Top 30 Best Dog Breeds For Kayaking

Kayaking with dogs is a wonderful way to bond and give them an opportunity to try something new and different. Kayaking with your dog may need some effort in terms of training and safety, but it is well worth the effort. Make sure they pay attention when you instruct them to sit, stay, or lie down. Always wear your dog the life vest before you hit the water.

Some dogs are more suited to kayaking than others. The purpose of this article is to introduce you to the best 30 dog breeds for kayaking.

The greatest kayaks for dogs have a few characteristics. To begin with, you should ensure that the kayak has ample space for your dog. That means considering kayaks with a large cockpit or, better yet, sit-on-top kayaks.

A solid kayak with ample width is also required. That way, if your dog becomes overly excited, your kayak is less likely to tip. Wider boats can also take more weight, which is useful when traveling with a pet.

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Smooth, tranquil waters are ideal for kayaking with a dog, especially the first few times. Begin in a calm lake, pond, or bay where your dog can easily swim to land if necessary.

Even when your dog has become accustomed to boating, you should definitely stick to calmer waters such as rivers, lakes, and creeks. You do not want to expose your dog to rapids or huge waves.

Top 30 Best Dog Breeds For Kayaking

There are over 360 recognized breeds of dogs but not all of them are good for kayaking. In no particular order, here is a compilation and review of the best dog breeds for kayaking:

1. Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever is a natural when it comes to kayaking. It is friendly, lively, easy to teach, and enjoys getting out. He enjoys meeting new people and going on adventures. Because he’s so enormous and hefty, this isn’t the dog you want to take on a plane, but he’ll make a fantastic boat travel buddy.

Labrador Retriever is good for kayaking
Labrador Retriever is good for kayaking

Your Labrador will be up for any activity you pick, whether it’s a mountain climb or a river trip in a kayak. He’s a wonderful pet for the energetic traveler because he requires a lot of activity.

The Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog in the United States, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC), and not just because of his classic good looks. He’s a natural all-around athlete and a top-notch water dog.

A Labrador standing on the front of a yacht or speedboat, keeping an eye out for birds and dolphins, or leaping off to go for a dog paddle, is very common. His webbed toes, otter tail with a rudder, and waterproof coat make him a popular boat dog.

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The Labrador Retriever is one of the water-loving dog breeds. You’ll find it difficult to keep your Labrador out of the water. That’s actually a good thing when it comes to kayaking because most dogs who aren’t great for kayaking get their bad image because they’re terrified of water.

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Having a Labrador in the bow of your kayak will almost certainly generate a conversation with other paddlers while you’re out on the lake. One of the most charming traits of Labradors is their persistent cheerfulness. Even if your day of paddling didn’t go quite as planned due to the weather, your dog’s smile will entice you to return home for some warm embraces.

2. Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever, like his Labrador cousin, prefers to be on the ground or water rather than in the air. This people-loving dog is great in the kayak, and you can count on him to be friendly to strangers. This energetic family member is also up for any outdoor activity. He doesn’t mind a long journey as long as you’re beside him.

Golden Retriever is good for kayaking
Golden Retriever in a kayak

Golden Retrievers are noted for their active personalities. They’re powerful dogs with a reputation for swimming prowess. They can spend hours chasing objects across the water.

Because they are one of the most dependable breeds, they are commonly used as blind guides and in search-and-rescue efforts.

Golden Retrievers are known for being easy to teach, which is important while kayaking with your dog. To keep your kayak stable, you’ll need a dog that will sit or lie down when told.

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Whether on the water or in your backyard, Golden Retrievers can bring joy and vibrancy to your life. They also retain many puppy-like behaviors as they grow older, allowing you to feel and recreate as if you were a child.

3. Standard Poodle

The Poodle is a breed of water dog called the Pudel in German and the Caniche in French. This intelligent dog is one of the easiest to train of any breed. That, combined with his low-shed coat and general love of exploration, makes him an ideal kayak companion.

Standard Poodle makes a good kayak companion
Standard Poodle makes a good kayak companion

Poodles began their lives as water dogs – you probably never knew this. The standard Poodles were bred in Germany to retrieve ducks from bodies of water, and the beautiful trim around the legs and chest is thought to have arisen as a technique to keep the dog’s joints and body warm in the water.

