Can Border Collies Swim?

Border Collies are an athletic breed of dog, but many owners are uncertain if it’s safe for them to swim. 

Yes, Border Collies can swim, but they are not natural swimmers. Border Collies need to be trained to swim.

Find out how you can train your Border Collie to swim, how old they need to be to learn, how long they can swim for, and more.

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Border Collies swimming

Can Border Collies Swim?

Yes. Border Collies can swim if they are taught how. 

But they are not natural swimmers like the Golden Retriever, Poodle, or Portuguese Water Dog.

Border Collies were not bred to work in water. They were used to herd and protect cattle. They are not hardwired to paddle in the pond to retrieve game.

This is why it’s normal for Border Collies to be hesitant around water for the first time. 

Any dog can learn how to swim whether they have the physical traits of a swimmer or not. 

Even though swimming doesn’t come naturally, their high energy levels and athleticism makes the Border Collie easy to train. They are also fit to swim in deep waters.

Border Collies need plenty of exercises and mental stimulation to avoid destructive behavior, which makes swimming a great activity for them.

Carefully introduce your Border Collie to the water so they can enjoy it. 

We also recommend training them at a young age.

Why Are Border Collies Natural Swimmers?

Border Collies are not natural swimmers because they do not have a history of working in water. 

Their ancestors rarely experienced being in water or frolicking among the waves.

They were not able to develop the characteristics of a natural swimmer dog.

But they are natural learners. And they have a double coat that helps them withstand cold water. 

Their longer top fur coat is water-resistant, so they don’t get saturated and weighed down while swimming. 

The Border Collie’s long legs allow them to paddle efficiently while keeping their head above water. Above all, Border Collies are intelligent dogs with high IQ.

Watch as Bucky the Border Collie dives and swims.

Do Border Collies Have Webbed Feet?

Yes. All dogs have webbed feet.

However, the Border Collie’s webbed feet are thinner than other water breeds’. 

The membrane between their toes only helps with walking on difficult terrain and digging, but not with swimming.

As a herding breed, Border Collie’s webbed feet help them run around fields and hills. They can also walk faster on sand, gravel, mud, or dirt. 

These webbed feet provide the grip they need to avoid injuries while working

Border Collies can also put up with the snowy and slippery climate with their webbed feet. They worked on the hilltops of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Northern England.

When it comes to swimming, thin webbed feet are still better than none. It would be harder for the Border Collie to paddle if their toes are spread apart. 

Only the Golden Retriever, Irish Water Setter, and other water dog breeds have thick webbed feet since they were developed for working in water.

This Border Collie can put his head underwater. Watch as he retrieves the ball.

Do Border Collies Like to Swim?

Yes. Border Collies enjoy swimming and all types of work. 

This breed will learn anything to impress their owner, on land or sea. Even though they were herders who worked in fields, they were not afraid to work in water.

Swimming is the best way for Border Collies to burn off excess energy. They’ll cheerfully paddle across the pool, play fetch, and mingle with other swimmers.

Border Collies are used to herding and training on land. So give them an adjustment period to fall in love with swimming. 

We also recommend early swimming lessons so they can grow up appreciating the water. Be consistent in letting training too, we recommend once or twice a week. 

Do Border Collies Like Water?

Yes. Border Collies like playing in water.

Their double coat means they can splash around the shallow swamp or play in the shower without feeling cold easily.

Some Border Collies prefer a shallow pool over paddling in deep water. They enjoy shallow water, especially in the summer.

Aquatic activities are wonderful for Border Collies who don’t like getting their whole bodies soaked.

Still, it depends on every dog. Some Border Collies may not like the water.

This is why it’s important to start teaching them early, so you know what your dog likes.

What if My Border Collie Doesn’t Like to Swim?

If you’re Border Collie doesn’t like to swim, don’t force them.

It’s normal for Border Collies to dislike swimming because they are not a water breed. You don’t have to force them to enjoy the activity. 

But you still have to teach them how to swim for safety purposes.

If you own a pool, they may accidentally fall in. Teaching them how to swim will help them in emergencies like these. 

The key to getting them to like water is to properly introduce them to water. 

Here’s how:

  • Let them play under sprinklers, or in the shower first. This will help you see if they have a fear of water.
  • If you have a pool, try letting them step a foot inside. If they avoid it, try again in a few minutes.
  • Slowly and positively introduce your Border Collie to swimming by offering treats and praises. 
  • Make their first swimming experience a fun and safe one. 

Is Swimming Good for Border Collies?

Yes, swimming is good for Border Collies.

It has no severe impact on their bodies and joints. They naturally paddle and float too so it’s an excellent exercise for them.

Swimming is a great form of exercise for those recovering from an injury or surgery rather than running or walking.

Swimming may be low impact, but it helps tire your Border Collie quickly. Five minutes of swimming is already equivalent to 30 minutes of running for your dog.

Learn the other benefits of swimming for your dog.

How Old Should Your Border Collie Puppy Be Before They Start Swimming?

Border Collies can learn how to swim as early as ten weeks old. 

Because Border Collies are easy to train and very athletic, it’s better to start training them early.

Here are a few tips for training your Border Collie to swim:

  • Start by placing them in shallow water like a tub or small pool. This will make them understand what water feels like. 
  • Gradually increase the depth of the water every day until they are ready to swim in the pool.
  • In the pool, take them to the shallow area first. 
  • Assist them where their legs won’t touch the ground.
  • Always stay near them as they swim. 

For their safety, it is best not to leave your Border Collie to swim alone.

Learn why 10 weeks old is the right age to swim your Border Collie.

How Long Can Border Collies Swim For?

Border Collies can swim for around 10-30 minutes depending on how old they are and how good they are.

If your Collie is a beginner, it’s better to let them swim for only 10 minutes so they don’t tire easily.

Expert swimmers can stay in the pool for up to 30 minutes as long as they take frequent rests and stay hydrated. 

Some Border Collies that swim for sports can spend up to one hour in the pool.

Find out more about how long dogs can swim for

Can My Border Collie Swim in My Pool?

Yes. Border Collies can swim in the pool if the water is not too cold, the pool is kept clean, and they are trained to stop drinking pool water.

If it’s too cold for you to swim, then it’s also too cold for your dog. 

Never let your dog swim below zero temperature. 

Check out the right water temperature for swimming with your dog.

Don’t let your dog drink from the pool water because it can cause an upset stomach.

We also recommend keeping the chlorine at a safe level to protect your dog’s skin and fur. 

Learn the best pool filter and vacuum for your pool if you have a dog. 

Border Collies Can Swim

Border Collies are lucky to have long legs, double coats, and a tall body that allows them to swim easily. 

But not all Collies enjoy a swim. Some of them only want to be by the beachside to splash around.

Make sure your Border Collie wears a life jacket during their first few sessions of swimming lessons. 

Find out if dogs can swim underwater.