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Does Swimming Come Naturally to Dogs?

dog, dogs, swimming, pets, water safety, summer
  • 20 June 2017
  • Pet Wants

Anyone who’s spent much time around dogs has probably noticed that much of what these animals do is driven by their instincts. Examples of these behaviors include barking, digging, eating their dog food or showing their loyalty to a special human. While instinct does have a major impact on what dogs do, it’s important to understand that not all behaviors fall into this category. A great example of this is swimming. Whether it’s due to the term “doggie paddle” or another factor, many people assume that dogs are born to swim. However, this isn’t actually the case. Even though there are plenty of dogs that take to the water right away, this isn’t something that all dogs possess. Many of these animals will panic when they hit the water or even start sinking right away.

The Main Categories of Dog Swimmers

To fully understand the link between dogs and swimming, it’s helpful to put certain breeds in a few different categories. The first are dogs who tend to naturally exhibit skills as great swimmers. These breeds include water spaniels, golden retrievers, Irish setters, English setters, and the water-loving Newfoundland. Experts believe that the swimming skills these breeds tend to exhibit are a combination of their strong limbs, as well as the history they have of being bred to retrieve waterfowl or for water rescue.

The next category of dogs are those who are not at all built for swimming. These breeds include bulldogs, dachshunds and boxers. Their lack of swimming ability stems from having short legs that aren’t able to thrust in the water. Pugs and other breeds with short faces fall into this category as well. That’s due to how quickly they fatigue. It’s also worth mentioning that even though some small breeds like the Chihuahua or Maltese can swim well, the fact that they can get scared or cold quickly may cause problems for them in the water.

The last swimming category for dogs is individual pups that may be physically able to swim but are unable to perform this activity due to being very scared of the water. A common trait that dogs who fall into this category share is panicking as soon as they hit the water. And if a dog hates getting wet, trying to get them to swim may be an uphill battle.

Keeping Your Dog Safe Around Water

Whether your dog loves being in the water, you’re trying to teach it to swim or your dog prefers being in your lap when you’re somewhere like a boat, it’s important to practice water safety. The best piece of equipment for this is a life vest or jacket that’s specifically designed for the size of your dog.

For more information on pets or to try one of our nutritious blends, please contact Pet Wants Cincy West at: 513-498-2883.