Any size Poodle can be used as a boat dog, but the Miniature Poodle, which is larger than the Toy Poodle but smaller than the Standard, is the most common.

4. Goldendoodle

As you may assume, the Goldendoodle is a crossbreed. This breed is made out of a Golden Retriever and a standard, medium, or miniature Poodle. One of the best retriever breeds for kayaking is the Golden Retriever.

Goldendoodle sitting in a kayak
Goldendoodle sitting in a kayak

The Golden retriever and the poodle are intelligent and friendly, but a Goldendoodle will give you both of these qualities.

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Goldendoodles are also outgoing and social dogs who will assist you in making new acquaintances everywhere you go. Goldendoodles are known for being simple to train. Some have even worked as guide dogs and therapy dogs at local hospitals. This is a great trait to seek for in a kayaking companion. When things change and you need your dog to listen to you, it’ll be nice to know that he’s well-trained.

5. American Water Spaniel

The AWS is a small brown dog. It is Wisconsin’s state dog. He was bred primarily as a water retriever, although he’s also a versatile dog.

American Water Spaniel is a natural lover of water
American Water Spaniel is a natural lover of water

Because of the weight of AWS which is about 25 to 45 pounds, he’s suitable for just about any size craft, from a kayak to a mega-yacht.

He usually enjoys any activity that involves being wet, as his name suggests. Always comb and brush his curly brown coat two to three times a week, and if he goes for a swim, give him a good freshwater rinse.

6. Irish Water Spaniel

One of the best water dogs is the Irish Water Spaniel Puppy. Another breed with the word “water” in its name! The Irish Water Spaniel is the tallest of the spaniel breeds, with a curled coat that naturally repels water.

Irish Water Spaniel is a good swimmer
Irish Water Spaniel is a good swimmer

This Irish cattle dog is a less common breed with a clownish reputation. As shown by their coat, these water-breed canines are likely to add some much-needed comic relief to your outdoor trips.

Irish Water Spaniels are known for being energetic, bold, and obedient. These pups will be willing to join you on those less-than-ideal kayaking days when only the most prepared are out.

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They are excellent swimmers, even if they tumble out of your kayak. They’ll want to snuggle up with you when you get home from a long day of intensive exercise. It is one of the most suitable dogs for outdoor purposes.

7. Boykin Spaniel

This funny-named dog was born to be on the water. He was designed to hunt from small boats in wetlands, taking up less space than larger retrievers.

Boykin Spaniel is a good water retriever
Boykin Spaniel is a good water retriever

They are good water retrievers known to retrieve dead ducks from the water.

He is the South Carolina state dog. The Boykin’s curly coat is liver, brown, or dark chocolate in color, earning him the nickname “little brown dog”. The small dog who doesn’t rock the boat” is another nickname for him.

The Boykin Spaniel is a very energetic, friendly, and obedient canine. They are good swimmers and makes a good kayaking companion.

8. Brittany Spaniel

The Brittany Spaniel is one of the best little water dog breeds. Brittany, France is where the little water dog breed originated. Some people relate these pups to pointers or setters because they were initially created as gun dogs for bird hunting.

Brittany Spaniel is one of the best little water dog breeds
Brittany Spaniel is one of the best little water dog breeds

This spaniel has longer legs than most spaniels and is smaller than most setters. They are very smooth, nimble, and swift on their feet because of their bird-hunting ability.

These intelligent and versatile aquatic canines are also excellent swimmers. This breed thrives on being pushed and is always eager to learn new activities and pastimes, making it excellent for outdoor enthusiasts.

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Brittany Spaniels learn new activities quickly and like kayaking, swimming, dock diving, and trail jogging. It is one of the most adept swimmers among dog breeds. It’ll also be your constant companion as you maneuver from the bow of the kayak.

9. Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese Water Dog is known for being adventurous and athletic, two characteristics that make them good kayaking companions. When searching for a boat dog, one with the word “water” in its name tends to be a good bet. The Portie, as he’s known, used to go out with fisherman and assist them in retrieving their fish-filled nets.

