They are runway models, talent shows getters, and underneath a dog that loves anything athletic.
Their long snouts are reminiscent of the time when they were bred to fetch waterfowl with matchless accuracy. Even today, they won’t shy away from going for a swim in your pool or any nearby facility to shake off the day’s stress.
Beware of the high maintenance costs that come with grooming their difficult coats.
Most dogs I mentioned here are small to medium, with Newfoundland an apparent exception. It’s big, strong, and muscular, but not without reason.
Bred first in Newfoundland, which is a land rich in forest and fishing grounds, the breed learned to tread masterfully on land and swim skillfully in water for hours on end.
Their large buoyant bodies, therefore, make them adept at pulling nets from the water and huge logs from the forest, working side by side with fishermen and horses.
15. Chesapeake bay retriever
Chesapeake Bay retrievers derive their name from the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, where they were bred to fetch hunted waterfowl, chiefly ducks.
Since the temperature and terrain demanded resilience and strength, the dogs developed a muscular body with an oily coat known to repel water, which also makes the breed one of the best for hunting in the icy cold.
Besides that, on a regular scale, they are loving family dogs with a flavor for going outdoors frequently.
16. English setter
The English Setter was named after its ability to lay low for the hunters to throw nets on clueless birds. It aided in pointing to the game with its carefully crafted pointing bodies.
Although most of its body is covered by long strands of hair, if you look closely, you’ll see a dog shape mastering aerodynamics to run faster.
Today, it’s still capable of pointing and could be a better inclusion with gun dogs to complete a pack. As their nature demands high exercise and mental stimulation, they are not pets for novice owners.
But once you socialize it well with your family members and pets, you’ll find a dog that’s capable of caring for and loving you all endlessly.
17. Irish water spaniel
Irish Water Spaniels were bred as water retrievers capable of bringing back ducks and aquatic birds. Their short and stubby nature makes them perfect for taking a dive from one of your speedboats to the depths of water to retrieve.
In doing so, they move with agility that will surprise you. Part of that comes from their goofy nature, so eager to please you at all times.
Like poodles, however, they should come with a warning sign for high maintenance.
18. Irish setter
The Irish Setter is a combination of several breeds known for assisting hunters through their endeavors. Thus, when you own the breed, you’ll have some traits of an English Setter, Irish Water Spaniel, and Irish Terrier.
Just like those dogs, this one retains its love for love, family, the outdoors, and any high-intensity activity.
It’s intelligent enough to understand the motive of your training and hop along to learn something new without posing many hurdles.
But it’s not an apartment dweller. So, you have to possess a large backyard to give it the dose of freedom it deserves so well.
19. Portuguese water dog
With webbed feet, an oily curled coat, and a long snout at its disposal, the Portuguese Water Dog is one of the dogs that like water. It will fetch things thrown from boats or lure fish into your nets. Calling it a “fish herder” because doing that masterfully wouldn’t be wrong.
Besides being your water buddy, the breed could get along well with novice owners after preliminary training.
It stays in an apartment that does not keep the animal too cooped up. But with its loving nature comes the downside of low tolerance to loneliness. We, trainers, don’t recommend you leave the dog alone for a long period.
20. Labrador retriever
Labrador Retrievers may seem like goofs of the retriever family, but they are serious helpers when it comes to herding fish, fetching games, and pulling nets and items for fishers.
They may not adapt well to enclosed spaces, but once they do, after hearty training, they become their happy places.
You don’t worry about their behavior toward strangers and other breeds as well because these are lovey-dovey creatures meant for love, cuddles, and all things warm.
21. Golden retriever
Goldies have a talented nose for sniffing out game and contraband, a soft heart for staying loyal and loving toward their families, and a skillful body to retrieve and track.
When you take them on a hunt, they transform from the dog next door to a ruthless hunter ready to run through land and water to bring back what’s shot.
However, with all their skill sets, they are sensitive as hell and require high grooming.
22. Nova scotia duck trolling retriever
The breed’s name shows that it was bred to retrieve waterfowl. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s a dog with countless talents.
