Are German Shepherds Good Swimmers? (Explained) 2022

It is pretty common to spot dog owners who take their dogs on vacations with the rest of the family. They mostly go on beach vacations during the summer holiday. This activity is not an exception for German Shepherd owners.

When we see such dogs at the beach or the pool, we always wonder about their ability.

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Are German Shepherds good swimmers? Well, Yes! German Shepherds are good swimmers. With good training, patience, and treats, your GSD can be an excellent swimmer. GSDs are pretty easy to train. Other than some physical features they possess, they are very courageous, agile, and confident. These characteristics give them the boldness to try swimming.

Do German Shepherds Naturally Know How To Swim?

Many dogs love to cool off in the water, but not all of these dogs are natural swimmers. GSDs do not naturally know how to swim.

Right from time, they were not bred for swimming. Instead, they have always been brought up to operate on land. They have always been trained as guard dogs for man and animals.

However, this doesn’t automatically make them bad swimmers. Even though German Shepherds are not natural swimmers, they make excellent swimmers because their bodies are built for swimming.

Some dogs that are not natural swimmers like GSDs are Greyhounds, Bulldogs, Basset hounds, and Boston Terriers.

On the other hand, examples of dogs that are natural swimmers are Labradors (Labrador Loves Water), Portuguese water dog, Spanish water dog, Irish water spaniel, Schipperke, Golden retriever, and the Standard poodle.

How well do German Shepherds swim?

German Shepherds swimming

As said earlier, German Shepherds are not natural swimmers. They need to be trained before they can swim. However, after they are taught, how well do GSDs swim?

Well, German Shepherds swim very well. They can be trained to become excellent swimmers.

German Shepherds are very flexible and sporty animals. It is only normal that they become good swimmers once aquatinted with the water.

Why are German Shepherds good swimmers?

German Shepherds are good swimmers

Although German Shepherds may have issues during their first swimming experience, it becomes very easy for them during consecutive occasions.

Why are German Shepherds good swimmers? These are a few reasons why:

1. Long legs

German Shepherds have long legs. Dogs with long legs swim way better than dogs with short legs.

Due to the extra muscles present in their legs, they put in more power in every stroke. This action enables them to remain afloat and move about freely in the water.

2. Long and pointed snouts

The longer and more pointed the dog’s nose, the easier it is for them to breathe while swimming. It’s easier for German Shepherds to stick their noses above the water and take in air rather than water while they swim.

Also, their nasal passage is large enough, and they can breathe in as much air as is needed.

3. Webbed feet

German Shepherds have webbed feet. If you don’t know this, you can check the paws of your German Shepherd. These webbed feet serve as paddles for the dog.

It enables the German Shepherd to have a larger surface area to move on while it swims. It’s just like that of a duck.

4. Presence of a double coat

German Shepherd owners have a common problem when bathing their dog. This problem is getting the water to go beyond the fur.

German Shepherds have a double coat. When they swim, the first coat repels water. This feature prevents them from getting too heavy in the water as their coat will not get soaked up. It gives them the liberty to move quickly in water.

The second coat acts as an insulator. It keeps the dog warm while it swims, so it doesn’t come out of the water shivering from the cold.

5. Thinness

German Shepherds are naturally thin. Their thinness gives them flexibility in the water. Also, the presence of the extra muscles helps them generate energy to push themselves in the water.

6. Agility and Activeness

German Shepherds are very active animals. You could even call them sporty. Swimming is just like any other fun activity they love to do.

They do not get tired easily and can swim for as long as 30-40 minutes.

How to Train a German Shepherd to Swim?

How to train a German Shepherd to swim is relatively easier than we think. Below are a few ways we can teach our German Shepherds to swim:

1. Start small and slow

When teaching your German Shepherd to swim, it is advisable to start small and slow. Don’t take them to an immense pool or the beach on their first swimming lesson. Start with small shallow home pools. Something a toddler could swim in.

After that, it is proper for you to get them familiar with larger bodies of water. You can play with them around the edge of a pool or the shallow part of a lake.

2. Participate with them

Your German Shepherd will only do what it sees you doing. Get into the water. If possible, with all your four limbs. Play in the water and show your dog that it’s safe.

After observing you, it’s easier to convince them to join you. At this point, you will guide and hold on to them until it’s okay to let go.

3. Praise them

Everyone loves to be praised when doing everything, literally. This is the same with dogs. Praise them at every interval. They feel encouraged and eager to try more whenever you praise them.

You can appreciate your dog with treats. They’ll love that very much.

While teaching your dog how to swim, don’t forget safety. Always make sure they have a life jacket on to avoid drowning. They may also put on a swimming leash, so they don’t drift too far away from you when you’re not looking.


Teaching your German Shepherd how to swim gives you and your dog a good chance to bond.

German Shepherds love getting in water. It is an excellent opportunity for them to cool off the heat. Swimming is also a great way to get your German Shepherd to exercise.

The constant movements and force are used to keep them fit, flexible, and very energetic. German Shepherds may not be born swimmers, but they make excellent swimmers with good practice.


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