PetFitness Blog – Pet Exercise, Workouts & Fitness Tips for Dogs

Are Dogs Natural Swimmers?

can dogs swim

It can be difficult to believe, but our cute fur baby is one of the most successful hunter species in the wild.

Dogs have existed since thousands of years ago, and they’re very widespread across the globe. Of course, somewhere down the line, dogs befriended humans. Throughout the centuries, we domesticated them to be the cuddly furballs that they are today.

Nevertheless, some traits of their wild selves remain – such as being excellent swimmers. Due to this, you might be wondering, “Are dogs natural swimmers?” Can you safely teach your dogs how to swim, or will it hurt them?

While that varies from dog to dog, in general, their species are excellent swimmers in the wild.

To ease your mind about teaching your dogs how to swim, let’s examine whether dogs are natural swimmers or not!

Are Wild Dogs Natural Swimmers?

The earliest archeological example of the existence of dogs as we know them today is the Bonn-Oberkassel dog, dated to have been buried 14,220 years ago.

The bond between dog and man appeared to have existed long before then since you’d need some time to domesticate wild animals.

Thus, dogs have existed for some time, and they’ve had huge success in navigating the world around them. That includes navigating various bodies of water for different purposes. Many dog species stay near or even swim in the water.

There are many reasons why wild dogs may have developed the ability to swim:

To hunt

Dogs have a strong prey drive (some species more than others), and some species don’t let the water get in their way. There are canine species that are used to hunting in the water, such as the American Water Spaniel and the Portuguese Water Dog.

Even in the wild, canine species very closely related to dogs, such as coastal wolves, regularly hunt in the water in search of aquatic animals such as salmon, clams, seals, and more.

To cool down

In hot climates, various species of dogs, such as the African Dhole have evolved to stay near the water to cool down.

They need to because water is precious in their habitat. They rush to protect their drinking sites, even leaving their food to drink. They’ve also been known to enjoy the cooler temperature of the water.

To escape predators

In the wild, dogs are more amenable to going into the water whenever they’re being chased by an aggressive animal. They can easily dive into the water to escape from predators, unlike other species.

Your Pet Dog Can Swim!

Dogs know how to swim – but like humans, their preferences vary. Some dogs are shy in the water and might need more water, while some can dive right in, like in this video!

If you want to learn more about what your dogs can and can’t do, you’ll have everything you need to know in our PetFitness blog!

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