Written By: Eliza Berman

One of the coolest dogs to appear in the pages of LIFE has to be Bellybutton. The 3-year-old German shorthaired pointer made an impression in 1966 with his underwater agility.

Bellybutton was unique not for his swimming abilities, but for his willingness to dive to retrieve an object. Most dogs retrieve sticks and balls from the water’s surface, but Bellybutton would go as deep as 20 feet and remain submerged for up to 15 seconds. He even practiced his skill on his own one day, LIFE reported, “he dived unbidden into a lake and fetched his master a 10-inch catfish.”

Liz Ronk edited this gallery for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter @lizabethronk.

German pointer Bellybutton diving for a rubber bone in swimming pool.

Bellybutton would swim underwater for distances up to 20 feet.

Ralph Crane The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

German pointer Bellybutton diving for a rubber bone in swimming pool.

German pointer Bellybutton dove for a rubber bone.

Ralph Crane The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

German pointer Bellybutton diving for a rubber bone in swimming pool.

Bellybutton reached the pool’s bottom to retrieve the bone.

Ralph Crane The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

German pointer Bellybutton diving for a rubber bone in swimming pool.

Bellybutton neared the rubber bone.

Ralph Crane The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

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Bellybutton returned to the surface.

Ralph Crane The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

German pointer Bellybutton diving for a rubber bone in swimming pool.

Bellybutton raced against a human swimmer to capture the bone.

Ralph Crane The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

German pointer Bellybutton diving for a rubber bone in swimming pool.

Bellybutton exited the pool via the stairs.

Ralph Crane The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

German pointer Bellybutton diving for a rubber bone in swimming pool.

Bellybutton carried his rubber bone.

Ralph Crane The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

German pointer Bellybutton diving for a rubber bone in swimming pool.

Bellybutton shook himself dry.

Ralph Crane The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

German pointer Bellybutton diving for a rubber bone in swimming pool.

Bellybutton received a post-pool rubdown.

Ralph Crane The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

German pointer, Bellybutton after a swim.

Bellybutton after a swim.

Ralph Crane The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

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