labradoodle swimming

Do Labradoodles Like Water and Swimming?

Do Labradoodles like Water? Most Labradoodle dogs love water, but not all! The Labradoodle has a rich working history as a water retriever in both their Poodle and Labrador Retriever sides of the family. As the parent breeds are both natural water dogs and strong swimmers, it’s easy to assume Labradoodles are the same. A Labradoodle can be an excellent swimmer so long as its introduction to water is a good experience. Today we’ll share top tips for helping your water dog to love being in the pool, river, lake or sea.


A Labradoodle that likes being in the water has several advantages – it is a good form of exercise, keeps them mentally stimulated and helps them cool down during hot weather. But remember, all dogs are individuals, and not all Labradoodles will enjoy getting wet. Here we show you how to introduce your Labradoodle to the water, so they are splashing around with joy!

Do Labradoodles Like Water Historically?

The Labradoodle is a mix of both the Poodle and the Labrador Retriever, who were bred as working dogs to retrieve ducks shot by hunters from the water.

The Poodle first originated in Germany. Their German name is Pudelhund. “Pudel” is derived from the verb “to splash,” and “hund” means hound or dog. Their fancy haircuts actually had a purpose. Having less hair allowed them to swim more efficiently, while the puffs of hair around the upper torso and joints helped protect vital organs and the joints from the freezing water.

The Labrador Retriever descends from the St. John’s water dog in Newfoundland, who assisted fishermen by swimming long distances to retrieve fishing equipment. The St. John’s dog became a popular export to England, where it developed into the Labrador Retriever we know today by incorporating various dog lines.

As the Labradoodle is a descendent of two water dogs, it makes sense that they too will like the water. However, a miniature Labradoodle doesn’t have a working dog background and has less muscle mass, so it will find swimming more difficult and might be disinterested in water.

Introducing Your Labradoodle to the Water

If you want your Labradoodle to love the water, you want to introduce them to it slowly, giving them an enjoyable experience. You can start them from around 12 weeks old.

  • First, use a life vest for dogs so they can splash around with confidence. Plus, it will support them, should they become tired.
  • Start by using a kiddie pool filled with just a few inches of water and use some floating toys so your pup can have some fun.
  • Keep an eye on your Doodle and end the session the moment they start looking tired, so they finish on a positive note.
  • You can then progress to larger water bodies such as a shallow pond, a baby pool, or a creek.
labradoodle dog swimming in water

Do Labradoodles Like Water For Swimming?

Labradoodles that like water usually love swimming. Although this isn’t the most natural passtime for every Labradoodle, they are usually well equipped to cope with the exercise. But you’ll need to help them to learn in a safe way, and build up their stamina gradually.

Teaching Your Labradoodle to Swim

When moving on to large bodies of water, there should be some features that will help give your Labradoodle confidence.

  • Look for a calm large pond or lake with a gradual incline, making it easy for your dog to get in and out. You could also use a pool with some easy steps or a ramp.
  • Make sure your Labradoodle wears a dog vest, stays in shallow water when learning to swim, and can stand comfortably.
  • Don’t pressure your Doodle to go further into the water than they feel confident. Reward them with praise and treats for the progress they make. You can always come back another day to do more.
  • Once your pup is in water deep enough for their paws to leave the floor, you can support them under the belly until they learn to kick and manoeuvre on their own.
  • Always keep a close eye on your Doodle when swimming to ensure they are safe. Swimming is hard work, so look for any signs of tiredness.

Where Can you Take Your Labradoodle Swimming?

When teaching your Labradoodle to swim, you want to go somewhere safe for your pup. Check your local swimming pool, as it is becoming increasingly popular for public pools to hold special days where you can swim with your dog. But you might have better luck at your local dog park, as many now have water features for dogs to swim in whenever they are open.

Lakes and rivers have the advantage of no currents, but the water can be stagnant, so always check out if these still waters are safe before taking your Labradoodle. Beaches are wonderful places to take dogs swimming but check the tide times as the tide going out can drag your pup with it. Always give your dog plenty of fresh drinking water to deter them from drinking seawater and wash their coat with fresh water when they have finished.

Do Labradoodles Like Water Sports?

If your Labradoodle really enjoys the water and has become a proficient swimmer, you might want to do some water sports with them, increasing your bond. You could choose to do kayaking, paddle boarding or surfing. Before going into the water, let your Labradoodle try these activities on dry land first. Your pup should always wear a safety vest.

If you are after a competitive sport, you might want to consider dock diving, whereby your Labradoodle will jump from the edge of a dock after a thrown object. There are three types of competitions: Speed Retrieve, Big Air and Extreme Vertical.

Can Labradoodles get Ear infections from Swimming?

Labradoodles are often prone to ear infections and can get what is known as “swimmer’s ear,” an inflammation of the outer ear canal due to water retention. You will soon notice if your pup has a sore ear as they will paw and scratch it and shake their head.

Take your Labradoodle to the vet, who will prescribe treatments that include antibiotics, antihistamines, ear cleaner and pain killers. To prevent this condition, clean the ears with a veterinarian-prescribed ear cleaner after every swim.

Do Labradoodles Like Water?

Coming from two water dogs, the Poodle and the Labrador Retriever, it is only natural that a Labradoodle loves the water. However, you need to ensure that their introduction to the water is a good experience, taking small steps to ensure their confidence and always wearing a life vest for safety.

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