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12 Water Dog Breeds That Absolutely Love To Swim

12 Water Dog Breeds That Absolutely Love To Swim

Written By Rebecca Paredes

Jul 22, 2016

Few things are as impressive as watching a dog paddle their little dog legs in a body of water. Some pups look majestic and powerful, moving through the water with their water-resistant coats and their rudder-like tails.

Other dogs … well, they aren’t as majestic.

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Certain breeds are genetically predisposed to love being in the water more than Michael Phelps. Called water dogs, these breeds are gun dogs that were bred to retrieve game from the water.

A water dog is generally friendly and easy to train, and they tend to have water-resistant coats that can withstand cold temperatures. Is your favorite dog breed on this list? Let us know in the comments!

Dogs That Like To Swim

American Water Spaniel

American Water Spaniel looking majestic

A true patriot, this hardy spaniel can hunt in any environment.

  • Origin: 19th century United States
  • Classification: Sporting
  • Life Expectancy: 11-13 years

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers love swimming!

This resilient breed can withstand frigid temperatures in the water!

  • Origin: 19th century United States
  • Classification: Sporting
  • Life Expectancy: 11-13 years

Curly-Coated Retriever

Curly-Coated Retriever running on beach

They may look a little like Poodles, but Curly-Coated Retrievers are a distinct breed with a water-resistant coat!

  • Origin: 18th century England
  • Classification: Sporting
  • Life Expectancy: 9-12 years

Flat-Coated Retriever

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Powerful, elegant, and characterized by a smooth coat, Flat-Coated Retrievers were bred to hold large waterfowl in their jaws!

  • Origin: 19th century England
  • Classification: Sporting
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Golden Retriever

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Golden Retrievers are friendly, affable goofballs that love refreshing swims and plenty of belly rubs!

  • Origin: 19th century England and Scotland
  • Classification: Sporting
  • Life Expectancy: 11-13 years

Irish Water Spaniel

This pup has a unique, curly coat that protects them in any terrain, and they’re known for their characteristically smooth tail!

  • Origin: 19th century Ireland
  • Classification: Sporting
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Labrador Retriever

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This athletic pup has a water-resistant coat and a warm personality! They’re friendly and intelligent, and have an otter-like tail that helps them swim!

  • Origin: 19th century Canada
  • Classification: Sporting
  • Life Expectancy: 11-12 years

Newfoundland

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Newfies may look like bears, but they’re big softies! They have thick coats and webbed feet, and their legs are strong enough to help them rescue people from the water. Our heroes!

  • Origin: 18th century Canada
  • Classification: Working
  • Life Expectancy: 9-10 years 

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

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Known for their red coats, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are excellent swimmers — and excellent companions! 

  • Origin: 19th century Canada
  • Classification: Sporting
  • Life Expectancy: 12-13 years 

Otterhound

Otterhound running in field

This breed has a rich history of helping fishermen control otter populations. Even though Otterhounds were bred to work, these pups are just as happy playing in a field!

  • Origin: Antiquity, England
  • Classification: Hound
  • Life Expectancy: 11-13 years

Portuguese Water Dog

Portguese Water Dog laying down

Portuguese Water Dogs love to show off their instinctual swimming skills! In fact, in Portugal, they’re used to rescue swimmers from dangerous waters. 

  • Origin: Dark Ages, Portugal
  • Classification: Working
  • Life Expectancy: 10-14 years

Poodle

Poodle is a weekend warrior

The Poodle’s wiry coat requires plenty of grooming, but it’s worth it: these pups rarely shed! Their name comes from the German word “pudel,” meaning “puddle” or “to splash.”

  • Origin: Dark Ages, Portugal
  • Classification: Working
  • Life Expectancy: 10-14 years