5 cottage-friendly dog breeds


You’ll rarely find a dog that doesn’t love the cottage just as much as its owner does. But for cottagers looking to adopt a cottage-friendly pooch, it’s worth asking whether your new best friend will have as much fun as you at the lake.

Sure, you can take any dog to the cottage and have a great time. Plus, a lot of a dogs’ sense of adventure and trainability comes down to personality. But although every dog owner has different preferences, some breeds are simply better suited for cottaging than others. “I personally live on a three-acre lake property, and we own a pit bull and a boxer. If they could speak, they would tell you they love it!” says Sandra Flemming, Director of Animal Care at the Nova Scotia SPCA.

On your down time, you certainly don’t want to be worrying about whether or not your new pooch will get lost in the woods, drown in the pond, or—worst of all—get killed by a coyote! To make your decision easier, we’ve compiled five breeds that are perfect for cottage life, based on trainability, off-leash behaviour, and safety around water (with absolutely no offence to any other dogs).

Mixed breeds
It’s kind of a copout to say this, but a lot of mixed breeds end up in shelters and need homes. “Most mixed breeds would love to live in the cottage environment and would do just as well as any purebred,” says Flemming. In particular, lab-hound mixes tend to make perfect hiking, cottaging, and camping companions.

Golden retriever
Often considered the poster child of family-friendly dog breeds, these dogs are athletic and strong. They’ll swim, run safely off-leash, and retrieve. They also love to learn, though their tendency to easily get excited can slow down their training.

Labrador retriever
A well-loved breed, Labrador retrievers are happy to run around and great for hunting, but they’re also incredibly obedient and loyal. Labs love swimming and retrieving (their original purpose), so although they’re harder to train, their other strengths outweigh that tendency.

Newfoundland guide
They have the strength to rescue a person from drowning, even in the ocean, so having one of these dogs at your cottage is like having your own lifeguard. Newfoundlands are easygoing yet energetic, and pretty easy to train. Be aware, though, that they’re not fans of long drives, so they might be a better fit if you live at your cottage or don’t have far to travel.

American water spaniel
As the name suggests, these dogs love to swim. Their coats keep them comfortable in all seasons, and they’re fairly low maintenance. They can run around off-leash but still come when they’re called, and they’re easy to train and make great family dogs.

If you have your heart set on a particular breed, you should know that bulldogs, dachshunds, boxers and pugs aren’t great swimmers, but an adorable doggy life jacket will keep them safe around water. Dogs like huskies and beagles are harder to train as off-leash dogs, which makes them less suited to some cottages, Flemming points out.

“When getting any dog, the most important considerations (regardless of where you live) should be whether you have the time to properly train, socialize, and exercise the dog, and whether you’re financially able to care for that animal,” Flemming says.

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