Can Boxers Swim?
No, they can’t. Boxers are some of the dog breeds that cannot swim. They are also fairly afraid of water. So, if you are planning on getting a boxer and have a pool in your backyard, you should proceed with caution. This is because the inability of a dog to swim comes with additional safety concerns.
Boxers are not naturally equipped with biological and mental features that make them stay afloat on water. So in the event they accidentally fall into your swimming pool, you could be looking at a possible drowning situation.
But as you probably already know, there are various dog breeds that are not naturally born swimmers, but which can become good at it through rigorous training.
However, when it comes to boxers, that is easier said than done. So, do boxers like swimming?
Again, the answer is a no. Not only can’t they swim, they also do not generally like to swim. This could be as a result of the inherited fears of drowning which as we shall find, are well-founded.
The good news though is that if you are a dedicated dog owner, you can still successfully train your dog to be an excellent swimmer.
First Things First…Just What Is A Boxer?
Even before we proceed to answer the question, are boxers good at swimming, it is imperative we begin easy by understanding what these cute, little canines are.
The Boxer, also known as the German Boxer or the Deutscher Boxer is a medium-sized dog breed that is characterized by short hairs.
The coat of a boxer is smooth, shiny and fits tightly. Most boxers are white or fawn-brindled in color, usually with white markings on their feet and underbelly.
The dog is classified under the brachycephalic category, to mean they are characterized by broad and short skulls.
Boxers have very powerful and well-developed jaws that deliver very powerful bites.
In fact, this breed is almost exclusively identified with a prognathous jaw. This is a phenomenon where the lower jaw protrudes more prominently in relation to the upper jaw, and then bend upwards slightly in a manner that creates an underbite.
As the name suggests, the German Boxer traces its roots in Germany. The dog was developed as a result of breeding the Bullenbeisser and the Old-English Bulldog, the former breed has since gone into extinction.
There are several reasons why most pet owners prefer boxers to other dogs. However, one of the most outstanding limitations of this breed is its inability to swim.
What Makes A Dog A Great Swimmer?
The question – do boxers swim well? – can sufficiently be answered by analyzing the various features that make a dog a perfect swimmer.
A dog requires the requisite physical/biological and mental traits to be a great swimmer.
For instance dogs that possess mental characteristics such as obedience and intelligence are known to be good swimmers. This is because the combination of those traits makes their training easy. A dog that is easy to train may adept at swimming even if it is not a natural-born swimmer.
In terms of physical characteristics, it all comes down to how streamlined the dog’s body is. Dogs with long limbs and webbed feet, for instance, are more efficient at paddling in water, and are considered great swimmers. The water-resistance of a dog’s coat also directly impact its swimming abilities.
Also, muscular dogs could be great swimmers because they have a lot of energy they need to paddle as well as stay afloat. In terms of muscle strength, good swimmers are usually dogs that feature large and deep chests, as well as small hindquarters with short muzzles.
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So, Why Can’t Boxer’s Swim?
When it comes to classifying dogs depending on their swimming ability, there are three basic categories.
We have dogs that are natural swimmers, dogs that aren’t natural swimmers but those which can be taught to swim, and dogs that are not built to float in water.
Unfortunately, boxers fall under the last category. That makes it quite a challenge training them to swim since nearly all their biological features are working against them.
First and foremost, boxers feature very short muzzles which makes their facial expression almost flat. Based on these features, boxers are broadly classified under the category of brachycephalic dogs. This kind of disproportion affects a dog’s balance when in water.
Remember that your boxer needs to keep his mouth and nose above the waterline and in order to do that, their head must be tilted upwards.
But when that happens, their rear end will be tilted downwards so the dog will assume an almost vertical position in water. Instead of staying afloat, the dog will only sink.
Another outstanding feature that makes it difficult for boxers to swim include their chests that are disproportionately large in relation to their hindquarters.
This imbalance, coupled with the boxer’s dense muscle mass, makes it almost impossible for the dog to maintain a balance when floating on the water surface.
Larger heads and denser muscle mass make the dog naturally lean forwards when in water. So, the head will tend to sink with its rear staying at an elevation, adversely impacting the dog’s balance. As you probably already know, swimming starts by establishing balance in water, without which you cannot make any progress.
Unlike many dog breeds that have some form of webbing between their feet, boxers feature no such webbing.
Webbing on a dog’s feet act as flippers, making it easy for the dog to paddle across water. The larger the webbing, the better for your dog and the lack of such webbing makes it very difficult for your boxer to even stay afloat.
A relatively short tail is yet another boxer trademark feature that affects his swimming abilities.
A dog’s tail play a significant role in terms of balance and steering. And the longer the tail, the better the ability to achieve balance in water.
Dogs with diminished tail may need to use their limbs to achieve balance in water and that means their limbs would be working extra hard to achieve three basic functions – keep them balanced, afloat and moving.
Considering the boxer’s feet are also not webbed, the lack of a longer tail only serves to complicate issues.
ALSO READ: Can German Shepherds Swim?
Do Boxers Fear Water?
If you have always asked yourself the question – do boxer dogs know how to swim? Evidently, the answer is a no.
Part of the reason stems from the dog’s various mental and biological limitations discussed above. However, the other part pertains to boxers’ innate fear of water.
Most dogs will want to splash in your pool from time to time, perhaps to cool off or even to play fetch. However, you will discover that most boxers are very afraid of water, even those that have no previous experience with it. This is an inherited fear that largely stems from their inability to swim.
So, as soon as you get yourself a boxer, the first thing to do is train the dog to overcome his fear for water. This is a necessary training even if you are not keen on training the dog to become an excellent swimmer.
You never know when the dog could be faced with a situation needing him to swim to safety.
Also, hydrophobia among boxer dogs could be inspired by a past traumatic experience with water. This is especially worse for dogs that are not given to swimming in the first place.
The best way to help your boxer overcome his fear of water is to begin training him when he is still a puppy. But, can you teach a boxer to swim? Let’s find out.
Training a Boxer to Swim?
Boxers are no ordinary dogs, as far as swimming is concerned. Therefore, you should learn how to teach your boxer to swim in a safe and effective manner.
First, it is important to understand certain traits of the dog that you could capitalize on.
Boxers are known to be very strong and agile, so they have enough energy to keep paddling even if their feet are not very developed for the task. They are also fairly obedient and intelligent dogs, which makes them able to remember commands from years ago.
However, the most difficult part is actually getting them to swim so how do you achieve that?
After successfully helping the dog to overcome his fear of water, it is now time to hit the pool. The general consensus is to proceed in baby steps. Take your boxer to shallow, still waters and observe how he paddles.
Since he is such an energetic dog, you might want to help him leverage his energy. You may consider taking the swimming lessons around 2 hours after feeding your dog.
Practice for a few days in the shallows before moving on to deeper ends of the swimming pool.
Remember to always accompany your boxer so that he feels reassured. And needless to mention, you should have the right safety gear such as doggy life vest, goggles and swimming leash.
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Last update on 2023-03-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Conclusion: So, can boxers swim?
Boxers cannot swim, neither do they love the idea of water. If you do not have a swimming pool in your backyard and do not intend to visit a public swimming pool with your canine friend, there is no need to worry.
However, remember that there are emergency situations that may need your dog to swim to safety. So, while swimming does not come naturally to boxers, you can still train them for it. The training will be challenging, and calls for resilience and patience on your part.