If you own a greyhound, then you may have considered taking them for a swim. In fact, you would naturally think that they could be quite capable with their sleek bodies and the power they can generate in their legs. But what about their stamina and their long limbs; can this prove an issue? Safety should always be prioritized. This is why I decided to do some research as to how well this breed copes in the water. Here is what you need to know.
So, can Greyhounds swim? Greyhounds, like most dog breeds, can swim. Unfortunately, however, greyhounds do not make the best swimmers. This is primarily due to their size and natural low stamina. While most greyhounds will enjoy splashing in the water, especially on hot days, not all of them are therefore as open or willing to swim.
Just because most dog breeds can swim, doesn’t mean that all dog breeds can swim well. This couldn’t be more true than for the greyhound.
Therefore, there are a couple of things you will need to keep in mind to ensure they remain safe and well if you did decide to let them do so.
Firstly, this breed does not do well in the cold.
They have low low body fat and struggle to regulate their body temperature. They can get cold quickly.
Another thing to keep in mind also ties in with their weight. Due to their thin frame, they are not very buoyant.
But swimming is not off the cards totally, and you can take proactive measures to help teach them and support them if they ever wanted to, or needed to swim.
Let us now take a closer look at what’s involved in the following sections.
Are Greyhounds Good Swimmers?
Greyhounds are not the best swimmers. It’s just not what their bodies are best suited for.
In other words, greyhounds could be good swimmers if their bodies weren’t working against them.
Unfortunately for the Greyhound, they are sprinters and not marathoners, so they tend not to have the energy to swim for very long.
Some Greyhounds may enjoy the water more than they can tolerate.
The Greyhounds that love swimming generally run out of energy before they are ready to end the fun and come out of the water.
Of course, this can be very dangerous – especially if you are not watching them, are close, or can help them navigate their way out of the water.
Another issue is having to do with their body fat percentage being so low.
Low body fat means this breed struggle to regulate their body temperature. It affects their ability to stay buoyant.
Dog Lifejackets do a very good job of supporting the buoyancy problem, and if the water is not too cold and it’s a hot day, their temperature should be fine.
Many greyhound owners swear by this best-selling life jacket on Amazon. Consider you would need to get the XL size for this breed.
Some Greyhounds have found themselves in trouble if they stop moving forward, and their back end starts to dip lower.
If buoyancy issues come into play, they can have a hard time keeping their head above the water’s edge and struggle to breathe.
Life jackets come strongly recommended for this reason and can help keep a greyhound afloat in times of struggle.
Do Greyhounds Like Swimming?
Though not all Greyhounds like to swim, many do enjoy the water. Even if they are not willing to go out far or immerse themselves totally, they do generally enjoy splashing in water, especially on hot days.
Your Greyhound may be a little weary around water at first, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t like swimming or water.
Some dogs just need a little more time getting used to the water, not unlike people.
If your Greyhound likes to swim, or likes the water, you will want to keep an extra close eye on them around any kind of water, and never leave them alone where they could fall into a pool, pond, lake, or other deep body of water.
Greyhounds like swimming won’t necessarily be able to do so for long periods, so make sure that they have a place on dry, solid footing where they can rest when needed.
Should You Let Your Greyhound Swim?
There is no reason not to let your Greyhound Swim, but you do need to ensure that you are keeping an eye on them and aren’t leaving them unattended in the water.
Not only should you let your Greyhound swim, but it could be very good for them.
Contrary to popular belief, Greyhounds are not a breed that is full of energy. Almost all Greyhounds will choose a nap over just about anything else.
So, it will be good getting them outside to have some fun and exercise.
Getting Greyhounds in the water is a great way for them to cool down on really hot days.
Even though they don’t have a thick or long coat, they can still overheat in extreme temperatures, and the water will just make them feel better.
Just make sure that you aren’t taking your Greyhound swimming when it’s cold out, or in water that is cold.
Greyhounds don’t tolerate the cold very well since they don’t have a long coat to protect them from the cold. Hypothermia could very easily set in, causing a whole host of issues.
Teaching Your Greyhound to Swim
The number one rule when teaching your Greyhound to swim, or any dog really, is never to throw them in the water and expect their instincts to kick in.
They could panic, and that panic could be debilitating enough that they are unable to save themselves.
