Can Cavapoos swim?

Can Cavapoos Swim?
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    Living near the coast we spend many a day as a family strolling along sandy beaches, and whilst the kids like to run in and out of the crashing waves, it appears that our Cavapoo Rosie has a dislike of water. We have never even managed to test the theory ‘Can Cavapoos swim’, as our princess pooch won’t even paddle a paw in a puddle, let alone the sea!

    So can Cavapoos swim? If their heritage is anything to go by, then Cavapoos should be water lovers. Most Cavapoos are born to swim and adore running around rivers or splashing about in the sea. However, it isn’t unusual for some Cavapoos to display a dislike for water.

    Here we explain more!

    Why do Cavapoos like water?

    Playing in the water can be really rewarding for some canine companions, infact some dog breeds were specifically bred to work in water (such as Labrador Retrievers) and love it, whereas others…are not! Take the Yorkshire Terrier for example – these little dogs might be little but they are often fiercely opposed to taking a dip.

    Although your Cavapoo may not be the most graceful of swimmers, Cavapoo dogs have been built to doggie paddle for hours. This is thanks to their Poodle cross Cavalier King Charles Spaniel parentage.

    Poodles were originally bred as water retrievers and have a moisture-resistant coat and webbed feet, in order to help them to glide. On top of that, the name ‘Poodle’ is actually derived from the German word, ‘Pudeln’, which means “to splash”, and the French word ‘Caniche’, which comes from Chien Canard – “duck dog”. So with names like that, its no wonder that the Poodle is one of the best swimmers of the canine species!

    But it is not just on the Poodle side that your Cavapoo is likely to have inherited their love for swimming. Spaniels have always been known to be water dogs and hunters and despite the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel being bred as lap dogs, they still have a keen interest in water.

    If your Cavapoo is not a water baby yet, don’t despair, as there are some simple solutions that could help them get over their fear of water.

    Are Cavapoos good swimmers?

    Cavapoos are built to be the perfect size for swimming. Thanks to their good genes, they are streamlined and have a thick insulating coat which not only helps to keep them warm but buoyant too. Unlike the Poodle and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, they much prefer playing in shallow water rather than swimming out of their depth.

    This is probably due to the fact that Cavapoos are quite compact and have little legs, so prefer to spend small amounts of time and energy splashing around in paddling pools rather than doggy paddling along rivers. Cavapoos which have been bred from Toy Poodles also tend to tire quicker, so don’t have the stamina for swimming long distances.

    Why does my Cavapoo hate water?

    It is a myth that all dogs are natural swimmers, when infact some may not even enjoy swimming at all. This is definitely true of our Cavapoo, Rosie.

    The reasons behind why your dog does not like swimming might be due to insufficient socialization to water at a young age, or it may just be that some Cavapoos have a general disinterest in water. If you want your Cavapoo to love swimming, then there are some simple things that you can do.

    Our Cavapoo Rosie tries hard not to get her paws wet!

    How to help your Cavapoo to swim

    If your Cavapoo has never been in the water yet, you can gradually introduce them to the concept of swimming. Like any form of training, make sure to utilize treats that they really enjoy and take plenty of toys that motivate them in order to make the experience as positive as possible for your Cavapoo.

    The best places to teach your your Cavapoo to swim are lakes that have shallow areas, or slow-moving, rivers that are not very deep. If you live in an area with a lot of rainfall, even getting your Cavapoo to jump in puddles and get their paws wet, is a great first step!

    Top tips for getting your Cavapoo in the water!

    1. Introduce them to water on a warm day. Afterall, no one wants to get wet on a cold and windy day, but when its hot and your dog needs to cool off, water can feel refreshing and fun.
    2. Make the water feel like a fun place to be. By throwing balls or frisbees into the sea spray or by tugging on toys whilst they bounce in the surf, can all help your Cavapoo to feel happy with the feeling of having their paws in water.
    3. Let your dog venture into the water on their own accord. Dragging them by their collar or throwing them in at the deep end, will only leave them with a heightened state of fear of water. Ideally you want to let them paddle in the surf or walk into the shallow area on their own in order to built up their confidence whilst in water. Most dogs to begin with, need the security of knowing that they can touch the bottom before they feel brave enough to move farther out of their depth.
    4. You should never assume (even when it comes to Cavapoo puppies), that your dog can swim. Whilst some dogs may instinctively know how to doggy paddle on their own, others might need some form of training. Therefore you may need to support their back legs when they start to wade out deeper or invest in a dog life jacket or buoyancy aid until your dog feels confident enough to swim on their own.

    When should you introduce your Cavapoo to water?

    Most Cavapoo puppies tend to be fearless, so the earlier you can let them explore being near water the better. A Cavapoo puppy is more likely to dabble their paws in water than an older dog, who may be more apprehensive about trying new things.

    Remember to take some toys for your puppy to play with, so that you can introduce your Cavapoo to the water gradually. This will help them to get used to the way the water feels and behaves, as well as assisting them in figuring out how to move their legs in order to swim. They may even feel brave enough to grab an object that has disappeared under the water.

    How to keep your Cavapoo safe around water

    Whilst water can be a fun and exciting place to be around, it is important that you always follow safety rules to ensure that your dog does not get into any difficulty. We have all read reports or seen on the news about dogs that have fallen through frozen ponds or have been swept away by strong currents.

    Even dogs that are well trained in water should wear life jackets that are fitted specifically for your Cavapoos size and weight. As an owner, it is up to you to understand and be aware of your dog’s capabilities whilst in water, and if in any doubt, simply keep them on a lead.

