Yorkshire Terriers are an affectionate and energetic breed. They were bred from a mix of a variety of different terrier breeds to catch rats and vermin.
But, can they swim?
Yorkshire Terriers are good swimmers for a small dog breed. But they require a lot of training to learn.
Find out whether Yorkies can swim and if they are natural swimmers.
Also learn whether Yorkies have webbed feet if they enjoy swimming, and some safety swimming tips with your Yorkie.
Can Yorkies Swim?
Yes. Yorkshire Terriers can learn to swim just like any other dog.
Almost all dog breeds can learn how to swim because of their instinctive ability to paddle when their legs touch the water.
But their ability level will vary according to breed, attributes, and training.
For a small breed, Yorkies can be superb swimmers. The Yorkshire Terrier is not like other little breed dogs who easily tire.
They can swim longer than most toy dog breeds since they are stronger.
Yorkies are smart, active, eager, and curious, making them good swimmers.
Your Yorkshire Terrier’s introduction to water can make or break their swimming abilities.
Always test their swimming abilities in shallow water before letting them go deep.
Watch as this Yorkshire Terrier learns to swim for the first-time
Are Yorkies Natural Swimmers?
Yorkies are not natural swimmers.
They do not have all the right physical traits that help them excel in swimming.
Here are a few reasons why they are not natural swimmers:
- They have short legs.
- Yorkies have a single-layered coat that can’t repel water when swimming.
- It’s not what they’re bred for.
Let’s take a closer look at these.
Yorkies are too short. While they may be stronger than most small breeds, their short legs will make swimming more challenging.
Even though they are furry, the Yorkshire Terrier only has a single-layered coat that is unable to repel water when swimming.
Single-coated dogs only have an outer coat without the undercoat layer. Their silky and long coats are prone to oversaturation when swimming.
When your Yorkie is soaked in water the extra weight may pull them down.
Yorkies historically weren’t bred to work in water, either. Instead, they caught rats in the mills of Northern England.
Do Yorkies Have Webbed Feet?
Kind of. All dogs have webbed feet, but not all of them have thick webbed feet made for swimming.
Only water breeds like the Golden Retriever and Irish Water Spaniel have this trait. Because the Yorkie isn’t a water breed, they do not have thick webbed feet.
Their paw membranes help them walk and run, but not swim.
Yorkshire Terriers were bred to hunt rodents. They dig, walk on rocky surfaces, and run in mud on their thin-webbed feet.
But their paws are not as developed as other breeds’ because they rarely walked on these surfaces. They only worked in mine shafts and clothing mills.
Also, Yorkies also adjusted to a laidback lifestyle early.
Do Yorkies Like to Swim?
No. The physical traits of a Yorkshire Terrier put them at a great disadvantage for swimming.
They may not like the water, but if you start them young and keep the sessions short, your Yorkie can still enjoy swimming.
Short sessions will help them avoid feeling cold and tired. It also avoids skin irritation caused by the pool water.
However, it still depends on the individual dog.
Some Yorkshire Terriers may never take to swimming.
Do Yorkies Like Water?
No. Yorkshire Terriers do not like the sight of water.
Yorkies may have an inquisitive nature, but they already know what water feels like. And they are generally not fond of it.
While some dogs do better playing in the shallow area of the pool than swimming, Yorkies do not like it.
They do not like splashing in kiddie pools, getting wet from the sprinkler, or playing on a water slide.
If your Yorkie is showing signs of fear of water, you can try to help them overcome it through desensitization.
Some signs that your dog is scared of the water include:
- inability to settle
- looking for a way out of the pool.
What if My Yorkie Doesn’t Like to Swim?
If your Yorkshire Terrier doesn’t like swimming, don’t force them.
Even if they are better at swimming than most small dog breeds, they are usually not drawn to water.
They would rather stay indoors and bond with you, snuggle in their dog beds and play with their toys.
