We all find dogs who swim adorable. But not all breeds are good at this skill, such as Pitbulls.
Pitbulls can swim but they need plenty of support and training.
Find out if Pitbulls are natural swimmers with webbed feet and other physical traits that help them in the water.
Learn what you can do if your Pitty doesn’t like swimming, what not to do when introducing them to water, and some essential swimming safety tips.
Can Pitbulls Swim?
Yes. Pitbulls can swim, but they are not always good at it.
With training and support, a Pitbull can learn to swim well.
However, Pitbulls cannot swim for a long time or over long distances.
They also don’t like diving underwater, retrieving objects, or swimming fast across the pool.
Like most dog breeds, Pitbulls were bred for a specific job. They were initially trained to compete in blood sports like bull-baiting.
This sport, which is now illegal, required the Pitbulls to stay in a “pit” with bulls and rats to bite and torment them.
As they were bred for the land they didn’t develop the physical characteristics of water dogs, which is why they aren’t great at moving through water.
With your help your Pitbull can overcome this and learn to love swimming.
As you can see in this video of a beautiful Pitbull who doesn’t want to get out of the pool.
Are Pitbulls Natural Swimmers?
Pitbulls are not naturally bred to be swimmers.
What makes a dog a natural swimmer?
- Waterproof double coats for cold water tolerance and buoyancy.
- Medium build and weight for buoyancy.
- Longer legs to help them move through the water.
- Webbed feet to push against the water.
Unfortunately, Pitbulls don’t have any of these qualities. They have a stocky build with shorter legs, and they have very thin fur.
They don’t have a water-repellent coat, so they get colder more quickly.
Pitbulls are also Brachycephalic dogs, with a shorter skull and snout. Swimming can be a challenge because the oxygen flow can be impaired.
Do Pitbulls Have Webbed Feet?
Pitbulls do not have webbed feet.
This puts them at a further disadvantage in the water.
Dogs with webbed feet can paddle more efficiently and with less effort.
You might be thinking, “but all dogs have webbed feet, right?”
All dogs do have webbed feet, but not all webbed feet are made for swimming. A Pitbull’s webbing is too thin to effectively push through water.
Do Pitbulls Like to Swim?
Yes. Despite the Pitbull’s physique not being designed for swimming, Pitbulls do like to swim.
Some swim in pools, while others enjoy rivers and lakes. They can stay afloat but often need to rest after a few minutes.
The Pitbull’s personality also makes them suitable for new activities because they are courageous, strong-willed, and obedient.
Pitbulls are smart enough to locate the exit point of swimming pools too.
But overweight Pitbulls may hate swimming because they sink too easily. Others are simply afraid of pools despite their fierce appearance.
In the end, it all depends on the individual dog, their previous experiences with pools, and how much training they got as puppies.
Pittie the Pitbull loves swimming! Check out this video for more cuteness.
Do Pitbulls Like Water?
Yes. Pitbulls also like water in general.
Bathing does not scare them, and they would gladly play in the shallow waters of lakes and ponds.
These willful dogs know how to enjoy any outdoor activity, even if it’s rolling around the mud and getting dirty.
Many Pitbulls prefer splashing around in shallow water rather than the deeper part of the pool.
They are not always comfortable with paddling, especially heavy, arthritic, and puppy Pitbulls who have trouble staying afloat.
It’s okay if your dog isn’t comfortable swimming. You can provide other fun water activities to keep them cool.
What if My Pitbull Doesn’t Like to Swim?
You don’t have to force your Pitbull to swim if they do not want to.
They may not be fit enough to paddle and tread water. It is just their survival instinct telling them that their body can’t handle it.
You do need to teach your Pitbull how to swim for safety reasons. Especially if you have a pool at home.
If they don’t know how to swim, this could lead to injuries, or worse, accidental drowning.
Your best bet is to start them young and train them the basics of swimming early.
Entering and exiting the pool, efficient paddling skills, and proper head positioning are the only skills they need.
When teaching your Pitbull to enjoy swimming, use positive reinforcement techniques. Lure them into the pool with praises and treats.
Hold their chest for support while they are learning how to paddle. Continue doing this until they can swim on their own across the pool.
Safety Tips for Swimming with Your Pitbull
The most important safety tip for swimming with your Pitbull is to use a life jacket or a life vest for flotation.
A life jacket will keep them safe, afloat, and full of energy in the pool.
Check out the difference between a dog life jacket and a life vest so you can decide what’s right for your Pitbull.
Offer your dog fresh water before and during swimming to prevent them from drinking pool water.
Don’t Do This When Introducing Your Pitbull to Water
- Do not leave them unattended.
- Never throw or push your Pitbull to the water.
- Do not let them drink pool water.
Throwing your Pitbull into the water is the worst way to train them. They will associate the pool with negative experiences and emotions.
Instead, you can use positive reinforcement strategies like praise and treats.
Occasional sips of pool water are harmless for your dog. Too much can cause vomiting and an upset stomach.
Is Swimming Good for Pitbulls?
Yes, swimming is good for Pitbulls for several reasons.
- Improves muscular fitness.
- Low-impact cardio exercise ideal for arthritic and senior Pitbulls.
- Aids in weight loss for overweight Pitbulls.
However, swimming can also be bad for dogs if they are not wearing the right gear and if they spend too much time in the pool.
Too much time in the pool can cause dry skin and fur, fatigue, and dehydration.
Weigh the pros and cons of swimming for dogs.
How Old Should Your Pitbull Puppy Be Before They Start Swimming?
Your Pitbull should be 8 to 10 weeks old before they start swimming.
Introduce them to shallow waters like the bathtub or a kiddie pool first.
Gradually increase the water levels every session, making sure they receive plenty of treats and praises.
Once your Pitbull is ready you can start introducing them to a larger pool.
During the first few days in the pool, they can stay in the shallow section or on the steps.
Make sure you are supporting them with your hands always guiding them.
Build their confidence by teaching them how to paddle in the middle of the pool.
How Long Can Pitbulls Swim For?
Pitbulls should only swim for up to 15 minutes a day.
They shouldn’t spend more time in the water because of their short noses which hinder oxygen flow.
It depends on their age, ability, and love for swimming, but 15 minutes is generally enough for healthy Pitbulls to get their body moving.
Senior dogs, puppies, and sick dogs also benefit from swimming because it is less painful to their joints and muscles.
But you should monitor them closely and keep their sessions shorter.
Can My Pitbull Swim in My Pool?
Yes. Pitbulls can swim in all types of pools.
Owners with hairy dogs worry if their hair might clog and damage the pool.
While it can clog the pool’s filtration system, it won’t damage the pool itself.
Luckily, Pitbulls are not hairy and don’t shed a lot, so you don’t have to clean your pool filter any more than normal.
If you hate cleaning the pool filter, get a bigger and more durable one so that it doesn’t fill up as quickly.
You also need a pool vacuum to clean the pool.
Find out how dogs affect your pool and how to remove dog hair from your filtration system.
Pitbulls are Devoted Learners
Pitbull may not have the best physical traits for a swimmer, but they have the personality of a dog who’s brave and always willing to try new things.
This breed will approach the pool without fear and will learn to paddle with little support.
Always watch your Pitbull while they’re swimming to avoid accidents. Give them the best dog swimming gear and keep them hydrated with fresh, cold water.