Happy dog making a splash in water

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Looking for dog breeds that like to swim? You're in luck. Here’s a look at nine dog breeds renowned for their exceptional swimming skills and innate love for water.

In this blog post, we will explore the multitude of benefits of swimming for dogs, delve into the unique characteristics of each breed, and provide essential water safety tips to ensure an enjoyable experience for your pup. Whether you're planning an exciting beach adventure or seeking a loyal companion for poolside fun, these dog breeds are sure to make a splash.

Benefits Of Swimming for Dogs

Benefits of swimming for dogs

Swimming provides numerous benefits for dogs. Not only is it a fun and enjoyable activity, but it also offers several advantages for their physical and mental well-being.

Muscle Strength And Cardiovascular Fitness

Swimming engages multiple muscle groups, including the legs, core, and shoulders, providing dogs with a comprehensive whole-body workout. Regular swimming sessions contribute to improved muscle strength, endurance, and cardiovascular fitness in dogs. The water's resistance adds an extra challenge, promoting the development of lean muscle and enhancing overall fitness.

By incorporating swimming into their exercise routine, pet parents can help their dogs build strength, improve endurance, and maintain optimal cardiovascular health. If you swim alongside your dog, you can improve your own fitness levels as well, and that’s just one of the many health benefits that come with owning dogs.

Low-Impact Exercise

Swimming offers dogs a low-impact form of exercise, reducing the strain on their joints in comparison to activities like running or jumping. It is especially beneficial for dogs with joint issues, older dogs, or those carrying extra weight.

By engaging in swimming, dogs can enjoy physical activity while minimizing the risk of joint strain or injury. This makes it an ideal exercise option for promoting their overall fitness and well-being.

Mental Stimulation And Stress Relief

Swimming engages dogs both physically and mentally, providing them with valuable mental stimulation and stress relief. As they navigate through the water and interact with their surroundings, they encounter a refreshing change of scenery and a sensory experience that combats boredom and reduces anxiety.

Furthermore, swimming serves as an outlet for their excess energy, resulting in a calmer and more contented dog. In addition to the physical benefits, the mental engagement offered by swimming contributes to their overall well-being.

Cooling And Refreshment

Dogs who enjoy swimming find great relief and comfort in swimming when faced with hot days. Swimming actively regulates their body temperature, effectively preventing the risks of overheating. In addition, this enjoyable activity serves as a refreshing and invigorating experience for them, particularly in scorching weather conditions.

9 Dog Breeds That Like To Swim

Dog breeds that like to swim

Now that we’ve explored the advantages of swimming for dogs, let's take a look at nine dog breeds that like to swim. These breeds have either an innate fondness for water or have historically been involved in activities that require swimming.


Originating from France, the Barbet is a water-loving breed with a thick, curly coat that provides excellent insulation in aquatic environments. Developed as water retrievers, Barbets exhibit a strong affinity for swimming and a natural inclination to be in the water.

Equipped with webbed feet and a muscular physique, they possess remarkable swimming abilities and excel in retrieving objects from water. In addition to their aquatic prowess, Barbets have a high level of intelligence and trainability, rendering them well-suited for various dog sports and activities.


Poodles, encompassing three sizes—standard, miniature, and toy—are renowned for their affinity for water. Originating from the German word "pudel," meaning "to splash in water," these popular and intelligent breeds started as adept water retrievers.

Their distinctive curly coats provide insulation against cold and damp conditions, while their webbed feet contribute to their exceptional swimming capabilities. Poodles excel in various water activities and are particularly suitable for families seeking aquatic companionship. Moreover, their intelligence and elegance further enhance their allure.

Spanish Water Dog

One of the small dog breeds that like to swim, originating from Spain, the Spanish Water Dog emerges as an ancient and versatile breed adept both on land and in the water. Featuring a dense and curly coat, this breed showcases hypoallergenic qualities and requires minimal grooming.

Complemented by webbed feet that give them exceptional swimming prowess, Spanish Water Dogs are a wonderful fit for families who share their passion for aquatic activities. With lively and alert dispositions, they forge unwavering bonds with their loved ones. Moreover, their adaptability and trainability enable them to thrive in diverse environments and fulfill various roles.

Irish Water Spaniel

Originating from Ireland, the Irish Water Spaniel stands as the largest and oldest of the spaniel breeds, designed specifically for hunting and retrieving waterfowl. Draped in a distinctive curly coat that envelops its entire body, excluding the face and tail, this breed finds itself equipped with a water-repellent coat, ensuring warmth and dryness even in chilly waters.

Enhanced by their webbed feet, Irish Water Spaniels possess the ability to glide swiftly through the water. With a joyful and energetic spirit, coupled with remarkable intelligence, this breed delights in active and playful endeavors. They foster a deep sense of loyalty and affection towards their family, although they may appear reserved when encountering strangers.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Originating from Canada, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, also known as the Toller, possesses a deep love for the water and displays an energetic and intelligent nature. This breed was specifically bred to engage in tolling, a unique hunting technique where they entice ducks by running, jumping, and playing along the shore.

Their playful antics pique the curiosity of the ducks, luring them closer for retrieval upon command. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever boasts a medium-length coat that is both water-repellent and low-maintenance.

Their webbed feet contribute to their swift swimming abilities. With their cheerful demeanor, high energy levels, and sharp intellect, Tollers thoroughly enjoy working and playing. They are inherently friendly and sociable, forging strong connections with both humans and other animals.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Another of the small dog breeds that like to swim, originating from the Chesapeake Bay region in the United States, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a remarkable breed with a deep affinity for swimming. Developed specifically for hunting and retrieving waterfowl in the harsh conditions of the bay, these dogs possess unique qualities that make them exceptional swimmers.

