A Husky dog is perched on a white boat looking out at a blue lake.

Dive or Doggy Paddle: Can All Dogs Swim?

Have you ever wondered, can all dogs swim? This query, often associated with the term doggy paddle, is a fascinating one. The term “doggy paddle” mirrors the way many dogs navigate through water, and interestingly, it’s also the method many children are initially taught to swim. But the answer to this question just might surprise you!

No, Not All Dogs Can Swim

Many people probably assume all dogs can swim, but this is not true. In fact, several breeds can’t swim, and many of them don’t like being near water.

For certain breeds with shorter legs or rounder chests, swimming can be much more difficult. For other breeds with flatter faces, swimming without getting water in their nose can be tough. Some of the breeds that aren’t natural swimmers include…

  • Pug
  • Daschund
  • Bull terrier
  • Boxer
  • Corgi
  • Shih Tzu
  • Sharpei
  • Chow chow
  • And many others

On the other hand, there are also dog breeds that are natural swimmers, such as…

  • Labrador retriever
  • Otterhound
  • English setter
  • Golden retriever
  • American water spaniel
  • And more

Can All Dogs Swim Naturally?

So, while there are breeds that avoid swimming, you might be curious if all dogs can swim naturally to some degree. After all, what if they fall into the water and need to stay afloat enough to get to shore?

Unfortunately, no, there are some dogs that this can be extremely dangerous for. The good news is that most dogs can be trained to swim if they cannot naturally!

Teaching Your Dog How to Swim

So, how does one go about teaching their dog to swim? Teaching should first start with using a life vest to acclimate the dog to the water. Additionally, some dogs may not enjoy wearing a life vest and must adjust to that before getting in the water.

Once the dog is in the water, start slow with only around five minutes in the water, and increase the time gradually with each practice. In many cases, this can help develop swimming abilities. 

Moreover, opt for a life vest with a handle in case the dog needs to be quickly pulled out or guided. Remember, with patience and the right approach, many dogs can be trained to swim effectively. 

Now that we’ve covered whether all dog breeds can swim, we hope you have an excellent time with your dog this summer! Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Get Joy website for other excellent wellness resources and guides for your dog.