When it comes to hitting the beach, not all dogs are created equal. Yorkshire terriers, for instance, are obviously adorable — but most of them aren’t going have a blast frolicking in the waves as you paddle out for a surf sesh. On the other hand, there’s no shortage of water-loving breeds who will be more than happy to run in the sand or to swim out to fetch a piece of beach wood.
Pro tip: Before taking your pet to the beach, make sure that your chosen destination is dog-friendly. Don’t worry. If there’s a human-only beach you’re dying to check out, go for it. Simply book an awesome pet sitter, pack up the sunscreen and hit the road happy.
Note: Just because these breeds love the water doesn’t mean the ocean isn’t a dangerous place. Always monitor your pet while they are in the water and be careful not to let them swim too far out.
1. Chesapeake Bay retriever
It’s no surprise that these beautiful dogs love the seashore. After all, Chesapeake Bay retrievers were bred to swim in the cold, deep and sometimes rough waters of Chesapeake Bay. Their webbed feet give them an edge with swimming too.
2. Labrador retriever
The Labrador retriever is the most popular breed in America for a whopping 25 years in a row. Descended from the St. John’s water dog that worked with Newfoundland fisherman, labs can’t get enough of the ocean. Plus, their friendly, loyal temperament and easy-going nature make them ideal for trips to crowded beaches.
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3. Portuguese water dog
You may have heard of this breed when the Obamas chose Bo, their Portuguese water dog, as the White House family pet. Bred to dive for fish and retrieve broken nets, this breed also guarded boats in port and delivered messages to fisherman. Because of this history, these dogs will run into the water whenever they can.
4. American water spaniel
This curly-haired dog was bred in Wisconsin where it was used to hunt game and fish. Just as their name suggests, American water spaniels are crazy about a swim. Plus, this breed boasts a water-resistant coat that makes it easy to dry off when it’s time to go home.
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This hardworking hound is pretty rare these days — but very distinguished. With substantial webbed feet and a thick double coat, the otterhound loves to swim and can handle even the coldest waters. Bred to hunt otters, these dogs are big, friendly and possess a famously deep voice.
6. Great Dane
These gentle giants won’t run into the water with the same energy as other breeds, but they love soaking up the sun with you. In fact, they’ll curl up by your beach towel for hours. Great Danes are known not only for snuggling but also for their heat-seeking nature. They can handle even the hottest days with ease.
7. German shorthaired pointer
These active dogs can do just about anything, from agility to hunting to jogging by your side. Did you know German shorthaired pointers were bred for water retrieving, though? With a short, water-resistant coat that helps them regulate their temperature, this breed can swim for hours. Plus, they love to jump off docks, rocks and the sides of boats.
8. Golden retriever
These friendly, fluffy dogs are mega-popular with families for good reason. They’re active, loyal, and incredibly sweet — and they love the water. Pack up your golden retriever for the beach, and you’ll have a happy dog on your hands. Like other retrievers, they love to swim and have a powerful physique that helps them glide through the water with ease.
9. Boykin spaniel
Hailing from South Carolina, this lesser-known (but very handsome!) spaniel boasts a small to medium size that makes it an ideal companion on boats. Plus, the Boykin spaniel was bred to hunt game on shore and in water, so this breed is plenty comfortable with a swim.
Brandie Gonzales oversees all things pet lifestyle as well as consumer public relations at Rover.com, the simple, savvy way to find and book a neighborhood dog sitter.
Originally published June 2016. Updated May 2017.