Can Golden Retrievers Swim?

The Golden Retriever is one of the most famous breeds and they are known for their adorable appearance and cheerful attitude. 

Yes, Golden Retrievers can swim. This breed is one of the best water dogs that can swim well.

Find out what makes a Golden Retriever a natural swimmer, if they like swimming, some safety tips for swimming with your Retriever, and more.

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Golden Retriever swimming

Can Golden Retrievers Swim?

Yes. Golden Retrievers can swim.

Golden Retrievers are one of the best water dogs who can stand long hours and distances of swimming. 

They can swim in swimming pools, ponds, lakes, and even the ocean.

This skill is special because even though all dogs can learn how to swim, only a few can swim for a long time. 

All dogs were bred for a specific task. For the Golden Retrievers, they were bred to retrieve waterfowl for hunters who shot them. 

These include ducks and geese. This required Golden Retrievers to swim a lot. Hence, their breed’s name.

Now, Golden Retrievers are popular dog breeds for families because of their amicable nature.

Golden Retrievers are instinctively good swimmers even when they were still puppies. 

It only takes a few days for them to master how to maneuver their bodies in the pool.

Why Are Golden Retrievers Natural Swimmers?

Golden Retrievers are natural swimmers, originally bred to recover game in water. Over time, they developed great swimmer-like physical features.

They have always been medium-sized dogs. They’re not too heavy to submerge, nor too light to get tired after a few paddles.

Their legs are long and strong enough to support their torso while staying afloat.

Goldies have double coats that keep them dry in cold water. Their outer coat is waterproof, and their inner coat repels water and insulates against cold.

Not all dogs have the right temperament for swimming, but Goldies do.

Goldens are active dogs. Swimming is a low-impact sport that helps them release excess energy.

But Golden Retrievers can get “swimmer’s ears”. It’s an ear infection from too much swimming. Reduced air circulation causes it in dogs with floppy ears.

Watch how Tucker the Golden Retriever throws a pool party for his fellow Goldies.

Do Golden Retrievers Have Webbed Feet?

Yes. All dogs have webbed feet.

But not all of them are thick between the paws. Thick webbed feet are needed for one to propel in water quickly. 

Luckily, the Golden Retriever has a visible membrane between each toe for them to push more water.

All water dogs share the same webbed feet.  It allows them to swim faster because of the amount of force they exert on the water.

Webbed feet also benefit canines who hunt and burrow. It allows them to dig faster and walk easily on slippery muddy surfaces.

These webbed feet were passed down to the Golden Retriever from one of their ancestors called the Tweed Water Spaniel

The extra layer of skin makes a huge difference in the distances they cover when swimming.

Do Golden Retrievers Like to Swim?

Yes. Golden Retrievers like to swim.

Much of a breed’s love for swimming has to do with their physical traits. Because of their medium size, weight, and coat, Golden Retrievers excel in water activities. 

Many believe that their innate love for swimming is inherited from the Tweed Water Spaniel.

Goldies are a cross between a yellow flat-coated retriever and a water spaniel.

But not all Goldens enjoy swimming. Some have experienced negative experiences in water that made them dislike it.

Others were simply not taught to enjoy swimming because they have no access to a pool, or they weren’t taught using positive reinforcement. 

Some Golden Retrievers only enjoy swimming when they get older, while others only loved it as puppies.

Every dog is different, but you can teach them to love swimming.

This Golden Retriever can swim underwater just to play fetch.

Do Golden Retrievers Like Water?

Yes. Most Golden Retrievers love water. 

They don’t mind getting wet since their water-repellent fur keeps them dry.

They enjoy playing in the water since they are an energetic dog breed that likes to stay cool. Golden Retrievers are curious, bold, and adventurous.

Golden Retrievers go crazy even when it’s only bathing time. They enjoy mud-slinging, kiddie pools, and beach time.

Goldies who dislike swimming may alternatively enjoy playing in shallow water instead.

What if My Golden Retriever Doesn’t Like to Swim?

It’s not common for Golden Retrievers to dislike swimming. But if they do not like the activity, there is no need to force them.

