Golden Retrievers are a naturally sporty breed, so it is normal for them to also enjoy water and swimming. With their breed origins in hunting and retrieving waterfowl, they are well equipped for this type of exercise and most of them do love it. It is yet another way for them to let out their boundless energy, which is a plus for owners as well.
However, all dogs have different depositions and personalities, meaning older Golden Retrievers may not enjoy this exercise for long periods, or at all, because it requires a lot of endurance. Some Golden Retrievers may have had bad experiences or anxiety associated with water, which is another reason that could deter them from enjoying a good swim.
Why Do Golden Retrievers Like Water?
Golden Retrievers are bred for endurance and due to their sporting backgrounds, many like water because of their innate genetic connection to that type of work and exercise.
Bred to Retrieve in Water
One reason that Golden Retrievers like water is because they are genetically predisposed to be great swimmers and have the strength it takes to swim for long distances quickly.
In the days of breeding that resulted in today’s Golden Retrievers, they used crosses between certain retriever breeds and water spaniels.
So, Golden Retrievers come from a long line of water-loving dog breeds and were engineered to be wonderful swimmers and collectors of downed waterfowl. Their hunting owners would shoot ducks, geese, and other birds down into lakes, which the golden would then swim out to collect.
Coats & Body “Built” For Swimming
Something that allows playing in the water to come easy to a golden is that their coats are water repellant, which gives them opportunities to swim in the heat and the freezing cold, without affecting their core body temperatures very much.
This is also a drawback for some Golden Retrievers, however, as not all are comfortable getting their coats wet. Goldens also have webbed feet which give them an extra advantage in the water.
How Do I Get My Golden Retriever To Like Water If They Show An Aversion?
If your Golden is not as excited about water as you would like, or they show a complete aversion to it, it may just take some gentle coaching to turn them around. It is helpful to try to pinpoint why they do not like water.
If you have a Golden Retriever puppy or an older dog with little exposure to water then this is likely the reason for their aversion. If this is the case then you can start introducing them slowly and trying to get into the water with them to encourage them to join you.
You can bring their favorite toy in with you, and attempt to convince them to swim out to retrieve it. Overall remember not to force your golden to swim if they are not comfortable as this may put them off of swimming for good by giving them a negative association.
The Benefits of Swimming for a Golden Retriever
Swimming offers a wide array of benefits for a Golden Retriever; number one is a way to get out a lot of energy without as much strain on their bodies. Swimming requires a lot of stamina and gives more resistance than running. That means they can easily build muscle tone and improve their cardiac health.
Swimming also allows for less strain on the joints and muscles of your dog, so if your dog has any health problems such as arthritis, hip dysplasia, or if they appear to be getting on the hefty side, then this exercise is perfect for them. Since obesity, arthritis, and hip dysplasia can be common issues for Golden Retrievers, swimming is a great way to keep them healthy and strong without causing the additional pain that running over various terrains may cause.
How to Introduce Your Golden Retriever to Water
Many Golden Retriever owners have no trouble at all introducing their dogs to love water. While others may have Goldens who need extra training and convincing.
Keep in mind to never force your Golden into any body of water as this can give them a very negative experience and they may be scared to go near water afterward. Instead, gently coax your Golden to feel safe and comfortable.
Goldens are intelligent and notoriously good at training, so as long as you are gentle and patient with them the introduction to water should go smoothly. You can start by getting into the water with them, which will help make your Golden comfortable enough to wade in as well.
Using a fetch toy is always a great point of training and making your Golden enjoy being in the water.
Do all Golden Retrievers like to swim?
Not all Golden Retrievers like to swim, some have had no exposure or negative experiences which causes them to be wary of water.
Whatever the attitude your Golden Retriever has towards swimming, many times you can coach and train your Golden into swimming. The most important thing to remember is to be patient with them. Finally, if they don’t like water after several training sessions then it is okay, and you can both find a different activity to enjoy together.
Do golden retrievers like the beach?
Just like you and your family enjoy the beach, many of Golden Retrievers do as well! If your Golden Retriever has never been to the beach, they will likely love the ability to be off-leash, run, play, swim, and spend time with you in a new exciting environment.
It is important to remember that if they have never been to the beach, it may be a good precaution to make your Golden wear a life vest.
Can golden retrievers swim in cold water?
The Golden Retriever breed is actually more equipped to swim in cold water rather than warm water due to their unique outer and inner coats.
So if you are on a camping trip during the colder months with your Golden Retriever, and your Golden hop into the cold lake, you shouldn’t worry.
If you’re wanting to take a camping trip during the colder months, or you happen to be hiking during winter with your Golden and they hop into the cold lake, you shouldn’t worry.
Golden Retrievers’ water-repellant outer coat keeps the fluffy inner coat dry, which means it protects them from cold temperatures. This keeps their core temperature from being affected by freezing water temperatures. So, if your Golden decides to jump into a semi-frozen lake, just let them have their fun and be sure to dry them off afterward to avoid their outer coat becoming icy.
How do I know that my Golden Retriever can swim?
Many, if not all, dogs are born with the innate ability to dog paddle. That is why this popular beginner swim move is named after them. So, your Golden Retriever will have the ability to stay afloat in the water and swim.
Golden Retrievers are great swimmers because of their
high energy, long legs, double coat design, webbed feet, and endurance.
Though, if you have a Golden Retriever puppy and is not accustomed to water yet, do not force your Golden into the water without proper training and gentle coaching.
How to Keep Your Golden Safe in the Water
Golden Retrievers should be self-sufficient enough to need little supervision in water as they can maintain a paddle and have the energy to keep afloat for a very long time. However, it is crucial to remember that anything can happen and it is good practice to supervise your Golden in bodies of water.
Remember not to let your Golden Retriever swim too long in extremely hot weather with direct sunlight, as they can easily become fatigued and dehydrated. They can swim in cold waters, but it is good to dry them off immediately after so as not to risk the cold air freezing their coats and causing them discomfort.
If your Golden Retriever is new to water exposure, gentle guide your Golden. If you have a pool, make sure to watch over your Golden at all times and aware of the pool exit points.
Do Golden Retriever needs a life vests?
If your Golden Retriever is an experienced swimmer who is going to be fully supervised around water, a life vest is likely not needed. However, it is advisable when teaching young a Golden Retriever who may not seem to pick up swimming right away, to fit your Golden with a life vest.
Life vests are also necessary if you take your are going boating, rafting, or anywhere there are strong currents and deep water. Search and rescue dogs are also required to wear life vests due to the extreme situations they are placed in.
While Almost All Golden Retrievers Love the Water There Are Some That Don’t
Golden Retrievers may have been seemingly born to swim, but it is always good to remember that every dog’s experience is different. Whether your dog is inexperienced, has health conditions, or has had bad experiences, it is important to be patient and understanding while trying to enjoy the water together.