Written by 10:11 am Training and Behavior

Can a Shih Tzu Swim? 10 Secrets 7th Will Open Your Mind!

Can a Shih Tzu Swim?

Have you ever wondered if your cute Shih Tzu might be a secret water dog? What the answer is might shock you! With the right care and training, can a Shih Tzu swim & become a great water swimmer, even though their fluffy coats and flat faces might make you think otherwise? Before you let your furry friend swim, though, read this important tip to make sure they have a fun and safe time.

Can Shih Tzus swim? Yes, Shih Tzus can swim, but they’re not very good at it.

A Shih Tzu can swim in the pool well, but only for a short time. They can swim for a short time, though, because they are small. All dogs can learn to swim because it’s something they can do naturally. Dogs can paddle and stay afloat no matter how tall, short, big, or not they are. It would be better to know if Shih Tzus can swim well. 

Unfortunately, Shih Tzus aren’t good swimmers because their bodies aren’t built well. 

Shih Tzu swims, on the other hand, and learns quickly. Their paws work well when they first touch water, but they’re not strong enough to stay in the water for long. 

In a small pool, you can teach your Shih Tzu how to swim for a short time. These things will help them feel safer in the water and keep them cool in the summer. 

You should also teach your dog how to swim so that they can stay alive if they fall into the ocean or pool. 

Do Shih Tzus Like Water?

Unfortunately, Shih Tzus are not water dogs. Dog breeds that are good at hunting and recovering in water include Retrievers, Spaniels, and some Hound breeds. Shih Tzu can swim if you teach it and give it your time.

Shih Tzu Anatomy

Shih Tzus aren’t naturally good swimmers if they are purebred Shih Tzu because of the way their bodies are built. It’s hard for them to keep their heads above water because they have a short nose and a big head. Also, it’s hard for them to paddle well because their legs are short and their bodies are small. Shih Tzu swimming is not natural; they usually swim well, but they can learn to swim with the right training and care. Please keep in mind that some Shih Tzus swimming might not like and might be afraid to go in.

10 Steps Shih Tzu Swimming

  • Start your Shih Tzu’s water experience in a shallow place, like a kiddie pool or the shallow end of a larger pool. By doing this, you can help your Shih Tzu get used to the feel of water on their paws and body.
  • Do something fun with treats or toys for your Shih Tzu when it goes in the water. They’ll be more likely to explore the water and make good memories there.
  • To make your Shih Tzu more comfortable, slowly make the water deeper. Gradually add more water until it’s waist-deep.
  • You can get your Shih Tzu used to swimming and moving through water by holding them and leading them through it.
  • While the water is still shallow, you can start teaching your Shih Tzu how to paddle with their legs. To get them to paddle, use positive feedback like treats and rewards.
  • Slowly extend the time your Shih Tzu spends in the water. Commence with short lessons and lengthen them as they feel more at ease.
  • It’s important to keep giving your Shih Tzu good feedback throughout the process. Therefore, they will connect swimming with good feelings.
  • Oversee your Shih Tzu at all times when they’re swimming, and give them a life jacket if they need one. Throughout the process, it’s important to think about their safety.
  • Don’t let your Shih Tzu swim if it gets scared or stressed out. Instead, stop the lesson and try again later. Keys to success are gradual introduction and good reinforcement.
  • If you want to take your Shih Tzu to different bodies of water, like a lake or a swimming pool, once it is happy swimming,. They need to be closely watched, and if needed, you should give them a life jacket.

How Long Does It Take to Learn Shih Tzu Swimming?

It will come naturally to learn Shih Tzu to swim and paddle its feet. What this doesn’t tell you, though, is whether your dog is okay swimming by itself or not. 

That being said, it will probably take a few days to teach Shih Tzu to swim well. That depends on your dog most of the time.

On top of that, it will take some time for your dog to get used to swimming without being too scared.
For your Shih Tzu to feel better about themselves, make sure you keep training and supporting them. When your dog doesn’t want to swim, be patient and don’t make it.

