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Can Bernese Mountain Dogs Swim? The Interesting Answer!

Written by: Ed Malaker

Last Updated on July 8, 2024 by Dogster Team

cute bernese mountain dog swimming in a lake

Can Bernese Mountain Dogs Swim? The Interesting Answer!

The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large breed that originated in the Swiss Alps, which makes many people wonder if they like to swim. Despite often living in the mountains, these dogs can indeed swim, but read on as we discuss whether they like it and if it comes naturally for them. We also provide a few tips on how you can safely introduce your pet to the water so you and your dog can have a better experience.

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Can Bernese Mountain Dogs Swim?

Yes. If your Bernese Mountain Dog was walking on a dock and fell into the water by accident, they should be able to paddle back to shore, keeping their nose above water. However, Bernese Mountain Dogs aren’t the best swimmers. They have long, dense coats that make it hard for them to swim as easily as many other breeds, but with a bit of training, they can swim well enough.

bernese mountain dog lying on the sand
Image By: Piqsels

Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Like Water?

Most Bernese Mountain Dogs like water and will enjoy running along the shore or playing in a stream, but they will usually shy away from getting in too deep or swimming, as it doesn’t come naturally to them.

Can a Bernese Mountain Dog Learn to Swim?

Yes. The Bernese Mountain Dog has a great deal of energy and stamina combined with strong legs that enable them to paddle in the water for quite a while, even if they don’t get far. Their bushy tail will also help them navigate better, and they have a strong desire to please, so they will always give their best effort.

bernese mountain dog swimming in the sea
Image By: Kenan Guven, Shutterstock

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How Can I Train My Bernese Mountain Dog to Swim?

Start Young

The best time to start training your Bernese Mountain Dog to swim is when they are still a puppy. At this stage, they are more open to new things and less likely to fear the water.

Bernese Mountain Dog standing in the inflatable swimming pool
Image By: Kristesoro, Shutterstock

Start in Shallow Water

When getting your Bernese Mountain Dog used to the water, let them play in a shallow area of standing water. A children’s plastic pool works well and enables you to adjust the water level. You can also let them play near the shore of a lake. Let them experience the water at their own pace, especially if your dog seems scared, or they will be resistant to going any farther.

Slowly Increase the Depth

As your Bernese Mountain Dog gets used to swimming, you can let them go deeper. Once they get to an area where they need to paddle to stay afloat, bring them back in to help them gain confidence.

Bernese mountain dogs swimming in the river
Image By: cellistka, Shutterstock

Treat and Repeat

When your pet returns to solid ground, give them a treat, and tell them that they did well. Repeat these last two steps until your dog doesn’t mind paddling around.

Join Your Pet

Once your pet is comfortable swimming near the shore, you can get into the water with them to let them go out farther and build their swimming skills. Getting in will help your dog feel more comfortable too, and they will be more likely to have a good time.

girl teaches her bernese mountain dog to swim in sea in special life jacket
Image By: lightman_pic, Shutterstock

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Bernese Mountain Dogs can swim a short distance if they fall into the water. However, the act doesn’t come naturally to them, and their thick fur makes it more difficult for them to swim for long periods.

While some dogs might be afraid of the water, most enjoy playing in it, and you can train yours to swim better if you start when they are still a puppy. Starting with shallow water and gradually increasing the depth will have them swimming in lakes and having fun in no time.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: JeDo_Foto, Shutterstock

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