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Australian Shepherd leaping into the ocean.

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Some dog breeds seem to be part-fish — happy to splash and play in water all day, if you let them. For these pups, there are plenty of summer activities that will keep them entertained. Check out seven examples below.


Most dogs that love water are happy to paddle around in a lake, creek, dog pool, or dog-friendly pools designed for humans. But before you let your dog off their leash to splash about, review canine swimming safety tips to ensure your pup is well-equipped to handle the water.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi wearing a life vest swimming.
©mdesigner125 -

Diving Dogs

Is your canine companion’s favorite game fetch? Maybe they should try Diving Dogs. The sport involves throwing a toy into the water while your dog waits on a dock. Your pet must then run and jump into the water to retrieve the toy. Dogs are judged by the distance of their jump. This sport has gained a lot of attention over the last few years, and you can now earn an AKC title through North America Diving Dogs.

NADD AKC Diving Dogs at the 2018 AKC National Championship.
David Woo © 2018 American Kennel Club


Does your pup have what it takes to become the next surf dog? The late, great Tillman, a Bulldog known for surfing and skateboarding, helped make this activity so popular that there are now annual surf dog competitions.

Golden Retriever riding a wave on a surfboard.
©grigorydominicanets -

Search and Rescue

A great way to combine your dog’s love of water with a good cause is by participating in search and rescue. Some organizations specifically train dogs to help with water rescues and locate drowning victims.

Lincoln sneaks a quick smooch with his handler Jon Izant during a break in a Saturday Search Dog training session in Tacoma, Washington.
Photo courtesy of Emmett Lyon
Lincoln sneaks a quick smooch with his handler Jon Izant during a break in a Saturday Search Dog training session in Tacoma, Washington.

Water Retrievals

Some dogs may like to retrieve, but not necessarily jump off a dock, and that’s okay. Water retrieving uses a weighted toy that sinks to the bottom of a pool for your dog to get. It’s important to note that the water should not be too deep, so your dog can comfortably swim to and from the surface.

Entlebucher Mountain Dog jumping into a lake.
©Evdoha -


Water-loving dogs are often at home on the deck of a boat. If you do plan on taking your dog out on the water, follow boating safety tips for dogs. Remember to bring a life jacket, even if your pup knows how to swim.

Diana Hirsch via Getty Images


Paddleboarding is a fun activity that you and your dog can do together. However, you probably shouldn’t bring your canine companion along unless you’re an experienced paddleboarder yourself. This is another activity that should include a dog life jacket.

Golden Retriever standing on a paddle board in the water.
©japono -
Related article: Can All Dogs Swim? How to Teach a Dog to Swim
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