A Yellow Lab on the beach

A Yellow Lab on the beach (Photo by Pepijn M on Unsplash)

With summertime ending, the beach can be a great fall getaway to warm up in the cooler weather. What better companion for a day near the surf, sand, and fun in the sun than a faithful hound? Dogs love to play outside, but some rare pups have a special love for places where the land meets the water. The pups on our list of the top five best beach dogs would love to bum around in the sun with outdoor fun seekers.

The best beach dogs are those breeds that embody the perfect blend of energy, water-loving enthusiasm, and sociability, making them ideal companions for seaside adventures. Labrador Retrievers are often considered top contenders, with their boundless energy and love for water, making them exceptional fetch partners in the surf. Golden Retrievers share a similar zest for beach outings, accompanied by their friendly disposition and a passion for making new friends both human and canine alike.

Australian Shepherds bring their agility and intelligence to the shoreline, making them adept at navigating the sandy terrain and participating in water-based activities. Portuguese Water Dogs, known for their history as fishermen’s helpers, thrive in aquatic environments, displaying remarkable swimming skills. The playful and spirited nature of the Boxer also earns them a spot among the best beach dogs, ensuring a fun-filled beach day for all involved. Whether it’s chasing waves, fetching frisbees, or simply basking in the sun, these beach-loving breeds bring an extra layer of joy and excitement to any coastal outing.

All pets are special; however, expert sources agree that certain dogs have an undeniable affinity for the sand and shore, some more than others. Check out our list of the top five best beach dogs to discover which breeds might love the beach more than their owners. Let us know what you think in the comments below!

The List: Best Beach Dog Breeds, According to Experts

1. Labrador Retriever

Labradors are amazing hounds that have a well-deserved reputation as one of America’s favorite breeds. Lab parents will attest that these wonderful dogs love to ham it up at the beach. Running, jumping, swimming, playing, and making new friends are all fun possibilities when these doggos hit the sand. Newsbreak raves: “They’re great for beach outings where you plan to spend the day playing fetch or swimming. Labs are also known for their friendly and outgoing nature, meaning they’ll likely make some new furry friends during your beach day.”

dog at the beach
Labrador dog at the beach photo by gdtography from Pexels

Improve Sailing exclaims, “Labradors are easy to train and eager to please, which makes them ideal for taking out on the water with you. They are ready to muck in with whatever the rest of the family is doing, and they’ll happily plonk themselves on deck whilst you are mucking around, not a care in the world. This relaxed state of mind makes them really easy dogs to have, you don’t have to worry about them running off and they don’t really get bored. They also love swimming!”

The Upper Pawside adds, “The Labrador Retriever is a direct descendant of an older dog breed known as St. John’s Water Dog… These canines helped their human companions by retrieving equipment and recovering fish that escaped the nets or hooks. Modern-day Labrador Retrievers don’t resemble their forefathers. However, they still have the ability to swim and dive.”

2. American Water Spaniel

American Water Spaniels are totally at home on the beach. Dunes, water, and plenty of exercise are great for these energetic pups. Pet Comments says, “In addition to swimming, he can dive and float too. They are considered to be ‘family dogs’ and are more often observed bonding with one particular individual and can be trained easily. As they are bred for hunting purposes, if they [must] be confined in a small space, make sure they receive a good amount of physical exercise.”

American Water Spaniel
American Water Spaniel (Photo by Steve Bruckmann on Shutterstock)

“These dogs have an affectionate and eager-to-please personality, making them wonderful companions for beach outings. Their energy levels and playful nature mean they’ll readily engage in games, fetch, and water-based activities. While they might not be as well-known as other water-loving breeds, their adaptability and enthusiasm for beach fun make them excellent choices for those seeking a companion for seaside adventures,” describes Best For Pets.

“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,” elaborates She Knows.

3. Chesapeake Bay Retriever

This lesser-known breed loves to be near the water whether on the beach, pier, or lake. Like the other breeds on this list, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are strong and athletic dogs that need an active lifestyle. Top Pet Products comments, “If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you’ll be impressed by the Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s exceptional swimming abilities… This breed’s natural swimming ability makes it an excellent choice for water sports such as dock diving and water retrieving. Whether you’re looking for a companion to join you on your beach adventures or a dog to participate in water activities, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a breed that will not disappoint.”

Chesapeake Bay Retriever playing ball in the water
Chesapeake Bay Retriever playing ball in the water (Photo by Kerrie T on Shutterstock)

“According to the American Kennel Club, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers descended from water dogs. They also have a specific body of water in their breed name, so it’s clear they’re a safe bet when it comes to finding a pet that as in love with the water as you are,” adds Woman’s Day.

“This serious hunting dog earned his chops in the brutally cold, rough waters of the Eastern Seaboard, specifically the Chesapeake Bay. He lives to retrieve large waterfowl and will often be protective of your home, family and belongings. Be aware that the Chessie tends to think for himself and needs a confident leader he can respect… The Chessie’s wavy, water-resistant coat comes in shades of deadgrass, sedge and brown,” details Vet Street.

4. Boykin Spaniel

Boykin Spaniels are an American breed that loves a day at the beach with their humans. This low-maintenance breed is a friendly and loyal bird dog. Pure Wow explains, “Originally bred in South Carolina and used by turkey hunters… These medium-sized pups are energetic, affectionate animals who make great family pets. Their silky brown coats are pretty low-maintenance and only require weekly brushing (and baths when necessary).”

Boykin Spaniel
Boykin Spaniel (Photo by Miley Guinn on Unsplash)

“Cheerful and extremely active, they love water and are the ideal choice for families with older kids… They like attention and do not get angry easily and are always ready for friendly interaction. Like most of the other breeds of dogs, they too require daily exercise and a bit of grooming and trimming,” says Pet Comments.

“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,” adds She Knows.

5. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Rounding out our list of beach dogs is the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. These amazing Canadian dogs were bred for their ability to “toll” or lure in game birds with mesmerizing dance-like movements. “The toller, as this medium-size redhead is called… tends to love to swim and may be willing to fetch toys out of the water endlessly, often long after you’re tired of throwing them. He can emit a piercing scream at the sight of birds, toys or other exciting objects, so he may not be the best choice for city or suburban living. He’s highly active, intelligent, complex and driven,” claims Vet Street.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash)

“Based on the name alone, we know the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a duck dog from Canada. But! Did you know this is the smallest retriever and it only comes in hues of red and gold? These pups require lots of exercise and don’t give up easily. While they learn quickly, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers can be stubborn. Teach early, practice often and don’t forget the treats,” says Pure Wow.

Improve Sailing reviews this breed’s most famous traits, “As the name suggests, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are built for the water. Their webbed feet make them strong swimmers and they are agile too… Tollers can also be tough to train as they have a tendency to be stubborn, but they do respond well to rewards, aka treats! If you can make training fun, then you can make the most of their eager to please and outgoing character.”

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