Goldies, despite their natural swimming ability, may need gradual water introduction. One bad experience can spoil their love of swimming.

It isn’t difficult to teach a Golden Retriever to swim, but it may be difficult to get them to love it. 

Don’t be afraid to spend plenty of time in a small body of water, like a tub or kiddie pool if they are puppies. 

Then, bring them to the shallow end of the swimming pool. Make sure they can stand up without their neck being submerged underwater. 

Once your Golden Retriever is confident in shallow water, let them paddle to the middle of the pool. 

Encourage them with praise while supporting their chest and back. 

If they don’t like being in there, try again after a few minutes.

It may take a few sessions like this for your Goldie to feel comfortable in the water.

Be patient and encouraging, but don’t force it. If after a few attempts they clearly don’t like it, then look for another activity for your pup to enjoy.

Safety Tips for Swimming with Your Golden Retriever

  • Before letting them swim, check if they are comfortable with water.
  • Equip them with a life jacket or a life vest. Especially if they’re swimming in deep water.
  • Keep them close at all times. They can get tired of swimming and will need your help.
  • Show them how to get out of the water in case they need to get out on their own.

We have the best life jacket recommendations for your dog for you to check out. 

Find out why dogs can’t tread water.

Don’t Do This When Introducing Your Golden Retriever to Water

Here are some things to avoid when introducing your Golden Retriever to water:

  • Do not force them or push them in the water if they don’t like to swim.
  • Do not drag them by the collar while swimming.
  • Lastly, do not leave them in the water for too long.

Teach your dog how to swim using positive reinforcement so they will also learn to love swimming.

Is Swimming Good for Golden Retrievers?

Yes. Swimming is good for Golden Retrievers.

Swimming is the best exercise for a Golden Retriever so they can maximize their webbed feet, double coats, and long legs. 

One minute of swimming is also equal to around 4 minutes of running for a dog. 

They can get many health benefits from swimming without hurting their joints, affecting recovery, or experiencing sore muscles.

Your Golden Retriever’s deep breathing as they swim strengthens their heart and lungs to let them live a longer life.

Swimming can also provide stimulation for the Golden Retriever. 

This breed also needs their minds to be exercised to avoid anxiety and destructive behavior. It’s a great way to release energy healthily.

Find out the other benefits of swimming for your dog.

How Old Should Your Golden Retriever Puppy Be Before They Start Swimming?

Your Golden Retriever should be 11-12 weeks old when being trained to swim.

But before this, your 10-week-old Goldie should get used to water by letting them play in shallow bathtubs and kiddie pools. 

The water should only reach their legs at this point. 

Once they reach the appropriate age, your Golden Retriever can start paddling in the pool. 

But they will need your support so they can stay afloat and comfortable.

Teach your dog to swim using praises and treats so they can learn more quickly.

Find out the right age to teach your dog how to swim.

How Long Can Golden Retrievers Swim For?

Your Golden Retriever can swim anywhere from 10-30 minutes depending on their age and ability.

If they are still puppies learning how to swim, they must only stay in the pool for up to 10 minutes. 

They can get tired easily if they stay too long.

But expert Goldies can swim for up to 30 minutes for a good workout. Some athletes even last for one hour in the pool or lake.

Don’t let your dog get exhausted because their sore body can lead to drowning. 

Learn how long your dog can swim so they stay safe in the water.

Can My Golden Retriever Swim in My Pool?

Yes. Your Golden retriever can swim in the pool.

Trim their nails because sharp claws can damage the vinyl if it’s lined. 

Your dog may raise the pH of your pool. It can also add Nitrates and Phosphates to the pool, so keep it to a safe level.

Hairy dogs can clog up a pump basket or filter right away. But it won’t damage the entire pool. 

Get the best pool filter so your dog can swim in the pool without causing you any inconvenience.

Golden Retrievers are the Best Swimmers

The Golden Retriever’s webbed feet, long legs, double coat, and athletic body make swimming easy. They enjoy paddling and splashing around.

No matter how good your Golden Retriever is, use a life jacket on them so they stay afloat and visible.

Find out if you should wash your dog after swimming.