Their thick and oily coat, designed to shed water and provide insulation against the cold, ensures their comfort in aquatic environments. Additionally, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever's webbed feet grant them powerful swimming capabilities. This breed's strong, sturdy, and resilient nature enables them to tackle any challenge with confidence.


The Newfoundland, a giant breed originating from Newfoundland, Canada, has a remarkable affinity for water. Bred for various water-related tasks such as pulling carts, hauling nets, and even rescuing drowning individuals, this gentle and calm breed possesses a natural instinct for swimming and water rescues.

Equipped with a long, dense coat that provides insulation in cold climates and webbed feet that facilitate graceful swimming, Newfoundlands are excellent swimmers. Their impressive size and strength, combined with their gentle and patient nature, have earned them the nickname "lifeguard dogs."

They make ideal companions for families who enjoy water activities, as their love for swimming matches their devotion to their human companions.

Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever, one of America's most popular dog breeds, has a strong affinity for water due to its original purpose of retrieving game from both land and water. With their water-repellent coat and webbed feet, Golden Retrievers are natural swimmers.

Their friendly and outgoing nature, coupled with their intelligence and trainability, make them well-suited for various activities such as agility, obedience, therapy work, and service. These versatile dogs particularly enjoy water-based sports like dock diving and retrieving objects from the water.

Whether it's playing fetch or taking a dip in lakes and rivers, Golden Retrievers happily embrace their love for swimming.

Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese Water Dog, a rare and medium-sized breed originating from Portugal, has a distinct curly coat and webbed feet that make it an excellent swimmer. Bred for water-related tasks such as herding fish and retrieving lost tackle, this intelligent and loyal breed thrives on human companionship.

Their versatile nature and trainable disposition make them well-suited for various dog sports. With their hypoallergenic and water-repellent coat, webbed feet, and muscular build, Portuguese Water Dogs have the perfect combination of traits that make them exceptional swimmers.

Water Safety For Dogs

While swimming can be fun and beneficial for dogs, it can also pose some risks if not done properly. Small and large dog breeds that like to swim still require owners to practice proper water safety for dogs.

Assess Their Swimming Ability

Before allowing your dog to swim, assess their swimming ability. Not all dogs are natural swimmers, and some may struggle or panic in the water. Consider their breed, physical condition, and comfort level before letting them swim. If your dog is new to swimming, start with shallow water and provide them with a canine life jacket for added safety.

Supervise Your Dog’s Swimming

Always supervise your dog when they are near or in the water. Accidents can happen quickly, and constant supervision ensures their safety. Stay vigilant and look for potential hazards such as strong currents, deep water, or submerged obstacles.

Rinse Off After Swimming

Rinse your dog with fresh water after swimming to remove any chlorine, salt, or other chemicals that may irritate their skin or coat. Pay special attention to their ears, as moisture can lead to ear infections. Dry them thoroughly to prevent dampness that may cause skin issues.

Be Prepared For Emergencies

In case of emergencies, quick action can be crucial, especially when near water:

  • Learn basic pet first aid and CPR techniques.
  • Have the contact information for a nearby emergency veterinary clinic readily available.

When an emergency occurs, it helps a great deal to have a plan of action you or others can immediately take.

Dog wearing life vest swimming in a pool

Final Notes

Consider one of the nine breeds mentioned above if you're seeking a dog that loves to swim. These breeds have a natural affinity for water and are well-suited to swimming activities. They make loyal, intelligent, and energetic companions for active families. They are also some of the most active dog breeds in general.

For additional support with your dog's health and well-being, try Dutch. Dutch connects you with licensed veterinarians who can provide personalized advice and treatment plans for your dog online. Book an appointment to chat with a vet via video call today.



  1. American Kennel Club. "Barbet." https://akc.org/dog-breeds/barbet.

  2. American Kennel Club. "Poodle (Standard)." https://akc.org/dog-breeds/poodle-standard.

  3. American Kennel Club. "Spanish Water Dog." https://akc.org/dog-breeds/spanish-water-dog.

  4. American Kennel Club. "Irish Water Spaniel." https://akc.org/dog-breeds/irish-water-spaniel.

  5. American Kennel Club. "Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever." https://akc.org/dog-breeds/nova-scotia-duck-tolling-retriever.

  6. American Kennel Club. "Chesapeake Bay Retriever." https://akc.org/dog-breeds/chesapeake-bay-retriever.

  7. American Kennel Club. "Newfoundland." https://akc.org/dog-breeds/newfoundland.

  8. American Kennel Club. "Golden Retriever." https://akc.org/dog-breeds/golden-retriever.

  9. American Kennel Club. "Portuguese Water Dog." https://akc.org/dog-breeds/portuguese-water-dog.

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Dutch is an online veterinary pet telehealth service, created by pet parents and board-certified veterinary specialists. We use a science-backed approach to provide pets relief for their everyday physical and behavioral health issues. Dutch connects you with licensed veterinarians over video chat and messaging to help you get care for your dog or cat quickly wherever you are — without the stress or expense of a vet visit. We also partner with pharmacies who can deliver prescription medication (in applicable states only) and over-the-counter treatments directly to your door. Dutch isn’t a veterinary practice or pharmacy, but a company that helps facilitate these services for pet parents to make veterinary care more accessible to all.

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