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15 Dog Breeds That Absolutely Love The Water

Written by: Scott H
Scott Haiduc is the Director of Publishing for iHeartDogs, iHeartCats and The Hero Company. When not working, Scott spends his time on the farm, taking care of his animals and crops.Read more
| Published on May 9, 2015

While many dogs enjoy playing in the water, some just can’t get themselves out of the pool. Certain breeds were bred to work in water and their history shows, because they just seriously love swimming. If you’re looking for a swimming partner or a pup that enjoys staying cool in the warm weather, check out these breeds!

#1 – Labrador Retriever


The Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds for family companionship but they were originally bred for retrieving game in water. Because of their heritage, the breed is full of excellent swimmers that absolutely love water whether they’re retrieving ducks or toys.

#2 – Chesapeake Bay Retriever


The Chesapeake Bay Retriever, or Chessie, is a large gundog bred for water retrieving. They are similar to the Labrador Retriever in appearance but have a wavy coat and a much stronger temperament. They are still excellent hunting and swimming dogs today. 

#3 – Newfoundland


The Newfoundland is a giant breed from Canada that has been used primarily for water rescue missions. The breed is strong and able to be used as a drafting dog as well. Their size and strength make them outstanding water dogs. 

#4 – Poodle


Although more commonly seen as a circus or show dog, the Standard Poodle was originally a water retrieving breed. The breed excelled as a waterfowl retriever and still maintains those abilities today, although you might see it more often on land in agility and obedience competitions. 

#5 – Portuguese Water Dog

“Cão de agua Português 1” by Silke Hollje-Schumacher (Autor/Fotograf) – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The Portuguese Water Dog is a water dog from Portugal, where it was used to herd fish into fishermans’ nets. They were also employed to retrieve broken nets and lost tackle and are still very good swimmers.

#6 – Lagotto Romagnolo


This Italian breed is considered the “Lake Dog of Romagnolo,” where it originated. It was used primarily as a gundog for waterfowl but has also been used to hunt truffles. They are excellent swimmers and workers that are happy to have any job.

#7 – Irish Water Spaniel


The Irish Water Spaniel is the largest of the spaniels and also one of the oldest, although it is fairly rare today. They were used as generic water dogs and still require sufficient exercise and mental stimulation if they are to be family companions. 

#8 – Spanish Water Dog


The Spanish Water Dog is a very old breed with similar ancestry to several other European water breeds. While much of their history revolves around water, the breed also has a natural herding instinct. 

#9 – Flat-Coated Retriever


The Flat-Coated Retriever is a gundog from the United Kingdom. It was originally used to hunt game both on land and water and has maintained its love for swimming. They are active and outgoing dogs that make great family companions. 

#10 – Barbet

“Barbety suki 2009 pl2” by Pleple2000 – Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons.

The Barbet is a rare water dog from France, where it was used to retrieve waterfowl and assist sailors on their boats. They are intelligent dogs that need ample exercise to be suitable as family companions.

#11 – American Water Spaniel

“American Water Spaniel 001” by Flickr user Noma’s American Water Spaniels . Photo uploaded to commons by user ltshears – Flickr here. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The American Water Spaniel is a small dog developed in Wisconsin in the 19th century. It has a water-resistant coat and was used to hunt game on land and in the water.

#12 – Curly-Coated Retriever


The Curly-Coated Retriever is an English dog bred for retrieving waterfowl. It looks similar to the other retrievers, except it does indeed sport a curly coat. The breed is still used to hunt in water today and their temperaments reflect their need for a job. 

#13 – Otterhound

“Two otterhounds”. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The Otterhound is a very large British dog originally bred for hunting otter. They are powerful dogs and exceptionally strong swimmers, making them unsuitable for many families as a companion.

#14 – Boykin Spaniel


The Boykin Spaniel is a medium-sized spaniel from South Carolina. They have been used to hunt a variety of game on land and in water, but their size makes them suitable for riding in boats and canoes with waterfowl hunters. 

#15 – Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever


The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a small retriever from Canada primarily used for duck hunting. They are very active hunters and strong swimmers, needing sufficient exercise to maintain livable housemates. 

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