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Can Corgis Swim? [Do They Need To Be Taught How To Do So?]

Corgi owners often question whether they can take their dog for a swim. Being long-bodied with short legs, it is only natural to wonder whether they are physically capable of doing so. With safety being of utmost importance, I decided to spend some time researching how this breed fares in the water. I would like to share my findings here today.

So, can Corgis swim? Corgis are able to swim and are able to swim quite well. Corgis equally tend to enjoy going into the water and will often do so when an opportunity presents itself. Corgis have naturally powerful legs and robust energy, which they use to stay afloat and propel them to where they want to go.

When you think of Corgi, you do not instinctively think of them as being capable of swimming.

It’s also not something you would likely hear about when this breed is being discussed.

Nonetheless, like most breeds of dogs, swimming does come naturally to them.

While there are other dogs that will be inherently better swimmers, Corgis are surprisingly cool and able in the water.

Let us now take a closer look at the proficiency and other important questions related to the topic.

So if you have a pool, lake, or body of water around you – you’ll soon be in a position to let your Corgi swim in it!

Are Corgis Good Swimmers?

Corgis were initially bred to herd; they are working dogs that have been mostly confined to the land for generations. They have moved cattle for hundreds of years.

As such, they have developed a short, mobile physique that enables them to quickly and swiftly change course; moving in and out of animals without being harmed.

They are in fact, very nimble dogs.

From a purely anatomical perspective, Corgis should theoretically not be very good swimmers.

They have long bodies, short legs, and no tail to support them.

However, generally, with a bit of time and experience in the water, they can become very capable swimmers.

Here is why:

Abundance Of Energy

Swimming requires a lot of energy and that is something that Corgis appear to have in abundance.

Corgis are often very active dogs who need to be kept busy with exercise and activity regularly for optimal health and well-being.

It is generally advised that a Corgi gets anywhere from 45 minutes – to 1 hour of exercise each day.

But, this amount does range depending on their age and physical capabilities.

Nonetheless, Corgis generally have a lot of energy – and this is simply required for a dog to be able to swim well. They need to be able to keep going, even as they tire, so stamina is crucial.

For many owners, swimming can be an ideal way to get a Corgi to expend and let off some excess energy while cooling off at the same time!

Strong Legs

While they may be short, a Corgis legs are deceivingly strong and powerful.

The legs are crucial to a dog when swimming, as these are essentially what they will use to propel them through the water.

A corgi can therefore leverage this power, and benefit from its parental lineage who required strong legs during their herding days.

While some dog breeds can only paddle, which is where we get the name from for the common human swimming stroke, a Corgi will actually be a lot more mindful of their approach.

Doing so, will keep them afloat and from a-to-b in the water, much faster.

Of course, not every Corgi will be able to swim effectively. This is especially true in Corgis that are more reserved and less averse to risk.

For these, training and exposure to water over time are likely required to get them to enter the water and swim on their own accord.

Do Corgis Like Swimming?

Most Corgis, both Pembroke and Cardigan breeds, enjoy going into the water and swimming.

There are multiple reports of owners who routinely take their Corgi for a swim. Others even report that their Corgi goes off into the water and do so by their own accord.

Interestingly, Corgis do not seem to be put off even despite the complexity of the water.

Some Corgis have been known to swim in very large bodies of water, including oceans and lakes! However, they are also as keen to enter rivers, lakes, and streams.

However, there will be Corgis who do not like swimming, especially in those who are not as able.

Any Corgi that is not physically fit has an injury, or who is timider is typically more averse to water and to swimming.

For others, they do not appear to like the water at all; even when capable.

This is something that you will have to work out with your Corgi yourself. You’ll need to safely test and see how they respond.

Let us now take a closer look at some of the practical ways you can introduce your Corgi to swimming, and teach them what is required to build their confidence in the activity.

Teaching Your Corgi To Swim

While Corgis are naturally very capable of swimming, it is still important that you teach them to do so.

This will help them to build their confidence while in the water, and ensure they develop a knowledge of how to do so effectively, while in a safe setting.

First and foremost, you must consider that teaching a Corgi to swim will take some time.

