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Can Great Danes Swim? (Answered!)



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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Do Great Danes swim? It’s a question that has been asked by many people, and the answer is not as straightforward as you might think.

In this blog post, we will explore whether or not Great Danes can swim, and provide some tips for keeping your dog safe around water.

Key Takeaway

  • Great Danes are not natural swimmers due to their body structure and breed characteristics, but with proper training and safety measures, they can learn to swim and may enjoy wading in shallow waters.
  • Training a Great Dane to swim can be accomplished by gradually introducing them to shallow water, using positive reinforcement to associate water with enjoyable experiences, and teaching them essential skills such as how to use swimming pool steps and responding to recall commands even when in water.

Can Great Danes Swim?

Can Great Danes Swim

Yes. Great Danes can swim. In fact, Great Danes are actually pretty good swimmers. They were bred to hunt in water, so they have a natural affinity for swimming. Many Great Danes are often used as water rescue dogs because of their swimming abilities.

A Great Dane who is not scared of water for whatever reason can swim and support itself in the water. They are equipped with a strong upper body and large paws that they use to paddle through the water.

Even though most Great Danes will have fun in the water, there are some individual dogs that might not share the love for the water. It is very important to slowly introduce your Great Dane to a body of water and just see how they will react.

The worst thing you can do is just take your pup to a pool and let it figure things out by itself. You can easily end up with a pup who will be scared of the water for the rest of their lives.

Instead, work with your Great Dane and show them that it is okay to be inside the water. In fact, go inside the pool and then call your Great Dane to join you. Pet them, tell them it’s alright, and in no time they will start swimming.

When a dog goes in the water, its instincts take over, and they begin to paddle. But this does not imply that all dogs will do this as some of them are just not natural swimmers.

Are Great Danes Natural Swimmers?

Can Great Danes Swim

Yes. Great Danes are natural swimmers. They have a natural instinct to swim and they love the water. However, it is important to note that not all Great Danes take to the water equally well. Some may need a little more encouragement than others but with patience and positive reinforcement, most will enjoy swimming in no time.

Many Great Dane parents wonder if their puppies are natural swimmers since they are so large. In fact, Great Danes’ physical build allows them to float in the water. Plus, their strong legs and big paws work in their favor and allow them to swim faster.

Some Great Danes might be clueless about what to do in the water. However, be there for them until their instincts kick in. If you’ve ever taken swimming lessons, you’ve probably heard of the “doggy paddle.” That is the exact movement that Great Danes use to navigate water like most other dogs.

Though the “doggy paddle” is performed primarily with the front paws, the hind legs are not ignored. Instead, the hind legs are used, but not in the up-and-down motion that humans do; dogs move their hind legs back and forth to add power to their front leg strokes. In short, the front paws lead the way, and the rear legs assist in keeping them moving says Hello Danes.

Given their protective nature, your Great Dane will enter the water to ”save you”. This is a great way to help them get over the fear of water.

How  Do Great Danes Swim?

Great Danes capitalize on their bodily features to swim. Most of them have near-webbed paws, which allow them to wade through the water. Their bodies are well built to help them glide through the water with ease. When they get into deeper water, their large stature and upper body allow them to “doggy paddle.”

I always use a life jacket to train puppies to swim. However, I have realized that Great Danes have well-developed features that make them adapt quickly to swimming. The muscular, solid body gives them an edge over other dog breeds when swimming. This allows me sometimes to start the training lessons without a life jacket.

When Great Danes swim, their front legs will do most of the work. The back legs will steer and maintain the momentum. As they paddle, their front paws will move side to side on the surface of the water. This allows them to make more significant movements and keep their heads above the water to breathe.

Their back legs will be moving as well but in a kicking motion. The movement allows them to maintain the paddle motion, stay afloat, and move forward without losing momentum.

How Can I Train My Dane to Swim?

Teaching your Great Dane how to swim is a fun and beneficial activity that both you and your pet will enjoy. Swimming is a great exercise for Great Danes, and it can also help keep them cool in the summer heat. Here is how to train your Great Dane to swim safely and effectively.

  1. Start by gradually introducing your Great Dane to the water. Dogs who are afraid of swimming or water may panic if they are suddenly thrown into a pool or body of water. Instead, start by bringing them close to the edge of the water so that they can get used to the sound and feel of it. You can even sprinkle some water on their fur to help them get comfortable with it.
  2. Once your Great Dane is comfortable being near the water, you can start working on getting them into it. Start with shallow water so that they can touch the bottom and feel confident. You may need to help support their weight at first, but eventually, they should be able to paddle around on their own.
  3. Once your Great Dane is swimming comfortably in shallow water, you can start working on deeper water. Again, take things slowly and let them get used to the sensation of being in deeper water before asking them to swim too far out. With time and patience, your dog will be a confident swimmer!

