10 Dog Breeds Who Tend to Love the Water

Are you a water enthusiast looking for the right dog to have at your side while swimming, boating, kayaking, canoeing, fishing or even stand-up paddleboarding? Well, you're in luck!

We asked 249 veterinary professionals (including veterinarians, veterinary technicians and office managers) to choose the top 10 most water-loving dogs, and the results are in. Do you think they got it right? Let us know in the comments below!

Water-Loving Dogs, According to Our Experts

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Andrew Howells, Animal Photography

10. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a big name for the smallest member of the retriever family! "Tolling" refers to this breed's penchant for "dancing" on the shore, which is a very clever way to attract ducks that come in for a closer look.

Flat-Coated Retriever dog breed

Nick Ridley, Animal Photography

9. Flat-Coated Retriever

You may hear his fans call the Flat-Coated Retriever a "Peter Pan dog," thanks to the puppy-like enthusiasm he tends to retain into adulthood. If you don't plan on employing yours as a working water retriever, dock-diving competitions can be a great way to burn his seemingly boundless energy and satisfy his love of the water.


Vidar Skauen, Animal Photography

8. Labradoodle

While the Labradoodle is technically not an official breed, our veterinary professionals couldn't overlook this hybrid's passion for getting wet. Between the intelligence that Poodles typically bring to the mix and the Labrador's well-known versatility, you might be able to teach your Labradoodle to enjoy nearly any type of water activity!

Curly-Coated Retriever

Eva Maria Kramer, Animal Photography

7. Curly-Coated Retriever

You may have never heard of the Curly-Coated Retriever, who's much less common as a family companion than his Golden and Labrador brethren. This distinct-looking canine was created in the 18th century by crossing Irish Water Spaniels, small Newfoundlands, probably some Poodles and a now-extinct breed called the Old English Water Dog. With that heritage, it's no wonder this pretty dog inherited a love of the water.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Dog Breed

Mary Bloom

6. Chesapeake Bay Retriever

We bet you can guess to which state the Chesapeake Bay Retriever belongs. That's right: Maryland! The Chessie, as she is nicknamed, is generally a tough and tenacious hunting dog developed to hunt geese and ducks in the rough, cold waters of Maryland's Chesapeake Bay. She tends to have more of a guard-dog instinct than other sporting dogs and may be more reserved around strangers.

Irish Water Spaniel

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

5. Irish Water Spaniel

The Irish Water Spaniel's tight curls and mostly hairless "rat tail" may make him look a bit clownish to some, but don't underestimate this serious water retriever. Many hunters love this breed for his tendancy to be intelligent and trainable. The breed's coat is even built for water work — it's naturally oily to repel moisture and help keep the skin underneath dry as the dog gets in and out of the water.

Ron Willbie, Animal Photography

4. Portuguese Water Dog

Speaking of curly-coated dogs who love the water so much that they even have the word in their names, the Portuguese Water Dog came in at No. 4 on our list. In her homeland of Portugal, the breed was developed to work alongside fishermen, retrieve nets and even deliver messages. Her popularity declined as she became less essential to the fishing industry there, but with a strong fan base in the United States and some help from First Dogs Bo and Sunny Obama, the Portie's popularity is making a comeback.

American Water Spaniel dog breed walking on dunes

Tara Gregg, Animal Photography

3. American Water Spaniel

Ever heard someone say that they have a big dog in a small package? That's exactly what many American Water Spaniel owners will tell you. The breed's weight range is a relatively modest 25 to 45 pounds, but he often comes with a big personality: tough-minded, independent, high-energy and sometimes stubborn. Fun fact: In addition to being a respected water retriever, the AWS is also the state dog of Wisconsin!

Golden Retriever dog breed

Leesia Teh, Animal Photography

2. Golden Retriever

Were you getting anxious that you hadn't seen the family favorite Golden Retriever on this list yet? Of course our veterinary professionals couldn't leave her off. Many owners of Golden Retrievers enjoy running with them on the beach, playing fetch by the water for hours and swimming at a local lake or river. A day on the water is way more fun with a cheerful Golden at your side, right?

Labrador Retriever

Tara Gregg, Animal Photography

1. Labrador Retriever

We wonder: Is it a coincidence that the No. 1 dog on this list is also the most popular breed in the United States? Maybe we'll never know, but what we do know is that during the 19th century, an Earl of Malmesbury acquired some to hunt the swamplands of his British estate. His son started to breed these dogs and called them "Labradors." By the early 20th century, the breed made its way to America with admiring sportsmen — and the rest, as they say, is history.

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