Is Shih Tzu Swimming Hard?

For breeds like the Shih Tzu, breathing is a little harder because their noses are narrow and their airways are partly blocked. This is called brachycephalic.

If you want to keep your Shih Tzu’s short nose out of the water while it swims, you have to rotate its head back.

This makes it even harder for them to breathe by stretching their heads back.

It’s likely to get tired quickly after starting swimming because they have to use more energy to move forward than long-legged dogs would.

Your Shih Tzu’s hair is something else to think about.

If the Shih Tzu’s hair is very long, it will get wet and heavy, which could pull them down into the water. A puppy cut won’t be a problem, though.

Before you start with your Shih Tzu swim, you should think about these pretty important things. Still, he might like swimming with you once in a while, as long as you’re sure he knows how. You could teach him, though, if not.

Do Shih Tzus like water?

Some Shih Tzus enjoy water and go swimming naturally, while others may be hesitant to get in the water. It is important to introduce your Shih Tzu to water gradually and to provide them with positive reinforcement during the process.

Can Shih Tzus Swim with Long Hair?

It has long hair. To keep their fur in good shape before and after swimming, Shih Tzus should be given extra grooming & care. They should dry and clean their fur regularly to keep it from getting matted and tangled. It is suggested that you use a wide-toothed comb and a coat conditioner to get rid of static.

Maximize Your Shih Tzu Swimming Time

Swimming is something you think of as a great way to exercise your Shih Tzu. Plus, there’s more to it than just the fact that swimming is a great way for dogs to get exercise. These are some things you should know before taking your Shih Tzu swimming:

  • 1. Going swimming with your dog is a great way to chow down together.  Swimming needs you and your dog to trust each other and work together. It’s basically the best chance to spend quality time together.
  • 2. Another great way to educate your dog is to take it swimming.  Wherever you take your Shih Tzu, like to a dog park or the beach, other dogs will be around, so they can make friends. This is necessary because it makes them well-rounded and sure of themselves.
  • 3. Boating is a great way for dogs to get exercise.  In addition to cardiovascular benefits, it helps them build strength and stamina. They can also do it without hurting their bodies because it has a low impact.

Figuring Out What Kind of Creature Your Shih Tzu Is?


To build a strong and happy relationship with your dog, you need to know your dog’s personality. You should be aware of these cute pets’ personalities and their fears around water when you own one of these lovely friends. There is a lot to learn about the Shih-Tzu temperament. Let’s look at their natural tendencies, personal tastes, and how being around water early on can affect their relationship with it.

Why Water & Shih Tzu Aren’t Curious

Some Shih Tzus may naturally be nervous about water because they were bred to be pets and not for water sports. It’s easier for them to stay on land because they have short legs, flat faces, and thick fur that makes it hard for Shih Tzu to swim. You should keep in mind, though, that every Shih Tzu is different. Some people might stay away from water at all costs, while others might splash around for fun!

Individuals are different, so it’s important to know how to tell if someone is comfortable or not. It’s very important to respect your Shih Tzu’s different tastes. Keep an eye on their behavior and body language outside of the water. How does your dog behave? Does he seem happy, interested, or scared?

Possible Signs of Ease

As they get closer to the water, they wag their tails, bark, and jump for joy.

Paws are dipping or trying to walk through water that is too shallow.

Regarding you while you’re having fun by the water,

When Feeling Bad

To avoid water sources, the tail is tucked in and the ears are bowed.

complaining, screaming frantically, or trying to get away.

Signs of worry can be seen, like breathing heavily or walking quickly.

Always keep in mind that pushing your Shih Tzu into the water can make it associate water with bad things, which can hurt your relationship.

Does starting early boost confidence?

Being gentle and positive when you introduce your Shih Tzu to water as a puppy can help it gain trust, but never use force. Beginners should start in shallow pools or quiet areas where they can wade with an adult. If you want to support exploration, use positive reinforcement like treats and praise. Always make sure your dog is safe before anything else. Never leave them alone near the water.

