HomeFeaturesCan dogs swim naturally? – Which dogs can, which dogs can’t


Can dogs swim naturally? – Which dogs can, which dogs can’t — 14 Comments

  1. how adorable is that pug swimming!

     You know I have never given this topic much thought,  always just assuming all dogs can swim. Now we have a jack Russell and she loves water. She runs straight to the sea but never allows herself to get to a depth where she would need to swim so now I’m thing that’s because she can’t swim. 

    • Hi Dianne – yeah, you gotta love the Pug! 🙂

      It’s difficult to know whether your Jack Russell can swim or not. They can be good swimmers and they don’t have to go in very far into the water to find out 🙂 Have you tried throwing a stick or stone for her? Throw them just a little out of her reach and see if she swims for them. Check out the section on teaching your dog to swim. However, as she has short legs, obviously be careful she doesn’t get stressed or anxious if she gets out of her depoth.

      Like humans, I think it’s useful if dogs can swim, just in case they find themselves in water.


  2. I was very impressed by you saying not to make your dog do something he doesn’t want  like teaching him to swim.

    My sister has dogs and she has a pool. I have to ask her if her dogs go near the pool or not. I’d be interested in knowing.I’s very interesting that some dogs can swim and some can’t.

    But it’s understandable that you can teach your dog to swim without rushing them. It’s kind of like teaching a child, right?

    And the good thing is that’s great exercise for the dog too.

    Dogs have water resistant coats? Does that make it easier or harder for them to swim?

    • Hi Rob – I can see you are concerned about your sister’s dogs. If they can’t swim they should not be left unsupervised for a minute! There should be a safety fence around the pool to stop them getting in.

      If they can swim, they should still not be left unsupervised, ESPECIALLY if there is no shallow-end ramp or dog ramp that they can use to get out of the pool. But even if there is, you need to supervise them, just like kids.

      When in water, most dogs will attempt a walking motion we call the dog paddle. However, not all dogs are successful at keeping above water and actually swimming. If you want to teach a dog to swim, follow the suggestions in the article. They are children in a sense and must be superivsed 100% of the time!

      Dogs with water-resistant coats were bred specifically for working in water. They should be good swimmers. However, as detailed in the article, it’s not a 100% guarantee that they will be able to swim or even like the water. The odds are in their favour but it’s not a certainty.

  3. Thank you so much for all the information you have shared about can dogs swim naturally. I wnt to get a Labrador but it never occured to me that some dogs can swim and some are not very good swimmers. I actually thought they all knew how to swim. I am, though, also very relieved to find out that the Labrador is in the category of the good swimmers. I live near the beach and it would have been a pity if he didn’t . Thank you for sharing.

    • Ha! Ha! Thanks, Barbara. Yes, I can see you throwing a stick into the sea and your dog turning around and telling you to get it yourself! 🙂 Things like that do happen. Er, without the dog talking, that is 🙂

      My first dog, Henry, was a Labrador and he loved the sea. I have friends with a Labrador and  she loves the water, too. I don’t think you’ll have ny problems. However, if he doesn’t dash in the waves straight away, use the coaxing technique and I’m sure he’ll be surfing in not time at all 🙂

  4. This is really a broad and interesting article, I take my dog to the beach whenever myself and family hangout for a swim but he seems never to be interested, I got confused  about this. Is it that Rottweilers aren’t good swimmers or they don’t just like the sight of water? Because we have a lot of fights when trying to bath him,. Whenever he sees water he runs away. What could be wrong? 

    • Hi Seun – Rottis aren’t top of the list for swimming but they aren’t bottom, either. I think most Rottis do like to swim but yours obviously doesn’t. Many dogs don’t like being bathed, possibly because they feel they have no control over the situation and they can feel constricted.

      As with all training, the best time to start was when he was a puppy 🙂 Take a look at Cleaning a dog – Bathtime without tears for tips on how to to get your dog used to being bathed. But be aware that it could take some time. If he gets stressed his resistanve will increase further.

      Swimming is not quite the same, as the dog should not feel constricted and swimming and chasing sticks and balls is all about having fun. Try playing with your dog near the water’s edge. Go in the water yourself and encourage him in. But again, this can take a while. Don’t force him.

      It is possible that your Rotti just doesn’t like swimming or want to swim. Try the tips but if he doesn’t want to there’s not much you can do about. Just enjoy spending time with him doing other things.

  5. This turned out to be the best post I have read so far today. Thank you for this post

    Now, I’ve got to know why dog has been acting strange since I took him in the pool with me. Apparently it has made him not trust me. Now I know what to do for him to trust me again and slowly teach him how to swim.

    Thank you, this is really fantastic  information.

    • Hi Kehinde – thank you for your kind comments.

      We shouldn’t put a dog in a situation he doesn’t want to be in. It’s easy to do this accidentally, especially with swimming as it’s great fun and most people think all dogs can swim. He was obviously uncomfortable and didn’t feel safe.

      Follow the tips and take it slowly and hopefully you will encourage your dog back in the water and you’ll be best friends again! However, it may take a while and you may discover that he is one of the dogs that really doesn’t like water or swimming. Just accept it. There are lots of fun things you can do with your dog besides swimming.

  6. Thank you for this wonderful post. I found it really educational.

    I have two dogs but we don’t often go to the beach so I never throught about them swimming. I never knew that dogs have a swimming instinct. I had not thought about it before.

    I will follow those swimming tips and see if my dogs like the water. I think they will but if not, I know how to train my dogs to swim. 

    Thank you. 

    • Hi Clement – thank you for saying such nice things 🙂

      You don’t say what breed your dogs are, but even if they aren’t one of the top swimming breeds there’s every chance they will still like the water. The majority of dogs do, and many of those who don’t like swimming are happy to splash about at the water’s edge.

      Good luck, have fun!

  7. Hi! This is a very interesting topic.  My dog likes to swim but I am about to hire a boat for a holiday and want to take him with us so I was interested to read about dog life jackets. I didn’t know there were such things but it makes perfect sense especially if they are on a boat. I will make sure to get one for my dog before we go. Thank you.

    • Hi Henry – good man!

      I’ve lost count of the number of dogs I’ve seen on boats without a life jacket. It is sooooo easy for a dog to slip overboard with the movement of the boat without anyone noticing. They may be able to swim, but on the sea they will be disoriented, and dogs generally can’t swim for long periods. Also, it’s not always easy to see a dog if it’s a little choppy.

      Enjoy your safe hol iday!

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