Corgis are unique dogs famously known for their odd body shape. With an elongated body and short stubby legs, you may question if they’re even capable of swimming. So, can Corgis actually swim?
Corgis can and do enjoy swimming, though they aren’t water dogs by any stretch. And despite their short legs, they have powerful thighs that help them propel through the water. In fact, our family Corgi (Pippa) is superb at swimming.
Nearly every dog can naturally swim – it’s just more difficult for some than others. Well be discussing why Corgis are capable swimmers and the steps necessary to ease your dog into the water.
RECOMMENDED: The Pembroke Welsh Corgi Guide
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Why Corgis Are Good Swimmers
Of course, not all Corgis are naturally great swimmers. Many of them are timid and require more training and a longer introduction period than others.
However, all Corgis have the potential to become decent swimmers. Don’t let their short legs fool you, they can swim like a champ with the right opportunity.
Corgi’s Powerful Legs
Contrary to their appearance, Corgis also have physical qualities that make them good swimmers, such as their powerful core.
According to the AKC, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi has short but powerful legs. In addition, they have muscular thighs, which makes them a lot more agile and quick than they look.
The main reason for these attributes is because they were bred for herding cattle (and other livestock). These small dogs needed the power from their legs to keep up with the animals on the field.
In other words, Corgis have all the right muscles in all the right places (for herding). And unsurprisingly, this physical trait translates well into swimming.
My Cardigan (Welsh Corgi) is essentially an otter.– Theonlycrazyonehere (Reddit)
When put into water, all dogs will naturally start “dog paddling,” where they trot in water to stay above. But just because they’re paddling doesn’t mean they can stay afloat for long.
Having powerful thighs and legs to propel the dog in the water will certainly help keep them afloat. It’s easily why they’re some of the best short-legged swimmers!
Active, Energetic Dogs
For the most part, Corgis are active, energetic and lively dogs. They love to play and run if given the opportunity. I mean, they were bred to run around on farms all day.
Most owners suggest Corgis need at least 45 minutes of physical activity a day. When our Corgi was younger, she had much more than that. And without it, I’ve seen first hand how destructive they can be.
But having an energetic dog isn’t always a bad thing, especially if you have a pool, nearby lake or even a inflatable pool around.
Active dogs are much more likely to be capable swimmers. I can imagine how much energy and endurance is required to stay afloat for a long time. So, the more active, the better.
Fortunately Corgis have plenty of stamina and wouldn’t mind getting an exciting and vigorous workout from time to time.
Just don’t throw a lap dog, such as a Shih Tzu, into the water and expect the same results!
Is Your Corgi a Good Swimmer?
It’s a rather difficult question because not all Corgis are the same. Some will be natural swimmers and others will require more training and time.
However, the best way to answer this question is to ask real Corgi owners what they thought. We surveyed the popular Corgi Subreddit (and other forums) to find answers.
Here’s what the Corgi owners had to say to this question:
1. I_lost_my_password says: “My guy swims without a life vest just fine. He’s swam in oceans, rivers, lakes and streams…I’m a good swimmer and keep a very close eye on him.”
2. Simbascorg says: “It took a few sessions in the pool for our corgi to get used to swimming and be comfortable. But now, he’ll even go into the ocean and swim!”
3. Atticusfinch89 says: “My dog loves it so much we have to try and keep other things like showers, washing dishes, brushing teeth, quiet. The sheer mention of water or showers and he’ll goes crazy.”
4. Ordinaryhero_3 says: “Our corg swims like an absolute champ! He’s definitely a natural swimmer and has been from day one.”
5. Thomas J. says: “People are always shocked when my corgi heads out into the lake. After all, he doesn’t have much limbs but he does have a body that literally floats.”
6. Samuel M. says: “Like many corgis, mine is a little overweight. By looking at him you would think that he’d just sink but he’s pretty agile in the water.”
7. Petrydesh5 says: “I haven’t had a chance to let my corgi swim without his floating vest, but with it, he’s very active and certainly not shy in the water.”
