i can't keep my chocolate lab out of the water during our beach walks and i no longer worry if she's getting cold but i wonder how warm she is (40+/- degree water). does she feel like she has on a 3/2? a 4/3? she looks so scrawny and thin with so little fur when she sprints dripping out of the water and starts digging a huge hole (warming strategy?) it's hard to believe she can be warm but she's panting and waiting for me to throw the ball back out into the water. so i do. anybody have (cold) water loving dogs? what kind of dogs do you think stay the warmest in cold water?
I used to have a huge Chesapeake Retriever. Came as a package deal with my girlfriend, now wife. If we were near water, she was in it. Temperature didn't matter. I swear if you kept throwing a ball she would go after it every time no matter howtired she was. When she got real old, I think she became slightly more selective, but not much. We just didn't throw the ball as far for fear of her getting tired and drowning.
When I was a kid I had a little mutt that was part retriever. I watched that dog go out on thin ice on a pond, fall through, and pull herself out. I was sure she was gonna drown, but she could get her paws up and out on the ice, dig her claws in and pull herself out. The thing is, it didn't seem to phase her. Even though the water was freezing, she shook off and went on her way.
My only fear with a retriever is their love of being in the water makes them almost possessed. They could ignore the fact that they are cold. Then again instincts usually kick in when they need to. The oils they have in their coat work pretty darn good
i had a black lab growing up that was a water addict. she actually swam out after my father a few times when he was surfing. water temp, nor roughness, seemed to matter to her. i remember her taking a few beatings in the shorebreak down in hatteras w/ no ill effects. she'd just shake herself off & go on w/ her day. she would also, if presented w/ the opportunity, roll around on a dead fish left behind by a fisherman. aside from chasing a ball in the water, i don't think she loved anything more than that. she very clearly knew it drove us all nuts, but it was a passion she couldn't control. it really sucked, giving her a bath in january to get the dead fish stink off her. but it was really hard to be pissed at her when i saw the look of pure ecstasy on her face while she rolled around on the fish du jour.
as for what breed would BEST handle cold water, i would place my bet on a newfoundland. they're big dogs to begin w/, but the amount of fur & the thickness of it is very impressive. hard to keep up w/, from a brushing & shedding standpoint, but they were bred to pull barges & do rescue work in the canadian maritimes. they really don't give a crap about cold.
I had a big fat Lab swim out to me in Ocean City one winter day. The owner was on the beach screaming for the dog to come back but it kept coming and getting hit by waves the whole time. It eventually made it to me but was panting so hard it could hardly keep it's head above water. I had to jump off my board and carry this huge dog all the way in while we were both being pummeled by sets. The dog was so weak it didn't fight me at all. After all of this the owner just said "she loves the water" I just turned around jumped back in the without saying anything. I was happy to save the poor dog but it ate up a half hour on a day that I only had an hour surf.
I had a lab that I needed to keep leashed to the center console in the boat because he would constantly jump out and swim to the marsh if there were birds out there. He was a great dog and super obedient but he was absolutely posessed on getting on the marsh. He did this year round and it didn't matter how cold it was. As far as cold water - there were several times he had ice sickles hanging of him and it didn't phase him a bit. When he got old his back legs and hips started going and the cold really bothered him then.
as long as your dog is moderately conditioned it will be fine (ie heart in pretty good shape). labs, while not quite as durable as a chesapeake can hunt in frozen marsh for hours where the water temp is 34ish. i have two pits that i cant keep out of the water, they will get hypothermia after an hour or so if air plus water temp is less than 85, they do not have the insulating oily double coat that a true water dog has. keep them hydrated, if you're real concerned look for visible shivering and look at their gums if they start to look pale, blood may be pulling into to core to keep warm might be time to get out.
if presented w/ the opportunity, roll around on a dead fish left behind by a fisherman. aside from chasing a ball in the water, i don't think she loved anything more than that. she very clearly knew it drove us all nuts, but it was a passion she couldn't control. it really sucked, giving her a bath in january to get the dead fish stink off her. but it was really hard to be pissed at her when i saw the look of pure ecstasy on her face while she rolled around on the fish du jour.
sad lab story: Me and 2 friends were surfing in sandbridge oct/nov this year we saw an old lab take some serious shore pound and went down for the count. The family was devastated, kids crying, mom crying, dad trying to do doggy cpr. We ended up helping them get the lifeless old pup to the car using a surfboard as a stretcher. Absolutely heartbreaking.
Anyways, I could only hope to die playing in the shorebreak.
"its not tragic to die doing what you love" -Bodie.
I have 2 Lads a charcoal and a silver. I hunt them every weekend for ducks and geese. most of our hunting is on the water. best thing this time of year is to get them some neopreme and dry there butts and heads off when they get out of the water. i use vests with floatation just in case its ruff out and the currents are bad. here are some links.
Labs and retrievers were breed to be great swimmers in colder waters. They love that sh!t!!!
When it snowed down here in VB a few weeks ago my pool froze over (the cover is on, but there was about a foot of frozen water above the cover). Anyways I would always walk outside to play with the dogs, only to find them laying down in the half frozen water, seeming to love every second of it. I may be wrong, but i think that their sense of temperature is not as sensitive as ours, especially for labs and retrievers.