The best and worst swimming dogs

From the Bulldog to the Labrador Retriever, we have chosen the ten dog breeds that make the best and worst swimming dogs.
If you’re shopping for a new puppy maybe you want a four-legged pal who can join you in the water. In that case there are several types to avoid and others that should be at the top of your wish list.

In the previous several years, many of us have decided to welcome new four-legged friends into our homes. According to Kennel Club estimates, dog ownership has increased by nearly 8% and post-lockdown demand for puppies remains high.

There are 221 different breeds of purebred dogs to pick from, as well as several crossbreeds. There’s a lot to consider before deciding on your family’s newest member.

There’s even academic help available, with Psychologist Stanley Coren’s book ‘The Intelligence of Dogs’. The book grades breeds based on their instincts, obedience, and adaptability.

One thing to keep in mind is that some dogs simply do not fare well in water due to a variety of physical characteristics that make them unsuitable for swimming.

Others, on the other hand, adore the water, and some even have webbed feet to help them navigate across seas, lakes, and rivers.

The ten dog breeds that produce the best and worst swimmers are listed below.

Best Swimmers

  • Otterhound 
    Starting with water-loving canine breeds like the Otterhound. It was used to hunt otters in Britain until 1978, when the activity was forbidden, as its name suggests. These dogs are superb at swimming, with webbed feet for added speed in the water.
  • Portugese Water Dog
    The Portuguese Water Dog is another breed with webbed paws that make it ideal for swimming. It was once used by fisherman to herd fish into nets and retrieve lost equipment from the sea.
  • Labrador Retriever
    The Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog breed in the United Kingdom. It was bred to retrieve shot wildfowl that frequently landed in the water so being a strong swimmer was essential. Today’s Labs are also content to spend hours fetching sticks and balls from the water.
  • Tolling Retriever from Nova Scotia
    The water-loving Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a popular breed in its native Canada. It has a unique capacity to attract ducks into a hunter’s sights. They’ll gladly then dive into the lake to recover them.
  • Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, or ‘Chessies,’ have an oily double coat that maintains heat while also being water resistant. This makes them ideal for extended swims in chilly water. They can gladly spend hours in the water, whether it’s in the sea, a lake, or a river.

Worst Swimmers

  • Basset Hound
    If there was ever a dog that looked like it would hate water it’s the Basset Hound.  They have a huge head, solid bone structure, and small legs, all of which are disadvantages. Then there’s the gorgeous floppy ears, which are lovely but rapidly become waterlogged.
  • Pug
    The Pug is another brachycephalic breed that enjoys swimming around in shallow water, but can’t stay out of their depth for long.
  • Boxer
    You’d think that the Boxer, with their athletic build and love for adventure, wouldn’t have much trouble with water. Even with these dogs, though, the flat face is a major problem; keeping their heads above water is quite difficult.
  • Bulldog
    Then there are the breeds of dog that prefer to stay away from water. Because it’s nearly impossible to keep water from flowing up their nostrils, brachycephalic breeds, or dogs with flat faces, are particularly lousy swimmers. This is certainly true of the Bulldog, who prefers to stay on land.
  • French Bulldog
  • What is typical of the Bulldog is usually the same for its smaller cousin, the French Bulldog; and this is especially true of their swimming abilities. They won’t be leaping into the sea anytime soon, thanks to their flat faces, barrel-shaped bodies, and short legs.

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