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Can Miniature Schnauzers Swim? Do They Like Water?

Kristin Hitchcock

By Kristin Hitchcock

miniature schnauzer near pool

None of the Schnauzer breeds are considered strong swimmers, including the Miniature Schnauzer. The breeds weren’t bred for this purpose, which means that they don’t have innate swimming instincts. With that said, that doesn’t mean a Miniature Schnauzer will never enjoy swimming. Still, many of these dogs don’t like to swim, usually because they aren’t introduced to water at a young age.

If you want your Miniature Schnauzer to accompany you on swimming trips, you should start at a very young age. For instance, giving your puppy a bowl of water to play in is an easy first step toward swimming. Keep introducing your pet to water as they age, eventually working up to a body of water that is deep enough for them to swim in.

Still, because these dogs don’t have a predisposition towards liking water, some Miniature Schnauzers may never want to swim—even if you do everything right. Therefore, if you’re set on having a dog that can go swimming with you, this probably isn’t the breed you’re looking for.

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How to Introduce Your Miniature Schnauzer to Water

To increase the chances of your dog liking water, it’s vital that you introduce them to swimming carefully. Start at the youngest age possible, preferably as soon as you bring your new puppy home. Always keep safety at the forefront of your mind, and never push your dog to do something they don’t want to do. Not only is this dangerous, but it can make your dog fearful of the water.

1. Provide Splash Pools

Even when your puppy is tiny, you should provide lots of shallow splash pools. These should be shallow enough that your puppy can easily walk around. Not only does this keep the puppy safe, but it also provides them with a safe place to explore the water. For very little puppies, you can use a shallow water bowl.

Keep these splash pools available whenever the weather makes it possible. Encourage your puppy to use them through games and fun, but don’t force it to play in the pool. You want to make their introduction to water as easygoing as possible.

miniature schnauzer taking a bath
Image Credit: Kate33, Shutterstock

2. Always Use a Life Jacket

Anytime you’re on a boat or near a body of water that requires your dog to paddle, be sure to use a life jacket. A near-death experience will not make your pooch very comfortable in the water. Choose a life jacket with a handle so you can easily grab your puppy if necessary. You can also use this handle to provide support while your dog gets comfortable with the water.

miniature schnauzer dog swimming
Image Credit: Santipap, Shutterstock

3. Slowly Make the Water Deeper

Once your dog is comfortable splashing in the water, slowly make the water deeper. Don’t jump to throwing your dog in deep water. Instead, you want them to get used to having water in their face and needing to hold their head up. Depending on the size of your dog, you can use kiddie pools for this purpose (just be sure your dog can easily get out and in).

Continue to play games with your dog, such as fetch. Eventually, your canine will realize that swimming is much faster than walking through deeper water. Then, they may begin to paddle for short distances while playing fetch or just cooling off. Of course, the water level should stay low enough so that they can touch the ground.

The main mistake most people make when introducing their dog to water is making it too deep too quickly. You want your dog to practice swimming long before the water level requires them to. Otherwise, they may become fearful and avoid the water altogether.

miniature schnauzer floating on a bord in a swimming pool
Image Credit: cynoclub, Shutterstock

4. Introduce Them to Deep Water

After your dog is comfortable paddling in shallower water, it’s time to make it deeper. You can start by adding an inch to their regular splash pool. This prevents them from being outright fearful (as the pool will still look the same) while teaching them to swim more confidently.

Once your dog is enjoying the water without fear, you can introduce them to deep water. At this point, your dog should be able to swim no matter the depth of the water. Therefore, you can introduce them to lakes and ponds.

However, remember that Schnauzers are not particularly strong swimmers, and you shouldn’t expect your dog to swim for very long or far.

miniature schnauzer playing in the lake
Image Credit: Antares_NS, Shutterstock

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Are Miniature Schnauzers Scared of Water?

Miniature Schnauzers can become fearful of water if they’re not introduced to water early enough. Furthermore, these dogs have varying temperaments. Some Miniature Schnauzers may never enjoy swimming and remain fearful of deeper water. Others may warm up to the water when you follow the steps provided above.

Even dogs bred initially for swimming can be fearful of water if not introduced early. We recommend using splash pools as soon as the puppy is walking confidently. Start with very little water and work up as your dog becomes comfortable.

How Far Can Miniature Schnauzers Swim?

Miniature Schnauzers are not water dogs, and they are pretty small. You should never expect your dog to swim very far or long. These dogs aren’t going to be winning any swimming competitions.

Of course, dogs that are taught to swim and get plenty of practice will swim better than a more experienced dog. While dogs have the instincts to swim, practice does help them get better. Just like people, they become much more efficient swimmers.

We do not recommend letting your Miniature Schnauzer swim without supervision. The chance of drowning is too great, even with experienced swimmers. This breed’s smaller size means that rougher bodies of water can be pretty dangerous.

Miniature Schnauzer
Image Credit: Debra Anderson, Shutterstock

Do Miniature Schnauzers Know How to Swim?

Like all dogs, Miniature Schnauzers generally know how to swim when placed in the water. Dogs have innate instincts that allow them to paddle when placed in water. Even dogs that have never touched water will do this. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that these dogs will swim well. Just because they have instincts doesn’t mean they really know how.

It’s a bit like a human learning to walk. We have instincts that help us learn to walk. Even a newborn will make “stepping” motions when held in a standing position. However, it still takes most humans a while to learn how to walk. Yes, the dog may paddle automatically, but they aren’t going to do a very good job unless trained.

Always use a life jacket when taking your dog to the lake, ocean, or similar body of water. Start introducing water at a young age to give your dog plenty of practice.

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Miniature Schnauzers are not a swimming breed. They weren’t bred for swimming ever in their history. Therefore, they do not have many of the characteristics of swimming dogs. For instance, their feet are not webbed, which helps many breeds swim efficiently. Their coat isn’t designed for submerging into water, either.

All these reasons make this breed worse at swimming than other dogs. However, that doesn’t mean they cannot swim at all. While they may not be genetically inclined to love the water, proper introduction and practice can help them learn to enjoy a relaxing swim. Still, they will never be as good at swimming as a Labrador Retriever or a Poodle. It just isn’t in their genes.

A slow and progressive introduction is vital, as you don’t want your dog to be fearful at any stage in the process. However, even if you do everything right, there is no guarantee that your Miniature Schnauzer will like the water. It depends on the dog’s temperament.


Featured Image Credit: GaiBru Photo, Shutterstock

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