Take it to hunt, and it will provide major help; pamper it for a show, and it will win accolades; keep it in your apartment, and it will turn out to be one of the friendliest dogs you’ve owned.
However, much like other retrievers and dogs of boundless energies, Nova Scotia requires a lot of exercises, too.
Make sure you’re able to provide that no matter where you are because not catering to that requirement may lead to nuances you never thought a dog so friendly could bring.
Safety Tips for Dogs That Like Swimming
Swimming is very beneficial for dogs. All you need to do is to teach your dog how to swim.
You shouldn’t throw your dogs in the water and hope they’ll like swimming. They may like it, but there are some safety tips to keep in mind for their safety.
1. Do not leave the dogs unsupervised
Your dog may love swimming, but it can get in trouble without your notice. This is true for sea swimming and for pools.
As you’ll read, untrained dogs have a hard time getting out of the water. You must be there to help them out, or else things could end up pretty bad for all.
2. Be careful on the beaches
Some dogs have an eerie inclination toward the sea. They’ll dash to the waves and throw themselves in the water. That goes for trained dogs and untrained ones that like to be around their owners on land or water.
So, if you or one of your family members have led the dog into the sea, do not leave it without notice.
Also, it goes without saying that you should pay heed to the warning signs displayed and not leave the dog on its own, thinking that it’s an animal and it can take care of itself. It may not be able to do that.
3. Invest in a life jacket
Pool noodles, floating ducks, and pool balls are all swimming necessities for play and fun. However, a life jacket is all the way more essential for the dear life of your pet. Buy a dog life jacket and warm the pet up to it.
Just as many things, your pet may not like it in the first place but spending some time on training to familiarize it with the jacket will pay off in the long run.
4. Help them get out of the water
This goes for untrained dogs that do not know how to get out of a pool. You were in their situation when it was your first time as a kid taking a plunge.
You were taught to climb up the ladder. It’s time for you to take the leading role and transfer that knowledge to your dog.
I understand it’ll take time because dogs learn by repetitive actions, but the effort’s worth the life of your pet.
Or, if you don’t want that, you could invest in pool ramps for dogs that help them get out easily with minimal training.
5. Rinse and clean after sea swimming
I have written a detailed article on why extra salt is dangerous for pets, especially dogs. While you may be careful not to let that happen via its food, extra amounts could get into your pet’s system through its coat by licking away the dried salt.
That’s the reason why I recommend rinsing it off when it’s done playing in the sea. Keep up with the practice even after swimming in a pool because, besides salt, chlorine could act as an irritating agent.
Next, be careful to dry out the ears with a towel or a dog ear cleaner to prevent any infections from taking place.
6. Listen to your dog
I’ll say again that not every breed enjoys swimming because of multiple factors. Their form, breed, and general non-deposition toward swimming are some of them.
Some breeds, such as the French Bulldogs, are brachycephalic dogs, meaning they have a short snout that makes breathing difficult in water even when their heads butt out of it.
Still, all of these dogs will have to be kept under supervision to ward off any accidents. But before swimming, a good starting point could be listening to their pet peeves.
You’ll understand when your dog won’t like swimming at all. Do not force it and let the emotions flow until next time.
7. Keep supplies with you at all times
Swimming is an energy-intensive activity for dogs alike and for us. Therefore, you should keep your breeds of dogs that like water well-fed before a session.
Out there in the sea, make sure you have clean drinking water at your disposal as well. Sea water is as detrimental for them to drink as it is for us.
Before I leave, here’s a hearty video of dogs taking a plunge in the pool:
Dogs That Like Swimming – Conclusion
Some breeds were bred for water-borne hunting. Retrievers take the top slot with minimal competition from other breeds, and they love a good swim even today, but you could also train the ones who aren’t water-loving a lot.
In doing so, however, make sure you are following the safety protocols and not pushing a breed whose morphology or build isn’t suited for swimming, such as that of French Bulldogs.
Swimming should be fun for you and the dog, so keep the activity light and hearty!