Can Terriers Swim?

Terriers make amazing family pets. They’re friendly, smart, energetic, and they’re low-shedders. But can they swim?

Yes, Terriers can swim. But does that mean they are natural swimmers?

Read on to find out if Terriers were bred for swimming, learn some tips to teach them how to swim safely, and more. 

This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We thank you for your support.
Do Terriers Like to Swim

Can Terriers Swim?

Yes, Terriers can swim. 

They may not be bred to work in water, but they are also known to enjoy water activities. Especially when they do it with family and other dogs.

With proper training, you can help your Terrier pup swim safely. 

They also do not possess any traits that will hinder their ability to swim. Terriers do not have short snouts, short legs, or bulky bodies. 

Are Terriers Natural Swimmers?

No, Terriers are not natural swimmers.

They were originally bred for hunting down and digging out pests, like rodents and foxes, in barns and stables.

That’s why most Terriers are small and wiry with compact bodies and short legs. These are not usually the physical traits needed to excel in swimming.

Smaller Terrier breeds may have a hard time swimming in large bodies of water because of their size.

Do Terriers Have Webbed Feet?

Terriers do have webbing between their toes, but not the well-developed “webbed feet” that make a good swimming breed.

Unlike other dog breeds such as Labrador Retrievers and Irish Water Spaniels, most Terriers’ paws are not designed for swimming.

While each breed of Terrier differs, most have some webbing that helps them dig and grip well in muddy terrain. 

Some may have webbed feet that are more prominent than others.

Do Terriers Like to Swim?

Yes, Terriers enjoy swimming.

Most terrier breeds enjoy swimming and other activities. They like to splash around water and play inside a pool. 

For instance, Airedale Terriers are well recognized for their love of water and would refuse to leave it unless they are forced to.

Most of the time, small and hairless terriers are an exception. Cesky Terriers, Cairn Terriers, and American Hairless Terriers do not like to swim at all. 

Except for Rat Terriers who love to swim and are surprisingly good swimmers despite their small stature. 

Check out this adorable Airedale Terrier’s first swim ever.

Do Terriers Like Water?

Yes, Terriers do like water, with the exception of some of the small and hairless breeds.

But it still depends on each individual dog. For instance, if you have adopted a Terrier from the pound, they may be afraid of water because of past traumatic experiences.

Some Terriers enjoy water play in general. Others, on the other hand, will do everything they can to avoid it.

To help your Terrier to like water, try encouraging them to play at the shallow end of the pool, or on the beach.

You can let them play with a sprinkler or a hose if they aren’t ready to swim yet.

Can You Teach a Terrier to Swim?

Yes. You can teach your Terrier to swim.

Terriers are very energetic. They’re also very smart. They can view swimming as another great activity to burn off their excess energy.

They enjoy water activities, and while they might not be the best swimmers, they’ll still have fun in the water.

Like all dogs, Terriers respond well to positive reinforcement. So if they are hesitant to swim, use this strategy when you teach them.

They respond well to positive reinforcement, so use this strategy when you’re teaching them how to swim.

If they don’t enjoy water or can’t swim at first, don’t force them.

Watch your Terrier when they swim, even if they already know how to swim. Provide them with a life jacket to make things easier for them.

Watch these cute Bull Terriers enjoy their time in the pool.

How to Teach a Terrier to Swim

Despite the fact that Terriers are rapid learners, teaching them to swim requires a lot of patience because they can be overwhelmingly active in the water.

Wearing a life jacket or vest is strongly recommended, especially at first. This will help your Terrier be safe in the water.

Sometimes, your Terrier may be too excited, so they can get tired easily. A life jacket will help them keep afloat even when they’re too active.

A life jacket or life vest also adds to their safety and helps them stay afloat in the water.

Start by exposing a reluctant Terrier to water in a wading pool if you want to teach them how to swim.

Positive reinforcement, including treats and compliments, can also help your Terrier learn to swim.

