Which Dog Breeds Love or Loathe the Water? We Asked Readers and Experts

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Swimming
Thinkstock
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever made both our readers' and veterinary professionals' lists of breeds that love the water.

Dogs and water: It's an interesting mix. Though it might be a challenge to keep certain dogs from diving headlong into whatever body of water is nearby, others shy away from anything larger than a water bowl.

But which breeds are likely to exhibit those characteristics? And even if they love the water, where should you let them swim? To find out, we surveyed 2,160 readers and 249 veterinary professionals (such as veterinarians, veterinary technicians and office managers) to see whether they let their dogs go swimming. Plus, we asked them which breeds they believe love or loathe the water. Here's what they had to say.

Do You Let Your Dog Swim?

The majority of respondents with dogs who like water allow them to swim — experts even more so than readers — with 49 percent of readers and a whopping 67 percent of veterinary professionals saying that, yes, they allow their dogs to swim anywhere the water and conditions are safe. On the other hand, 15 percent of readers and just 5 percent of veterinary professionals said that, no, they never allow their dogs to swim.

Some were picky about where their dogs swim, with 9 percent of readers and 6 percent of veterinary professionals preferring the pool. Open water only was the choice of 2 percent of readers and 1 percent of veterinary professionals. A quarter of readers and 21 percent of veterinary professionals responded that the question didn't apply to them — they either did not have a dog or their dog was not interested in swimming.

Dogs Who Tend to Love the Water

Some dogs can't seem to hold themselves back from splashing around. Give them anything from a kiddie pool to a dog-friendly beach and they're happy.  We asked both readers and veterinary professionals to weigh in on which dogs they think love the water most, and though they varied a bit in order, their answers for the top 10 were the same.

Readers                                           
1. Labrador Retriever
2. Golden Retriever
3. American Water Spaniel
4. Portuguese Water Dog
5. Irish Water Spaniel
6. Chesapeake Bay Retriever
7. Curly-Coated Retriever
8. Labradoodle
9. Flat-Coated Retriever
10. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Veterinary Professionals
1. Labrador Retriever
2. Golden Retriever
3. Portuguese Water Dog
4. American Water Spaniel
5. Chesapeake Bay Retriever
6. Flat-Coated Retriever
7. Irish Water Spaniel
8. Curly-Coated Retriever
9. Labradoodle
10. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Water-Shy Breeds

Not every dog has a passion for doggie paddling. Nine of the 13 breeds that readers and veterinary professionals called least likely to dive right in belong to the Toy group — the Bichon Frise, Lhasa Apso, Dachshund and Greyhound were the only exceptions.

Chihuahua at Beach
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The Chihuahua topped both the readers' and veterinary professionals' lists of breeds that dislike the water.

Readers                                           
1. Chihuahua
2. Pug
3. Yorkshire Terrier
4. Pekingese
5. Dachshund
6. Maltese
7. Shih Tzu
8. Pomeranian
9. Lhasa Apso
10. Chinese Crested

Veterinary Professionals
1. Chihuahua
2. Yorkshire Terrier
3. Bichon Frise
4. Maltese
5. Shih Tzu
6. Pug
7. Greyhound
8. Pekingese
9. Chinese Crested
10. Papillon

Got a dog who loves (or hates) the water? Did the survey results match what you've experienced? Tell us in the comments!


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