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How Well Can St. Bernards Swim? Facts & FAQ

Written by: Jana Blagojevic

Last Updated on July 22, 2024 by Dogster Team

St Bernard dog splashing at the beach

How Well Can St. Bernards Swim? Facts & FAQ

If you have a backyard pool that you enjoy swimming in, you probably want to be able to swim with your furry sidekick. When it comes to swimming, dogs are very individual, and while some may enjoy it more than anything, others have an extreme fear of water. Saint Bernards are very courageous dogs when it comes to swimming; most will attempt to enter any water they can find! They adore jumping in large puddles, small streams, and river edges, and you may even catch them swimming in deeper waters.

While these pups love water activities, they are not excellent swimmers, mainly because of their large size. Read the article below to learn more about your Saint Bernard’s swimming skills.

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The St. Bernard’s Temperament and Personality

Saint Bernards are known for their large, clumsy bodies but charming and gentle personalities. There is a reason people refer to them as “nanny dogs”—they are loving creatures that will do anything to keep their human family members safe and happy. While their demeanor is gentle and slightly clumsy, they are energetic and playful. People may think of them as lazy, but they love outdoor playtime and activities with their owners.

They are incredibly protective of their family members and must always be around their loved ones. Daily physical exercise and mental stimulation are necessary to keep these dogs from being destructive or bored.

Saint Bernard Dog Running Walking
Image By: Nick Chase 68, Shutterstock

Fun Activities for St. Bernards

You can include various activities in your everyday playtime sessions to keep this large puppy entertained. These pups might be powerful to handle at times, but they adore physical activity and exercising as long as it is done through bonding time with their owners.

Saint Bernards adore activities such as:
  • Hikes
  • Camping and backpacking
  • Water games
  • Fetching
  • Sniffing and searching for toys and treats
  • Puzzle feeders
  • Teaser toys

Do St. Bernards Enjoy Swimming?

As you can see from the list above, Saint Bernards are big fans of swimming and water games. There are various activities in the water to keep your St. Bernard entertained even more, such as fetching or chasing. These pups especially love hanging around in shallow bodies of water such as rivers, streams, or large puddles. Deeper and larger bodies of water, such as lakes, might not be the biggest cause of enthusiasm in Saint Bernards.

While some Saint Bernards may fearlessly enter deeper water and try swimming for a while, others won’t test their luck and will stay in shallow water. Generally, when introduced to water at younger ages, these pups tend to grow fond of it quickly.

Saint bernard dog swimming in summer
Image By: Rita_Kochmarjova, Shutterstock

How Well Can St. Bernards Swim?

While St. Bernards are huge fans of almost any body of water they can find outside, they are not the best swimmers out there. Their large and hairy bodies offer little control in deeper water. Even if Saint Bernard adores swimming in deep waters, they don’t have enough stamina to keep swimming for very long. Their large bodies don’t allow them to stay upright or even float for too long. This is why most St. Bernards will stay in shallow waters, playing water games.

Another thing to remember is that Saint Bernards have large ear canals, and while they adore spending time in the water, it can make them prone to ear infections. If you allow your dog to swim in deep waters, where they’ll get their heads wet, keep their ears safe from moisture. Always dry their ears properly with a towel after swimming.

Final Thoughts

Saint Bernards are large, adorable puppies that enjoy outdoor activities with their human companions. They will follow you on your hiking trip, camping, and even swimming. They adore water activities such as playtime in the shallow waters but also swimming a bit deeper. While most of these pups will try swimming and enjoy it, their bodies are too large for them to swim for too long. They lack the stamina to stay upright for very long, but they will enjoy every second that they can!

Featured Image Credit: Robyn Mackenzie, Shutterstock

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