7 Best Dog Breeds for Dock Diving Competitions

best dog breeds for dock diving

Who says water fun is just for humans? Many dogs love splashing around and have the perfect set of skills for water games. Some dogs are just born to be in the water, thanks to their strong legs, special coats that shed water, and a love for swimming that just can’t be beaten. If your furry friend can’t resist jumping into the water every chance they get, dock diving could be their new favorite sport!

Dock diving is all about speed, big jumps, and making a splash. Imagine your dog racing along a dock and then flying through the air to catch a toy before landing in the water. It’s not just about who can jump the farthest or highest, but it’s also a whole lot of fun and a great way for your dog to get some exercise.

high jumping dog breeds

It’s perfect for dogs who love water and fetching, and it’s a fun way for both of you to make new friends who enjoy the same sport.

So, ready to dive in? Let’s check out seven dog breeds that are pros at dock diving and having a blast in the water!

Best Dog Breeds for Dock Diving

1. Labrador Retriever

dock diving records by breed

Labradors are super friendly, really smart, and incredibly patient, which is why so many families in America love having them around. They’re great with kids and other dogs, and let’s not forget – they’re super cute too!

Labs love the water more than anything. They were originally bred to help fishermen and have special coats and webbed feet that make them natural swimmers. They’re full of energy and can’t get enough of water sports like dock diving and swimming races.

What makes Labs even better for these sports is how quickly they learn and how much they want to make you happy. They’re not just fun at the water; they’re also super chill at home, making them awesome family pets. Just remember, they do shed a lot, so you might find their fur here and there.

ASPCA reports one thing to watch out for with Labs is that they can gain weight pretty easily, and sometimes they can have thyroid problems or diabetes. So, it’s important to keep them active and check in with the vet to keep them healthy.

2. Belgian Malinois

what is dock diving for dogs

The Belgian Malinois shines as one of the most dedicated and hardworking breeds out there. Known for their unparalleled work ethic, they tackle a wide array of tasks with gusto. While they’re not naturally drawn to water like some breeds, their confidence, smartness, and zest for life mean they can become enthusiastic swimmers with a bit of encouragement.

Malinois are especially keen on activities that let them leap and grab targets in mid-air. The AKC notes how they participate in Air Retrieve events, with one notable Malinois, Zara from Ellicott City, MD, nabbing first place with an impressive 21-foot jump!

These dogs are real overachievers in dock diving, thanks to their intelligence, athleticism, and intensity. However, their strong drive and boundless energy can be a handful, especially for first-time dog owners. They’re known to get a bit mouthy and can turn to mischief if they don’t get enough physical and mental stimulation.

Living in an apartment usually isn’t the best fit for a Belgian Malinois. They thrive on having plenty of space to sprint, play, and burn off energy.

3. Whippets

best dock diving dogs

Whippets might remind you of smaller Greyhounds with their sleek build and gentle nature. They love a good chase, so a secure yard is important. Quick and nimble, Whippets enjoy staying close to their people.

A good run is essential for Whippets, but after some exercise, they’re more than happy to snuggle up on the couch. Their manageable size also makes them a hit with folks new to dog ownership.

While they’re not known for their love of swimming, Whippets are surprisingly adept at dock diving. Their speed and light frames allow them to glide through the air with ease, and they’re quick learners, which helps in picking up new sports.

Most dogs in the top dock divers league can leap up to 20 feet, but a Whippet named Sounders set a record with a jump of 36 feet and six inches. Whippets often rank highly in competitions for both distance and speed.

Whippets can adapt to apartment living as long as they get enough exercise. They’re a quiet breed, which is great for city living. Don’t let their delicate appearance fool you; Whippets are tough and easy to care for, making them a wonderful choice for a variety of homes.

4. Golden Retrievers 

best dogs for dock diving

Golden Retrievers are the perfect addition to an active family, thanks to their boundless energy and even-tempered nature. With the right early socialization, they seamlessly blend into family life, displaying a gentle demeanor that requires mutual respect from everyone, including little ones.

This breed tops the charts in the U.S. for its intellect, loyalty, and loving personality. Plus, their stunning golden coats are not just for show—they also repel water easily, which is handy because Golden Retrievers love to get wet!

Originally bred for retrieving duties in water, their affinity for swimming and natural talent make them excellent at dock diving and other water-based activities. They’re just as happy playing fetch in the lake as they are cuddling at home.