In general, most Great Danes will have no problem with the water. Just make sure that you are not going to make their first water experience traumatic by rushing them. Make sure you stay close by at all times when your Dane is in the water, just in case they need help. With time and patience, your Dane will be a confident swimmer!

Where Can I Train My Great Dane To Swim?

You can train your Great Dan in any substantially big body of water. Therefore, swimming pools and lakes are pretty convenient places for training your Great Dane.

I usually take my Great Danes to the swimming pool for training. Most Dane owners prefer to take their dogs to the ocean for training.

However, Understand that the sea isn’t a safe place for your dog, especially if he’s just started swimming. Despite his size, the waves could easily overpower your Great Dane, making it easy to drown.

Note that if you decide to train your Dan in the ocean, it will help if you seek the services of an expert for better results.

Another thing to keep in mind when taking your dog for a swim is not to drink the pool water or the salty ocean water. There’s no way of knowing if the pool water is safe; they could get sick and become infected.

To avoid this, make sure your Dane is adequately hydrated before taking them swimming. You don’t want your Great Dane to drink the water they are swimming.

Things may not go as planned the first time; it may take two or three attempts for a Great Dane to become comfortable in the water. Therefore, I would advise you to train your Great Dane regularly if you want him to get used to the water.

The Best Life Jacket For a Great Dane

With the thickest foam side panels, this Great Dane life jacket provides the maximum amount of buoyancy. The foam chin panel also aids in keeping the head above water. The top handles on this life jacket allow you to easily bring your Great Dane back if an emergency occurs, while the front float support and adjustable straps keep them secure both in and out of water.

The Outward Hound Granby Splash life jacket for Great Danes has bright colors and reflective accents to make the wearer more visible while swimming. A front neck float keeps your dog’s head above water whether they are a novice or expert swimmer.

The Granby Splash dog life jacket is made of ripstop fabric that offers optimum buoyancy in the water without restricting movement on land. Adjustable straps and side release buckles ensure a secure fit, while the neoprene belly band supports their chest and abdomen as they enjoy their float!


Q: Do Great Danes have a natural affinity for water?

A: Great Danes do not have a natural affinity for water like some other breeds, such as Labradors or Newfoundlands. However, with proper training and encouragement, they can learn to enjoy and participate in water activities.

Q: Can Great Danes participate in water sports?

A: Great Danes can participate in certain water sports, such as dock diving or retrieving objects from water. However, their large size and heavy build may limit their agility and speed in some activities. It is important to consult with trainers or professionals experienced in water sports to ensure the safety and suitability of your Great Dane for specific activities.

Q: Are there any safety precautions I should take when my Great Dane is around water?

A: Yes, there are several safety precautions to consider when your Great Dane is around water. Always supervise them closely to prevent accidents and ensure their safety. Use a life jacket designed for dogs to provide additional buoyancy and support. Avoid letting them swim in strong currents or choppy waters. It is also recommended to gradually introduce them to water rather than forcing them into it.

Q: Can Great Danes swim in pools?

A: Great Danes can swim in pools, but precautions should be taken to ensure their safety. Make sure the pool has a shallow area or steps where they can easily enter and exit the water. Monitor their swimming activities to prevent exhaustion, as they may not have the stamina of smaller or more agile breeds. Remove any pool covers or chemicals that may pose a hazard to your Great Dane.

Q: Do Great Danes enjoy swimming?

A: While not all Great Danes enjoy swimming, some individuals may develop a liking for it with proper training and exposure. It is important to pay attention to your dog’s comfort level and preferences. Avoid forcing them into water if they show signs of fear or discomfort.

Q: Can Great Danes swim in the ocean?

A: Great Danes can swim in the ocean, but extra caution is needed due to unfamiliar conditions such as waves and currents. It is advisable to keep them on a leash and only allow them to swim in designated areas where it is safe for both your dog and others. Rinse them thoroughly with fresh water after swimming in the ocean to remove salt and prevent skin irritation.

Q: Should I take my Great Dane swimming frequently?

A: The frequency of swimming sessions for your Great Dane depends on their individual preference and overall health. Regular exercise, including swimming, can be beneficial for their physical and mental well-being. However, it is important to avoid overexertion and monitor for signs of fatigue or discomfort. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate frequency and duration of swimming sessions for your Great Dane.

Conclusion and final thoughts

It is clear that Great Danes can indeed swim. Though their size and weight would lead one to think otherwise, the breed is quite capable of swimming with ease in a pool or lake.

It’s important to remember, however, that these large dogs need extra support while getting into and out of the water as well as proper supervision while they are swimming.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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