some dogs are incredible swimmers

Dog swimmer

some dogs are incredible swimmers

Many people mistakenly think that all dogs can naturally swim incredible swimmers. This isn’t true. Though most dogs will attempt a doggy paddle if they find themselves in the water, not all dogs are good swimmers or are able to stay afloat. In the latter camp you’ll often find brachycephalic (aka short-muzzled) dogs who can tire easily or have respiration problems in the water, “top heavy” dogs with deep chests and smaller hindquarters, or dogs with short legs.

Teach Your Dog to Swim

If your dog is able-bodied but hesitant to swim, get into the water with him. Go slow and start out in the shallows, praising as you gradually move deeper. Try a lifejacket designed for dogs and create positive association—coax your dog into the water by throwing a fetch toy or treats (which will often float for a minute before sinking). Be sure to avoid anywhere with waves that could swamp and scare your dog.

By keeping it fun and positive, many nervous dogs will soon come to love swimming, which is wonderful as it’s great exercise while being easy on joints. Just respect that some dogs are happier on the shore, and there’s nothing wrong with that!

Swim Gear

Keep your dog safe in and around water with a Zippy Paws Adventure Life Jacket, available in sizes to fit dogs big and small. Not only will it keep your dog afloat, reflective stripes keep dogs visible and a built-in handle let you give your dog an assist.

Dogs that LOVE Water

It’s often said that all dogs are born knowing how to swim— at least knowing how to do the so-called “dog paddle.” While that may not be true (and a good reason why you should never just toss a dog into a lake, pool or ocean), there are certain breeds that are often more adept at swimming. These dogs have generations of ancestors in their blood that were bred to retrieve from water.

While many dogs love taking an occasional dip in the pool, lake, or ocean, some furry friends just can’t get enough! These eager pups typically have strong, muscular bodies and maybe even a few unique qualities that help them excel at water-related activities.

English Setter

The term “setter” comes from this breed’s style of hunting; they slowly creep up on their prey, then set (or freeze) until ready to make their move. While originally bred as bird dogs, English Setters are affectionate, mild-mannered pups most happy in the water.


Vassals are versatile attention seekers who can succeed in a wide range of activities if properly trained. They are strong swimmers but should not swim in cold weather because they do not have a thick, insulating coat compared to most other dogs that swim.

Leggott Romagnolo

The Lamott Romagnolo descended from water dog breeds who hunted duck in the Romagna region of Italy. As the marshes in this area were drained, these active, affectionate dogs switched jobs and now excel at sniffing out truffles—but their love for swimming persists.

Read More: Some are fast and could even beat a cheetah


Thanks to their water-repellent coat and webbed feet, Newfoundland’s are hard-working dogs that hauled in fishing nets, carried boat lines to shore, and rescued those who fell overboard from the 1600s to early 1900s. Indispensable to fishermen, these gentle giants remain steadfast and even-tempered.

Which dogs can swim?

Some dogs are literally built to swim. These include  and Portuguese Water Dogs, amongst others. They often sport handy adaptions like oily, water-resistant coats to keep them warm, and webbed feet to help them propel through the water. For these dogs, swimming is not only a great exercise but also incredibly fun!

Which dogs can’t swim?

Some dog breeds simply aren’t cut out for anything more than a paddle in a shallow stream. This is because their bodies are not designed for swimming, whether due to having short muzzles, thick, heavy fur, or disproportionately large heads. These breeds, which include Bulldogs, Pugs, and Basset Hounds, are usually best kept away from deep bodies of water.

Doggy swimming pools

The best place to take your dog swimming are doggy swimming pools. They are a safe environment for your pooch, with entry and exit ramps, professionals on hand to help and excellent facilities and equipment. However, they do come at a cost and are usually frequented by dogs needing hydrotherapy or who are on weight management programs. You will usually need to book a slot in advance by calling your local center incredible swimmers .

Coastal waters

Swimming at the seaside presents a slightly different challenge to freshwater sources. It’s really only for the more confident pooches as the tides, strong currents and deep water can present a higher risk. Before taking your dog to the beach for a swim, consider the following:

  • If dogs are allowed on the beach, whether they are allowed in the water and whether they are allowed off lead.
  • The general weather conditions (avoiding bad weather and low visibility).
  • The strength of the currents and tides, especially the presence of any riptides.
  • The presence of others enjoying the beach that your dog might disturb, such as sunbathers, surfers, and children.
  • The cleanliness of the water and the beach.
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