Don’t force your Yorkie to swim if they don’t want to. But this does not give them a free pass to skip swimming lessons.
All dogs need to learn the basics of swimming so they may avoid accidents like near-drowning.
This is especially important if you have a pool in your yard where they like to run around.
Try to make them wear a life vest so they don’t have to exert a lot of effort paddling in the water.
The Outward Hound Dog Life Jacket comes in all sizes and multiple designs. It’s the perfect floatation device for water safety and pool-time fun.
Safety Tips for Swimming with Your Yorkie
Because Yorkies do not like swimming, here are some safety tips to consider:
- Check the water temperature before swimming, it should be at least 45 °F.
- Avoid freezing water, as it can lead to cold tail and hypothermia. Find out how to know if the pool is too cold for your dog.
- Keep swimming sessions short.
Yorkies tend to ingest a lot of pool water if they swim for too long. This may lead to dehydration and vomiting.
Don’t Do This When Introducing Your Yorkie to Water
Don’t introduce your Yorkie to the deep part of the water right away.
They will need enough time to be comfortable with water, so take them to the tub or a shallow pool first.
It may take a few sessions before they can be brought to the big pool. Make sure to support their chest and back as they learn how to paddle.
Never throw your Yorkie in the pool. The sudden contact with water can cause a lot of stress and hinder your dog from paddling.
It may cause trauma, injuries, and a dislike for swimming.
Lastly, never take your Yorkie to the pool without a swimming vest. They need it for less effort when paddling.
If you teach your Yorkie how to swim, you don’t have to worry about them drowning in the pool in case they fall. They’ll know how to climb back up.
Learn our top dog life vest and life jacket recommendations now.
Is Swimming Good for Yorkies?
Yes. Even though the Yorkshire Terrier is not a natural swimmer, they will still benefit from swimming.
They are prone to joint ailments and thyroid conditions, so swimming can be a healthy preventative or active treatment for them.
It is a great low-impact exercise that works their whole body.
Check out the other benefits of swimming for dogs.
How Old Should Your Yorkie Puppy Be Before They Start Swimming?
Your Yorkshire Terrier should at least be 10 weeks old before you take them for a swim.
Start them in the shallow water and gradually introduce them to deeper water as they become more confident.
Let your Yorkie stay on the stairs or shallow ledge first. Then help them to a part of the pool where they can’t touch the ground.
Assist your Yorkie’s chest as they learn to swim, and equip them with the right swimming gear.
Find out the right age to teach a dog how to swim so you can start them young.
How Long Can Yorkies Swim For?
Yorkies can only swim for short 10-minute sessions.
Otherwise, they can get too tired, or they might ingest too much water. Pool water makes your dog vomit, poop, and dehydrated.
The Yorkshire Terrier is also prone to joint issues including Patellar Luxation, which affects the kneecaps, so shorter sessions are ideal.
Although swimming is a low-impact exercise, it can still cause body ache if done for too long. Some dogs experience sniffles when exposed to the water for a long time.
Learn more about the right amount of time for dogs swimming.
Can My Yorkie Swim in My Pool?
Yes, your Yorkie can swim in your pool.
Just keep the swimming sessions shorter to avoid ingestion of pool water.
Consuming too much pool water can cause electrolyte imbalance and an upset stomach.
Too much time in the pool can also cause skin irritation and dryness.
For those concerned about the pool itself, Yorkshire Terriers can swim even if they are furry. They may clog the filter, but dog fur won’t cause any damage to the pool.
Keep maintaining your pool with the right pool filter and vacuum for dog hair.
Teach Your Yorkie to Swim
Yorkshire Terriers are small and adorable. While they are no better than large water breeds, they are surely a champion in swimming among small dog breeds.
Swimming is a good low-impact exercise for Yorkies, so they don’t experience stressed muscles and joints afterward.
As long as you give them enough training, they can be excellent swimmers. Find out if your dog can swim underwater.