5 Dog Breeds That Love Water

Some dogs like the water more than others, and water-loving breeds include: the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Labrador, Newfoundland, Spanish Water Dog and Standard Poodle.

Feb 3, 2024By Tanya Taylor
dog breeds that love water

Most dog breeds are purpose-bred for specific tasks, and water-loving breeds tend to be working dogs. They guided boats, hunted and retrieved from wetlands and even rescued humans. Not all dogs like to swim - and some breeds, such as flat-faced ones, struggle in the water. So, if you have an active, water-oriented lifestyle, choose a breed that’s comfortable in the water. Want to know more? Then let's wade straight into my list of 5 dog breeds that love the water.

5 - Chesapeake Bay Retriever

chesapeake bay retriever
Photo Credit: Will Thomas at Forge Mountain Photo

Height: 21 - 26 inches

Weight: 65 - 70 pounds

Size: Medium

Origin: USA

Exercise Level: High

Lifespan: 10 - 13 years

The first entry on our list of water-loving dog breeds is the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, also known as the Chessie. This faithful duck retriever comes from the icy waters of the Chesapeake Bay area of Virginia and Maryland. Being descendants of the Canadian Newfoundland, Chessies have a natural affinity with the water.

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are the perfect water dogs because of their thick, oily, curly coat that usually comes in brown and tan shades. Their unique coat is almost waterproof and keeps them warm and dry, even in freezing water. These versatile dogs are strong and energetic and excel at swimming, sports and agility.

Chesapeake Retrievers are happy-go-lucky dogs with an affectionate, loyal character. That said, they are protective and can be wary of strangers. Furthermore, they’re intelligent canines and need lots of physical and mental stimulation. They can also be stubborn and rebellious, so they benefit from socialization and training from a young age.

4 - Labrador

labrador retriever
Photo Credit: troy williams on Unsplash

Height: 21.5 - 24.5 inches

Weight: 55 - 80 pounds

Size: Medium

Origin: Newfoundland Canada

Exercise Level: High

Lifespan: 11 - 13 years

The loveable Labrador is next on our list of water-friendly canines. It’s one of the most popular dog breeds with a natural affinity with the water. Labrador Retrievers are traditionally working canines. They were gun dogs and also helped retrieve fishing nets and guided ships into shore in the icy waters of the Labrador Peninsula.

If you wonder if all dogs can instinctively swim, looking at a Labrador, you might think they’re all natural swimmers. Labradors are entirely at home in the water and love it so much that they will spend hours paddling. Most owners will tell you that it’s hard to keep them out.

Labradors are sturdy dogs with black, chocolate, or golden/yellow, short, dense coats. They are incredibly laid back but have high energy levels and need lots of mental stimulation and exercise. They’re entirely trustworthy with kids, other dogs, and even total strangers, making them excellent all-around pets. These gentle, loving, affectionate creatures are easy to train, and the choice of service, assistant, and therapy dogs.

3 - Newfoundland

newfoundland dog
Photo Credit: Farzan Lelinwalla on Unsplash

Height: 26 - 28 inches:

Weight: 100 - 150 pounds

Size: Large

Origin: Newfoundland Canada

Exercise Level: Moderate

Lifespan: 9 - 10 years

The hefty Newfoundland, sometimes called a Newfie, is one of the largest water dog breeds. They are working dogs that traditionally lived on ships, and they swam to the shore with the mooring ropes and rescued people from the water. Newfoundlands are striking creatures, and with a thick coat, webbed feet and massive lung capacity, they can effortlessly glide through the water.

These dogs are fantastic all-rounders with a gentle nature, similar to a Labrador. They’re trustworthy and dependable - good with people, other dogs and children and have a reputation as nanny dogs. They have a sweet and loving temperament and truly are the gentle giants of the canine world.

Newfoundlands have a thick, dense, coarse coat, which comes in black, gray, brown, and white. It acts like a big fluffy duster and attracts dirt and debris, so these canines need regular grooming. Newfoundlands are eager to please and easy to train. If you’re thinking of getting one, there are a few things you should know about the Newfoundland. As sweet as they are, they are also droolers and take up lots of space.

2 - Spanish Water Dog

spanish water dog
Photo Credit: Corinne Benavides on Flickr

Height: 15.5 - 19.5 inches

Weight: 30 - 50 pounds

Size: Medium

Origin: Spain

Exercise Level: Active

Lifespan: 12 - 14 years

The Spanish Water Dog is traditionally a herding dog, but they're not afraid to get their paws wet. One of their side jobs was retrieving waterfowl from lakes and rivers. They have webbed paws and a distinctive thick and curly water-resistant coat, making them comfortable and competent in the water.

The Spanish Water Dog’s coat is unique because it will grow into cords, the dog equivalent of dreadlocks. It covers their whole body, from their ears to their toes, and most owners keep it clipped. They come in many colors, but the most common ones are black, brown, beige and white.

These dogs are playful, loyal, and affectionate towards the family and make excellent watchdogs. They’re intelligent and energetic, so they need lots of mental stimulation and exercise. Spanish Water Dogs form a strong bond with their owners but can be wary of strangers, so you must socialize from a young age. They are more suited to people with an active lifestyle and don't like being alone for long periods.

1 - Standard Poodle

standard poodle
Photo Credit: Hans Ole Benonisen on Unsplash

Height: up 17 inches

Weight: 40 - 70 pounds

Size: Large

Origin: Germany

Exercise Level: Active

Lifespan: 10 - 18 years

They may look like the supermodels of the dog world, but Standard Poodles are robust working dogs that thrive in the water. They’re incredible swimmers, and their task was to hunt and retrieve waterfowl. These dogs are athletic, intelligent, obedient and make excellent family pets.

Poodles have distinctive tight, curly, water-resistant coats, which you can clip into many styles. They come in many colors, including Apricot, Cafe Au Lait, Red and Silver. Most owners clip their Poodle's coat because it's prone to matting and needs specialist care.

Standard Poodles are full of energy and need plenty of exercise. They love swimming and ball toss and are agile, playful, and easy to train. Poodles are generally outgoing, friendly dogs and good with strangers but can be noisy. There are also Toy and Miniature variations of the breed.

Tanya Taylor
By Tanya Taylor

Tanya is a trusted animal care professional and has devoted her life to animals. In her 25-year career, she’s worked with all kinds of creatures in many environments, including three years caring for small animals as a veterinary nursing assistant and five years birthing down racehorses.

She is an expert farm and dog sitter - and has spent many hours volunteering at her local pony sanctuary. Tanya is originally from Liverpool in the UK, but now she lives in Ibiza, Spain, with her cheeky red terrier Leo and three Leopard tortoise hatchlings, Ninja, Tiny, and Orwell.