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Home > Dogs > Can Dobermans Swim? Challenges, Tips & FAQs

Can Dobermans Swim? Challenges, Tips & FAQs

doberman and his owner near the lake

As dog owners, it’s natural to want our best pals to take part in the activities we love. Often, we take our dogs on long hikes, car rides, and even trips to the coffee shop for a puppuccino. For those pet owners who have a love of the water, sharing this fun activity with your dog can be both thrilling and healthy. If the dog at your side is a Doberman, you may be curious as to whether they even like the water. More importantly, can Dobermans swim?

The answer to your questions is yes, Dobermans can swim and they like the water. The issue is, unlike some dogs, Dobermans aren’t built to be great swimmers. It takes them a bit of practice. Let’s learn more about the Doberman, their love of the water, and why you’ll need to keep a close eye on your fearless partner if they decide to get wet.


Do Dobermans Enjoy the Water?

Like most dogs, Dobermans love the water. They will happily splash away at the water’s edge or even in a kiddie pool if you grab them one. The key to your Doberman enjoying its time in the water, however, is being introduced to it properly. No animal, or human for that matter, wants to simply be thrust into a situation they aren’t used to. This is how your Doberman may feel if you suddenly decide today is the day that you’re taking them to the lake and forcing them into the water. This kind of introduction to the water can make your pet fearful.

Instead, start slowly when introducing your pet to the water. Splash pads or kiddie pools are a great way to do this. Small water sources are far less intimidating than a lake, beach, or full-sized swimming pool. When introduced properly, don’t be surprised to see your Doberman splashing around on a hot day to cool down or to just simply have a bit of fun.

Can Dobermans Swim?

Yes, most Dobermans can swim, but they aren’t great at it. Some dogs are built for the water. Unfortunately, your Doberman isn’t. Dobermans become sufficient in the water due to their strength and agility, but it takes work. Let’s take a look at the issues Dobermans must overcome to become good swimmers and truly enjoy their time in the water.

The 4 Things That Make Swimming Challenging for Dobermans

1. Deep Chests

Dobermans are deep-chested dogs. This means their front end, the head and chest area, gets more elevation in the water. This happens due to their larger lung capacity. When the front end elevates, the rear end will sink. If your Doberman’s backside sinks too much this can be dangerous as they may not be able to recover from this awkward position.

Doberman in the River
Image Credit: ChocoPie, Shutterstock

2. Muscle Mass

Look at the build of a Doberman. Do you see a lot of fat there? No. These dogs are mostly lean muscle. When it comes to being in the water, fat floats and muscle sinks. This is another reason why your Doberman has to put in a lot of effort to be a successful swimmer.

3. Long, Tapered Bodies

While Dobermans have lots of muscles, they also have lots of body mass. Dobermans aren’t small dogs by any means. Their long bodies are broader at the front end and then taper to a narrow rear end. This shape is another reason your Doberman’s back end may sink, causing them issues when they are in the water.

Image Credit: Yama Zsuzsanna Márkus, Pixabay

4. A Doberman’s Paws

Certain breeds of dogs have webbed feet which make swimming second nature to them. Dobermans aren’t that lucky. They have normal dog paws, free of webbing. If we’re being completely honest, Dobermans have paws similar to a cat. The toes are arched for support. Dobermans can even use their toes to grip things. Unfortunately, for these incredible dogs, water can’t be gripped.

divider-dog paw

The 5 Tips for Teaching Your Doberman How to Swim

Dobermans have the strength, agility, and drive to be great swimmers. It’s their bodies that aren’t cooperating. That doesn’t mean they can’t swim, however. Given the chance and the right training, your Dobie can become a natural in the water. If you want your Doberman in the water by your side, consider implementing these tips to help them earn their water legs.

1. Life Jackets Are a Must

If your Dobie is hitting the open water, they need a life jacket. To help your dog get acclimated to their jacket, it’s best to start while the two of you are still on dry land. It helps if you can help your dog associate the life jacket with good things. Allow your pet to wear the jacket while having dinner or during the special time the two of you spend together.

2. Choose the Right Spot for Beginners

Just because your Dobie is in a life jacket doesn’t mean they should be taken to deep water while they are learning. Instead, visit a shallow body of water that is surrounded by gentle slopes. It’s also best to avoid crowded spots, heavy currents, and waves for your Dobie’s first few times.

3. Start Slow

To get your pooch comfortable with the water, use the leash and take a walk by the water. Let your Dobie go into the water, only a few inches if they feel the urge. Their natural curiosity may have them investigating the water, especially if they’ve already been introduced to kiddie pools or splash pads.

doberman pincher training
Image Credit: Fotokostic, Shutterstock

4. Hit the Water Yourself

Dobermans have a special bond with their owners. If your dog sees you in the water, and you are unafraid, it may give them the confidence to join you. Splash around a bit and show your Dobie how much fun you’re having. They may decide to join you without much issue.

5. Make It Fun

Now that your Doberman is getting more interested in the water, make it a fun time. You can play fetch and toss a toy into the water or other types of games your Dobie enjoys. Each time they interact with the water you should praise them and offer a treat. This will help them understand that water is a positive thing.

doberman swimming with ball toy on its mouth
Image Credit: Светлана Бердник, Pixabay


Final Thoughts on Dobermans and Swimming

Now you know that Dobermans like the water and can swim but aren’t the greatest at it. You also know more about how to interact with them in the water to keep them safe. The safety of your pet should be your main concern. This means avoiding water that has heavy currents or other hazards for your Dobie. Yes, they are powerful dogs and will do their best to swim, but they can still find themselves in danger. If you aren’t confident with your Doberman’s swimming skills, use their life jacket. The most important thing when having fun in the water is that everyone involved, including your Doberman, is safe and sound when playtime is over.

Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

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