Whether you have a Siberian Husky or an Alaskan Husky, these dog breeds enjoy playing and being athletic. But can they swim?
Yes, Huskies can swim. But it’s not their forte.
Find out why Huskies are not natural swimmers, how their webbed paws help them, and what to do if your Husky doesn’t want to swim.
We’ll also talk about whether Huskies enjoy swimming and water, as well as safety precautions when swimming with them.
Can Huskies Swim?
Yes. Huskies can swim but they’re not very good at it because they weren’t bred for it.
Any dog can learn to swim since dogs naturally paddle when their legs touch the water.
However, don’t expect Huskies to be better than Poodles and Golden Retrievers.
This surprises many. Why can’t an athletic dog breed swim? What can’t training do?
Huskies’ ancestors were never taught how to swim. They were bred to work in freezing climates, so the ability to swim wasn’t part of their breeding.
If you have a Husky, you’ll notice that they take a long time to master swimming.
They can float and paddle, but they can’t stay in the water for long.
If you want your Husky to learn how to swim, it is important to understand why Huskies are not natural swimmers, why they dislike water, and what you can do to help them learn how to swim.
With enough training, your Husky may become an expert just like Gohan here who enjoys swimming at the beach.
Are Huskies Natural Swimmers?
Huskies are not natural swimmers.
They were originally bred to survive in cold climates and harsh conditions of Siberia.
They used to sled cargo, so they know how to avoid water.
Another reason Huskies aren’t natural swimmers is their physical traits.
Sure, they have long legs to help them push more water and an athletic body that can handle long distances.
Huskies may thrive in the cold, but they can develop temperature-related illnesses when they’re in the water for too long.
Their instinct is to always remain dry because they do not want their coat to getaway.
Huskies are double-coated. They have a top coat and an undercoat, and water does not easily get in their skin. But it doesn’t stop them from getting wet.
Also, some Huskies are too heavy to swim. Their weight will pull them down.
Do Huskies Have Webbed Feet?
Yes. Siberian Huskies have webbed feet designed for working in the cold on snowy terrain.
The skin between their paws acts as snowshoes, allowing them to run and walk on ice and snow.
But there is a difference between the webbed feet of natural swimmers and non-swimmers like the Siberian Husky.
Huskies’ webbed paws are always thinner than aquatic breeds’ webbed paws. Their toe membranes are light enough to increase surface area.
The Husky’s paws are oblong and cushioned to pull the sleds safely. Their toes can also help them dig.
The tiny webbing helps them grasp the ground, but they can’t use it to swim or push water.
Do Huskies Like to Swim?
Huskies do not like swimming. They do not like being soaked in water.
Their instinct is to stay dry when sledding so they try to avoid water.
Huskies avoid water in cold weather because their coats would freeze, which could result in sickness.
If the air and water temperature drops below 20 °F, do not take your Husky for a swim.
They can swim in cold water on hot days. Take your Husky for a swim on a warm day if you want them to enjoy it.
However, your Husky will resist even the best swimming trainer if it’s cold.
Huskies can tolerate freezing temperatures as low as -75°F (-59°C) as long as their coats stay dry.
However, your Husky may learn to love swimming if it sees another Husky swimming.
Do Huskies Like Water?
It depends. Huskies love playing with water during hot weather.
Ideally, the air and water temperature should be above 45 °F or 7 °C for it to be safe for your dogs.
However, they don’t like swimming in cold water if the weather is cold. If the temperature drops below 45 °F or 7 °C, do not take your Husky for a swim.
They may only enjoy swimming if the weather is hot or humid.
To make swimming more fun for them, try gearing them with a life jacket.
What if My Husky Doesn’t Like to Swim?
If your Husky doesn’t like to swim, that’s okay.
Because of their background and history with cold weather, most Huskies dislike swimming.
Swimming is only fun for them if they do it for fun on a warm day.
Initially, they will hesitate. But with time and patience, they may even jump into the water on their own.
Whether Huskies enjoy swimming or not, you still need to teach them the basic skills for their safety.
