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Do Weimaraners Like Water? Facts & Safety Tips

Kit Copson

By Kit Copson

Weimaraner dog running in a lake

The Weimaraner’s history as a hunting dog has instilled in the breed a real love of physical activity. Famous for their high energy levels, Weimaraners often make great jogging and hiking partners, but what about water activities? Weimaraners are often fantastic swimmers, and often love it, due to their physiology and many enjoy water activities, but this doesn’t mean that all Weimaraners will be comfortable around water.

In this post, we’ll explore why some Weimaraners might not like water and the benefits of swimming for those that do. We’ll also share some water safety tips for dogs.

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Are Weimaraners Good Swimmers?

Weimaraners have webbed feet, a trait shared with several other breeds known for being great swimmers like Labrador Retrievers, Portuguese Water Dogs, Poodles, Otterhounds, and German Wirehaired Pointers. Originally bred as hunting dogs, their webbed feet would have helped them navigate wet, muddy environments.

The RSPCA notes that many Weimaraner owners have reported that this breed has an affinity for water and can swim very well. The webbed feet, athletic build, and love of exercise likely contribute to this. However, some dogs are uneasy around water for various reasons, so there’s no guarantee that your Weimaraner will just leap into the pool and start happily paddling away.

Weimaraner in the desert
Photo Credit: celyi, Shutterstock

Why Does My Weimaraner Dislike Water?

Some dogs simply aren’t interested in water or swimming, and that’s fine. However, if your Weimaraner is afraid of swimming or water in general (for example bathing, paddling, etc.), it may be because of one of the following reasons:

  • They aren’t used to it
  • They have experienced a traumatic event involving water (for example being forced to swim before they were ready, having water poured over their face, etc.)
  • Certain noises (like splashing) frighten them
  • A physical illness that makes swimming uncomfortable or painful

How Can I Get My Weimaraner to Like Water?

If you’re hoping your nervous Weimaraner will get more comfortable around water, you’ll need to introduce them to it gradually. For example, you could start by giving them basins of water to dip their feet in or retrieve items from (like balls) so they can get used to the feel of it. Interact with the water yourself by wetting your hands, showing your dog that there’s nothing to fear.

Another way to introduce your Weimaraner to water is to set up a shallow paddling pool and let them explore it at their own pace. If the weather is good, you could even get in there yourself, which may embolden them to paddle with you. You might want to try enticing them in with encouraging words and some tasty treats.

If you head to a larger body of water, make sure it has a shallow end and easy entry and exit routes. Encourage them gently, but if they don’t want to go in, don’t force them to. This can be a very emotionally damaging experience and even a dangerous one if your Weimaraner panics.

Weimaraner puppy in a plastic pool pawing at the water hose
Photo Credit: Sari ONeal, Shutterstock

Dog Water Safety Tips

Whether your Weimaraner loves the water or is just learning to swim, taking certain precautions can go a long way toward keeping both them and you safe.

Check these out before you head off for a dip together:
  • Always put a canine life jacket with a handle on your Weimaraner.
  • Never force your Weimaraner into the water.
  • Avoid areas with dangerous water conditions, like strong currents or big waves.
  • Watch out for things that may injure your dog in the water, like sharp rocks.
  • Avoid areas with blue-green algae—this is toxic to dogs.
  • Make sure your Weimaraner can exit the water easily (via ramps in pools, etc.)
  • Make sure your Weimaraner knows where the exit is.
  • Give your Weimaraner fresh water to drink—drinking ocean, lake, pool, or river water might make them sick.
  • Watch out for signs of fatigue.
  • Let them take breaks from swimming regularly.
  • Watch for signs that your dog might be experiencing difficulty.
  • Rinse your Weimaraner with clean water after they’ve been swimming.
  • Always supervise—no matter how good a swimmer your Weimaraner is.

Benefits of Swimming for Dogs

Swimming can benefit dogs in a multitude of ways. Vets sometimes recommend water therapy (hydrotherapy) for dogs on the basis that it’s aerobic yet gentle on the joints and bones, as explained by Dr. Jonathan Block, DVM to PetMD. For these reasons, it’s sometimes used with arthritic dogs, dogs experiencing pain or discomfort, and dogs recovering from surgery.

Furthermore, Lee Deaton of Natural Healing Whole Dog Wellness explains to PetMD that swimming can also help dogs that are experiencing muscle mass loss because it allows them to “exercise in a completely non-weight-bearing environment”.

However, if your dog is experiencing any of the above conditions or is recovering from surgery, always ask your vet for the green light before you let them swim.

Other benefits of swimming for dogs include:
  • Mental enrichment (it’s fun!)
  • Stress relief
  • Strengthening of the heart and lungs
  • Improved metabolism
  • Better circulation
  • Weight management

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Final Thoughts

Many Weimaraners enjoy water activities like swimming, but, if they weren’t introduced to water positively from a young age or have experienced trauma, this might make them anxious around water. If you take your Weimaraner swimming, always take safety precautions and be sure to introduce nervous dogs to water very gradually and at the dog’s own pace.


Featured Photo Credit: Christian Mueller, Shutterstock

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