Some dogs learn better or at least are more willing to learn to swim in open water or a location where they can walk straight into shallow water.
Some dogs fear stairs, especially when they are still young, so coaxing them into a pool might be harder because the dog is focused on the stairs more so than the water.
When teaching your Greyhound to swim, make sure you don’t leave their side, and stick to shallow water, in the beginning, to quickly get to a location where they will be able to touch the bottom.
To help your Greyhound from panicking too much, ensure they are aware that they can get out of the water whenever they want.
For the first couple of times, you may want to hold your Greyhound while going in the water and bringing them out again so that they know they can go that direction to get out.
Just like with any dog, or person for that matter, teaching your Greyhound to swim might take a few attempts.
Don’t be discouraged if they don’t want to dive right in and start swimming right away.
Try on different occasions, getting them into the water, and perhaps even use treats or toys to lure them in.
It’s best to get your Greyhound used to the water when they are younger.
Older Greyhounds can still learn to swim when, but you’ll have an easier time introducing them to water at a young age, and it becomes normal for them.
Trying to teach an older dog to swim will probably take a little longer.
Older Greyhounds may or may not end up liking the water, but it never hurts to try to get them to show interest because you know they can have a lot of fun playing and swimming about in the water!
Tips for Swimming with Your Greyhound
There are several tips for swimming with your Greyhound, but the most important one could be ensuring that you always keep close to them as they encounter trouble quickly and may need some rescuing.
Some things you will want to keep in mind when swimming with your Greyhound:
- Keep an Eye on Them – Don’t leave your Greyhound alone when around water, they can get into trouble quickly and in a moment’s notice. Always make sure that you are close enough that you can get to them if they show signs of having trouble.
- Life Jacket – Investing in a life jacket would be beneficial to help your Greyhound with their buoyancy issues. Like this one on Amazon mentioned earlier.
- Don’t Go Too Deep – If you are going to go swimming with your Greyhound, you may want to remain close to shallow waters. Or at the very least, if you are going to be in deeper water, have a pier or boat close by so that they can get out of the water.
- Never Force – If your Greyhound does not show interest in swimming, don’t force them to, they will have a higher chance of drowning due to panic. If your Greyhound doesn’t show interest in the water at first, it does not mean that you can’t attempt to bring them near the water on multiple occasions, as, over time, they can learn to love the water.
- Reserve Energy – Don’t tire your Greyhound out before taking them swimming. They are not as active as a lot of other dog breeds, and while they can have a lot of energy, it’s just a short stint before they run out. Running out of energy could be dangerous for your Greyhound if they run out of steam and are in deep water, unable to touch the bottom.
After your Greyhound has been swimming several times, and you know how they are in the water, you can probably relax some of the cautious actions.
However, always consider your dog’s abilities, age, stamina levels, and other external factors like the conditions.
Be present and mindful and ensure they can take on what they can effectively manage.
When many people hear the word Greyhound, they often either think of their long, sleek bodies or them running around the racetrack. Swimming is not something that tends to be associated with this breed.
Like with any dog or human, some Greyhounds like to swim while others aren’t so much of a fan.
Greyhounds are not excellent swimmers, though, and probably enjoy the water more than they are suited for.
When taking your Greyhound swimming with you, keep an eye on them and never leave them alone around large bodies of water, especially the curious ones or ones who like to swim.
Since they are not the best swimmers, they can encounter trouble when in the water, and you want to ensure you are close by in case they need rescuing.
Also, keep in mind the air and water temperatures when taking your Greyhound swimming. It’s not an activity you want them to do in the North Atlantic Ocean in April.
Even though there are some things that you will need to be cautious of, there is no reason why you and your Greyhound can’t have a lot of fun times swimming and playing around in the water.
Just keep it sensible, and your dog safe at all times.
Related greyhound guides you may want to check out:
- Are Greyhounds Good With Kids? [Is This Breed Safe With Children?]
- How Big Do Greyhounds Get? [Average Height, Weight and Size]
- Are Greyhounds Hypoallergenic? [Does This Breed Shed Often?]
- Do Greyhounds Shed? [The Owners Guide to Greyhound Shedding]
- Can Greyhounds Be Left Alone? [What About Separation Anxiety?]
- Best Treats For Greyhounds [Top Picks & Feeding Guide]
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.