Best Boat Dogs | LakeWizard

Are you a dog lover who is looking for the best breed? Would you like a companion when sailing, fishing, or relaxing on a boat?

Boating is one of the best activities for many people and even families. You can also have your dog on board, whether alone, with family, or friends. There are many different dog breeds around. But, not all love water and being on boats. Still, some make the best boat dogs.

Poodle, Irish Water Spaniel, Dachshund, Schipperke, and Bourbonnais Pointer are amazing boat dogs. These breeds love water and can be excellent swimmers, except the Dachshund. They’re intelligent, fun-loving, good with kids, and enjoy family activities like boating.

Finding a good boat dog is crucial if you want to bring them with you to open waters. Some even work as guard dogs and keep you safe when you dock on the marina. A boat dog is a great companion and can also be a retriever if you engage in waterfowl hunting.

Knowing the best boat dog to bring home can be challenging. This list can help you know and understand the breeds that love being on boats and water. These range from small to large dog breeds with happy personalities and friendly temperaments.

Table of contents


18 Best Boat Dogs

1. Poodle


Did you know that your favorite poodle is one of the best boat dogs? As a companionable breed, poodles fit in well with the family and aren’t afraid of getting wet. Poodles are intelligent dogs with a calm temperament and friendly nature.

One reason to bring your poodle on the boat is their fun-loving nature. There’s no boring moment when you have your best friend on board. Plus, it helps that they’re quite alert to the surroundings and make good guard dogs when you dock at night.

Poodles are smart dogs that master training quite easily. So, you can start boat training from an early age. But, all that intelligence can also mean a bit of stubbornness. Keeping your dog entertained is important since they get bored and into trouble.

2. Irish Water Spaniel

 Irish Water Spaniel
Irish Water Spaniel

An Irish Water Spaniel is easy to spot, even among other dog breeds. They have a crispy curled coat and tapering rat tail. As a champion swimmer, it’s easy to see why the Irish Spaniel is a great boat dog.

The dog breed is quite intelligent and a hard worker. It’s a fantastic partner when you head out waterfowl hunting since they won’t hesitate to jump into the water. On top of that, the Irish Water Spaniel is a friendly breed that loves having fun with the whole family.

As a high-energy dog, it’s important to let the Irish Water Spaniel spend some time on the water swimming. They’re easy to train and love having lots of exercise time.

3. Dachshund


Today, Dachshunds have a reputation as amazing lap dogs. However, this breed has always been a formidable hunting companion. This is thanks to the Dachshund’s alertness that’s always evident in their expression.

Dachshunds have a long back, little legs, and an amazing personality. Miniature ones weigh about 11 pounds, while standard-size ranges from 16-32 pounds. These dogs aren’t built for strenuous work or activities, but they’re a brave and formidable breed.

When on a boat, always watch your Dachshund, especially if they get into the water. This breed isn’t a great swimmer and requires a life jacket to ensure they stay afloat. Otherwise, your dog should remain on the boat.

4. Schipperke


Schipperke loves everything to do with boats and water. They were originally bred for taking on canal boats in the Dutch lowlands. Today, people still love having this small dog breed on boats because of their fun-loving nature.

The small dog is guile and has a great attitude that the entire family will love. They love being in the water and are excellent swimmers. Plus, once you have them back on the boat, their coats don’t smell like wet dogs. The Schipperke is perfect, weighing between 15 to 20 pounds, especially for small boats.

Many folks love referring to Schipperke as ‘Little Captain’ since they’ve always been the captain’s dog. They make the perfect guard dogs when you anchor at night and danger is approaching.

5. Bourbonnais Pointer

Bourbonnais Pointer
Bourbonnais Pointer

A Bourbonnais Pointer is a breed that’s different in many ways. For instance, this is among the few dog breeds that can be born with a short stump or no tail. This dog has a unique spotted coat and a versatile personality, perfect for hunting.

On a boat, a Bourbonnais Pointer is a perfect companion that loves swimming and being in open water. Thanks to their friendly and affectionate nature, they make perfect family dogs. Your dog can come along on solo or family trips and be quite compassionate.

The breed has recovered after numbers dwindled after WW2. It was first introduced in the US in 1988 and is now a favorite of many hunters and families.

6. Flat-Coated Retriever

Flat-Coated Retriever
Flat-Coated Retriever

As a people-pleasing dog, the Flat-Coated Retriever is a fantastic family dog. This breed is active, confident, outgoing, and affectionate. Usually, having a Flat-Coated Retriever makes adding more pets at home and enjoying harmony easier.

Their temperament and active nature make them perfect boat companions. The Flat-Coated Retriever enjoys being outside, whether out fishing, waterfowl hunting, or relaxing in the open waters. They always maintain that puppy enthusiasm and can sometimes seem forever young.

As a Flat-Coated Retriever owner, you should know this slow-maturing dog requires lots of exercise. They’re good swimmers, so you can always allow them to do some rounds on the water.

7. Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dog
Portuguese Water Dog

Did you know Portuguese Water Dogs were once taught how to herd fish into fishing nets? This breed originated from Portugal and was a favorite for fishermen in the old days. Today, the Portuguese Water Dog still makes one of the best boat dogs.

The breed tends to have a curly and thick coat that covers their entire body. This dog is robustly built and tends to stand tall. When it comes to personality, the Portuguese Water Dog is an intelligent breed that’s obedient to commands.

Your dog will have a strong retrieving instinct once on the water. The Portuguese Water Dog is an avid swimmer and agile on water.

8. Newfoundland


Newfoundland is one of the largest dog breeds available and a great boat buddy. This large working dog isn’t as menacing as they look. You end up with a big ‘teddy bear’ that’s calm and affectionate, especially when there are kids around.

The Newfoundland hailed from Newfoundland and was originally a working dog that helped fishermen. These dogs are amazing swimmers and even better when saving people on the water. This is thanks to their top-notch swimming abilities, webbed paws, muscular body, and thick double coat.

Once you get a Newfoundland puppy to bring home, you have a loyal companion. They love being on boats and have a sweet nature that everyone loves.

9. Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Retrievers are some of the best boat dogs. A good example is the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, which thrives as a waterfowl retriever. This large dog breed is active, sporty, and a great hunting companion. They have a bright and happy nature that makes them perfect family dogs.

A Chesapeake Bay Retriever is protective and intelligent. You can hear their happy barks when excited about something, and they even tend to smile. On the water, your dog will exude great stamina and agility, which stems from their hunting history.

It’s always important to start training early and socializing if you want to bring them outside and on a boat. Obedience training works well with Chesapeake Bay Retrievers to build discipline.

10. Beagle


Beagles aren’t a breed that feels the most confident on the water. But, they can still come on the boat and keep you company.

Modern Beagles make amazing companions for families. But, originally, the breed was developed for hunting. Beagles were first bred in Great Britain in the 1830s for their superior smell and tracking abilities.

Today, many people love having Beagles in their homes and also breed them for show. The size and intelligence explain why the breed is even more popular as a pet. But, be ready to invest in training since Beagles can be quite stubborn and need instructing.

11. Chesador

Combining a Labrador Retriever and a Chesapeake Bay Retriever gives you a Chesador. This large dog breed can weigh anywhere from 50 to 80 pounds. Consider the Chesador because of their amazing swimming abilities when you want a great dog boat.

They make great watchdogs, so you can relax and rest when you dock on a marina. Chesador loves water and enjoys being on boats, no matter the size. They’re also great retrievers and can come in handy during waterfowl hunting.

It’s easier to train a Chesador since this is an intelligent breed. Training should start early, as well as going on a boat. The laid back personality is great when you have kids and other pets on board.

12. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers are a great addition to the best boat dogs. This dog breed is quite friendly and has an amazing temperament. Plus, you find them quite easy to train from a young age. Because a Labrador Retriever is always eager to please, they make the perfect dog to take on water.

Labrador Retrievers mingle and fit into family settings quite well. They aren’t afraid of water and can easily master swimming. These dogs have a waterproof coat that dries easily after a dip. Also, labs have a rudder-like otter tail and webbed toes that suit swimming or playing in the water.

In the old days, Labrador Retrievers were bred for cold water fishing. They were also the perfect dogs to take on tug boats. While today they are family pets, they can still thrive on boats.

13. English Setter

English Setter
English Setter

Are you looking for a great dog breed with children to bring on your boat? Consider the English Setter, one of the gentlest mid-sized dog breeds.

The English Setter is a friendly dog bred for bird setting and retrieving. Today, it’s a great family companion and also serves as a guard dog. While the English Setter has a mild personality, they need training from an early age and proper socialization.

The English Setter is the perfect boat dog when you have proper training and guidance. They can also relax and enjoy being with other pets in close quarters.

14. Nova Scotia DRetriever

Nova Scotia DRetriever
Nova Scotia DRetriever

When you visit Canada, it’s not uncommon to see a Nova Scotia Retriever on a boat with their owner. This hardworking breed has loads of energy and loves being on the water. Many people love to bring them along when hunting to retrieve waterfowl.

The Nova Scotia Retriever is an intelligent dog that learns quickly. That can be a double-edged sword for many owners. While the dogs are perfect for duck tolling, they also tend to mull over commands. This means they might not always be eager to follow every directive you give, unlike people-pleasing breeds like labs.

Once your retriever jumps into the water, getting them back on the boat might take a few tries. As a working breed, they have high energy levels that demand lots of exercise. However, these are some of the best boat dogs around.

15. Spanish Water Dog

Spanish Water Dog
Spanish Water Dog

Once upon a time, the Spanish Water Dog was a great herding breed in the Iberian Peninsula. These are happy and agile dogs who love being active.

When you have a Spanish Water Dog, you get a great companion. This is a friendly dog breed that’s loyal and intelligent. While they can relax indoors, your dog will be much happier outside in nature or on a boat.

Bring them with the children for a day on the boat or relax on the beach. Spanish Water Dogs are great with kids and can remain calm among other pets with proper socialization.

16. Whippet


A Whippet is a British dog best known for their great ability to sprint. These are descendants of the greyhounds and do enjoy participating in sporting activities.

Many people keep Whippets as pets because of their gentle nature. This breed enjoys being around people and doesn’t have an aggressive nature. If you want to bring your Whippet boating, start doing so early.

Whippets can have a love-hate relationship with water. But, it all depends on training and upbringing. They should grow up going on boats and swimming with the family. Apart from water exercise, take them to the park for a spring, which keeps them happy.

17. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkshire Terrier

A Yorkshire Terrier is a small dog breed. However, their size doesn’t deter them from loving boats. Your small dog will enjoy keeping you company when boating and can take a dip. But, always remember to wear a life jacket before they swim.

Most Yorkshire Terriers only weigh about 7 pounds, but they have feisty personalities. They live long and are hypoallergenic, which is great for folks allergic to dog hair and dander.

18. Boykin Spaniel

Boykin Spaniel
Boykin Spaniel

Many people believe the Boykin Spaniel is a formidable hunting dog with a tough outdoor personality. While that is 100% true, the same dog can also thrive as a family pet. Boykin Spaniels can be gentle at home and spend the day relaxing.

Bring them on a boat, especially when you have children and other pets. A Boykin Spaniel will thrive when there are other people around. They don’t fare well alone, so having a companion at home is the best thing to do.

They won’t hesitate to jump on the water and do strenuous swimming as part of their exercise. Puppies need life jackets, but adult Boykin Spaniels are good to go.