Five Dog Breeds That Love To Swim

Most dogs can swim instinctively, but this doesn’t mean that they all enjoy it. Over the thousands of years of relationship between human and canine, certain pooches have been trained and bred specifically to be strong swimmers. So, without further ado, here is our list of dog breeds that love to swim.

There are many dog breeds that enjoy swimming, but for the sake of this article, here are five dog breeds that love swimming most notably…enjoy!

dog breeds that love to swim

Labrador Retriever

The first breed on our list is the most common as a pet in North America and Europe. Labs are the descendants of fishing dogs from Atlantic Canada that were transported back to England to be bred as hunting dogs in the nineteenth century. Retrievers are traditionally trained to do just that…RETRIEVE. Their job is to wait for their hunter to shoot down a bird and then to go find the body and bring it back to the hunter.
Due to the popularity of water fowl shoots (such as ducks) in the UK at this time, these labs were often asked to fetch birds from the middle of lakes, ponds, or other bodies of water. Over generations, this has trained them to become very strong swimmers.
dog breeds that love to swim


This beast of a breed actually shares a common background with the lab retriever. Like labs, newfies originate from Atlantic Canada. Although less commonly used as a sport dog, the newfoundland is also known as a very strong swimmer. The secret here lies within their lungs.
Newfies have massive lung capacity (up to three times as much as the average dog). This allows them to swim very long distances without getting fatigued. Due to this, newfoundlands are often used as rescue dogs.
dog breeds that love to swim

Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese water dog has long been bred to thrive in…you guessed it…the water. In their native Portugal, these pups have been used as fishermen’s aids for centuries. The Portuguese water dogs webbed feet allow them to swim at a high rate of speed. They have long been trained to round up fish into their owners’ nets in shallow to medium depth water. This unique set of skills have made them the perfect companion for fishermen all around the world!
dog breeds that love to swim


This may come as a shock, but poodles are excellent swimmers! Nowadays, most people think of poodles as either show dogs or purely pets. While it is unusual for a poodle to be used as a working dog in 2021, they were actually originally bred for just that. The standard poodle has its origins in France. For generations they were bred by the upper class to be used as retrievers on hunting outings.
Like the Labrador, poodles became excellent swimmers over centuries swimming out into open waters to retrieve shot down ducks, geese, and pheasants. Today, they are much more likely to be seen lounging about in the sun, but they certainly do possess the attributes of a powerful swimmer.

American Water Spaniel standing in three-quarter view facing left, head turned forward, on a white background.
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American Water Spaniel

American water spaniels love to swim! This breed originates from the Great Lakes region of the American midwest. Originally bred as gun dogs, these spaniels traditionally spend their whole lives in and around the icy waters of the Great Lakes.
Not only are they superb swimmers, they are also incredibly resistant to cold weather. Their coats are waterproof, which allows them to dry quickly after a polar plunge. Those same coats are also very thick, which allows for them to stay warm and protects them from things like rain, snow, and wind.
Do you live by the beach? Maybe on a lake? If so, these dog breeds that love to swim may just be the perfect fit for you. Even if your pup’s breed didn’t make this list, that doesn’t mean that they don’t love a nice relaxing doggy paddle.

We hope you enjoy this collection of dog breeds that love to swim. Check out this next article for dog breeds that love cold weather on!

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