The Great Pyrenees look noble and imposing. At first glance, they seem energetic and athletic, so you might think they would be great swimmers.
The Great Pyrenees can swim but are not as good as most water breeds, and it’s rare to see them enjoying the activity.
Find out if your Pyr enjoys swimming, what to do if they don’t, some safety tips, the benefits of swimming for them, and more.
Can Great Pyrenees Swim?
Yes, the Great Pyrenees can swim.
There is no formal study conducted to test whether Great Pyrenees can swim, but we’ve consulted various forums about whether a Pyr can swim.
Luckily, almost all owners said their dogs could swim.
However, the Great Pyrenees is not a natural swimming dog breed.
This dog was bred for the mountains. So, their ancestors didn’t get a chance to learn to swim and didn’t develop swimming skills.
The Great Pyrenees can swim, but not as well as other water breeds.
The Pyr is slow, and tires easily compared to Labradors and Irish Water Setters.
Whether your dog is a natural swimmer or not, it’s always best to supervise and guide them in the pool, lake, or ocean.
Are Great Pyrenees Natural Swimmers?
The Great Pyrenees are not natural swimmers.
They can learn how to easily swim, but they don’t have the right physical traits to be instinctual swimmers.
As mentioned, the breed was raised for hunting and living in the mountains, where access to a lake or ocean is rare. They couldn’t swim, but they could hunt.
The Great Pyrenees were born in the Pyrenees Mountains between Spain and France. Their main purpose was to hunt, protect and guard.
Their size is also a factor. The Great Pyrenees’ size and weight are a disadvantage to them since their body weight, usually 36-50kg, can drag them down.
So, they’ll need more energy than a Poodle or a Lab to finish a lap. Pyr, too, lack high energy levels.
The water-resistant double coat is the only characteristic that helps with their swimming ability.
Their thick, coarse overcoat over a wooly undercoat makes them resistant to cold water.
They also have webbed feet but aren’t designed for swimming.
Do Great Pyrenees Have Webbed Feet?
Yes. The Great Pyrenees have webbed feet, but they are not designed for swimming.
Their webbed feet do not help with paddling.
Their webbed feet are for protecting animals, trekking great distances, and winter walking. They also help in slick, muddy, and rocky areas.
They may help them stay stable in the water, but won’t help their swimming ability.
The webbed feet of the Great Pyrenees have thinner membranes between each toe compared with other aquatic breeds.
Do Great Pyrenees Like to Swim?
The Great Pyrenees do not like swimming even if they know how to.
The main reason is their temperament. Pyrs are not fond of water.
The modern Pyr isn’t a sporting dog. They lack the endurance to train hard and compete.
In the field, they will likely wander rather than obey and learn.
That’s just a generalization, of course.
There are still some Great Pyrenees who enjoy swimming because they are used to such a lifestyle, most of them have owners who love to swim.
But most Pyrs will avoid the pool. Even if they watch you having fun at the pool or are enticed by treats, they will be too stubborn to follow.
It doesn’t matter whether the Great Pyrenees have a water-resistant, double-coated fur, they will likely not enjoy paddling in cold water.
Some Great Pyrenees have to work harder to keep afloat due to their weight.
They don’t like running or fetching either. Walking is already a good workout for these big creatures.
Short swimming lessons can teach your Great Pyrenees to appreciate swimming, and allow them to become confident in the water.
Do Great Pyrenees Like Water?
Yes. Even though the Great Pyrenees dislike swimming they do still enjoy playing in water.
Anything that doesn’t require too much energy is okay for them. They can splash in the shallows or follow you to the beach side.
We know that they have a double coat and water-resistant fur, so they won’t feel too cold when their paws or fur touch the water.
They can even roll around in shallow water.
Just don’t make them paddle too much because their low energy levels and heavy body won’t like it.
What if My Great Pyrenees Doesn’t Like to Swim?
If your Great Pyrenees does not like swimming don’t force them into it.
Understand that their bodies were simply not made for it. You can teach them the basics of swimming for safety.
However, don’t expect them to swim for long, be good at diving, or do tricks in the water.
But you can still teach them. It could save their lives if they fall into a pool and no one is around to help.
Here’s what you can do:
- Train in shallow water.
- Guide their body as they paddle.
- Little by little, go deeper, but stay close and support them.
- Teach them where the exit points are. This will help in case they get tired and want to go out.
- Use a life jacket so they feel safer in the water.
Repeat these steps until your Pyr is comfortable swimming.
Safety Tips for Swimming with Your Great Pyrenees
- Take it slow, be patient when training.
- Equip them with a life jacket or a life vest.
- Add stairs or exit points.
- Stay close, keep an eye on them.
- Keep swimming sessions short.
Understand that it is natural for Pyrs to feel nervous at first. They are not used to water, so nerves are a normal reaction.
A life jacket or a life vet can help them stay afloat. It’s essential for heavy dog breeds, especially the Great Pyrenees.
A large breed with low energy levels can easily get fatigued when swimming, so ten minutes of pool time is a good workout for them.
Don’t Do This When Introducing Your Great Pyrenees to Water
Since the Great Pyrenees are already hesitant of the water, you mustn’t add anymore trauma. Here are some things you should avoid:
- Do not throw or push them in the water. This is ineffective and inhumane.
- Do not leave your dog unattended.
- Do not let them swim in big waves or strong currents.
Dogs learn best with positive reinforcement techniques. Train them, encourage them, and ply them with treats and praises.
Is Swimming Good for Great Pyrenees?
Swimming is good for the Great Pyrenees if done right.
They need your support to keep swimming sessions short and safe.
Swimming can help this large breed’s stamina and breathing.
Swimming is a fantastic cardio workout for overweight or obese Great Pyrenees.
Another reason to teach your Great Pyrenees to swim is to prevent near-drownings if they fall into a pool alone. This is a concern if you own a pool.
Learn more about the benefits of swimming for dogs.
How Old Should Your Great Pyrenees Puppy Be Before They Start Swimming?
The Great Pyrenees can learn how to swim as early as ten weeks old.
However, they should start in shallow water. Don’t expect them to know how to paddle for the first time.
This is also the ideal age to let them swim because pups love to explore.
Starting them young will help them appreciate water and swimming and reduce their fear of the pool.
How Long Can Great Pyrenees Swim For?
The Great Pyr can swim anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes, depending on their swimming ability.
Swimming for a puppy, geriatric, arthritic, or new swimmer should be limited to 10-15 minutes.
Swimming makes their whole body move, so it’s great exercise for all dogs.
A few minutes in the water has many benefits.
But the Great Pyrenees who enjoy swimming can swim for up to 30 minutes. Keep them safe by not leaving them unattended.
Getting out of the water can be difficult for even the finest swimmers, so always watch them when they’re in the water.
Can My Great Pyrenees Swim in My Pool?
Yes, your Great Pyrenees can swim in your pool
Even though your Great Pyrenees have thick fur, they can still swim in it.
Pool filters rarely get ruined by your dog’s heavy shedding. The only downside is that you’ll need to clean the filter more often.
If you don’t want to clean the filter every few hours, you can acquire a bigger filter system. Or maybe a pool vacuum.
Brush your dog’s hair before swimming to remove any loose fur.
Check this article to find out more information about pools and dogs.
Keep Your Pyr Safe While Swimming
The Great Pyrenees can swim but not as quickly and efficiently as other water breeds. They can be too heavy and big to stay afloat.
Their low energy levels also make them tire quickly when paddling.
Keep them safe while swimming by providing them with safety gear, not leaving them unattended, and making sure they only swim for 10-30 minutes.
Find out whether dogs can swim underwater.