19 Water Dogs: These Dog Breeds Love Water

Not all dogs are the same when it comes to water. Some will shy away from the water, whether that be at the beach, pool or river. And other dog breeds seem to be absolutely born for the water! So if you’re looking for a water loving dog that will play (and swim) by your side all summer, you may want to consider the following water dog breeds. And don’t forget to check out the best tips for keeping your dog cool while you’re here on the Tractive blog!

Table of Contents

  • What are water dogs?
  • Why do dogs like the water?
  • 19 Dog Breeds that Love Water
    • American Water Spaniel
    • Barbet
    • Boykin Spaniel
    • Chesapeake Bay Retriever
    • Curly-Coated Retriever
    • English Setter
    • Flat-Coated Retriever
    • German Shepherd
    • Golden Retriever
    • Irish Water Spaniel
    • Labrador Retriever
    • Lagotto Romagnolo
    • Newfoundland
    • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
    • Otterhound
    • Portuguese Water Dog
    • Schipperke
    • Spanish Water Dog
    • Standard Poodle
  • Dog Breeds that Don’t Like Water
  • Don’t Make These Mistakes When Introducing Your Dog to the Water
  • The Waterproof GPS Tracker that Helps Keep Your Dog Safe

What are water dogs?

Water dogs are those dog breeds which have historically been bred to retrieve game from water. The term can also refer to any dog breeds which are known to love water.

Why do dogs like the water?

Many dogs seem to love water, especially in comparison to their feline counterparts. But why do dogs love water? Here are some possible reasons:

  • Some dogs were literally bred to work in the water – such as the Irish Water Spaniel.
  • Dogs are more likely (than cats) to be first introduced to water in an enjoyable way, so they might have a positive association with it.
  • It’s a great way to keep cool and avoid heatstroke in dogs during hot weather.
  • Many dogs are playful, curious, and adventurous, and water can be a great source of fun.
  • Playing in the water together is a great way for dogs to bond with their favorite humans.
  • Getting wet is a great way to keep clean.
  • It simply feels good!

19 Dog Breeds that Love Water

Without further ado, here are the top 19 dog breeds that love water:

American Water Spaniel

American Water Spaniel dog

This rare dog breed was bred in Wisconsin, and combines the traits of a Spaniel and Retriever. They are in their element in the wet marshes of the Great Lakes and are well-suited to working (or playing) in water.


barbet dog running outside

The Barbet is a popular French water dog, uncommon in the United States. With the nickname ‘mud dog’, this furry friend isn’t afraid to get dirty. Historically they’ve made great water hunting dogs and have a warm and outgoing demeanor.

Boykin Spaniel

Boykin Spaniel dog

A medium-sized Spaniel, the Boykin is an active and eager dog, easily trained and happy to hunt waterfowl or wild turkey. The breed is common in the American South.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Chesapeake Bay Retriever dog outside

It can get cold in the icy waters of the Chesapeake Bay. But this rugged Retriever is up for the challenge. Built with an oily and waterproof coat, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are outdoorsy, active, and love to hunt in the water.

Curly-Coated Retriever

Curly-Coated Retriever dog laying in grass

Intelligent and hardworking, the English Curly-Coated Retriever is one of the oldest Retriever dog breeds. They’re brave enough to go head first into icy cold waters and are preferred by hunters.

English Setter

English Setter dog

English Setters are typically very comfortable in water and will go swimming just to swim. They can be enthusiastic and fearless in the water. They were bred as hunting dogs but also make great family companion dogs. Just make sure they have plenty of space and opportunity to exercise and expend their high energy.

Flat-Coated Retriever

flat coated retriever dog playing in water outside

The flat-coated retriever, as the name suggests, was bred to retrieve game both in the water and on land. This dog also comes from England. They are cheerful, eager to play and easy to train. They need a high level of physical activity and are natural hunters – a perfect dog to go swimming for days with.



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