Can All Dogs Swim? The Real Answer

Dog can’t swim? So far, you haven’t got the best answer to this question.

Well, we often hear about the swimming style, which is “ doggy paddle.” This fact makes us confused about whether all dogs have the instinctual ability to swim. So can all dogs swim? Keep scrolling through our article, and you will get the best satisfactory answer ever!

Can All Dogs Swim?

Contrary to our beliefs, the answer is no; not all dogs have the ability to swim.

An explanation for this is that each dog is different, and they are born with various habitats as well. Depending on the breed of your dog, you could determine whether dogs can’t swim or not.

We would like to divide dogs into two main types: dogs having natural swimming ability and dogs incapable of swimming.

Firstly, let’s talk about dogs with innate swimming skills. These breeds are already raised for water rescue and water activities. Honestly, we could not regard these dogs as excellent swimmers, but they are prone to enjoy the water thoroughly.

Water-loving dogs are the Retrievers and Spaniels. For example, they are the Golden Retriever or the American water spaniel, or the Portuguese Waterdog. These breeds have strong and long legs, which helps them a lot in swimming. However, some senior dogs possibly cannot swim.

Another breed of dogs is those that are unable to swim. The outstanding characteristics of this breed are that they always have large and boxy chests and shorter hind legs.

These types include Boxers, Pugs, and especially the Bulldog. Moreover, any of these breeds with a short snout face more difficulty in breathing or maintaining their airways on the water surface. Due to this factor, these breeds need special and constant supervision to avoid any risk of getting drowned.

Do Dogs Need Help When Swimming?

For dogs having no ability to swim, it is reasonable that they need special help when swimming. But it is best if we keep them away from the water. What about dogs that are already able to swim? In fact, they still need help when swimming.

Knowing how to swim does not necessarily mean that they could be fully safe under the water and keep themselves afloat when being in trouble.

Chihuahuas and the Maltese are typical examples to name. Needless to say, these small breeds can swim, but they may quickly get overwhelmed by water just after several minutes.  In this case, these dogs tend to tire themselves quickly. This makes them panic and try in vain to climb anything.

Can We Teach A Dog To Swim?

As the saying goes: “Nothing is impossible.”, No matter how much your dogs are afraid of the water, you could still teach them how to swim.

To start the swimming lessons, make sure that you have prepared a flotation device for your dog. Then you should encourage them as much as possible, just like teaching a kid.

Besides, never pull them directly into the water as your dog will panic and may feel harder to swim later on.

Another useful technique we highly recommend you is to find an already confident swimming friend for your dog. Let your dog watch his friend swimming. As a result, your dog will have more interest in swimming and especially have fun with his friend.


So can all dogs swim? With all the detailed explanations above, we bet you have got the answer. In summary, there are types of dog breed that can innate swim and those who are incapable of.

If you are still confused about whether dogs can’t swim or not, you could visit here to get more useful information.

Further reading:

How Often Should I Bathe My Dog?
Are Beagles Good Swimmers?