Dogs are like children when it comes to swimming and pool safety. They must be properly instructed on the basics. They should always be supervised around water. And, some are better in it than others.

Dog Breeds That Can and Can Not Swim
Swimming skills vary from breed to breed. While sporting dogs have a “good swimmer” reputation, short-legged breeds or dogs with brachycephalic (short) muzzles typically have a very difficult time around deep water. Here is a list of dog breeds that sink or swim in the pool, along with safety tips to keep man’s (and woman’s) best friend safe this summer.

Great Swimmers

Some dogs are bred for swimming. With water-resistant coats, webbed feet and tails that work as effective rudders, the following breeds can doggie paddle laps around some of the best human swimmers.

  • Newfoundland
  • Standard Poodle
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • Irish Setter
  • English Setter
  • Golden Retriever
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Spanish Water Dog
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Weimaraner

Though these breeds of dogs are known as good swimmers, don’t ever assume that these dogs should not be supervised. When they get excited, they can get winded and unaware that their energy is draining.

Not Very Good Swimmers

English Bulldogs are the number one worst swimmer because they are not physically built for being in water. They have a few things going against them. Their deep chest, round body and short legs make it incredibly difficult to stay afloat. Also, short-nosed breeds have a hard time breathing when active and they get into trouble quick when water gets in their nose.

Other breeds that should stick to land:

  • Pug
  • French Bulldog
  • Corgi
  • Dachshund
  • Bull Terrier
  • Basset Hound
  • Chow Chow
  • Pekingese
  • Shih-Tzu

Also, dogs with large heads and muscular bodies (Pit Bulls, Staffordshire Terriers) struggle sometimes, and toy dog breeds may get cold or scare easily.

There are always exceptions to every rule. Many of these breeds love splashing around in the shallows, which is just fine if they’re being supervised. It’s just the deep water and far distances that can be a problem.

Safety Tips for All Breeds

  • Get a canine life vest for new swimmers. Use the handle on the vest as a guide for helping him stay afloat as he learns to paddle and for helping get in and out of the pool. Get one for experienced swimmers, as well, when on the boat or out on large bodies of water like lakes.
  • Be sure there is always an out available for the dog. A properly placed skamper ramp allows an easy exit in case the dog has fallen in the pool or becomes disoriented from the direction of the stairs.
  • Don’t let your dog drink chlorinated pool water. Have a water bowl close by instead.
  • Rinse him off post-swim and don’t let him sit in a wet collar.
  • Put up a pool fence with a self-locking gate.
  • Dogs should never be let in the pool area when unsupervised. They might be the best swimmer you’ve ever seen, but they can easily become stressed when left alone.
  • When training your dog to swim, start small with a kiddie pool to allow your dog to be comfortable in water.
  • Don’t assume that your dog can swim, and don’t force him to swim if he does not enjoy it. If you have a land dweller, don’t throw the poor pup in and watch him suffer. That can be traumatizing for him.

Since it’s difficult to keep a walking schedule during the hot summer season, the pool is the ideal place to have fun and get some exercise. Always be aware of your dog breed’s limitations.

Filed under: Dog Breeds

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!