Do dogs like to swim?

It’s summer holiday time with our four-legged friends and all sea loving humans are probably looking for pet friendly places where they can share their passion for everything aquatic with their canine best buddy. But despite our desire to share the joys of the ocean with our pet, how do we actually know if they enjoy the water? And do all dogs like to swim? The answer is much more complex than we might imagine. In fact, just as for man, there are great ‘water’ lovers and those not inclined to swim among the quadruped fraternity.

Dogs that love to swim

Genetics, of course, have a part to play; we can find examples of dog breeds naturally inclined to flourish in the water, making exceptional swimmers. Breeds of dogs in this category, include:

  • Irish Water Spaniel: tight curly coat, long oval ears and almond-shaped eyes, this dog was originally used in Ireland for game hunting in water and on land. Easy to educate and particularly brave, it’s the perfect family dog.

  • Spanish Water Dog: curly coat in a variety of colours, medium-sized body and elegant appearance. The breed was used in the Spanish region of Andalusia to hunt in the local marshlands. Faithful and very intelligent, it’s always on hand to help its owner, even at work.

  • Barbet: French in origin, the Barbet has a woolly coat as befits a water dog, and is a perfect breed for retrieving in water. Sociable, cheerful and clever, a perfect family pet.

  • Otterhound: the aquatic hunter par excellence, distinguishes itself by its ability to withstand long periods in freezing water. Friendly and reliable, an ideal partner in emergency situations.

  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever: this retriever, native to Baltimore, is at ease in the icy waters typical of its territories. Physically robust, a rustic and rare dog.

Dogs and water: not always a perfect combination

Natural predisposition aside, not every dog is inclined to swim or play in water. This is the case with quadrupeds, such as the bulldog, which are not physically equipped for the task. On the other hand, some dogs such as the Labrador, Golden Retriever and Newfoundland are crazy about the water to the point that they have to be supervised near water to ensure they don’t escape for a dip in seas, rivers and lakes. And other dogs? Certainly, they would greatly benefit from swimming – it strengthens the heart and lungs and stimulates the whole muscular system without tiring the joints – so it’s up to the owners to make the experience as pleasant as possible for their pet.