Can English Mastiffs Swim?

This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

At first glance, it’s hard to imagine an English Mastiff swimming. Their big, bulky body does not look like they will float.

Yes, English Mastiffs can swim, but they need substantial training to do it properly.

Learn whether English Mastiffs are natural swimmers and if they like being in the water.

And find out how you can teach your Mastiff to swim safely. 

Do English Mastiff Like to Swim

Can English Mastiffs Swim?

Yes, English Mastiffs can swim. 

Given sufficient and early training, English Mastiffs can learn how to swim safely. 

They are not natural swimmers, but they can enjoy it if they have consistent training from puppyhood.

Additionally, they may need more assistance learning how to swim compared to smaller breeds.

They will have trouble staying afloat and finding their balance in the water because of their large, bulky bodies.

For them to swim safely and properly, you’ll need to teach them how.

Because English Mastiffs were not bred to work in water, they lack the natural ability to swim.

Are English Mastiffs Natural Swimmers?

No, English Mastiffs are not natural swimmers. 

They weren’t bred to work around water like Labradors or Irish Water Spaniels. 

English Mastiffs were originally bred to be fighting and guard dogs. It is not their natural instinct to jump into water when they see it.

Most will need some training and guidance to learn how to swim and to learn to love the water.

Do English Mastiffs Have Webbed Feet?

No, English Mastiffs do not have webbed feet.

While all dogs have some webbing between their toes, only some breeds have prominent webbed feet that are useful in the water.

English Mastiffs don’t have this. What they do have is a big reputation for liking water. 

They enjoy fun water activities, especially if they’re around other dogs too.

Introduce your English Mastiff to water at a young age if you want them to play with you in it.

Do English Mastiffs Like to Swim?

Yes, English Mastiffs enjoy swimming.

But it still depends on each individual dog. If the weather is too hot, your English Mastiff may enjoy going for a quick dip in the pool.

Each dog has different levels of appreciativeness towards the water. So if you want your English Mastiff to like swimming, you must get them acquainted with the water early, and as often as possible. 

In deep waters, your English Mastiff may easily sink because of their size. Give them a life jacket or a life vest to help them float.

Check out Samson’s first time swimming in the pool.

Can You Teach an English Mastiff to Swim?

Yes. You can teach your English Mastiff to swim.

English Mastiffs are obedient, and they require early socialization to learn. They learn quickly, and they are always aiming to please.

This will make it easier for you to teach them, as long as you start teaching them early. 

However, English Mastiffs get bored easily. They might stop paying attention to you in the middle of a swimming lesson. 

Repetition in training also bores them. So think of fun and creative ways to train them. 

When teaching your English Mastiff how to swim, make sure you make eye contact with them. 

English Mastiffs are known for their excellent ability to read a person’s expression and body language. They also communicate through their eyes. 

Additionally, they react well to positive reinforcement, so use that to your advantage. 

Don’t punish them if they don’t like water or can’t swim at first.

Even if your English Mastiff already swims, keep a close watch on them. Give them a life jacket to make swimming easier.

Now watch Sampson dive into the pool, this was taken months after his first swimming lesson.

How to Teach an English Mastiff to Swim

English Mastiffs may be obedient and quick learners, but you still need to have a lot of patience when you’re teaching them how to swim. 

As previously mentioned, they get bored easily, so you’ll need patience when they suddenly decide they’re done learning for the day.

It’s also important not to overwhelm or exhaust them while you’re teaching them how to swim. 

You can use positive reinforcement, including treats, toys, and compliments to help encourage them to get in the water. 

As always, it’s best to equip them with a life vest or a life jacket so they can feel confident as they learn. 

It provides them with extra security too for when they get tired of paddling.

Fortunately, English Mastiffs have webbed feet that help them thread through water easily. 

Start teaching your English Mastiff how to swim with these tips:

  1. Start exposing them to a small body of water. Ideally in your bathtub, or a kiddie pool at first.
  2. Encourage them to get in the water with a toy or treat.
  3. Hold their chest above water as they start to learn how to paddle.
  4. Once they start to enjoy the activity, encourage them to go deeper by giving them treats or luring them in with toys. 
  5. Stay close to them as they swim.
  6. Repeat this process until they learn how to swim.

