What Breed of Dog Can't Swim?

September 28, 2022 3 min read

While the vast majority of dogs are able to swim, some breeds struggle more than others. Dogs that have short legs, deep chests, or top-heavy bodies can be particularly difficult to swim with. Dachshunds, Basset Hounds, and Corgis are all examples of breeds with short legs that need extra work to stay afloat.

Top-Heavy Breeds

Dogs with top-heavy bodies may not be good swimmers and suffer from drowning. Dachshunds, for example, are not comfortable in shallow water. Sighthounds are also not big swimmers. Dogs with hair on their bodies should also be kept away from the water, as they have a higher body temperature than humans.

Other dogs that may be unable to swim include bulldogs, French bulldogs, and English bulldogs. These breeds aren't built for swimming, since they have short legs and barrel-shaped bodies. They have large heads and flat faces, and their short legs won't provide enough power to stay afloat.

Basset Hounds

Unlike some breeds, Basset Hounds are not built for swimming. They have short legs and a squat body. This means that they move slowly. They also tend to carry a large portion of their weight in the front of their bodies, preventing them from having an even weight distribution. In addition, they cannot swim well and need a life vest to be safe.

One of the reasons Basset Hounds cannot swim is due to their ears. Their long ears are not very effective as paddles in deep water. Their short legs and thick head also don't help them swim well. Besides, their short legs and ears also pose a risk for catching any number of infectious diseases.


Dachshunds cannot swim because their short legs and long body prevent them from being able to paddle through the water with ease. Dachshunds also get tired easily while swimming, and their body length makes it difficult for them to push themselves through the water. As a result, they are unable to swim well, and owners often have to encourage their dogs to learn how to swim.

Some Dachshunds love water and will be happy to jump in, but most will need some persuading. For example, my dog is very fond of the pool, but I need to make sure that she wears a life jacket when we go out on the boat. Otherwise, she will jump overboard if she spots a bird.


A dog's ability to swim is largely determined by genetic predisposition. Some breeds are simply not built for the task. These include bulldogs, basset hounds, and pugs, which have small legs and short noses. Bulldogs are also not built for water, and their flat faces make breathing difficult and increase the chance of water getting up the dog's nose.

Fortunately, there are ways to help your dog become a better swimmer. Here are some tips for teaching your dog how to swim:


Some breeds of dogs are not good swimmers, but they can still have fun in the water. These dogs can be introduced to the water slowly and gently, and they can wear life jackets to keep them afloat. If the water is too deep for the dog, you can hold its midsection up to help it float. The ability to swim is largely determined by the breed's anatomy. Many of these breeds have water-related names.

Some breeds have special adaptations to be good swimmers. Some have webbed paws, thick rudder-like tails, or thick curly coats to stay waterproof. Others simply don't like to get wet.


A Yorkie may be unable to swim, but it can learn to swim if you plan your visits accordingly. When taking your Yorkie to a pool, start by staying in shallow areas and encouraging your dog to go in and out on its own. You can also reward your dog with treats after he or she swims.

When you take your Yorkie for a swim, make sure to keep the temperature of the water between 45 degrees and 75 degrees. The air temperature in a pond may be higher than the water temperature, and this may be harmful for your dog. You should also apply sunscreen to keep your dog from getting too hot or contracting an infection in the water.

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