Many breeds of dogs, big and small, love water and are ideal for beach living or for families living on lakes. Most dogs are born swimmers and have the natural ability and love for swimming. Having said that; there are still three categories of dogs – ones that can swim, ones who can be taught to swim and a third category that’d make you wonder if they are actually a cat. The Animal Planet has enlisted several dog breeds that love water mainly Newfoundland, Portuguese water dog, Irish and English Setters, Water Spaniels and certain retrievers. All these dogs are excellent swimmers and they love the water. In fact; many of these dog breeds were historically bred to retrieve water fowls or for water recoveries. Let us take a look at dog breeds that can’t swim and then move on to good dog breeds for boating, swimming and the beach life in general.
Dog breeds that can’t swim
Many small dog breeds cannot swim. Their legs are short so they cannot thrust and keep themselves afloat. Bulldogs, dachshunds, boxers, pugs are some of the dog breeds that are terrified of water. Many of these are unable to swim as they tend to tire easily. Small dog breeds like Chihuahuas, Maltese and Chinese crested as well as other hairless breeds tend to get cold or scared of dark water. Despite this, some of these dogs are actually good swimmers. Many brachycephalic dog breeds like Pekingese also cannot swim owing to their short noses.
Note: if you plan to introduce your dog to swimming, make sure you monitor him at all times. Some dogs can panic in water and that can increase their chances of drowning.
Best lake dogs – Dog breeds, big and small, that love water
1. Portuguese Water Dogs
Portuguese water dogs were bred to be the fisherman’s helper. They kept birds away from the caught fish and even helped carry messages between boats. This energetic dog loves water and their alert and curious nature makes them amazing pets. They are good looking dogs having short curly coats which can come in white, black or brown colors. These super swimmers have webbed feet like the duck.
2. American Water Spaniel
This breed makes one of the best lake dogs but you need to introduce your puppy to water sports in a sensible manner. Some puppies will jump right in and start swimming. However, a few will stick their noses and take a lap or might even try to get a stone from the bottom! Adult AWS are powerful swimmers and make water retrieving seem like a piece of cake. AWS have webbed feet and they love to drop wet things they have retrieved into your lap.
Certain dog breeds take to the water like ducks and Newfoundland are one of them. These dogs are also good dog breeds for boaters. It is believed that Newfoundland dogs will even seek water wherever they go. However, they do have a negative trait of barking a lot. Their ultra strong bodies help them save lives in the water. In fact; Newfoundland is the only AKC registered breed having natural life saving ability. They are gifted with great eyesight and excellent hearing. Their double layered coat protects them from the water too and keeps their skin dry when they swim.
4. Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Chesapeake Bay retrievers are prized for their fearless swimming and retrieving skills. Chessies, as they are fondly known, also have a special coat that keeps them dry. In fact; even after a bath, they simply shake off the coat and are dry within minutes! These athletic dogs prefer swimming and game of fetch instead of long walks.
5. Irish Water Spaniel
The Irish water spaniel, curly coated water dogs, Barbet of France, Portuguese water dog of Portugal, Perro de Agua of Spain, Wetterhoun of Holland and American Water Spaniel of USA are all distant cousins. They are also blessed with a beautiful water proof coat, uncanny intelligence and exceptional swimming ability. The Irish Water Spaniel is the tallest of all spaniels and he is also the clown of the family. He is a great water dog, excellent on boats, powerful swimmer and his coat sheds water easily.
Poodles are great swimmers and that includes all varieties: toy, standard etc. Swimming is a great way to keep your poodle healthy and fit. Always keep your poodle’s coat short so it dries easily after a swim. Also make sure you clean out your poodles’ ears with a soft towel, especially on the inside. Never force your poodle to start swimming right away. Take him to the beach and let him explore a bit. You can swim and ask your poodle to follow you. Once your pet is comfortable in the water, he will start swimming naturally. Do not allow your pet to swim in areas with strong under currents, in dirty water or in very cold water. Always bathe your pet after he has swum in a pool. Poodles make the best lake dogs, best dog breeds for beach living and also good dog breeds for boating. An added advantage is that they are dogs that love water and don’t shed too much.
7. Labrador Retrievers
It is believed that Labrador retrievers come from Newfoundland dogs though some experts believe that it is the other way round- that the Labrador may have been one of the ancestors of the Newfoundland. Labradors have a flat broad tail, webbed feet and short coats that make grooming easy. They are also easy to train and love people. Their stable temperament and friendly affectionate nature make them ideal pets for people who themselves love the water.
8. Golden Retrievers
Bred in the Scottish highlands to suit the climate and terrain, these beautiful and gentle dogs have webbed feet and bushy tails that make them excellent swimmers. Golden retrievers are known for their gentle temperament and friendly, loving and affectionate nature. They are extremely loyal dogs and all these qualities make them ideal rescue and therapy dogs as well.
9. English Setters
Historically, English setters were bred to point and retrieve water fowl. So it is no wonder that they love the water more than land and almost as much as the Newfoundland dogs. They also come under the category of sporting dogs and as a result love invigorating exercise like swimming.
10. Irish Setters
Irish setters are fun loving dogs and they are excellent swimmers too. They are actually fastidious about grooming as a result of which they will skip water puddles while walking on the roads. But that does not mean they don’t enjoy the water. After all; they have water-working spaniel blood in them. Irish setters were bred to hunt ducks and pheasants and they are blessed with exceptionally keen sense of smell.
11. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
The word ‘toll’ means bringing and duck tolling means that these medium sized retrievers would bring in ducks from large lakes. Nova Scotia duck toller has a double coat that is tan or red gold in color and keeps his skin dry. They can also retrieve and flush upland birds. Your Toller will love to accompany you on hikes and yes he would love a swim every day as well.