20 Dogs That Swim (& 20 Fun Facts About Them!)
While many dogs love taking an occasional dip in the pool, lake, or ocean, some furry friends just can’t get enough! These eager pups typically have strong, muscular bodies and maybe even a few unique qualities that help them excel at water-related activities.
Keep reading to learn about some of the most incredible dogs that swim!
#1: Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Their name says it all! Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are confident companions bred to withstand the cold temperatures and rough waves of the saltwater bay. They are upbeat, tenacious, and have a strong work ethic both in and out of the water.
Fact: The University of Maryland, Baltimore County has a statue on campus of their school mascot, a Chessie. Students often rub its nose for good luck on final exams, according to UMBC.
Learn more about the cheerful Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
#2: Boykin Spaniel
Boykin Spaniels are excellent swimmers who continue to be used for hunting game birds along the Eastern Seaboard. The hallmark of these sweet, docile dogs is their solid-brown coat (often used as camouflage when hunting) and their feathery ears.
Fact: The Boykin Spaniel was designated the official state dog of South Carolina in 1985, according to CHStoday.
#3: English Setter
The term “setter” comes from this breed’s style of hunting; they slowly creep up on their prey, then set (or freeze) until ready to make their move. While originally bred as bird dogs, English Setters are affectionate, mild-mannered pups most happy in the water.
Fact: The first dog registered with the American Kennel Club was an English Setter named Adonis, according to Biology Dictionary.
Vizslas are versatile attention seekers who can succeed in a wide range of activities if properly trained. They are strong swimmers but should not swim in cold weather because they do not have a thick, insulating coat compared to most other dogs that swim.
Fact: A Vizsla named Chartay was the first dog of any breed to be named AKC Quintuple Champion, having won championship titles in five different disciplines, according to DailyPaws.
Find out more about the devoted Vizsla.
#5: Lagotto Romagnolo
The Lagotto Romagnolo descended from water dog breeds who hunted duck in the Romagna region of Italy. As the marshes in this area were drained, these active, affectionate dogs switched jobs and now excel at sniffing out truffles—but their love for swimming persists.
Fact: The Lagotto Romagnolo is the only purebred dog recognized as a specialist truffle searcher, according to the New York Post.
Thanks to their water-repellent coat and webbed feet, Newfoundlands are hard-working dogs that hauled in fishing nets, carried boat lines to shore, and rescued those who fell overboard from the 1600s to early 1900s. Indispensable to fishermen, these gentle giants remain steadfast and even-tempered.
Fact: Unlike most other dogs who “doggy paddle,” Newfoundlands move their limbs in a down-and-out motion when swimming. This modified breaststroke gives Newfies more power and drive in the water, according to Passpawt.
Read on about the attentive Newfoundland.
#7: German Shorthaired Pointer
German Shorthaired Pointers are natural athletes with bright, energetic personalities. These pups are enthusiastic about all sorts of activities, including hunting, partaking in organized sports, and swimming in the summer heat. Plus, they love playing with our floatable dog toys!
Fact: The German Shorthaired Pointer’s coat is generally a solid reddish-brown (called "liver") or liver and white in distinctive patterns that are sometimes confused with those of Dalmatians, according to NY Daily News.
Learn more about the curious German Shorthaired Pointer.
The Otterhound was bred in England to hunt otter—hence the name. These shaggy, playful dogs would swim for several hours during a hunt and, while no longer used for tracking otter, have an impressive amount of stamina in the water.
Fact: In the 1982 movie adaptation of Annie, Annie’s dog Sandy was played by a 6-year-old Otterhound named Bingo, according to The Guardian.
Read more about the lighthearted Otterhound.
#9: Portuguese Water Dog
The Portuguese Water Dog was originally bred to herd fish into fishermen’s nets. Resilient, responsive, and caring deeply for their family, this water dog breed loves having a job to do and continues to be of great service in the water.
Fact: The Baseball Aquatic Retrieval Korps, or B.A.R.K., was a team of Portuguese Water Dogs who were trained to retrieve baseballs from the water behind the San Francisco Giants’ stadium from 2000 to 2002, according to PetPlace.
Discover more on the sensible Portuguese Water Dog.