This will help them know what to do in case they fall on the pool, or they get washed away by the ocean
Safety Tips for Swimming with Your Husky
Check the weather and water temperature first before swimming with your Husky. This is the most important safety tip.
Swimming in frigid water or in cold weather makes Huskies feel sick. Just because they flourish in cold climates doesn’t mean they thrive in cold water.
On hot, sunny days, let them swim in cool water. This will help them recover faster after sessions. They may even enjoy it.
Find out your dog’s ideal swimming temperature.
Wearing a life jacket is another way to keep them safe when swimming.
A lighter vest may be enough to keep your Husky buoyant. They can paddle and stay afloat on their own.
Check out our best pick for a dog life vest for your Husky.
Don’t Do This When Introducing Your Husky to Water
Here are a few things to avoid when you’re introducing your Husky to water:
- Do not throw or push them in the water. Huskies already dislike swimming. Forcing them will only cause them trauma.
- Associate water with positive encouragement.
- Keep the experience fun, easy, and light.
- Do not leave them unattended, and always assist them in the pool.
- Try installing ramps, ladders, or staircases in the pool to teach your Husky how to get out of the water on their own.
Discover how to get your dog out of the above-ground pool the right way.
Is Swimming Good for Huskies?
Yes. Swimming helps Huskies cool off on hot summer days.
Although Huskies can adapt to any climate, they cannot tolerate extreme heat.
They are built for cooler climates and are prone to overexertion, dehydration, and overheating.
Swimming is a terrific mental and physical workout. It helps overweight and arthritic Huskies.
Swimming is less harmful to the joints and hips than running. It is even better than walking or running your dog.
Find out the other benefits of swimming for dogs.
How Old Should Your Husky Puppy Be Before They Start Swimming?
Ideally, it’s better to start teaching your dog how to swim early. Huskies can learn how to swim as early as 10 weeks old.
By teaching them early, they learn how to love swimming during their puppyhood. A trait that they will take with them as they grow old.
The training process is also slow, which makes it more important to train soon. Here’s what we suggest:
- Let your Husky get used to being wet. Help them learn to love the experience.
- Use positive reinforcement to help them love swimming, or even showering.
- Once they are comfortable enough, you can encourage them into getting in a shallow pool.
- Assist them with swimming as much as you can.
- Show them where the exit points are, so they know where to go when they’re tired.
The steps above help your Husky get desensitized to water. Huskies do not like showering, splashing around, or even playing by the shore.
If you desensitize them at an early age and use positive reinforcement, they will be encouraged to swim or get wet every now and then.
Find out the right age to teach your dog how to swim.
How Long Can Huskies Swim For?
Huskies can swim longer than most non-water breeds, but it is up to their preference.
They can swim for up to 15 minutes, compared to non-water dog breeds who can only swim for 5-10 minutes.
However, Huskies don’t usually last this long since they hate getting wet. They’d rather run around in the mud.
Expert swimmers can swim for up to 30 minutes, but this takes a lot of training. Learn how long dogs can swim depending on their breed and ability.
Can My Husky Swim in My Pool?
Huskies can swim in the pool as long as they don’t drink pool water. Drinking pool water can lead to an upset stomach because of the chemicals in it.
Too much pool water consumption may also cause intoxication.
Check out what you should do if your dog drinks pool water.
If you’re worried that your dog’s fur might ruin the filtration system of your pool, it won’t.
It can get clogged, meaning you need to clean it more often. But it will continue working to keep your pool maintained.
Check out the best pool filters to use when you have a dog in the pool.
Huskies Can Learn to Love Swimming
Huskies can learn to swim. No doubt. But it can be challenging because of their instinct to stay dry.
Starting them young and taking small steps will help your dog get fond of water.
Make sure to give them treats and toys during training sessions to keep them enthusiastic.
Never leave them unattended, let them wear a life jacket, and always check the temperature of the water.
When your Husky learns how to swim, do you need to wash them after?
Check out this article to know everything you need to learn about washing your dog after swimming.