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Do Miniature Schnauzers Like Water? How to Teach Them to Swim

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 11, 2024 by Dogster Team

dog wet in water miniature schnauzer

Do Miniature Schnauzers Like Water? How to Teach Them to Swim

Miniature Schnauzers are tiny additions to the Schnauzer family and are the smallest of the three members. Miniature Schnauzers are only 12 to 14 inches tall and stocky, so they aren’t designed for swimming! They are lively and energetic dogs, and if they’re properly introduced to water, they should be happy to go for a swim. Not all mini-Schnauzers will like the water, but those correctly socialized and taught how to swim safely will likely enjoy it.


Can Most Dogs Swim?

Most dogs are capable of swimming to some degree (including Miniature Schnauzers), but some breeds are more naturally competent than others. You can’t automatically assume any dog will be okay in the water (and it’s dangerous to do so), but breeds like the Newfoundland who have physically adapted to being in the water have an easier time of it.

The Miniature Schnauzer isn’t made for the water, but their energy and love for their people can encourage them to swim. If you have a Miniature Schnauzer that loves the water but hasn’t had any “swimming lessons,” they’ll probably doggy paddle just fine. However, it’s always a good idea to give smaller or short-legged dogs a life jacket or vest; dogs of certain shapes and sizes can have a much harder time swimming and staying afloat than other breeds.

Miniature Schnauzer
Image By: ClarissaBell, Pixabay

How Can I Help My Miniature Schnauzer Like Swimming?

The key to helping your Miniature Schnauzer like swimming is introducing them to water as a puppy and giving them good experiences. Positive association with any situation or event will help your pup to enjoy it and give them confidence, and the same goes for taking a dip in the pool!

Training Puppies

When your Miniature Schnauzer is a puppy, strap them into a life vest and try to coax them into the water. Most puppies are naturally curious, so try to keep your pup away from the edge of the pool and lead them down steps or a ladder; some will try to just jump right in! If your Miniature Schnauzer is wearing a life vest, they’ll be safe even if they fall (or jump) into the water, and you can help them tread water and begin learning how to swim.

13Miniature Schnauzer
Image By: joangonzalez, Pixabay

Training Adults

If your Mini-Schnauzer is older, introducing them to the water can be more difficult. However, they can still learn to enjoy the water with lots of encouragement. Life vests are essential for adult dogs, too, particularly for small and stocky breeds like the Miniature Schnauzer. Because they’re all about family, you shouldn’t have much trouble getting your dog to follow you into the water with a bit of gentle coaching.

Making the Experience Fun

Make your “swimming lessons” short and fun, and let your dog catch their breath and rest after swimming briefly. Because Miniature Schnauzers are small, one length for you is closer to 10 for them! Encourage them as much as you can, and they’ll gain confidence in the water if you stand beside them in the pool.

By building these positive experiences with your Mini-Schnauzer in the water, they’ll learn that swimming is fun to do with their favorite people and learn to love it. Every dog is different, however, so some Miniature Schnauzers may never enjoy the pool!

miniature schnauzer dog floating on a board in a swimming pool
Image By: cynoclub,Shutterstock

Why Do Some Dogs Hate Water?

As mentioned, some dogs don’t like the water. Sometimes, it is due to inexperience; the water is a new, scary thing that they haven’t seen before, so they don’t know what to expect. Other times, a bad or traumatic experience with water can teach a dog that water is something to be afraid of. Near-drowning is, unfortunately, more common than you’d think, with around 5,000 pets drowning in pools across the US every year.

An experience like that is likely never forgotten, and an anxious dog in the pool may panic and risk drowning. If your Miniature Schnauzer doesn’t like the water, they should never be forced into it; following the gentle encouragement method above can help boost their confidence, but some dogs won’t want to swim.

Is Swimming Dangerous for a Miniature Schnauzer?

Swimming can be dangerous for any dog, but certain breeds face more risk. Luckily, the Miniature Schnauzer only has its small size to contend with, but they’ll still need to be supported when swimming. Drowning is a serious possibility, and precautions should be taken to ensure your Miniature Schnauzer is safe when in water.

Using Life Jackets

Life jackets and safety vests are very important when teaching your dog to swim; they can wear them even when they become more confident in the water. Dogs can panic if they’re spooked or nervous in the pool, so consider wearing a life vest yourself in case they swim and climb on you for reassurance!

Dog wearing life jacket swimming in the sea Miniature Schnauzer
Image By: Santipap, Shutterstock

Showing Your Dog the Exit

Make sure your Mini-Schnauzer knows how to get out of the water by showing them a ridge or ramp or by showing them steps. Chlorinated pools can also irritate a dog’s eyes or skin and make them sick if they drink it, so keep on top of the water quality if you’re going to swim with your Miniature Schnauzer in a pool.

Keeping Your Dog Away From Hazardous Water

Lastly, look out for tides and currents in the ocean and blue-green algae in still water. Rip tides or strong currents can easily sweep a dog away, particularly a small one like the Mini Schnauzer! Blue-green algae are commonly seen in the summer and are caused by cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria produce cyanotoxins that are incredibly dangerous for dogs and are most common in late summer and early fall. Cyanobacteria looks like a blue or green mat or sheen to the water, and it can kill dogs (and other animals) if ingested. These bacteria can produce neurotoxins or hepatotoxins (affecting the brain or liver), which can kill in as little as 24 hours.

Miniature Schnauzer
Image By: David Rodriguez Diaz, Shutterstock



Miniature Schnauzers can swim as well as most dogs when they’re properly trained, but they should be closely monitored and given a floatation vest since they are so small and can tire easily. Drowning is a risk that every dog has when entering bodies of water, so ensuring your dog is completely confident before allowing them into the water for a prolonged period is vital.

Be aware of the risks of different types of water, such as oceans or still ponds, and always supervise your Miniature Schnauzer when swimming. Lastly, remember that some dogs will love water, and some will hate it; if your miniature Schnauzer is introduced to swimming at a young age and is given positive experiences with water, the chances are they’ll enjoy it as much as you do!

Featured Image Credit: Da Silva Emmanuelle, Shutterstock

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