#10: Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers are known not only for their impressive retrieving skills, but also for being universally popular family dogs. Labs are extremely sociable, and their ideal outing consists of a walk to a beach or lake where they are free to splash about.
Fact: Labrador Retrievers are the most commonly used breed for guide dogs, according to Mental Floss.
Learn more about the good-natured Labrador Retriever.
#11: Standard Poodle
Poodles were admired by the French for being noble companions by night…and reliable retrievers by day! In fact, their tufted haircut came about to make it easier to swim after waterfowl without getting chilly. Standard Poodles are proud performers and tend to enjoy swimming more than the smaller Poodle varieties.
Fact: The fastest 10m (32.8 ft) on a walking globe by a dog was achieved in an incredible 33.22 seconds by a Poodle named Sailor in 2016, according to Guinness World Records.
Keep reading about the dignified Poodle.
#12: Irish Water Spaniel
Irish Water Spaniels are excellent hunters of waterfowl, and their unique, water-repellent coat offers protection in even the iciest waters. These beloved companions are playful with those they trust, and their quiet, inquisitive temperament makes them terrific watchdogs.
Fact: In the 17th century, King James I of England gifted an Irish Water Spaniel to the King of France in hopes of improving diplomatic relations. This was the first of this breed to arrive in France, according to DailyPaws.
The Barbet is an ancient breed of water dog—possibly the originator of several water dog breeds including the Newfoundland and Poodle. Because of their wooly coat and webbed feet, these gentle, devoted dogs triumph in water-related pursuits.
Fact: The Barbet inspired the French phrase “étre crotté comme un Barbet,” which means “to be muddy like a Barbet,” according to National Purebred Dog Day.
#14: Curly-Coated Retriever
Curly-Coated Retrievers cherish time spent outdoors, especially when it involves swimming. Popular in Australia and New Zealand, these friendly dogs have a water-resistant coat and are particularly talented at hunting quails and waterfowl.
Fact:Curly-Coated Retrievers have a single coat that is made up of tight curls, except on their face where the hair is straighter, according to Biology Dictionary.
Learn more about the active Curly-Coated Retriever.
#15: German Shepherd Dog
German Shepherd Dogs, or GSDs, are capable of a wide range of special tasks, from herding to military work. While not originally bred to swim, these courageous dogs are exceptionally athletic and prove to be strong swimmers.
Fact: The motto of the German Shepherd breed is “Utility and Intelligence,” according to Mental Floss.
Keep learning about the determined German Shepherd Dog.
#16: Spanish Water Dog
The Spanish Water Dog continues to work in the mountains of southern Spain, both as a retriever of waterfowl and a protector of livestock. Covered in thick curls, this sturdywater dog breed is adaptable, faithful, and thrives when given a job to do.
Fact: The Spanish Water Dog was officially recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 2015, according to PetGuide.
#17: Cocker Spaniel
From 1936 to 1952, Cocker Spaniels were the most popular dog breed in the United States because of their dual purpose: playful companion during the week and hunting dog on the weekend. These sweet, trusting pups continue to be skilled swimmers and retrievers.
Fact: Cocker Spaniels get their name from their proficiency at hunting “woodcocks,” a type of game bird, according to The Canine Chronicle.
Read on about the merry Cocker Spaniel.
#18: Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers are highly trainable dogs who excel at just about any activity they are introduced to, including swimming! With strong water-retrieving abilities, these easygoing furry friends get along tremendously with other pets, children, and people.
Fact: The loudest bark by a dog measured 113.1 decibels and was produced by a Golden Retriever named Charlie in 2012, according to Guinness World Records.
Uncover more about the affectionate Golden Retriever.
Brittanys are friendly, medium-sized pups—smaller than most dogs that swim on our list. Their sleek build and water-resistant coat, however, allows them to keep up with the big dogs. Agile and even-tempered, Brittanys are always ready for an adventure.
Fact: The Brittany is named after the French province in which it originated, known for its fishing and agricultural histories, according to PetMD.
Find out more on the joyful Brittany.
#20: Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are named for their “tolling” hunting style in which they lure waterfowl toward the shore. This ability comes naturally to these enthusiastic dogs who love nothing more than playing retrieving games for hours on end.
Fact: The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever was originally known as the Little River Duck Dog, according to Pet Health Network.