Dogs are called man’s best friends for a reason. They are companionable and loyal to the core. Where you go, they go. If you are an angler and have been on the lookout for a four-legged friend to join you on your fishing adventures, there are some breeds you may consider that are more suitable for this type of outdoor activity.
What To Look For In Your Fishing Companion
Before deciding on one breed over the other, you may want to think about what traits the dog should have to make it more enjoyable for both of you to go fishing together.
Some people are highly strung, and so are certain dog breeds. If you are a first-time owner and want to have fun with your pooch, make sure the breed you choose is placid enough for easy training. The dog needs to obey your every command to make the trip safe and pleasant when you take him fishing.
Timid dogs also won’t enjoy the outdoors as much as you think. The water, the boat, casting, reeling in, all this can overwhelm the dog at some point, and he may want to go home and never go fishing with you again.
High energy dogs are not the best choice for a fishing companion. They tend to get bored fast and wander around searching for something to do, or worse, something to chase. When you take your dog fishing, you want to share the experience with him, not focus all the energy on keeping him on his best behavior.
Stamina is what you would be looking for instead. A dog that can stay out with you during a whole day of fly fishing without spooking all the fish is the best you can wish for.
It will make it easier and more enjoyable for both of you if your companion is fond of water, but whether the dog likes the water or not isn’t a deal-breaker. Some dogs are not great swimmers, and others won’t wet their paws at all, but they still want to accompany you on your fishing trip. They can follow you along the shore, or if brave enough, they may sit with you on a boat or in a kayak without wetting their fur.
Depending on what type of fishing you are planning on doing, you should consider the build of your dog. Whether it is fluffy and cold-proof, small enough to fit on the boat makes a huge difference. Some breeds won’t enjoy ice or fly fishing for a while because they can get too cold, and others won’t fit with you in the canoe or kayak.
What Do Fishing Dogs Do?
Fishing dogs serve as much more than mere companions; they can actively participate in the fishing experience in various ways. Some are trained to fetch fish that have been caught, saving the angler the effort of reeling in smaller catches. Others may alert the angler to fish activity near the surface or even help corral fish into nets. Their keen senses often make them excellent at spotting fish, and some breeds have even been trained to dive underwater to retrieve catches. However, it’s essential to remember that not all dogs will engage in fishing activities to the same degree. Some may prefer to simply enjoy the natural surroundings, keeping you company as you cast your line.
Best Breeds To Take Fishing
After considering all the doggy characteristics and your fishing preferences, you can look into the most suitable fishing companion breeds.
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Chessies are bred for water. It doesn’t necessarily mean they will swim the whole day, but they are really fond of water and will follow everywhere you go. They are also very patient dogs, and if you stop for a few hours in one spot, they are happy to sit and observe what you are doing without a sound.
They are great boaters too, so if you are planning on taking one in a canoe or on a motorboat, they will be happy to accompany you as well. Chessies are also cold-proof, so going ice fishing with you won’t be any problem for them.
Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are a little bit stubborn, but once they learn all your fishing techniques, they will follow the rules quickly. They are also amazing guard dogs, so going fishing alone is not as scary with them at your side.
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
The smallest of all Retrievers, Tollers are great companions for any activity, and that includes fishing. They are extremely smart and super fond of water, so training them as fishing buddies is really easy, even for a beginner.
Like other Retrievers, they are hunting breed, so they are programmed to be outdoors the whole day. Fishing with Tollers is a pleasure in itself because of their lively temperament and eagerness to please.
They are also small enough to fit on a fishing kayak with you, and if appropriately trained, they will sit quietly and look out for any movement in the water.
American Water Spaniel
Another pooch bred for water is American Water Spaniel. They have a little bit more energy than other breeds, but you can quickly remedy it by letting the dog run for a while before you settle with your rod.
They are excellent dogs to take on the boat, and they love every minute of being on the water. They have a pleasant disposition, and they will be happy no matter what size fish you catch.
They may get a little too enthusiastic about your catch if it moves too much in their vicinity, but they are placid enough to listen to your commands immediately.
Nowadays, many people disregard poodles, but they are a very underrated breed. Poodles were originally bred for hunting and fishing. They have webbed feet, double coats, and hunting instinct, making them perfect companions for outdoor adventure lovers.
They are super easy to train, ready to do anything to bring you joy, and will follow you faithfully everywhere you go. They have a lot of stamina without high levels of energy, and depending on the size you are looking for, you can either pack one in your bag or make one carry yours.
Not a hunting breed, but also an outdoors-loving one, Australian Shepherds are one of the top reeds you should consider when thinking of fishing companion.
They will follow where you go and are brave enough to go on the boat, canoe, kayak, or swim across the river after you.
Australian Shepherds were bred for farm work, but they can adapt to virtually any situation, and sitting on the bank of the river and simply watching your fish is something they are ready to do without a single complaint.
How to teach a dog to fish?
Training your dog to be a fishing companion involves more than just bringing them to the water’s edge. Start with basic obedience commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come” to ensure they listen to you in different environments. Once these are mastered, gradually introduce your dog to the water and fishing equipment, always using positive reinforcement like treats or praise for good behavior. Some dogs naturally take to fetching fish you’ve caught, but remember, the ultimate goal is for you both to enjoy the experience, so adapt your expectations to your dog’s comfort level and abilities.
Best Boat Dogs
If you’re particularly interested in boat fishing, some dog breeds are better suited for life on the water. Breeds like the Portuguese Water Dog and the Labrador Retriever are known for their strong swimming abilities and stable temperaments, making them ideal boat companions. These breeds are also easy to train, which is crucial when you’re in an environment that requires quick and obedient responses.
When choosing a boat dog, consider factors like size and coat type. Smaller breeds might find it easier to move around on a boat but may require extra care in rough waters. On the other hand, breeds with water-resistant coats can shake off a quick swim and won’t leave your boat soaked. Always remember to equip your canine pal with a well-fitted doggie life jacket for safety while you both enjoy your maritime adventures.
There are many outdoor-loving dog breeds that are perfect fishing companions, but those five breeds are, in our opinion, some of the best ones.
Apart from being predisposed to the water environment, they are obedient and friendly and will follow you into any crazy adventure you are heading without a second thought. All of those breeds will watch your back while you enjoy your quiet time fishing.