You’ll need to be consistent and fully aware of your dog’s thoughts and feelings at all times. As such, you should never force your dog to get into the water if they do not want to.

In the beginning, it is best to start slow. This can be done whether your Corgi is a puppy or is fully grown.

For older Corgis, they may have prior experiences with water, both positive and negative, so it can be harder to begin the process.

Puppies can equally be reserved, but it is generally easy to start them swimming at this age. 

Nonetheless, is crucial to keep your dog safe at all times.

A common recommendation is to also purchase a swimming aid or life preserver. The most popular, easiest to use, and most effective are doggy life jackets.

Here is an excellent, best-selling small jacket to purchase for a great price on Amazon.

It fits perfectly on this breed by default but can be altered if required.

What I like about it is how visible it is, plus the fact you can quickly pull your dog up and out of the water if required through the rescue handle on the top of the jacket.

With the jacket on, you can safely begin to teach your Corgi to swim.

You do want to put the jacket on ahead of time, and let your Corgi get used to how it feels and fits.

Introducing Your Corgi To Water

First and foremost, you need to introduce your dog to the water.

It works best if you have a paddling pool or a kiddie pool, although it is also possible to visit a nearby stream, to begin with.

A good way to start is to get in the water yourself. Let your dog know that is safe. You can even bring some toys into the pool to encourage your dog to join you.

Corgis love to be with their owners and play, so you can use this to your advantage during the introduction to the water process. Your dog trusts you, so will be more inclined to trust what you are doing is safe.

Let your dog play in the water, but if they are not open to getting in, having them around the edge of the pool/lake is still progress. In time, they will soon get in and join you.

You can even use treats and offer words of encouragement to entice your corgi into the water.

Just be sure to take this step slow.

It’s all about getting them familiar with water and the jacket.

It’s about building confidence.

At this stage it’s not about being submerged.

Shallow Swimming

Once your Corgi has had the chance to routinely get in and out of a kiddie pool/shallow body of water while standing, you can then look to introduce the physical act of swimming.

Its recommended to find a shallow body of water; preferably one that slopes down (like it does on a beach).

Lakes are typically good here so long as you have permission (if it is private land).

With the confidence they have built up already, they should be keener to enter the water and attempt to swim.

Otherwise, you may need to entice them to get in with a treat or two. Again, getting in the water yourself helps.

Deeper Body Of Water

Once your Corgi has spent enough time in shallow bodies of water, and appears to become more and more efficient; you should be able to let them swim in deeper bodies of water. Such as the Ocean.

This may not be something you ever want to or need to do, but it should be possible by this time.

You can fully swim them at this point which can be great fun!

It is still generally advised to use the life jacket, but in time they should technically be able to swim without it. Just remain close and you can help to keep them safe at all times.

Tips For Swimming With You Corgi

  • Start slow, beginning with introductions to water from a young age.
  • Be patient with your Corgi. Let them build their confidence over time.
  • Never leave your Corgi unattended in or around a body of water. Monitor them closely and be willing and able to help them if required.
  • Keep swimming periods short especially in the beginning. Do not let your Corgi get become too tired.
  • Never force your Corgi into any body of water.
  • Use treats and toys to promote and give incentive to your Corgi to enter and swim in water.
  • Routinely praise and acknowledge the bravery of your Corgi as they learn to swim.
  • Strap on a Life Jacket to your Corgi to ensure they remain safe at all times. Make sure it fits properly and they have had a chance to get used to it.


Most Corgis can swim instinctively, and generally really enjoy doing so.

They have short, powerful legs and an abundance of energy which helps them to stay afloat and propel through the water.

However, not all Corgis are strong swimmers.

Some will never be fond of the experience, even after sufficient time in the water. They shouldn’t be forced.

It is always best to introduce a dog to water slowly, and to teach them; this will ensure they know how to navigate the water.

Ultimately, this is something you can look to try with your dog. Just be patient, stay close at all times, and try to have some fun in the process.

Related Questions

Do Corgis Hate Water?

Corgis do not generally hate water, although some do. This depends on the dog, its personality, experiences, and previous exposure to water. Slow and frequent exposure to water can help a Corgi become more familiar and confident in and around a body of water.

Wondering what other breeds of dog can swim? Then check out my following guides: