Good question! The answer: Nope.
When it comes to swimming, dogs fall into three categories:
- Dogs that can doggie paddle.
- Dogs that can be taught to doggie paddle.
- Dogs that will sink like an anvil.
While dogs such as water spaniels, golden retrievers, Labs, Irish setters, standard poodles and Newfies are natural swimmers, some breeds are better off staying back onshore. It all comes down to anatomy…
For dogs with short muzzles, such as pugs, boxers and bulldogs, swimming is virtually impossible. When they get in the water, they have to lift their nose and mouth up in the air to breathe, which causes their backside to go down, putting them into a vertical position and causing them to sink.
Dogs with big heads and chests have a similar problem: Their upper body weight literally causes them to tip forward in the water and sink.
You’ll also want to watch out for dogs with super thick, heavy coats (imagine trying to swim with a gorilla suit on) and dogs with small legs, such as dachshunds or corgis (hello, exhaustion).
Here’s a list of dogs that are generally unable to swim:
- Staffordshire bull terrier
- American bull terrier
- Basset hound
Of course, if your dog isn’t on this list but has any of the physical characteristics mentioned above, use caution around the water. And if your dog is afraid of the water, don’t force them to get in. Some dogs may physically be able to swim but are so scared of the water that all they’ll do is panic when they’re submerged. As with humans, panic causes fatigue, which makes drowning much more likely.
If you’re planning to be around any body of water with your dog (including pools!), it’s a good idea to use a doggy life jacket, especially if your dog is skittish or unable to swim.