Do Beagles Like To Swim?

Many dog owners enjoy swimming and would like their dogs to participate in swimming with them. Some feel that their dog must want to cool down in hot weather by taking a dip in a swimming pool or stream. The truth is that some dogs like to swim, and others are very uncomfortable in the water. If you are a beagle owner, you may want to know whether your beagle would like to swim.

Beagles are hounds and not particularly fond of water. They seldom voluntarily swim, but like most dogs, beagles can swim if necessary. They may be trained to enjoy swimming if they are exposed to water from a young age. Beagles have short coats and will quickly get cold in icy water.    

Dogs may enjoy a muddy puddle and roll in a tiny amount of water. Is this the same as a dog that likes to swim and will jump into a pool happily?

Are Beagles Happy Swimmers?

Beagles do not like swimming. They are not dogs you will find splashing in the pool with the children or going for their own private swimming session.

Many beagles hate water intensely and will even loathe bathing. Some are offended when it rains and will only make a quick dive outside to go to the toilet before hurrying back inside.

Beagles can swim and will not drown if they fall into the water, provided they can get out before they tire.

Healthy, fit beagles can cope with long hours of hunting and tracking. Most people assume that because they have good stamina, they should be easily capable of swimming quite a distance.  

Swimming is very tiring for dogs. When they first start swimming, they can only swim for five to ten minutes. Swimming uses different muscle groups than walking or running. A dog that is fit for running does not necessarily have the stamina to swim for long distances.

When dogs first start swimming, their heart rate increases rapidly after the first few minutes. If your beagle needed hydrotherapy, you would see the rehabilitator monitoring the time and your dog’s heart rate carefully.

Why Don’t Beagles Like Swimming?

Beagles were initially bred in England, where cold rainy weather did not encourage people or dogs to spend much time in the water. They were bred as scent hounds and used for hunting by the nobility and later all classes of people.

Scent hounds like beagles, bloodhounds, and bassets were bred to find and follow scent on the ground. They were selectively bred for this task. Their job did not include any water activities, so the desire to swim was not bred into them.

Beagles will go through shallow water or cross a river if they are tracking. When beagles follow a scent, they are governed by their olfactory cortex, which overrides all other likes and dislikes.

Beagles have a short coat that easily becomes saturated. These coat qualities would make the dog get cold quickly in water, especially if the ambient temperature is low.

 Beagles are longer than they are tall. Their height is 18 to 22 inches, and their body length is 20 to 25 inches. This conformation makes it harder for them to swim.

Many dogs with this body shape struggle to keep the length of their body floating on the surface. Swimming is extra tiring for them.

Why Does My Beagle Like Swimming?

Although the breed tends to dislike swimming, some beagles may like swimming. Dogs are individuals that have preferences, likes, and dislikes. Some beagles may enjoy the water, especially in hot climates.

Can I Train My Beagle to Like Swimming?

If you want your beagle to like swimming, it is best to start when they are young. Four to five months is a good time to introduce your beagle to the water.

Always start slowly and carefully, much like you would with a human child. Never throw your beagle puppy into the water to teach him to swim.

It is best to use a pool where the water temperature is warm. Cold swimming pools will make for an unpleasant experience, and the puppy will have negative associations with the water.  

Remember that beagles are quite stubborn dogs, so you must use lots of positive reinforcement and repeated practice. Hold your puppy while you enter the water.

Dip the puppy slowly into the water while holding it tight against your body. This position helps the dog feel secure, and it is less likely to panic. Feed the puppy high-value treats when it is in the water. As it gains confidence, loosen your hold and allow the puppy to move more in the water.

Use a harness to give you a good place to hold the dog. If you hold the upper straps of the harness, you can guide the dog without interfering with the dog’s swimming action.

Encourage the dog to start swimming freely around you. Floating toys can be helpful as the dog may be interested enough to investigate them.

You can use another family member that encourages the dog to swim to them. Remember, frequent rests and short swimming sessions are imperative.

Once your puppy is accustomed to being in the water, you must drown-proof it. Help the dog to enter at the steps. Let it swim a short distance, and then guide it back to the steps. Repeat this pattern many times.

Put the dog in the water from the sides of the swimming pool and guide it to the steps. The aim is to teach the dog where to exit the pool. Many dogs drown because they do not know where to get out.    

Although you may encourage your dog to enjoy swimming, some of them may not catch the swimming bug. They may still avoid going into the water. Do not force the dog; there are many other activities to enjoy with your dog.

Beagles naturally love scent training activities. Try these out with your beagle. It should be naturally good at these games.


Beagles are not water dogs; most do not enjoy swimming. They are very adept on land and enjoy other activities with their owners.


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