Can All Dogs Swim?

PetGuide logo

When your doggo spots a body of water on the horizon, it can only mean one thing – fun! Dogs love to splash around and play in the water- whether it’s a puddle or the Pacific ocean, it does not matter to them much. Some dogs are still somewhat picky though – and will avoid water at all costs. Not everyone is alike, after all. But can all dogs swim regardless of their opinion of fun times in the water? Should you worry if your doggo zooms out into the nearby lake or a pond?

Most dogs have a natural instinct when it comes to swimming. It doesn’t take much for a dog to start paddling away when in deep enough water – it’s only natural and requires little learning. You’ve certainly noticed that dogs will often move their feet as if swimming when held above a body of water – that’s that natural instinct kicking in. However, time had a say in all this – certain breeds that were developed over the ages will simply not be such adequate swimmers at the end of the day. While a Golden Retriever or a German Shepherd could be ideally proportioned athletic swimmers, Bulldogs, and Dachshunds – and all similar breeds – will have considerable trouble swimming independently. Such breeds usually have short legs, stout build, and elongated bodies, and are generally disproportionate. This of course limits their ability to stay afloat, and swimming will not be possible without a flotation vest. 

Other breeds, however, are made for it. Dogs weren’t always just loving, goofy pets. Certain breeds were built for hunting and retrieving prey. Labradors, for example, were always bred to bring back hunted fowl, which often included swimming in large bodies of water. This instinct survived to this day, and it will be no trouble for a Labrador Retriever to jump in and swim as soon as they spot water. Breeds such as these can also have unique water-repelling coats, making them ideal swimmers.

But if your doggo is far from an aesthetic build, swimming could be a big challenge. They might express the desire to go off a-swimming, but it simply won’t pan out. In fact, you’d want to keep an eye out on them, and it’d be best to not let them into the water without swimming aides and your close supervision. Life vests made for dogs and similar flotation devices will immensely help these dogs stay safe while having fun in the summer. With these accessories, they will easily float on water and can use their stubby legs to move. It makes for good practice and keeps unnecessary danger at bay.