Lake-Friendly Dog Breeds

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Photo courtesy of @Florin via Twenty20

For families with dogs, a lake home is a perfect way to ensure that both you and your furry friends have plenty of outdoor space. From adventuring down dog-friendly hiking trails to playing fetch in the water with lake toys, these canines are a bundle of fun at the lake. Just like us, dogs enjoy being in nature. However, some breeds are more likely to thrive on your lakefront property than others. So if you’re a lake homeowner considering getting a dog, check out these five lake-friendly dog breeds to consider.

American Water Spaniel

Photo courtesy of Vet Street

With traits of a golden retriever and spaniel, the American water spaniel is an excellent hunter in water. At the perfect height for canoes, they’re well equipped to join you on lakeside adventures. These dogs were first bred in Wisconsin during the 19th century from other breeds such as the English and Irish water spaniels. Although they are a state dog in Wisconsin, the breed itself is rare because hunting became less popular around the 20th century.


Boykin Spaniel

Photo courtesy of Hill’s Pet

This medium-sized spaniel is fun-loving, sociable, and easy to train. Bred in the Wateree River Swamp in South Carolina, they’re excellent at hunting wild turkey and waterfowl. Many dog owners describe them as a “dog that doesn’t rock the boat,” emphasizing their good size for riding in canoes. Besides their hunting capabilities, Boykin spaniels are known for their love of water. In fact, they’ll probably want to swim in the lake longer than you!

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Photo courtesy of Gear Junkie

This lake-friendly dog breed embodies all the positive traits of a retriever — loyal, upbeat, and full of love. But the Chesapeake Bay retriever also comes with a bonus love of water. Their waterproof fur, strength, and endurance make them a perfect lakeside companion. A gun dog bred to run through the cold waters of Chesapeake Bay, they’re born for the lake lifestyle. While they can be easy to train, they may take more effort than other breeds. These midsized retrievers are known to have minds of their own. Overall, this breed is great for active families who enjoy lots of time outdoors.

Spanish Water Dog

Photo courtesy of American Kennel Club

With a wooly, curly coat and a high-energy personality, what’s not to love about the Spanish water dog? Unlike the other lake-friendly dog breeds on this list, this pup is a herder rather than a hunter by nature. Put simply, they’ll herd anything that moves, whether it’s a flock of geese or a group of guests at your lake house. They are very active, they love playing outside with humans, and their quick intelligence makes them easy to train. One of the most notable traits about the Spanish water dog is their love for water — a rare quality for a herding dog. As expert swimmers, they’ll love playing all day at the lake.


Photo courtesy of A Z Animals

The standard poodle is known for being a show dog. But that doesn’t mean that these seemingly pampered pups prefer cushy, indoor environments. In fact, poodles are very lake-friendly dog breeds. Originally bred to be water retrievers in Germany, their name comes from the German word “pudel,” meaning “to splash in the water.” The traditional poodle fashion look (shaven with puffs of hair around the feet) is actually functional for hunting. The shaved fur allows them to swim faster, while the tufts of hair around the ankles protect critical joints. Friendly and easy to train, the standard poodle is an excellent breed for lake living. 

We hope you and your pup enjoy the great outdoors this season!

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