Do Dogs Like To Swim

Trago Loved The Water
Trago was my swimming buddy.

I’m sure that just like not every person likes to swim, not every dog is a swimmer.  But yes, plenty of dogs do like to swim.

Over the years I have had plenty of experience with dogs that like to swim. My pit bull was the biggest swimmer of them all.

Born To Swim

Some dog breeds were actually bred for the water. Whether it be for hunting and retrieving or for rescue, these breeds love the water.

  • American Water Spaniel                      The Good Swimmers
  • Boykin Spaniel
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Chsapeake Bay Retriever
  • Curly-Coated Retriever
  • Flat-Coated Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Golden Retriever
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
  • Barbet
  • English Setter
  • Lagotto Romagnolo
  • Newfoundland
  • Otterhound
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Spanish Water Dog
  • Standard Poodle

I’m sure there are probably more breeds that were bred for water activities. Just remember, even though these breeds were bred for water doesn’t mean that an individual dog is going to love the water.

Here are a couple of breeds not necessarily bred for water but might like it anyways. And again, I’m sure that there are more breeds that like water.

  • Miniature American Eskima
  • Boxers
  • Labradoodle
  • Pit bulls
  • Pug
  • Chihuahua

Not So Good Swimmers

Some dog breeds just were not built to swim. And some of them HATE the water. Here are a few dog breeds that probably won’t be your swimming buddy.

  • Papillion
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Chinese Crested
  • Dachshund
  • Pekingese                      Cut But Not Water Lovers
  • Pomeranian
  • Greyhound
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Shih Tzu
  • Bull Dog
  • Maltese
  • Basset Hound
  • Bichon Frise
  • Pug
  • Chihuahua

Now, I know that I have Pug and Chihuahua on both lists. That is because I had both of these dogs. Because of their build, Pugs have a hard time swimming. But my little boy loved to play in the shallows. My Chihuahua girls would play in a kiddy pool or in the bathtub. Open waters like a lake or river would scare the crap out them.

Keeping Them Safe

Just like we take precautions to keep our children safe around water, we need to also make sure our pets are safe.

Making sure your pool has a fence around it with a locked gate is a great first step to keeping everyone safe. Make sure that you have stairs or a ramp for your dog to easily get in and out of the pool. Always be in the water with your dog – dogs get tired quickly and may need help to get out.

We teach our kids to not go near the water without an adult, so train your dog to stay away from water. I know that is easier said than done. But, it can be done.

If you are swimming in fresh waters like a lake or river, be mindful of currents that could sweep your pup away. Swimming in the ocean can be dangerous too. Watch out that your dog doesn’t go out to far and get caught in waves.

Dog Life JacketsWe put floaties and life jackets on our kids. There are life jackets made just for dogs. They come in different sizes and some pretty cool designs too.  You can find them most anywhere. Even if your dog is a great swimmer, I would recommend a life jacket.

Wherever you are swimming with your dog, make sure that you bring fresh water to drink and a towel. Dog’s can over heat easily and putting a wet towel on your pup’s tummy can help to cool him off.


Dogs can panic in and around water. Kids screeching in fun, the sound of a boat passing by, the touch of a fish swimming by, and many other things could scare your dog. These things could cause your dog to panic and stop swimming, which would cause them to start to drown. How would you handle this situation? Do you know what to do?

The first thing is to stay calm. It’s hard I know, but staying calm will help you to get to your dog faster. Pull your dog out of the water and pick him up by his back legs to drain any water that is in the lungs. If your dog is not breathing check for a heart beat.

If there is no heart beat then you will have to start CPR. Continue CPR for a minute and check for a heart beat and breathing. If there is none continue CPR until you reach a veterinarian.

Even if you don’t have to do CPR on your pup, please bring him to the veterinarian right away. The poor thing could go into shock.


Yes, plenty of dogs like to swim. And swimming with our four-legged kids can be lots of fun. Take steps to make sure everyone is safe and stay vigilant.

If you are looking for a swimming buddy don’t get discouraged because you had your heart set on a Dachshund. I have seen Dachshunds swimming in pools – with life jackets on and loving it. Even though there are two different breeds lists, any individual dog could love to swim….or not.

Let us know if your dog is a swimmer, or is afraid of water!

Pit Bull Swimming




Author: JTowsley

I am a dad of three, two boys and a girl. I have a wonderful wife, Heather. We love animals, especially pit bull type dogs.

2 thoughts on “Do Dogs Like To Swim”

  1. Hi!
    Thanks for this great article.
    We have a Podengo. She is now 6 months old, but so far she does not really like to go in the water / sea. The furthest she went alone is until the anckles and mostly only when we were also going in the sea.
    Do you know if it’s possible to encourage her to go in the water? Are there any techniques?

    1. Treats are always helpful! Just take it slow with her. When she goes into the water make sure you are right there next to her and give her a treat. Take a step or two forward and try to get her to come to you. If she does, give her a treat. Just slowly keep at it. Seeing her family splashing around and having fun without her might encourage her to go in a little farther. I hope this helps!

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