been doing research and so far thinking about:
what other kinds of dogs would you recommend
I probably wouldnt recommend those breeds for you. Definately not the maltese- they will shed, and they are not the most friendly, outgoing breed of dog there is.
Poodles should be good in water, but again I have often found the toy sized poodles not very friendly towards strangers. Miniatures are a bit better. They are very intelligent, though.
Have you thought about any of the other terrier breeds?
Jack russels are a good all round active dog. Generally pretty friendly with strangers provided they have been correctly socialised, they just want to follow you everywhere. The wire coat will shed less than the short coat.
Corgis are excellent, intelligent, social little dogs. Our Corgi used to love swimming- she would dive in and come up bum first. They have a soft, double coat they shed- but not excessively.
Here is a dog breed selector,once you're done,all the choices will come up.
the dogs that are very small, and can train easily are Miniature poodles. they don't shed alot, their trainable, and they have alot of energy.
a Pembroke Welsh Corgi is another good dog. they are fast learners, and they love to do things outdoors. they are born athletes.
Lancashire Heeler is another dog who doesn't shed alot, and has great stamina.
The Manchester Terrier is an intensely devoted, loyal, affectionate, energetic and enthusiastic dog. He is a steady and loving companion who can also be quite independent and determined. He is easy to train and housebreak because he is so eager to please you, and he learns quickly. But because he can be independent and headstrong, you will need to be firm and positive with him, and control his stubborn side.
The Mexican Hairless (Toy) is a calm, devoted, loving, sensitive and happy dog. He clings quite closely to his family and will follow you from room to room. He is responsive and seems to sense your moods, and is a warm, gentle and affectionate companion; for this reason he is often employed as a therapy dog. He's also an energetic, agile athlete who loves to play and who needs a great deal of exercise and attention
The English Cocker Spaniel is a loving, gentle-mannered, devoted, loyal, happy, lively and playful dog whose goal in life is to spend every minute he possibly can with you. He will stick close by your side, shower you with kisses, and wag his tail madly when he sees you. He likes to lie on the sofa with you or share your bed, yet he's also a moderately energetic dog who is ready to play and who craves outdoor exercise and activity.
The Dachshund is a bold, tenacious, devoted, loving and protective dog. He has lots of energy and can be an intense pet to live with, but he is also playful, fun, happy and outgoing.
The Shiba Inu is an athletic, independent, confident, fearless and lively dog. He is affectionate and good-natured with those he knows, but aloof and reserved with strangers.
The Jack Russell Terrier is a high-energy, confident, loving, loyal, and playful dog. He wants to be fully involved with his family, and needs lots of games, play and attention. He is a friendly, happy, outgoing dog who can be very gentle and kind. He is also strong-willed, and absolutely fearless. He will take on any dog-no matter how big it's size! He can be confrontational toward other dogs and may be aggressive toward them if not controlled. He's generally not good with cats and other small pets because he wants to chase and hunt them. He is a very trainable dog and can be quite obedient.
The Patterdale Terrier is tough, determined, fearless, energetic, playful, fun-loving and strong-willed. He craves the hunt and has very strong prey instincts, and is not really suited to apartment-living. He's an independent, high-spirited, working dog: bold, confident, tenacious, and with the stamina to hunt or play for hours. Inside the house he can be relaxed and laid-back if gets enough exercise and activity. He can bond very closely to his family, and can be gentle, loyal and affectionate, snuggling in your lap.
a lot of small dogs can be big trouble, people seem to see them as cute and harmless however if they are not trained and can be hard to train can become very aggressive, shedding wise a poodle sounds good but training wise you have to be firm.
I don't know very much about small dogs, but I do know that toy poodles are just about the dumbest dog I have ever come in contact w/. My aunt loves them I have know idea why. She had a little cream colored one first, and that thing was useless, anytime you went next to it, it would just roll on its back, other than that it was just a couch ornament. Years later when that one passed she got a little black one. Other than color, you would have thought it was the same dog. They didn't play, they didn't run around they just laid there until someone picked it up. I really don't know why anyone would want a small dog, you mind as well get a cat, they are much less maintenance.
These dogs would not be good choices if you have toddlers or young kids. They're just too small and you literally can't turn your back on them, either because the child accidentally hurts it or leaves stuff lying around that the puppy eats. Slightly larger dogs can tolerate this, but the tiny ones keep ending up at the emergency vet. They're also not dogs I'd take swimming.
Aim for something a wee bit larger, like a schnauzer, westie, llasa apso, etc. These are all small dogs but not the really tiny ones.
With all the things you're looking for in a dog, It's got to be the Toy Poodle. You want something very small, Toy Poodles are very small, you want something little to no shedding, Toy Poodles hardly shed, they shed there fur like us, well actually you'd probably shed more hair then your toy poodle, you want a dog that is easily trained toy poodles are VERY intelligent dogs, actually they are the secound smartest breed in the world, so training would be a breeze! Friendly, yes Toy Poodles are friendly dogs, a dog is a product of how it's raise so If you want your Toy Poodle friendly it will be with proper training like any dog, you want a dog that is not afraid of water, actually poodles love water!
So with all that said I think the Toy Poodle fits your need PERFECTLY.
I think those are good choices! they are sweet and also ask your vet for some advice!
Cocker Spaniel, Springer Spaniel, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. All are water dogs with webbed feet. Bred for retrieving game in the water. Shedding is not a major problem as long as you brush well once a week and get professional grooming every 6 weeks or so. Great dogs. Intelligent, playful and energetic but not yappy or hyper, Couch potatoes when not working or playing.
How about a Havenese? They look like this: http://havanesecentral.com/HavaneseT.jpg
They are small, easy to tame, don't shed, friendly, good with people, I am not sure about the water thing 'cause all dogs are different.
Toy Poodles run away a lot and are hard to train.
Hope I helped! =)