Can Poodles Swim? Do Poodles Like Water?

can standard poodles swim?

At the first glance, you will surely not miss the impressive hairdo that characterizes poodles.

The dogs have been known to sport an elegant look, making them a preference among families looking for a graceful yet tenacious dog breed.

But do not let their regal attitude fool you – poodles are some of the most playful dogs. And they enjoy lots of fun and playtime activities, including swimming.

Which then leads us back to our question – can poodles swim?

The short and simple answer to this question is yes, poodles can swim. As a matter of fact, poodles have been classified among the top breeds with amazing swimming capabilities. Not only can poodles swim, they also savor their swimming experiences.

The poodle is probably one of the few dogs that will hit the pool even if their owners are not around.

Read on for more insights on poodles’ remarkable swimming abilities.

Does Swimming Come Naturally To Poodles?

The word poodle closely resembles puddle. And though these words seem related by coincidence, there is a very close relationship between the poodle and water.

First, poodle is an English word with German origin. In Germany, the word translates into pudel or pudelin, meaning to splash inside water.

The French word for poodles is Caniche that is derived from the word chien canard, which loosely translates to duck dog.

poodle dog origin

And in France, Poodles are called Caniche, a name derived from chien canard, meaning duck dog. There are conflicting accounts as to the origin of this dog breed, with some arguing it came from Germany due to its name.

However, despite the close association of the term with the German language, poodles just might have originated in France. But from this etymology alone, it is clear to draw a close relationship between poodles and water.

Originally, poodles were developed as water retrievers. The breed was mainly used during waterfowl hunting. 

So after downing the prey, humans would command these dogs to hit the water and retrieve the kill. That is how they adapted to this primary functionality.

poodle dog swimming

Over the years, there have been concerted efforts to control the crossbreeding of poodles. That explains why to date, this dog has not lost any of its original traits and adaptability.

If you are looking for a sweet companion with whom to enjoy amazing swimming experiences, you may consider getting a poodle.

Since swimming comes naturally for them, trainability is also never an issue. Even if you were to get your hands on a poodle that is not so much of a great swimmer, you will discover that they are way easier to train than other natural-born swimming dogs.

Of course, there are other characteristics that make it easier to train a poodle as a swimmer. Much of that shall be discussed in the sections below.

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How Many Types Of Poodles Are There?

There are different kinds of poodle. These include the standard poodle, the toy poodle and the miniature poodle.

The standard poodle might be the oldest poodle breed. It is the largest of the three and is characterized by a mellow attitude.

In terms of size, the miniature poodle comes second, with the toy poodle taking the last spot. Being members of the same breed, you may be wondering if they exhibit varied swimming capabilities.

poodle dog origin

To begin with, let’s reiterate that no matter the size, all poodles are excellent swimmers.

But could there be some other factors working in favor of certain types of poodle in regards to swimming? Let’s find out.

Can Standard Poodles Swim?

Yes, standard poodles are great swimmers. The only difference between standard poodles and the other two types is that this kind of poodle is very mellow and graceful.

In fact, standard poodles live very harmoniously alongside other smaller pets such as cats. You would expect it to occasionally stamp its authority based on its size but no, standard poodles do not have the usual bully traits seen among other dog breeds.

But how does its size and relatively large weight affect its swimming abilities?

First, the standard poodle packs a lot of energy. That means he can sustain hours of paddling without tiring out, which ultimately makes it easier to train.

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Can Miniature Poodles Swim?

Again, yes. When compared against their standard counterparts, miniature poodles are fairly smaller.

They normally resemble the size of an average cat. That also means they pack a little less energy. But make no mistake; among the three poodle categories, miniatures are known to be the most hyperactive.

These poodles are so playful that if you do not give them a safe passage for the energy built up within them, they could end up channeling it into the wrong places.

You do not want your miniature poodle scratching your furniture or snapping on your other pets, do you? So how do you help him out of these destructive tendencies?

