Many dogs, if placed on the surface of the water, will auto-start their dog paddle in the air. They see the water and their legs wag in that familiar motion. It seems all you need to do is put them in and watch them go.
Many people believe all dogs are born with the instinct to swim. This can be a fatal misconception.
There are three types of dogs: dogs that can swim, dogs that can swim but need help, and dogs that have the unique ability to sink like a rock in any water environment.
Natural Born Swimmers
Certain dogs are bred for water rescue and activity. Not only are these breeds usually excellent swimmers, but they also tend to thoroughly enjoy the water.
Water-loving breeds include retrievers and spaniels such as the Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, American Water Spaniel, Irish Water Spaniel and Portuguese Water Spaniel.
Retrievers and Spaniels have strong, long legs that are perfect for swimming.
If you haven’t already tested their swimming ability, always start your dog off slowly. Supervise them, starting in shallow water where they can stand and then moving to deeper water.