Speaking of home, PDSA notes that Golden Retrievers adapt well to indoor living, though they’re known for leaving a trail of water after drinking and shedding quite a bit. Regular grooming, at least three times a week, is essential to manage their coat. Despite the extra vacuuming, their companionship is more than worth the effort.

5. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers

what is dock diving

The Toller, short for Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, is a breed skilled in the art of “tolling” – a clever technique used to lure and retrieve waterfowl for hunters. As the smallest of the retriever breeds, they’re both compact and agile, ready for action.

Equipped with webbed feet and a water-repellant double coat, Tollers are naturals when it comes to water. They thrive in sports like dock diving and competitive swimming, showing off their prowess in the water with ease.

A Toller’s favorite place is right by their human’s side, whether it’s on an outdoor adventure, chilling at home, or even traveling. They switch from relaxed to energetic in a heartbeat, always ready for the next activity. They’re adventurous spirits who adapt well to new situations.

One unique trait is their high-pitched bark, often described as a “scream,” signaling their excitement. While it might take some patience, many owners successfully teach their Tollers to tone down the excitement screams.

Grooming a Toller can be quite a task due to their shedding feather coat. But their intelligence and eagerness to please make training a rewarding experience. Though they have an independent streak, keeping their training sessions engaging and varied will harness their attention and energy positively.

Dock Diving Training Steps for Dogs-01

6. Portuguese Water Dog

diving dog competition

Portuguese Water Dogs, originally companions of fishermen, have sailed into hearts as beloved pets, treasured for their intellect, loyalty, and loving nature. Their enthusiasm for water hasn’t waned a bit; give them a chance, and they’ll be the first to dive in for a playful splash.

These sturdy, medium-sized dogs have an innate love for water, thanks to their waterproof coats and webbed feet, making them born swimmers. They’re stars in water-based activities, showing off their endurance and agility, whether it’s in water rescue missions, dock diving, or just a fun day out at the lake.

Sporting curly or wavy fur, Porties are low-shedders but do need regular brush-ups to keep their coats in tip-top shape. A daily dose of exercise is key to their well-being, so swimming or any vigorous activity is greatly enjoyed.

However, Orvis highlights an important point: Portuguese Water Dogs thrive on companionship and struggle with long periods of solitude. Left alone too long, they might get up to mischief out of boredom or loneliness. Crate training could help manage any potential troublemaking, ensuring they have a safe space while you’re away.

7. German Shorthaired Pointer

dog water jumping

German Shorthaired Pointers (GSPs) carry an air of nobility, known for their graceful speed, agility, and stamina. As “gun dogs,” they’re trained for hunting, using their keen sense of smell to track game, a trait that sometimes leads them on unexpected adventures if not properly supervised. PetMD suggests a secure yard is a must to keep their exploratory instincts in check.

These versatile hunters are also skilled swimmers, thanks to their muscular build and short, water-resistant coat. Their boundless energy and endurance make them perfect for water-related activities, such as retrieving and dock jumping. Their natural retrieving ability and keen nose also make them outstanding at waterfowl hunting.

When their need for physical activity is fulfilled, GSPs are more than happy to settle down for cuddles with their family. Yet, without sufficient exercise, they can become a handful, displaying troublesome behaviors.

Beyond their adventurous spirit, they are quite easy to care for, needing only basic grooming due to their short coats that shed moderately.

Essential Gear for Dog Dock Diving

Final Thought

Dock diving, a fun dog sport, has quickly become one of the fastest-growing canine sports, capturing the hearts of pet parents and their furry athletes. In most dock diving competitions, dogs showcase their agility and strength through spectacular dog jumps into the water.

These events, organized by various dock diving organizations, offer a range of categories, including distance jumps and thrilling extreme vertical challenges. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, among other breeds, often excel in these competitions, demonstrating their natural affinity for water.

As this dog sport continues to gain popularity, more and more dogs and their owners are joining the community, eager to leap into the action.

Mahvash Kazmi
Mahvash Kazmi, with a rich academic background in English Literature and Journalism, is not just a master of words but also a passionate advocate for the voiceless. Her vast experience, from teaching to insightful content creation, is underpinned by a profound love for animals and an unwavering commitment to conservation. An ardent animal lover, she often finds solace in nature's tales and the gentle purrs of her beloved Persian cat, Gracie. Her dedication to the environment and the written word combine to create truly compelling writing. With a heart that beats for the wild and the written word, she crafts compelling stories on animal issues, urging readers to coalesce for a cause.

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