An overhead shot of a dog swimming in the water of a pool.

Do Dogs Like Water?

I am a lucky and proud owner of a dog that loves water, just as much as he loves food. Yes, he is a Labrador Retriever. Even though the breed doesn’t really determine if your pup will fancy the water or not, it certainly would help new owners when picking the right breed for them and their families. But do most dogs like water?

While some dogs enjoy splashing even in the smallest puddles, others may not be so keen about it. It is usually related to the breed, the dog’s personality, as well as the anatomy of the dog. However, a rule will not be a rule, if there are no exceptions, which means that, even a labrador may not fancy the water, but a french bulldog will run and jump without a blink. Ultimately, every dog is a little unique when it comes to water. 

Dog Breeds That Are Crazy About Water

A dog with a ball in its mouth walking through the water on a beach.
This dog seems pretty okay with the water. Or at least it likes the ball.

Has it ever happened that you take your dog for a walk, the previous night it rained, and you notice your dog happily jumping in each and every puddle, big or small? The joy it has makes your heart skip a beat. Even though it’s a poodle that was just professionally groomed.

So, that’s no fun, but knowing which dogs love water can help you make informed choices as an owner. Here’s what the breeds that love water are.

Labrador Retriever 

This breed was made to retrieve ducks from cold and frozen water for the hunters in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. Their thick double coat protects them from harsh weather and cold water while keeping the skin dry. They also have webbings between their toes which makes them athletes when it comes to swimming.

The Standard Poodle 

Some will be surprised by this breed being on this list, but it’s true, poodles like water. What many may not know is that humans bred these dogs for hunting and retrieving. They have water-resistant and curly coats that help protect them from the cold water

Portuguese Water Dog

The name says it all! The breed was created to help fishermen herd fish into their nets. 

American Water Spaniel 

This versatile breed was used in the States as a hunter’s best assistant that could work both on land and in water. Having the double coat helps them stay warm in the cold weather and the webbed toes make them excellent swimmers.


This not-so-famous breed was once made to help hunt otters. Its oily undercoat and waterproof rough overcoat make it perfect for water.

Dog Breeds That Don’t Like Getting Wet And Why

Some dogs simply detest water. That’s to the point they would not even go out to potty when it’s raining. Others are just not built for water, such as the brachycephalic breeds, and many may have been introduced to water in a way that makes them afraid of it. Here are some examples of dogs that would rather have nothing to do with water.


This breed is famous for its flat snout, narrow breathing passages, and long soft palate which leads to breathing problems. Because swimming requires lots of energy, the pug may panic in the water, which is why they tend to stay away from it.


Sausage dogs are famous for their long body and short legs, which also make them not very good swimmers. Some of them may learn to swim, but most of them would rather sunbathe.


This amazing athlete walks well on the ground but does not fancy water. The reason for that may be because of the anatomy of its chest. These dogs have a deep chest, which makes their front be higher in the water than the back of their body.


These tiny, white, stylish pooches tend to have problems with collapsing trachea, which makes swimming harder for them

What Do I Need To Know About Teaching My Dog To Swim?

Many times you may consider taking your dog on a vacation to the sea or to a lake, and you would like it to cool off as much as you. Have in mind that it is okay for your dog to be scared or unsure if it wants to jump right into the water. To help, here are some tips for introducing your dog to swimming and water.

Consider The Temperature

Firstly, you always need to consider the temperature. Whenever you take your dog for a swim, make sure it’s always warm enough, and that they can dry off fast when they come out of the water. This is especially important for puppies as they may be more sensitive to temperature differences. 

Sometimes, when it’s too cold, your dog may experience a condition called swimmer’s tail, in which the dog can’t lift or move its tail. In those cases, we advise owners to contact their vet.

Use Flotation Devices

Whenever you are introducing a puppy or a dog to water, it is always advisable to have flotation devices on them, such as vests. They can help your dog feel more confident while they figure out how to use their legs and paddle. It also keeps them safe and above the water.

Be Patient

Never think that throwing your dog into the water or dipping its head in the water is a good way to introduce them to it. In cases like this, what might happen is the exact opposite. Have in mind this is the first experience for your dog. As such, you’ll want to encourage it rather than stress them out. Take it slow so they don’t end up resenting the water.

Take Care Of Them After The Swim

Make sure that you put your dog in a shade after he has had a swim and provide it with fresh drinking water. Many times, you may notice that your dog throws up after coming out from the lake, which suggests it swallowed a greater amount of water. In cases like this, we recommend giving it some dry food, to help with absorption.

Conclusion: Do Dogs Like Water?

So, while some breeds like water more than others, and there are some breeds who just don’t mix with water at all, you can teach many breeds of dogs to swim. Remember not to be discouraged if your dog does not fancy water, it’s the same for people, such as myself! In fact, I prefer going to the mountains than the sea. But maybe you and your dog will feel differently.

So, are you looking for a dog that likes water? What steps will you take to ensure they like the water? Let us know your thoughts and why in the comments below!

Dr. Nade Georgieva
Dr. Nade Georgieva
Dr. Nade Georgieva, DVM, PG Dipp (Anesthesia and Analgesia) Nade is a young veterinarian from North Macedonia, with five years of experience in small animal clinical practice. She graduated from the Veterinary Faculty in Skopje, after which she got employed in her hometown. She has shown great interest in the field of pain management and anesthesia, and was the first vet in the country to continue education in the field. In 2021 she graduated with Distinction at the Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh, obtaining the title Postgraduate Diploma-Anesthesia and Analgesia. Nade is owned by a year old black Labrador retriever named Fred and she loves spending her time outdoors with her dog and friends. In her spare time, she also loves to learn to play the guitar and take photos of nature and animals.