Many dogs don’t like water. They hate baths, beaches, and puddles. They are content to take a sip from their bowl, but that’s about as adventurous as they get.

That’s perfectly fine, but some people want a dog that will go out for a dip with them. If you’re a beach goer or avid fisherman, you’ll probably want a dog who’ll be willing to join you on your outdoor activities.

Today, we’ve put together a list for the top 7 dogs that love to swim.

What Makes a Great Swimmer?

Many people think that dogs are natural swimmers. Have you ever held a dog above bathwater and seen them instinctively start paddling? That’s some compelling evidence right there!

But it’s not the case that all dogs can swim. In fact, there are several breeds that have been especially bred for just this purpose. This breeding could have taken place for a few reasons. Some dogs were prized as hunters in wet terrains while others were used on fishing boats to help “herd” fish and retrieve gear.

Uses for Dogs in Water

While some dogs want nothing to do with the water, there are some who not only love being in it but excel when swimming. These dogs were quickly put to work and prized for their skill in the water.

Even today, there are several jobs that dogs can do in the water. These include:

  • Hunting Assistant – Many dogs have been trained to assist hunters. They might flush a pack of birds near the river, or they could be used for their keen eyesight.
  • Retriever – Even after flushing a bird, someone had to retrieve the catch too. Some dogs were skilled at retrieving a kill without further damaging the animal.
  • Fishing – Many breeds were brought on boats to help fishermen collect gear or to help fish into fishermen’s nets. While this kind of fishing isn’t as common today, many dogs would still love to join their owners on a fishing trip.
  • Aquatic Rescue – Some dogs today are even used for sea-based rescue. These animals are used to save lives in pools, the ocean, and they even find use in the event of a catastrophe.
  • Just Having Fun – Kicking back in the sun and taking a dip is reason enough to bring your dog to the water.

Top 7 Dogs that Love to Swim

Dogs who are useful in the water share many characteristics. Some of these include webbed paws, a medium to large build, water-resistant coats, and deep chests. Though, it goes without saying that not every swimmer is going to have these characteristics.

Here are some of the top dog breeds that love to swim.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

This breed thrives in the water. It needs a family that is extremely active, and the water is the perfect place for it to burn off its energy. This is especially true when you consider that the Chesapeake Bay is often frigid if not frozen.

English Setter

While many water dogs have a sillier edge, the English Setter is a much more royal breed known for being a prized gun dog.

Irish Water Spaniel

This smart, strong breed is also eager to please. Toss in a water repellent coat, and you’ve got a dog who was built for a job in the water. These dogs were a great gun dog and a welcome companion on hunting trips.

Labrador Retriever

The Lab is one of the most adored breeds in the United States, UK, Canada, and Australia. When it comes to water, their name tells you their job. These pups were used to retrieve a hunter’s game. They would be happy retrieving all day, and hunters were pleased to have a loyal companion who was skilled at retrieving without further harming their game.


Despite the Newfoundland being one of the largest and shaggiest on the list, they are water lovers through and through. Their large body makes for increased lung capacity, and they are easily able to swim long distances.

Portuguese Water Dog

This athletic dog was prized on the boats of Portuguese fishermen. They are able to “herd” fish into the fishermen’s nets with ease due to their webbed-feet.

Standard Poodle

While the Poodle has a frou-frou reputation, these pups are built to swim and willing to jump in! The poodle is prone to bouts of extreme energy as well, so swimming is a great activity to get them worn out.

Precautions to Take in the Water

Of course, any dog can either like or dislike the water. The breed doesn’t make a swimmer. But you can always try your best to coax your dog into the water.

Just be certain to take precautions if you’re trying to bring your dog to water for the first time. A flotation vest would be a good idea if you are unsure of how strong a swimmer your dog will be. It might be a good idea if you are bringing your dog on a boat since open water can tire a dog out rather quickly.

Also remember if you go to the beach, it can be a very warm place. You’ll want to make sure your dog doesn’t burn the pads of their feet. You should also be providing plenty of shade and cool water for them to prevent overheating.