Portuguese Water Dog is a good kayaking and fishing companion
Portuguese Water Dog is a good kayaking and fishing companion

They love to play in the water, so it’s no surprise that they are favorite sailing companions at any port. The Portuguese Water Dogs have a wavy or curly coat that sheds little but needs to be combed twice a week and trimmed on a regular basis.

These dogs are full of adventure-seeking zeal and will encourage you to go out and about more. They’re known for being easy to train and for being incredibly adept at picking up on your exact orders.

Originally, Portuguese Water Dogs were bred to help all types of fishermen. These days, any reason to get into the water will suffice. It is one of the greatest dog breeds for fishing.

They thrive well on human connection and attention, making them ideal for making new friends. These dogs enjoy diving from docks in search of a toy and participating in agility-testing play sessions in addition to kayaking. It is the finest alternative for you if you are looking for the best fishing dogs.

10. Australian Cattle Dog

One of the greatest dog breeds for off-leash hiking is the Australian Cattle Dog. This breed was bred in Australia with the goal of transporting livestock over long distances in rough terrain.

Australian Cattle Dog is particularly popular among Australian kayakers
Australian Cattle Dog is particularly popular among Australian kayakers

Australian Cattle Dogs are strong, have a lot of stamina, and love to keep their herd together. The Blue Heeler or Queensland Heeler is another name for this breed, which is connected to Australia’s wild dog, the Dingo.

They’re energetic and astute, with a strong feeling of self-reliance in some cases. This is one of the best little water dog breeds, with a strong build and a high level of hardiness. Because of their almost boundless vitality, they’re great for trail running, but they’re also loyal enough to curl up or stand guard at the bow of your kayak.

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According to breeders, owners of these dogs should engage in some form of labor, sport, or physical exercise with them on a daily basis. This provides them with the constant physical and mental stimulation they need to be entertained and prevent boredom. This breed is particularly popular among Australian kayakers.

11. Australian Shepherd

One of the best trekking dog breeds is the Australian Shepherd. Despite its name, the Australian Shepherd breed can be traced back to 19th-century American ranches. These dogs are both dedicated and intelligent, as they were reared to assist in herding operations.

Australian Shepherd is agile both on land and in water
Australian Shepherd is agile both on land and in water

Their dazzling blue or light grey pupil color is well-known, and they have some of the most beautiful coats of any dog breed. Both on land and in water, these pups are highly agile.

Kayaking, as well as your other favorite outdoor activities, is a terrific way to let off steam. These Australian water dogs are a cunning breed that has been known to trick unsuspecting owners.

This is one of the most dedicated and adventurous dogs available when properly trained. It is the finest alternative for you if you are looking for the best dogs for camping.

12. Chihuahua

Do you want a small dog for your kayaking? The adorable Chihuahua is the ideal breed for you. His little frame doesn’t require much space and exercise, which makes him an ideal kayaking companion.

Chihuahua can make your kayaking fun
Chihuahua can make your kayaking fun

Chihuahuas also make excellent air travel companions. Because he is little, he can be carried in small carriers. This is also advantageous because you may take your dog on a plane without incurring the high costs involved with placing large dogs in dedicated airline cabins.

This is the dog breed for you if you’re seeking a compact and obedient kayak or travel companion. Kayaking with this small dog is simple and joyful.

13. Schipperke

This “great and loyal” watchdog is the ideal size for a variety of boats, where he will most likely act as co-captain.

Top 30 Best Dog Breeds For Kayaking 1
Schipperke is always agile and alert both on land and in water

The Schipperke is a small herding dog that originated in Belgium. Although there are stories about him serving as a watchdog on canal boats, he was truly a type of watchdog.

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However, being a watchdog didin’t rule out the possibility of him adapting to life in the water. This playful dog is curious and alert, as well as agile enough to easily explore a deck. Weekly brushing keeps his thick black double coat in good shape.

14. Yorkshire Terrier

Because he is little and doesn’t require much space and exercise, the Yorkshire Terrier is ideal for kayaking especially if your kayak is small.

