Some dogs are ideal for outdoor activities at the cottage, but for those of you who would rather be sitting on the dock gazing at the water than actually jumping in, or taking in the scenery from your deck rather than hiking the nearby trails, these are the perfect canine companions for you. Just note that a few of these breeds aren’t great swimmers, so it’s best to have them wear a doggie life jacket—just in case they do end up in the lake.
These good-natured dogs are known for their short legs, long floppy ears, and droopy eyes. In general, they’re a pretty relaxed—but vocal—breed that are content to laze around. They love to eat and food is a great motivator for them, so spending time outside is necessary to keep them in shape. Bassets were originally bred as hunting dogs and when they catch a scent there’s no stopping them, so to make sure they don’t take off, it’s important to keep them on a leash.
One of the most ancient breeds of dog, greyhounds are definitely fast sprinters, but they’re actually couch potatoes at heart. A retired racer’s favourite pastime is sleeping, although you should still keep your eye on them in the outdoors; their prey drive is strong and they won’t be able to resist chasing after animals they encounter.
St. Bernards are gentle giants if trained and socialized properly from an early age. This enormous breed can weigh up to 180 lbs, but they enjoy cozying up to their owners and spending time with them. Since they were originally bred to be rescue dogs in the cold Alps, Saints don’t do well in hot temperatures and can suffer from heat exhaustion pretty easily. Just make sure they have access to shade and cool water to drink when you’re outside together.
Originally from the Swiss Alps, these large dogs with a distinctive tri-coloured coat of black, white, and rust love being outdoors accompanied by their owners. When they’re socialized as puppies, they’re very well behaved and affectionate and make for great companions. They enjoy taking short hikes but otherwise don’t require more than a daily walk, and are content just spending time with you.
Another giant dog breed, Leonbergers were bred to be all-purpose working farm dogs and are wonderful animal companions to have. As with any big dog, socialization and thorough obedience training are needed but they can get along well with other family pets and are friendly towards children. They generally just want to be an integral part of the family, so they’re happy to stay by your side wherever you are.
These medium-sized, compact and muscular dogs are capable of forming strong bonds with their owners, and although they may look a little intimidating, they want nothing more than your attention and affection. They would much rather rest than walk (although a bit of exercise would do them some good), and are content just to sit at your feet—or even better, in your lap, if you let them. Because they have small nasal cavities, they have trouble regulating body temperature, so make sure they have plenty of shade and water when you’re outside together.
These spunky and spirited toy dogs were formerly Belgian street dogs, and have heavy beards and very expressive faces that some liken to the Ewoks in Star Wars. Griffons need a moderate amount of exercise and a good deal of mental stimulation, but they always want to be by your side (or in your lap). They love to cuddle and be around people, and their charming, loving natures make them appealing cottage companions.