Can German Shepherds Swim?

German Shepherds have always been known for their athletic abilities and their physical prowess. 

Yes, German Shepherds can swim, but does this mean they’re naturally adept at swimming?

Continue reading to find out whether German Shepherds like to swim or not, how to teach them how to swim, and some safety tips when swimming with your German Shepherd. 

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Do German Shepherds like to swim

Can German Shepherds Swim?

Yes. German Shepherds can swim.

Most German Shepherds are known for being the top breed chosen for the K9 Police Force. 

They are naturally athletic and courageous. So swimming is not a tall task for them.

GSDs also have some physical attributes that make them great swimmers. Let’s look at some of them below:

  • Long, powerful limbs: German shepherds can quickly move across the water. 
  • Long snouts: A German shepherd’s large nose makes swimming easier.
  • Double coat: Water has a hard time penetrating a thick double coat. So your German shepherd stays warmer longer.

Unlike other breeds like the Bulldog or Basset Hound, German shepherds excel in the water. So while they aren’t made for water, they have all the features that will help them survive in it.

Are German Shepherds Natural Swimmers?

No, German Shepherds are not natural swimmers. 

They were not bred for swimming. They were originally bred to herd in fields.

However, thanks to their high intellect, agility, strength, and obedience, they make excellent swimmers if taught properly.

They are also easily trained. So you can train them how to swim safely.

Because they are not natural swimmers, do not expect your GSD to excel at swimming. 

It’s still important to teach them basic swimming for their own safety.

Do German Shepherds Have Webbed Feet?

No, German Shepherds do not have webbed feet.

In essence, all dogs have webbed feet. However, a German Shepherd’s webbed feet are not as prominent as other water breeds.

A GSD’s toes are connected with an extra layer of thin skin. It also depends on each individual dog.

Some GSDs may have thinner webbing in between their toes, while some have more prominent ones. 

If your German Shepherd has webbed feet, be sure to let your veterinarian know so they can give you some advice on how to clean them.

Webbed feet should be cleaned properly so there is no build-up of bacteria, yeast, and debris.

Do German Shepherds Like to Swim?

Yes, German Shepherds like to swim.

Most German Shepherds like spending time in and around water, although they were not bred for it.

However, it still depends on the individual dog. Some dogs may not like water, or they may even be afraid of it.

Although a GSD being afraid of water is very rare because they are naturally courageous. It will be easier to teach them how to swim.

We’ll discuss more about that below.

Look at this German Shepherd caught enjoying a splash in the pool during the day.

What if My German Shepherd Doesn’t Like to Swim?

German Shepherds are not as naturally adept in water compared to water breeds. After all, they weren’t bred for it.

If your GSD doesn’t like to swim, there is no reason to force them to do so.

But there are some things you can do to encourage them to swim.

  • Teach them while they’re young.
  • Encourage them with treats and praises. Make swimming a positive experience for them.
  • Always be present during swimming lessons.
  • Be patient. Not all German shepherds take to the water easily. If yours is reluctant, stay positive and let them go at their own pace.

Safety Tips for Swimming with Your German Shepherd

German Shepherds are not natural swimmers, so that means you have to go the extra mile when it comes to teaching them how to swim.

Here are some safety tips when it comes to teaching your GSD how to swim:

  • Use a life vest or a life jacket. German Shepherds are athletic enough to swim on their own, but a life vest is necessary when they’re still learning, and if they’re in large bodies of water.
  • Go in the water with them. If you enter the water first, your dog may follow you. But never force them in if they refuse.
  • Start in the shallow end. A shallow pool or lake up to their chest is ideal. Once they are relaxed in the water, you can start moving on to something deeper.
  • Lastly, show them where the exit points are so they know where to go when they’re tired.

Find out the difference between a life jacket and a life vest to see what your German Shepherd needs. 

Don’t Do This When Introducing Your German Shepherd  to Water

German Shepherds might not be too excited about the water. So there are some things you should never do when introducing your GSD to water.

  • Don’t throw or push them in. Pushing them into the water causes anxiety and fear. 
  • Don’t force them to swim if they are not yet comfortable. 
  • Never let them alone in the water.

The best approach to training a dog to swim is to use positive reinforcement tactics. 

Be aware that each dog takes a different amount of time to learn. 

Some dogs may have to go through a few different sessions before they are comfortable in the water.

Is Swimming Good for German Shepherds?

Yes. Swimming is good for German Shepherds.

As you may know, swimming is a great form of exercise – it’s the same for most dog breeds.

Swimming has the same benefits as running for dogs. But it is a much more low-impact exercise. 

It also helps relieve stress for dogs.

And it’s helpful for overweight GSDs who need to lose some pounds. It also improves body condition & physical performance.

Find out more benefits of swimming with your dog.

How Old Should Your German Shepherd Puppy Be Before They Start Swimming?

You can start teaching your German Shepherd pup how to swim as early as 8 weeks old.

Getting them into the water as soon as possible can help them become used to it sooner. 

As they get older, this will help them improve their swimming skills. 

It also means that you’re taking advantage of their curiosity and high energy level by teaching them how to swim at a young age.

Find out how old puppies should be before they can swim

How Long Can German Shepherds Swim For?

German Shepherds can swim for up to 30 minutes once they are capable swimmers.

Swimming sessions should be kept short if your German Shepherd is still in the learning phase. 

Making them swim for an extended period of time during their training will exhaust them and make them associate the water with negative experiences. 

You can let them play in the water for up to 30 minutes once they are capable swimmers. 

If you swim with your dog for 30 minutes or more, make sure to immediately clean their ears. This will assist them in avoiding ear infections. 

Excess water in the ear as a result of water activities can cause issues in German Shepherds.

Find out how long dogs can stay in the pool.

Can My German Shepherds Swim in My Pool?

Yes. Your German Shepherd can swim in your pool. 

Your pool is the best place for your GSD to swim so you can supervise them at all times. 

But if your pool is chlorinated, it may affect your dog’s natural oils in their coat. This may lead to dry and irritated skin.

Here are some tips to help keep your dog’s coat safe when they swim in a chlorinated pool.

  • Before they go for a swim, spray their coat with some canine conditioner.
  • After swimming, rinse them off with clean water to get the chlorine out. 

Find out the tools you need for pool maintenance when you have a dog.

German Shepherds Can Swim

German Shepherds are athletic and courageous, so it’s easier to teach them how to swim.

While they are not known as a water breed, they can learn to love the water with proper training and positive reinforcement.

Just be sure to keep them safe, and keep an eye on them while they’re in the water. 

Check out these tips on how to get a dog out of an above-ground pool.