Yorkshire Terrier is ideal for kayaking
Yorkshire Terrier is ideal for kayaking

The Yorkshire Terrier is a popular companion dog that is extremely devoted to its owner. He’s an excellent outdoor buddy that will keep you calm if you’re worried about your journey.

Yorkshire Terrier is also good in a plane, in a car, or in any other form of travel you choose.

Because he wants to be close to mom or dad, his loyal personality makes him easy to move with. Don’t be fooled by the Yorkie’s daintiness. The Yorkie possesses all of the characteristics of a real terrier: tenacity, feistiness, bravery, and, at times, bossiness.

15. Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier is one of the top water-loving little dog breeds. If you’re looking for a smaller kayaking companion, this is a wonderful option.

Jack Russell Terrier kayaking with its owner
Jack Russell Terrier kayaking with its owner

These dogs enjoy a lot of activity, are constantly on the watch for danger, and are quite gregarious. Despite their small stature, they have a reputation for being superb swimmers.

The dark eyes and V-shaped ears of Jack Russells give them an inquisitive aspect. These are intelligent canines, and you’ll have no trouble training yours to adapt to your kayaking trips.

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This is a breed that is self-assured as well as expressive. This breed is known to like problem-solving challenges when it comes to training. They become tired easily, so you’ll be pushed to keep things interesting and fresh, which should fit right in with your adventurous lifestyle.

16. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a quick, hardworking, and friendly dog. This friendly dog is very intelligent and affectionate. They enjoy playing and were raised to hunt ducks, so they are comfortable in the water.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever can fit into shorter kayaks
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever can fit into shorter kayaks

Because of their modest size, they may easily fit into shorter kayaks. A thirty-minute stroll or a half-hour of outside playtime is enough to keep these canines healthy and happy.

These dogs are stubborn, sensitive, and inquisitive. When training, it will be vital to be patient and consistent while keeping their attention focused on the work at hand (e.g. using treats, slow petting, light scratching, etc.).

The ideal way to educate this breed is to have short training sessions that are enjoyable and conclude on a positive note.

17. French Bulldog

Although the French Bulldog has a natural frown on its face, it is actually incredibly friendly, obedient, and playful.

Top 30 Best Dog Breeds For Kayaking 2
Always use a life jacket on your French Bulldog When Kayaking

He has a reputation for being simple to teach, implying that he can be trained for kayaking. French bulldogs are completely incapable of swimming and should never be left alone in the water. Having said that, with the use of special life jackets and good training, your little dog can still enjoy kayaking days with you.

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However, it is not advisable to take these dogs on plane trips. Because the French Bulldog is brachiocephalic, his short muzzle may make it difficult for him to breathe in the cargo compartment of a plane. Some airlines have even ordered such breeds to be grounded. Not that putting any dog in the cargo hold of a plane is a good idea, but he’s a high-risk flier.

18. Siberian Husky

The finest dog breed for hiking, camping, and kayaking is the Siberian Husky. Siberian Huskies are a dog breed that originated in Northeast Asia and was bred for sled pulling, community protection, and companionship by the Chukchi people.

Siberian Husky is the finest breed for kayaking
Siberian Husky is the finest breed for kayaking

Because of its history of surviving the extreme temperature of the Siberian Arctic, this is one of the most resilient breeds on our list. Siberian huskies are exceptionally active and energetic canines. You’ll need to take them on daily runs or other forms of exercise if you don’t want them to turn into a spinning dervish in your house.

Huskies are known to be superb swimmers who have little trouble getting in and out of the water. Huskies are inherently clean and have very little canine odor, despite the fact that their unique coats allow them to shed a lot at certain times of the year.

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If you’re seeking a renowned kayaking companion dog, you can’t go wrong with this one.

19. Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier has been popular since its inception nearly a century ago. They were intended to be combat dogs but are now sweet, lovable pets with tuxedo-like markings that earned them the nickname “American Gentleman.”

Boston Terrier is not good with water but open to learning
Boston Terrier is not good with water but open to learning

Boston Terriers can enjoy the water, especially if introduced to it at a young age. At a later age, they tend to be terrified when they are compelled to be in the water. As a result, it’s critical that you let them do it at their own pace while providing consistent positive reinforcement until they get acquainted.