Take him out for a swim. Swimming is a perfect way of helping your miniature poodle cool off and release the excess energies built up within him.

And the best part is that being a typical poodle, they will enjoy every swimming experience. To him, it is no more than a fun-filled experience but to the owner, swimming goes a long way in draining out all the idle energy in him, which in turn also mellows him down.

Can Toy Poodles Swim?

Coming down at the bottom in terms of size and strength, you may be wondering if toy poodles are effective swimmers.

The answer is a yes, but with a few precautions. Despite their little size, toy poodles are also fairly hyperactive. That’s great because swimming helps release all the idle energy within them.

However, in comparison to the other two types of poodles we have reviewed here, toy poodles tend to tire out faster. They are great swimmers if the swimming is more intense but short-lasting.

So if planning to go swimming with this poodle, avoid the deep ends unless you are sure he is a seasoned swimmer.

Features That Make the Poodle Such a Great Swimmer

As expected, there are features that contribute to a poodle’s great swimming ability. Let us examine some of these features.

1. Webbed feet:

Poodles have webbed feet that are well-developed as compared to those of most dog breeds.

Webbed feet act as flippers, making it easier for the dog to seamlessly glide through water. The webbing is especially more pronounced in poodles, making it easier for the dog to stay afloat and steer even in waters characterized by strong waves and currents.

2. Intelligent and trainable:

Another common trait in poodles that makes them great swimmers is that they are fairly trainable.

Poodles are not just loyal dogs, they are also obedient. The combination of obedience and high intelligence makes them fairly easy to train, since the dog will be able to easily memorize commands.

In addition to intelligence, poodles are also known to develop a keen interest in swimming at a fairly young age. You can leverage that interest, along with the dog’s intelligence to easily train him to swim.

And since the dog is a natural-born swimmer, training will be more like a walk in the park.

black standard poodle dog swimming

3. Lots of energy:

Poodles are some of the most playful and energetic dogs. If bored, they will likely channel their energies negatively, for instance by snapping on other pets.

In fact, the dog has been known to fare very well in performance sports such as agility, hunt tests and obedience. Such dogs require a safe outlet for the excess energy stored up within them, and that is where swimming comes in.

4. Fur and coat build for the swim:

One thing you cannot miss on your poodle is their elegant and stylish coat. However, that coat is not just for show.

First of all, unlike many dog breeds that have double-layered coats, the poodle has only one layer of coat. However, the coat is dense enough and is highly water-proof.

The trimmed areas on the coat are meant to lighten the poodle’s weight when it ventures into water. Due to the trimming, the dog’s fur would not snag on debris underwater, making his retrieving duties effortless.

Also, the long hair that is found around the poodle’s vital organs and joints shield it from cold water. That is one of the reasons why the poodle is especially talented for swimming even in cold water.

wet poodle dog

Can You Train Your Poodle To Swim?

Poodles are some of the dogs that are easiest to train to swim. This is because they have standard physical and biological features that favor swimming.

That explains why the dogs are naturally taken by water, and will always get excited at the idea of swimming. If you have a pond or pool nearby, you will find them occasionally jumping in for a splash.

When planning to teach your dog how to swim, begin easy by introducing him to the water step by step.

Naturally, he should love it but if it is a young puppy, do not allow him to venture into the deep ends just yet. His natural love for water may get the better of him, so much that he may overestimate his swimming abilities and end up drowning.

Always start with the shallows and watch how your dog masters the art of swimming before proceeding to the deeper sections of the pool.

If your poodle seems uneasy being around water, chances are he had a past traumatic experience with water. This is where your patience as the pet owner will be required.

Conclusion: So, Can Poodles Swim?

Not only can poodles swim, they love the whole idea of swimming. It is the among the best dog breeds you should go for if looking for a swimming companion.


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Passionate lover of dogs and proud owner of a friendly, mischievous and energetic golden retriever named Beethoven! I’m incredibly excited to share my experiences on how best to care for your beloved pet. The more we know, the happier we and our canine friends will be!

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