Top 10 Water Dog Breeds

When it comes to dogs and water, not all breeds want their paws wet, but there are some breeds you can rely on to frolic in the surf and make a living from jumping off the dock.

We take a look at some top picks when it comes to water dogs. So if a water dog is a must have for you, these breeds are my best bet.

In an unspecified order:

Chesapeake Bay Retriever-
Though they look like a lab with a perm, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, or Chessies as they are called, have their own style and personality. The Chessie is originally bred to rescue ducks in cold water
built for the job and loves being in the water.

English Setter –
When you think of a dog in the setter group, you think of field dogs, of course, but the English setter in particular loves the water, which most find their happy place on a lake or body of water.

Portuguese water dog
When a dog has the word “water” in their name, that’s a pretty solid sign that they can walk when the time to get wet. Smart and eager to please the Portuguese Water Dog, a dog who is at home both at sea and in the lake is ready to help as he is known as the friend of the fishermen.

Labrador Retriever
Still the number one dog in the county for AKC registrations, the lab is both a housekeeper and a tough swimmer. I don’t know if I’ve ever met a lab that didn’t love water. From the dock
Dog events from retrieving ducks to surfing these guys will always be there for you.

The Newfoundland dog, or Newfie as they are called, is a large dog, a gentle giant of a dog who, as a water rescue dog, has its roots firmly in the water. You have a strong ability to be an all natural lifesaver.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
As the name suggests, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever originated in Nova Scotia and was used as a duck catching dog as well as bait to attack ducks within a range that was easier for hunters to get their duck. This is a medium sized dog that has a lot of energy and loves being in the water

The Otterhound was bred to hunt otters, but most of the time it makes a wonderful family pet. These are large dogs and have a clown-like demeanor. Very strong swimmers, most otterhounds have webbed feet to help them with this task.

OK, I can hear you thinking … “a poodle”! Yes, poodles are water dogs at heart and love to jump around on the beach, by the lake, or by the pool. Even their name, which comes from German, means to splash around in the water, so don’t overlook these chic fur babies for water fun.


These little dogs that came to America from Belgium don’t seem like a natural for the water, but they have been used as rodent control on barges and ships for years, and they are also very avid swimmers.

Irish setter

Yes, another hunting dog that is just as at home in the field as it is when fetching water for waterfowl. The Irish setter has water genes from both sides of its lineage, so it would be a good choice for an active water dog.

Over the years I have owned both dogs who love the water and dogs who are not meant to play with water outside of their own water bowls. If you own some dogs who have excelled in the water please let me know so I can add them to the list.

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