It is a well-known fact that Springer Spaniels are energetic, playful dogs, which are family-friendly and very huggable. However, one of the lesser-known facts about this breed is that they are always up for a swim.
Splashing in the water, and mud 🙁 is like second nature to these dogs, but not all springer spaniels are the same. If you’re planning your next trip to the beach and asking yourself the question ‘Do Springer Spaniels like to swim?‘, then this ultimate guide to springer spaniel swimming habits is the article for you!
Check out our guide on Springer Spaniel Life jackets
Do Springer Spaniels like to swim?
Whilst swimming may come naturally to some springer spaniels; some dogs are not as eager to jump into the water as others. There are several reasons why your pooch may not be so keen to start swimming, but figuring out what the motive is early on is key to putting your dog on the right track to start learning how to swim.
As we know, Springer Spaniels like to swim, and it is something that is required of them as a working dog. But it is less commonly known that not all springer spaniels were bred as working dogs.
A handful of Springer’s were bred as show dogs, and their natural instinct is not to take a swim, but actually the opposite. Show-bred Springer Spaniels may only be willing to start swimming if they are trained, and introduced to the water properly. See the ‘Teaching’ section for tips on how best to approach it.
The confidence (and lack of confidence) that your dog has will massively affect whether they are willing to start swimming or not. If your Spaniel is not immediately jumping into the water, the reason behind this probably includes a slight fear or lack of experience. Just like with humans, dogs are not always willing to dive headfirst into a new activity, so taking some time to introduce your Spaniel to water properly is a great way to start!
The main reason that any dog is afraid of swimming is previous experience. Particularly in Spaniels, having a bad memory relating to something (like water) can put the dog off for life. If this is the main issue, then the best way to deal with it is getting your dog past their fear. Taking it slow, and not pushing your dog too far can really help them to make a positive link with water, rather than a negative one.
Why do Springer Spaniels like water?
Spaniels love to play in the water, Springers were bred to work, and this not only gave them high energy levels and loving nature towards humans and dogs but installed in them the urge to enter the water, as it was required of them in their daily work to retrieve game.
Whilst this can make going on walks more enjoyable, it can also lead to problems with grooming and leaving mud around the house or in the car, so for more information on the good and the bad of Springer Spaniel swimming, see the pros and cons list.
Do Springer Spaniels have webbed feet?
Yes! Springer spaniels have webbed feet, though they are not fully webbed. The webbing of a springer spaniels paw goes around a third of the way up the toe. webbing between their toes makes them competent swimmers, swimming was often required of them while working.
Is swimming good exercise for a Springer Spaniel?
Yes! swimming is a great exercise for both man and dog alike. swimming is excellent for building up muscle and strength in your dog and is easy on the joints which is great for older dogs or dogs that suffer joint problems such as hip dysplasia, that can be common in spaniels.
Here’s our guide to springer spaniel exercise
Teaching a Springer Spaniel to swim
Teaching your springer spaniel to swim is an engaging and rewarding process, but it takes lots of patience, perseverance and positive reinforcement to get on the right track. There are some drawbacks and possible dangers to swimming too, so check out the pros and cons section before you start training.
There are three key questions to ask yourself when beginning the process of springer spaniel swimming training.
- Why does my Spaniel not naturally love to swim?
- How can I overcome the problem?
- How long will it take to overcome the problem? (time varies with the technique used, size of the problem and age of your dog)
Once you have answered these questions, you should decide whether it’s worth teaching your dog how to swim, or not. If it is, building from the basic technique is the best way to develop your dog’s swimming skills.
Teaching a puppy to swim
Springer spaniel puppies are the easiest to teach how to swim, because they have not had many previous experiences, and are usually eager to learn.
Puppies can generally be trained without professional help, as long as you don’t take training too fast and scare them. Start by taking your Springer to somewhere quiet with shallow water, or a dog-friendly pool, and lead them into the water but do not try to force or drag them in.
Getting them in is usually the hardest part, once they are in the swimming part comes naturally.
If your pooch has a favorite toy start by throwing that in the edge so that they can go in to retrieve it just up to the bottom of the chest is perfect at this stage, they can then learn the water is safe and also lots of fun!
Let them build up confidence doing this before throwing the toy further out to the point they are swimming.
With young pups, it’s best to do this sort of training in a still water such as a pond or lake with a gradual slope into the water.
Again with young springers it’s a good idea to do this sort of training on a long leash and wearing a harness, that way if they get into trouble you can safely rescue them.
Getting in with them helps to show that the water is safe, and adding more each session (with more time in the water etc.) can eventually lead your puppy to love swimming.
Teaching an older dog to swim
The same techniques (e.g. taking things slowly, building on each sessions’ progress) can be used to teach an older dog, but they are more likely to have a fear of water that is stopping them from swimming. In this scenario, it will take much longer for the dog to be willing to go in the water, so it is essential to let your Spaniel go at its own pace.
Scaring the dog will set your progress back, or possibly ruin any chance of your Springer wanting to swim, so you mustn’t make your dog do anything it’s not comfortable with!
Pros and Cons of Your Springer Spaniel Swimming
- It can be great fun to go swimming with your Spaniel at the beach
- Getting spaniels used to water can make grooming/cleaning fur much easier.
- And honestly – swimming dogs are adorable!
- You can NEVER leave your Spaniel unsupervised – Springer Spaniels are relatively small, and although they may love to splash, they can easily drown, so make sure you always have an eye on your pooch
- If the ears are not properly cleaned and dried after swimming, it can lead to ear infections – due to the long, curly ears which Spaniels have, lots of muddy water can get trapped and cause infection.
- The long, thick fur of a Springer spaniel means it is almost impossible to prevent muddy carpets, so a bath may well be on the cards!.
Check out our guide on Springer Spaniel Life jackets
most springer spaniels love to go for a dip, and even though they are not the cleanest dogs when they come out, it is still cute. And even if your dog doesn’t love to swim, it doesn’t mean they can’t learn to love it! But ‘do ALL springer spaniels like water?’ No, they don’t.
Myspringerspaniel.com does not provide veterinary advice. We aim to provide you with information to enable you to make a good decision when making a purchase or to care for your dog.
All content is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice.
If you’re concerned about the health of your pet, you should contact your vet for advice.
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