Can German Shepherds Swim?

German Shepherds are beloved pets for many reasons, such as their athletic ability and adventurous spirits. Many owners, or those who are looking at getting a GSD, are curious if this breed can swim.

Can German Shepherds swim? German Shepherds can be taught to swim. They are not natural swimmers, unlike some other breeds, but they can learn with proper training. Teaching a German Shepherd to swim is not very difficult, but it takes supervision and patience.

Even though swimming may not be an inherent ability of the German Shepherd breed, going for a dip in the cool water can become a favorite activity for these dogs.

Can German Shepherds Swim?

German Shepherds can swim, but they need to be taught how to most of the time. German Shepherds are very smart and may be able to learn some of the basics by themselves.

Through training and practice, German Shepherds can become excellent swimmers. If it came down to it, German Shepherds would be able to swim well enough to stay afloat and maybe get to some dry land.

Swimming for a dog should involve all four limbs instead of just the front or back paws. Swimming for a GS should include a minimal intake of water. Most of these skills need to be taught and practiced, instead of being a natural ability.

Since swimming is not the most natural sensation for a GS, supervision, and application of some proven methods is the safest option.

This breed of dog is agile, strong, and clever, so teaching them how to swim shouldn’t take as long as it does for some other breeds.

If you have a pup, it is even more important to make sure you are side by side trying to teach him or her to make sure they don’t have any experiences that make them afraid of the water.

Why Aren’t German Shepherds Natural Swimmers

German Shepherds seem like the type of dog that is good at anything that requires high energy, so it is unusual to some people that they are not the best of natural swimmers.

The reason as to why German Shepherds are not great swimmers is a pretty simple one: it is just not what they were bred to do.

Traits of dogs get passed down the same as it does in humans. Adaptions are made and dogs that are especially good at something are top canidates to be parents to a future generation.

German Shepherds have a lot of great qualities and they do well in a lot of different fields. They are mostly bred to be part of the military or the police field. Herding was another big thing they are bred for.

Dogs like labradors or retrievers were historically bred to retrieve prey, which is why they have adapted to be great swimmers.

Since German Shepherds generally did not have a reason to swim while accomplishing the work they were given, they did not really progress into the swimmers that other breeds are known for.

That being said, a lot of the work GSD had to do made them great specimens in terms of endurance, strength, and speed, so learning how to swim is something that is not terribly hard to do.

Teaching a German Shepherd How to Swim

If you are going to teach your GS how to swim or how to improve, there are a couple of things that you should try.

When you are first training, you should think about getting a doggy life-vest. This is a great way for them to become comfortable with the swimming motions while remaining safe. It’s also a good way to keep track of any wandering pup.

Here are a couple of really great ones, and they are not too pricey.

Start in still water if it is possible. Beginning this way will be easier and less draining on your GSD.

Don’t just throw your German Shepherd into the water, start with getting toes wet and working your way into the water with the GS. Rushing things, or making your dog anxious could create a fear of water that is much harder to get over.

It’s also great to get into the water with your dog when teaching. Make sure that you see all four limbs moving and kicking in the water.

After a while, swimming is going to be familiar. Try moving water or taking of the life vest if you feel like you are in a safe environment.

What to Keep in Mind When Your German Shepherd Goes for a Swim

Teaching your German Shepherd might be easier for some than it is for others. Before you go out and try, there are a couple of things that you should be aware of.

  • It’s a process. Just like if you were teaching your human child, you must have patience. They won’t be perfect the first time.
  • Don’t stay out for too long. German Shepherds get tired just like us. Too much time in the sun or too much time in the water could lead to exhaustion, and not the good kind.
  • If you go to a chlorinated pool to swim, make sure you rinse them. The same goes for dirty lake water.
  • Lastly, and most importantly, don’t let your Husky swim off unsupervised – German Shepherds are adventurous and if they are not good swimmers they might be put in danger. Pay special attention to them in moving water.

Can German Shepherds Swim in Chlorinated Pools?

Wondering whether your dog can swim in a recreational chlorinated pool is a common question. If you plan on teaching your dog how to swim in a still body of water, it might as well be the one in your backyard, right?

Well, German Shepherds can swim in chlorinated pools, as long as they have learned not to drink the water, and have reached a stage where they don’t intake a lot of water while swimming.

Being able to swim in general is a much bigger factor when it comes to the chlorinated pool situation than the water in the pool.

So teach first, then you can move to this kind of swimming area.

You should not play fetch in a chlorinated pool. A lot of water is taken in by a German Shepherds as they get to the object. So, just to reduce the amount of chlorine getting into your GSD save the fetch for steady ground.

It is a good idea to rinse your dog afterward, to eliminate any lasting effects that chlorine might have on your dog’s skin.

When you get out of the pool with your German Shepherd, make sure you get their ears nice and dry because most ear infections that come from swimming happen when your dog is not dried.

You should never let your dog swim unattended in a pool or other bodies of water.

Safety should be your number one concern. Leaving your dog alone in water could lead to some scary events, and could scar your dog, making them afraid of water for the rest of their lives. Other situations could be even worse.

Just be an attentive pet owner and you will have a super happy swimmer.

Fear of Water = Fear of Swimming

Some dogs get scarred or are just naturally afraid of water and this could mean troubled times for teaching them how to swim. German Shepherds are no exception for this.

A lot of owners find their GSD fleeing from water, no matter how brave they are in other environments. Do you find yourself with a German Shepherd who is afraid of water?

Here are some of the best tips on how to get them used to water, comfortable enough to even want to swim:

  • Go slow. Rushing things can make things worse. Don’t push your GSD past his or her comfort level or they might regress.
  • Use treats as incentives! Also, use positive affirmation to help build confidence.
  • Go into the water yourself! This is one of the most helpful ways
  • Help introduce water slowly with a hose and a kiddie pool – start with paws, get the back of the neck wet and so on. If they do well, give a treat and move forward.

Getting rid of a fear is a long process. However, swimming and even bath time will become a lot easier. In extreme cases, you can try taking your dog to a formal trainer.

Related Questions

Do German Shepherds like water? Most German Shepherds will like water and playing around in the water. German Shepherds are curious and courageous dogs so there are usually no problems. Some GSD can develop a fear of water if a bad experience occurs.

Are German Shepherds the best swimmers? German Shepherds were not bred for swimming purposes so they are not inherently the best swimmers. They can become great swimmers. The best swimmers are usually retriever breeds.

Noelle Carter

I love animals of all kinds! I grew up with the most beautiful German Shepherd/Husky mix. Ever since then, I have been obsessed with dogs and have owned a lot of different breeds. I want to help spread my love and knowledge about animals around to others through my writing!

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