The tenacious Boston Terrier, like the Frenchie, must be cautious while traveling by water, but otherwise, it is ready for anything. He has a vivacious personality and is able to adapt to new settings. The Boston Terrier is also recognized for its adaptability. This companion dog adapts well to new locations and situations, making him a good kayak companion.

20. English Setter

This is a laid-back breed that is pleasant, joyful, and affectionate. The medium-sized English Setter, which is commonly seen in performances and sporting events, is well-known to most people.

English Setter was raised to be comfortable in the water
English Setter was raised to be comfortable in the water

They have a good temperament and enjoy being around people. These British hunting dogs were raised to be comfortable in and around water and to be familiar with a variety of terrains.

They stand out due to their lengthy speckled coat and gorgeous appearance. These high-energy dogs enjoy going for daily runs, jogs, and bike rides. If possible, make sure they have a large fenced-in area to play in.

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This breed is extremely sensitive, and it must be trained with positive reinforcement rather than admonitions. It is preferable to begin educating them as soon as possible and to be consistent throughout the training process.

21. Bichon Frise

The Bichon breed evolved from water dogs and is descended from poodles and either the Barbet or one of the water spaniel breeds.

Bichon Frise is among the water dogs
Bichon Frise is among the water dogs

The mild temperament of the fluffy Bichon Frise is well-known. He’s upbeat and easygoing, making him an upbeat companion on any journey.

Bichons are ideal pets for smaller kayaks due to their petite size. They do, however, have a lot of energy and require regular activity, such as walks and activities. Bichons are extremely trainable and intelligent dogs who like learning new skills.

22. Miniature Schnauzer

While he may have started out as a farm ratter, the active Miniature Schnauzer has a lot of attributes that make him a good boat dog. Of course, one is his portability: He’s easy to lift on and off a boat at 11 to 20 pounds, but he’s not so light that he’ll get hurt easily.

Miniature Schnauzer is a good kayaking companion
Miniature Schnauzer is a good kayaking companion

His rattling skill translates well to docks and boats; with him on the job, your vessel will be vermin-free. Miniature Schnauzers are usually intelligent and affectionate with their owners, and their vigilant demeanor makes them terrific dog watch companions.

23. Pomeranian

Pomeranian is yet another small dog that is good for kayaking. He can nestle comfortably next to your feet on the kayak.

Pomeranian feels very comfortable in a kayak
Pomeranian feels very comfortable in a kayak

Pomeranians can swim and some enjoy swimming; nevertheless, you must be very careful and keep an eye on your dog virtually every second, at least at first. Pomeranians do not fear water, yet some may develop a fear of water if their first exposure to it was unpleasant.

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Pomeranians are easy to teach and adapt to practically any living situation. They like pleasing their owners. On vacation, don’t be surprised if your Pomeranian attracts more attention than you do.

24. Dachshund

The Dachshund is a sociable, inquisitive breed that is often adventurous and eager to explore new things with its owner, including traveling, kayaking, swimming, running, jumping, etc.

Dachshund is adventurous and can adapt to anything
Dachshund is adventurous and can adapt to anything

If you prefer urban adventure, this is the dog for you. He’s little, which makes it simple for his owners to transport him throughout cities. They are excellent travel dogs, but unless well-socialized, they are not particularly friendly with strangers.

25. Newfoundland Dog

Although he’d be better suited to a boat than a kayak, the Newfie (as he’s known for short) is the quintessential water dog, with a history of swimming lifelines out to people who have fallen in the water.

Top 30 Best Dog Breeds For Kayaking 3
Newfoundland dog is the quintessential water dog

Lord Byron’s dog Boatswain, whom he eulogized as having “all the Virtues of Man minus his Vices,” is one of history’s most well-known Newfies.

The explorers, Lewis and Clark were accompanied by a Newfoundland named Seaman as they explored the huge Louisiana Purchase. His qualities to be your matey are completed with a flat, water-resistant double coat and webbed feet.

26. Barbet

The Barbet is a medium-sized sports dog that was bred to look like a French water dog. It has long, thick curls. They are gregarious and athletic creatures.