    It is really important that you do not ever leave your dog unattended in the water, even if he is wearing a life vest as regardless of how strong a swimmer your Cavapoo may be, water is unpredictable and there are often hidden dangers beneath the surface. Even dogs which are strong swimmers are susceptible to drowning if they get caught up in white water currents, or swim too far away from land.

    You should also be aware of things that may be dangerous or toxic to our dogs, such as:

    • jellyfish
    • algae
    • parasites
    • pollution

    Therefore it is really important that you scour the area that your dog is likely to swim in carefully and look out for any warning signs that may be in place.

    Is swimming good for our dogs?

    When it comes to our dogs health, should we be actively encouraging them to go swimming?
    Of course all dogs need regular exercise in order to remain fit and healthy, and swimming provides an excellent alternative to going for a walk – especially for those dogs who enjoy swimming. It is a great cardiovascular workout, as it not only gets the heart pumping, but it great for muscle strengthening too.

    How does swimming relieve puppy boredom?

    If your dog has an over abundance of energy (like Cavapoo puppies do), then swimming offers a great way to tire them out. It is also great for Cavapoos that needs extra stimulation, especially if you can encompass some form of playtime into their swim.

    Can swimming prevent dogs from over heating?

    In the summertime when the weather is hot, there is nothing more refreshing and revitalising than a little dip. Therefore if you can entice your Cavapoo in for a swim, it will soon help them to cool off.

    Is swimming good for managing Cavapoos with mobility issues?

    Swimming is also great for those older Cavapoos who may be suffering with mobility issues or hip dysplasia. Hydro-exercise is great for your dogs health, as it gentle on the joints, ligaments and tendons, and provides a pain free workout without any stiffness.

    Reasons why your Cavapoo should swim!

    The health benefits that swimming provides for our Cavapoos are plentiful and as responsible owners we want what is best for our beloved family pets. Swimming promotes:

    • Quality of life
    • Relaxation
    • Weight loss
    • Reduced stress and anxiety
    • Increased strength
    • Increased circulation
    • Cardiovascular conditioning
    • Bonding with our pet
    • Confidence

    The disadvantages of swimming for our dogs

    Although, in the main, swimming is considered a great sport to encourage your Cavapoo to take part, like anything, it does come with its disadvantages.

    Why do Cavapoos get ear infections after swimming?

    For Cavoodles, with their long, low-hanging floppy ears, water can cause inner ear infections. Therefore you should always wipe out their ears thoroughly after a swim and if they are regularly around water, then it is advisable to invest in some canine silicone earplugs to protect your Cavapoo from further health issues.

    Is chlorine bad for our dogs?

    We all know from swimming in a pool that has chlorine in, how it can irritate the eyes, nose and skin. Taking your Cavapoo swimming in a pool which is chlorinated will not cause them any lasting damage, but you may notice them scratching more than usual afterwards.

    Therefore it is important that you wash your dog thoroughly after their swim to prevent the chemicals from drying out their skin and fur. You can even get leave in conditioners to prevent the chlorine from stripping their curly coat of its natural oil.

    What is hyponatremia?

    Our Cavapoo drinks everything and anything that is within a licks reach. Therefore if you were to place her in water (if she let you that is), I swear she would swim around the pool with her mouth open!

    Drinking too much water while swimming can be dangerous for your dog, due to the chemicals required for santizing which can leave your Cavapoo with an upset stomach. Worse than that, however, if they ingest too much water it can be fatal. This is known as hyponatremia, and is luckily a very rare occurrence.

    How long should Cavapoos swim for?

    How long your Cavapoo can swim for depends on a number of factors – mainly age and experience. For example Cavapoo puppies are going to be much more inexperienced compared to adult dogs, so will only require short bursts of time in water.

    Dogs that are brand new too swimming, or are suffering from an injury or illness can often only manage10 minutes at a time, until their stamina level is reached. Each time you visit the water you will be able to gradually increase the amount of time they spend swimming, as their strength improves.

    It is generally recommended that for an average sized dog, you do not let them swim for any longer than 30-minutes. As a Cavapoo is a small to medium breed, we would suggest that you try and limit swimming to 15 to 20 minutes per session, as this would be the equivalent to us doing a fast outdoor run.

    Some dogs were born to be on water, and living near the coast we often see dogs cruising in speed boats, chilling out on the back of paddle boards, enjoying the view from the back of a canoe and riding the surf with their owners.

    Final tips for swimming with your Cavapoo

    Whether your dog is more laid back like a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel or spirited like their Poodle parent, most Cavapoos like to fun in water. This breed of dog is a fast learner, so with a bit of safety training you can teach them how to enter and exit water safely. This will help minimize the risk of drowning when they start to tire.

    Another great thing that we can do as pet owners, is to learn dog CPR. This is not something that you can practice on a young, healthy Cavapoo, however there are many training videos and classes readily available that can guide you through the process.


    For most Cavapoos, water offers them another form of escapism and exercise in which to have fun. As Cavapoos are not naturally averse to water like some other dog breeds, you should try and encourage your dog to experience swimming from a puppy so that they do not develop any anxiety or apprehension around water.

    The less exposed your Cavapoo is to different surfaces such as water, snow, sand and ice, the higher the chances of them needing a lot of convincing to go in.

    That said, there will always be some dogs, just like Rosie, that would prefer to sit, dig or run across the sand rather than head to the sea for a dip. Yes, I am ashamed to admit it but our Cavapoo is officially a ‘beach bum’!

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