Stay close to them as they swim, and keep calm so you don’t over-excite them. 

Safety Tips for Swimming with Your Terrier

When swimming with your Terrier, take the following precautions:

  • Make sure they’re wearing a life jacket or vest whenever they’re near or in water.
  • Bring your Terrier out of the water as soon as they exhibit signs of exhaustion.
  • Stay at their side when they’re in the water, even if they know how to swim.
  • To make it easy for them to get out when they’re tired, show them where the entry and exit points are.
  • Before and after swimming, make sure they’re well hydrated.

When swimming, make sure your Terrier is wearing a life jacket. If they don’t have one, they’ll struggle to stay afloat and paddle when they get tired.

Find out the best life jacket and other swimming gear for your Terrier.

Don’t Do This When Introducing Your Terrier to Water

In addition to the safety precautions, there are a few things you should never do while exposing your Terrier to water.

  • Don’t force them into the water.
  • Keep your pup from swallowing pool water, as this could result in water intoxication.
  • Do not wait until it is an emergency before taking their first swim instruction.
  • Do not leave them unattended, especially in deep and uncharted waters.

Learn the best way to teach your dog how to swim so they can stay safe.

Is Swimming Good for Terriers?

Yes, swimming is good for Terriers.

In terms of weight loss, swimming is four times more effective than walking. It’s a more efficient approach to exercising your Terrier.

Swimming is a terrific way for Terriers to burn off excess energy because they are so lively.

It’s also an excellent way for your pups to cool off on a hot summer day.

Swimming is also an excellent way for your Terrier’s heart and lungs to thrive and build muscle and stamina.

Swimming is also a low-impact activity, so your pup’s joints will not be harmed.

Find out the pros and cons of swimming for dogs

How Old Should Your Terrier Puppy Be Before They Start Swimming?

You should train your Terrier puppy to swim when they are around three to four months old.

Because Terriers are active and curious even at three months old, it’s important to begin teaching them to swim as soon as possible.

Allow them to explore and learn to swim while they are still young.

Make sure their immune system is healthy and well-protected before taking them swimming. This means vaccinating them completely.

They’ll be safe from any contaminants in the water this way.

Any pollutant or pathogen found in chlorine or natural water could impair your dog’s health.

You can start by putting them in the tub or a kiddie pool to see how they react to the water.

Once they’re comfortable swimming, move them to the shallow end of the pool, then graduate to the deeper end.

Learn the right age to let your puppy swim

How Long Can Terriers Swim For?

When learning to swim, Terriers should only swim for five to ten minutes at a time.

To prevent overwhelming your Terrier, keep your swimming lessons short.

Swimming for an extended period of time can make them feel chilly and exhausted, particularly if they are a beginner.

It’s important to remember that Terriers were not bred for swimming. As a result, swimming lessons lasting fewer than ten minutes are enough.

On the other hand, water breeds can swim for up to 30 minutes before growing fatigued.

Check out a guide for the right of time swimming with your dog

Can My Terrier Swim in My Pool?

Yes. If you have access to a pool or have one at home, this can be a great option.

Because there are no unpredictable waves or high tides, it is the safest place for them to swim.

They’ll also be far safer in a pool than they would be in a lake, which could contain harmful blue algae and other contaminants and hidden dangers.

Terriers don’t shed much, so their hair won’t block your pool filter.

Another drawback is your pool’s chlorine levels. The fur coat of your fur baby might be damaged by chlorine water.

After a pool swim, give them a quick rinse with fresh water to eliminate any pool chemicals.

Learn more tips for your dog swimming in your pool.

Swimming is Good for Your Terrier

Terriers are high-energy dogs, so swimming is a good method for them to burn off some of their excess energy.

Terriers can swim well despite the fact that they are not natural swimmers. They have all the advantages and traits needed to be a good swimmer.\

Find out here if you should wash your dog after a swimming session.