Barbet is intelligent and enjoys swimming
Barbet is intelligent and enjoys swimming

This breed is powerful, intelligent, and enjoys swimming. The Barbet prefers to go for walks several times a day and prefers to play in a large enclosed yard.

They are not as energetic as some of the other dogs on this list, and while they like participating in sporting activities, they are equally at ease relaxing around the house.

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This is a calm breed that responds well to training as long as it takes place in a kind and reassuring setting; otherwise, they may spook. Before exploring the lake, it might be easier to get them acquainted with the kayak at home.

27. Chesapeake Bay Retriever

This sweet dog is bright, affectionate, and eager to make new friends. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a large, intelligent dog that has been bred to excel at duck hunting for decades.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever has a waterproof coat in addition to loving the water
Chesapeake Bay Retriever has a waterproof coat in addition to loving the water

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever has a waterproof coat in addition to loving the water, being loving companions, and enjoying all forms of outdoor exercise. Hiking, running, obedience training, and tracking are just a few of the activities that keep this clever and energetic breed occupied.

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They must remain busy and cognitively challenged, or they will become disruptive and noisy. This breed benefits greatly from socialization and obedience training as a puppy. Due to their great degree of energy, they may be difficult to contain.

28. Curly-Coated Retriever

The Curly-Coated Retriever is a very bright dog who enjoys being tested. Despite being kind and gentle, this dog breed is capable of becoming independent.

Curly-Coated Retriever is a huge dog that enjoys swimming
Curly-Coated Retriever is a huge dog that enjoys swimming

This self-assured breed is intelligent, proud, and apprehensive of strangers. This huge swimming dog is utilized for hunting as well as sports competitions.

If they are left with nothing to do for an extended period of time, they may become bored due to their intellect. They have short curly fur and a tapered head, making them lovely dogs.

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Curly-Coated Retrievers enjoy both running and lounging around the house. They are a breed that is easygoing and relaxed.

29. Lagotto Romagnolo

The Lagotto Romagnolo was designed to search out valuable truffles, and their intelligence and drive make them outstanding sports dogs.

Lagotto Romagnolo is a sports dog
Lagotto Romagnolo is a sports dog

This loving and undemanding breed has a calm demeanor. Beautiful and intelligent, these medium-sized Italian sporting dogs are a delight to behold.

To keep fit and happy, this breed demands both mental and physical stimulation. In other words, as with any dog breed, make sure they get daily activity.

To ensure that this breed remains well-adjusted as it grows, early socialization and obedience training are vital.

30. Otterhound

The Otterhound is a superb water dog that was originally bred for otter hunting. This well-behaved dog is boisterous, adoring, and affectionate.

Otterhound is a superb water dog that was originally bred for otter hunting
Otterhound is a superb water dog that was originally bred for otter hunting

It possesses webbed feet and thick waterproof fur, as well as a penchant for swimming. They have broad shoulders and can swim for extended periods of time without stopping.

These affectionate dogs are wonderful companions on the water as well as pets. It’s possible that otterhounds will need to be prompted to exercise. Despite their high energy reserves, they choose to sleep rather than exercise.

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They are vigilant and responsive, yet they can also be quite sensitive. Positive reinforcement should be used for training. Patience is essential when dealing with otterhounds, as they may be rather stubborn.

Should I Take My Dog Kayaking?

Kayaking with your dog can be a fun experience for both of you. Some dogs are more suited to kayaking than others. It’s just as vital to make sure your dog is ready for kayaking as it is to make sure your kayak is ready for dogs. If your dog does not have the demeanor for boating right away, the good news is that you can practice with them in secure surroundings and then gradually introduce them to kayaking.


Of the over 360 recognized breeds of dogs, not all of them are suitable for kayaking. This list of the best 30 dog breeds for kayaking is just to give you an overview of dog breeds that will make a good boat companion. They can make your kayaking more fun, enjoyable, and less boring.

However, you need to understand that most dogs including the ones not mentioned on this list can still be trained to enjoy swimming and kayaking. In fact, most obedient and adventurous dogs make good kayaking companions.

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