8. Kimsterwinning says: “I took my corgi to the lake a few weeks ago. She definitely prefers to be a land shark than a water dog. Not all dogs like being in water I guess.”
9. Teslalin says: “When my corgi can’t stand and ends up sinking to the bottom (not too deep), she will run along the floor back to the shore. But in lakes she swims extremely well!
10. Tigerpaw83 says: “I really wish my corgi liked water a little more. He’s really not a fan of baths but he’ll play in shallow water at the park.”
How to Teach a Corgi to Swim
It’s important to never force your Corgi into the water. The fastest way to scare your dog from ever wanting to swim is with coercion.
The process may take a while, but it’s well worth the patience and time. Swimming with your Corgi is a wonderful feeling, but only when both parties are comfortable and safe.
Here’s what you should do if you’re trying to get your Corgi to swim.
Get a Dog Life Jacket
Before we begin the process of “teaching” your Corgi how to swim, you need to get the right equipment. Though a life jacket isn’t absolutely mandatory, it’s highly recommended.
It’s not expensive at all and it’ll just make the whole process less stressful for both you and your dog. It’s even recommended by the American Kennel Club!
There are a lot of decent dog life jackets on the market, but we’ve only used the Outward Hound Dog Life Jacket.
It comes with a “rescue handle” and the bright color options are perfect for spotting your dog in the water.
Most Corgis will fit a size small, but make sure to check the sizing charts. The straps are highly adjustable either way. We’ve had this for years with absolutely no complaints.
Introduction to Water
Even though it’s the beginning, this part is extremely important. You shouldn’t move past this step until your dog is comfortable being around and in water.
The first step is to expose your Corgi to water. If you have a kiddie pool, then that’s perfect. Or if you have a nearby lake, take your Corgi for a walk around the lake.
If you don’t have access to either, you can even use the sprinkler or a hose as an early exposure to water. Anything will work at this point.
The next step is to actually get them in the water. For example, if you’re at a lake, have your Corgi inch closer to the edge of the water.
Take this step slow. They don’t have to be in very deep, just try to get them to stand in the water and play around in the water.
It’s always best to start in shallow water. Even with a dog lifejacket, you may want to put a leash on your Corgi. Not necessary, but might be a good idea early on.
Because Corgis are such food-driven dogs, this part can be easy. Bring some of your dog’s favorite treats to wherever you decide to go swim. You’ll want to bribe them into the water.
It helps a lot if you give them positive reinforcement and encouragement along the way. Eventually, your Corgi will become more and more comfortable getting deeper into water.
Our Corgi loved nothing more than her ball. She’ll always beg us to play fetch with her ball. So of course, we brought this to the pool.
After they’re more comfortable, consider throwing their favorite toy into the water and see if they’ll fetch it. If they do, you can experiment with more distance.
Swim With Your Corgi
Clickertraining.com recommends that you be in the pool (or whatever body of water) when you’re teaching your Corgi to swim.
What better way to instill confidence in dogs than by showing them that being in water is okay and fun? So take off your tennis shoes and get wet with them!
By swimming with your Corgi, you’re able to keep a close enough distance to them. If they panic or should anything go wrong, you’re just an arms length away.
This is also another reason why we suggest the dog life vest with the rescue handle. It’s super easy to pick up your Corgi in these type of situations.
Corgi Swimming Tips
Never leave your Corgi unattended in the water, even with a life jacket! A lot can happen in a single minute, so be vigilant especially early on.
PetMD suggests you bring clean, fresh water (and water dispenser) if you plan to go to the lake, beach or any natural body of water. The water in these waters can have parasites and lead to intestinal distress.
If your Corgi is still hesitant, try bringing a familiar friendly dog to the lake with you. Preferably, a dog that already knows how to and loves to swim.
Dogs are great at learning from each other. By watching you and the other dog having fun in the water, it’ll only make them more curious and excited.
It’s great to swim with your Corgi, but you must remember that this process should be done over a period of time (days, weeks).
Too much at once can overwhelm your dog and cause more anxiety around water. However, if your Corgi is a natural swimmer and loves the water, then by all means.
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