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Dog breeds that can't swim

Virginia Chavez-Nelson is an avid contributor of words for the greater good (see: writer) and a fun-loving Phoenician by way of Argentina. With a degree in Journalism from Arizona State University, Virginia has more than 10 years of expe...

Floaties Required

What better way to cool down from a hot day than by taking a refreshing dip in the pool with your favorite four-legged friend? Swimming with Fido can be a great bonding experience, but not all pups were made for paddling. Some breeds prefer staying on dry land, and some breeds simply weren't born for water. Find out which pups are better-off keeping their paws on solid ground.


This adorable breed is best known for quirky snorts and a smooshed-in face. What makes pugs the comical canines we know and love also makes them a water-safety hazard. The short snouts that adorn their darling faces are fully responsible for the shortness of breath and lack of stamina that keeps this breed from swimming laps around the pool. If your pug is a water lover, be sure to keep a close eye on him and encourage plenty of breaks in between swim sessions. To prevent fatigue, try a doggy life vest to help keep your pug afloat without the effort.


Much like their short-legged counterparts, dachshunds can be taught to swim but might be better-off using their natural abilities to stay entertained. With wee legs barely long enough to paddle, these playful pups prefer a variety of dry land activities including hunting, burrowing and anything that keeps them on the go. If your hot-dog enjoys a summer cool down, water-filled toys and even a quick (and supervised) dip in a doggy pool provide safe alternatives for playtime activities.


Sturdy and low to the ground, bulldogs are best fit for dry-land activities. Due to their compact body, heavy body-shape and short legs, paddling fast enough to support their weight can be a challenge. A poolside doggy bed with lots of summertime toys can provide a safer alternative for spending water time with your pooch. If your bulldog must get in the water, make sure a helping hand is around at all times.

Basset HoundsBasset hounds

Holding the record for the world's longest ears, the basset hound was bred for land activities like hunting and tracking. With short legs and a dense bone structure, bassets will gladly sniff out a trail so long as water is not an obstacle. For cool summer bonding time, try freezing healthy snacks for your basset to sniff out. This will allow your dogs' natural hunting abilities to shine through while getting rewarded with a cool treat.


Cute and cuddly, the Maltese feels better on your lap than treading water. While this breed is fully capable of paddling, other health issues may arise from water play. Prone to chills, arthritis and rheumatism, taking your Maltese on a swimming adventure could further worsen these common breed concerns. No matter what season, Maltese pups are happy anytime they can curl up with their owners.

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