Swimming in the lake or pool can be very refreshing and give your Shih Tzu some much-needed joy. Some dogs don’t like being in the water. Can Shih Tzus swim? This dog breed can swim. The Shih Tzu dog breed is able to swim naturally, but it’s not their natural instinct and they are not natural swimmer’s. These dogs can swim in water when necessary, but they are not able to do it with great ease.



Are Shih Tzu Dogs Good Swimmers?

Shih Tzu dogs are able to swim at a very primitive level. They aren’t born to swim well like Golden retriever’s.

They were not designed for strenuous exercise. Shih Tzu is a small dog, it’s physical limitations prevent them from getting enough oxygen. Because their muzzles are so short, they need to stretch their necks to get enough air. These dogs are unable to swim for extended periods of time due to their lack of stamina. These dogs are brachycephalic, or “short-headed”.

This means its nostrils and airways are narrowed. This is why breathing on water or any other liquid can be a little more difficult.

They can also get tired easily, even if they swim for a short time. Shih Tzu is unable to tolerate swimming for long distances. The short legs of Shih Tzu will make it very tired to propel themselves forward. Shih Tzu will use more energy than long-legged canines.

Their hair is another factor. Shih Tzus are often groomed with long hair. This long hair becomes heavy when it is submerged in water. Swimming Shih Tzu can have problems with the weight of their wet hair, as it can drag them under the water surface. These dogs enjoy swimming, despite the difficulties they face.

Another reason is breathing while swimming. Shih Tzus have small muzzles. To breathe properly, a Shih Tzu must extend its head above water when swimming. This makes it more difficult for Shih Tzus to breathe and remain comfortable in the water.

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Does Shih Tzus like to swim?

Yes, Shih Tzus love to swim. However, not all breeds can swim. Many Shih Tzus love to swim or splash in the water, and will happily wade along shorelines with their paws immersed in the water. The ball is their favorite thing to play with. However, they will tire faster and have trouble getting to it.



How to teach a Shih Tzu to swim?

Although swimming is an instinct for Shih Tzu dogs, it’s not something they are used to. This could be because they have never been taught to swim, or they may not know how to swim.

If this is the case, it is time to teach your Shih Tzu to swim. These are the steps to help your Shih Tzu learn how to swim.


Get a life jacket for your Shih Tzu

Before you begin training your Shih Tzu, you must first create a life for your Shih Tzu.

The life jacket can be very helpful in many ways. A life jacket can give your Shih Tzu the confidence it needs to keep going when things get tough.  Also, a life jacket is also great for protecting your dog if you lose your focus. A life jacket is also great for the first training phase.

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Choose a safe place to swim

You should find calm, clear water when teaching your dog how to swim. Dogs can feel uncomfortable if they hear the waves crash and the current is too strong. You can start in shallow water or a kiddie pool if they don’t know how to swim yet.

Once they are proficient at performing certain tasks in the water, you can gradually increase the depth so they can become more comfortable in deeper water.



Let your dog get friendly with water

Here’s a tip. Don’t try ‘throwing your Shih Tzu into the water technique to teach it how to swim’. Dogs can become very scared of water and sensitive to it, just like humans.

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Support your dog

Hold your dog with one hand and place it under its stomach. Let your dog paddle out if you are only about waist-deep in the water. Your dog can be lowered into the water, while you support its weight. Avoid letting your dog’s face get submerged in the water. Continue to support your dog until it can swim independently.


Teach your Shih Tzu to get out of the pool or lake

Your Shih Tzu may learn to swim. It is crucial that your pet knows how to exit the pond. Shih Tzus may have trouble swimming long distances because they are more tired from physical activity. It is essential to get your Shih Tzu out.

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Never leave your Shih Tzu to swim alone

If you are sure your Shih Tzu cannot swim, don’t leave them alone. You should always supervise your Shih Tzu when they are swimming.

As previously mentioned, Shih Tzus can become anxious or tire quickly during swimming sessions. This can lead to drowning. Keep them at arm’s reach if you are unsure about their swimming abilities. Encourage them to swim if they are feeling anxious.




Many dogs can swim well. However, it may take Shih Tzus some time to become comfortable with swimming and water. This is why it is important to be patient with your Shih Tzu when teaching them to swim. If your Shih Tzu is still not interested in swimming, it is important not to force it. This could make your Shih Tzu warier and even more aggressive.


I’m a long-time animal lover and owner of two dogs and three cats. I grew up on a farm where we had all sorts of animals, from cows and horses to pigs and chickens. My love for animals led me to pursue a career in writing about them. I have been a pet care writer for over 5 years and have extensive knowledge of animal care, health, and behavior.

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