Safety Tips for Swimming with Your English Mastiff

When swimming with your English Mastiff, take the following precautions:

  • Make sure they’re wearing a life jacket or vest whenever they’re near or in water.
  • Bring your English Mastiff out of the water as soon as they show signs of exhaustion.
  • Stay at their side when they’re in the water, even if they know how to swim.
  • To make it easy for them to get out when they’re tired, show them where the entry and exit points are.
  • Before and after swimming, make sure they’re well hydrated.

When swimming, make sure your English Mastiff is wearing a life jacket. If they don’t have one, they’ll struggle to stay afloat and paddle.

Find out the best life jacket and other swimming gear for your English Mastiff.

Don’t Do This When Introducing Your English Mastiff to Water

In addition to the safety precautions, there are a few things you should never do while introducing your English Mastiff to water.

  • If your dogs aren’t ready to swim, don’t force them to.
  • Do not push or shove them in the water. They will associate the water with negative experiences.
  • Try to prevent them from ingesting pool water. Pool water has chlorine, chemicals, and other bacteria that could lead to water intoxication.
  • Do not let them go near or in a body of water without wearing a life jacket or a life vest, even if they already know how to swim.
  • Do not leave them in the water unattended, especially in deep and uncharted waters.

Is Swimming Good for English Mastiffs?

Yes, swimming is good for an English Mastiff.

Swimming is a great cardiovascular activity for your pups, and it’s four times more effective than walking. 

It’s also a perfect way to help your English Mastiff’s heavy body cool down during a hot summer day. 

Swimming is also a terrific way for your English Mastiff’s heart and lungs to thrive and to help strengthen their muscles.

Swimming is also a low-impact activity, so your pet’s joints will not be under a lot of stress.

Find more about the pros and cons of swimming for dogs

How Old Should Your English Mastiff Puppy Be Before They Start Swimming?

You should train your English Mastiff puppy to swim when they are around ten weeks old.

It is always best to teach your English Mastiff how to swim when they are young and full of energy.

This gives them enough time to get used to the activity.

Make sure their immune system is healthy and well-protected before taking them swimming. This means vaccinating them completely.

This way, they are protected against any contaminants in the water.

Any pollutant or pathogen found in chlorine or natural water could affect your dog’s health.

You can start by putting them in the tub or a kiddie pool to see how they react to the water.

Once they’re comfortable swimming, move them to the shallow end of the pool, then the deeper end.

Learn the right age to let your puppy swim

How Long Can English Mastiffs Swim For?

English Mastiffs can only swim for around ten minutes at a time.

The longer they stay in the water, the more they are exposed to water pollutants and water intoxication. 

English Mastiffs and Mastiffs in general also get tired easily. So it’s important not to overwhelm and exhaust them. 

They weren’t bred to swim, and swimming for less than ten minutes should be sufficient.

Water breeds, on the other hand, may swim for up to 30 minutes before becoming exhausted.

Check out the right amount of time for swimming with your dog

Can My English Mastiff Swim in My Pool?

Yes, your English Mastiff can swim in your pool.

Because there are no unpredictable waves or high tides, it is the safest place for them to swim.

They’ll also be far safer in a pool than they would be in a lake, which could contain harmful blue algae.

Because English Mastiffs don’t shed very often, their fur won’t block your pool filter.

However, one disadvantage of swimming in a pool can be the steep steps. To solve this, you can install a small ramp in your pool to help them get out safely.

Another drawback is your pool’s chlorine levels. The fur coat of your fur baby might be damaged by chlorine water.

After a pool swim, give them a quick rinse with fresh water to eliminate any pool chemicals.

Find out more tips for letting your dog swim in your pool.

Be Patient When Teaching Your English Mastiff How To Swim

English Mastiffs get tired and bored easily. When you’re teaching them how to swim, make sure you keep the sessions short and interesting.

You can try out different toys, different approaches and different treats every swimming session to keep them interested.

Just make sure they’re wearing a life jacket or a life vest when they swim. 

Find out here if you should wash your dog after a swimming session.

Dog Training Me