Consider Shih Tzu aquatic activities beyond swimming

There are lots of other ways they can enjoy water! Let’s talk about some fun and safe things you can do in the water with your Shih Tzu that will meet its specific needs and ease your worries as a pet parent.

Happy Spa Day: Can Shih Tzus Swim?

Sure thing! To keep your Shih Tzu’s long, flowing hair clean and healthy, it needs to be bathed often. But it is very important to use the right methods and items to keep your skin from getting irritated or uncomfortable. Here are some ways to make bath time fun and relaxing for both of you:

Even if your Shih Tzu swimming isn’t natural, they can still have fun at the pool with you watching! Remember that safety should always come first.

You should never leave your Shih Tzu alone near the pool. A dog that can’t swim should stay away from even small amounts of water.

You should get a life jacket. This gives your Shih Tzu more stability and peace of mind, especially if it likes water.

Start out slowly and deeply. Allow your Shih Tzu to explore the shallow end of the pool at their own pace as you slowly introduce them to the water.

Give it shade and clean water. They could get dehydrated, so make sure they have access to clean water and shade while they’re at the pool.

Pool additives should be taken care of. Chemicals like chlorine can make your Shih Tzu’s eyes and skin itch. After you get out of the pool, wash them well with clean water.

Enjoy The Beach (Safely) With Beach Buddies

Going to the beach with your Shih Tzu can be a great way to spend time together. Although, remember these safety tips:

Pick the right morning or afternoon. Stay away from the hottest parts of the day to avoid getting dog heatstroke.

Put the leash on! Shih Tzus should always be on a leash so they don’t run into the water without you watching.

Guard against hot sand. Cover their soft paws with shoes or let them walk on cooler ground.

Clean yourself of sand and salt water. To keep your Shih Tzu’s fur and paws from getting irritated, wash off any sand and saltwater when you get home from the beach.

Solicit them to swim. Pushing your Shih Tzu into the water should be avoided if they seem hesitant. Allow them to visit the shore at their speed.

Benefits & Risks of Shih Tzu Swimming

Shih Tzu Swimming Health Benefits

  • Exercise with low force.
  • Work out your heart and lungs.
  • Lessen your stress and worry.
  • Give your mind something to do.
  • Getting close to your shih tzu.

Not only is swimming fun for them, but it’s also good for their health in many ways.

One great thing, is that it is low-impact, which makes it perfect for Shih Tzu who have trouble with their joints or movement. Your Shih Tzu can work out and get stronger while swimming without putting too much stress on your joints. 

Shih Tzus can also get a great aerobic workout by swimming. It can help them keep a healthy weight, strengthen their heart and lungs, and make them more durable. Swimming is also a good way to gain better muscle tone. It can also be beneficial for older dogs who might be losing strength. You can also do workout with your dog for fun.

In addition to being good for their bodies, swimming can also be good for their minds. It can help lower worry and anxiety and give you a mental boost and a sense of accomplishment. Also, swimming is a fun way to spend time with your Shih Tzu and make your bond stronger.

It is important to remember that even though it is a great way to get exercise, it shouldn’t be used instead of regular vet visits or a healthy diet. Before starting a new workout plan for your Shih Tzu, you should always talk to your vet first.

In general, swimming is a good way to keep your Shih Tzu healthy and happy. Just make sure to take safety precautions around water and keep an eye on their behavior and health before, during, and after swimming lessons.

Risks For Shih Tzu Swim

  • Being sunk.
  • an ear infection.
  • Being around chemicals.
  • Very high temperatures.
  • You should know that swimming can be dangerous for your Shih Tzu, even though it can be a great way for them to get exercise.

The biggest risk is that your Shih Tzu could die, especially if it’s not a good swimmer or if it gets tired or lost in the water. This is why you should always watch your Shih Tzu when it’s near water and make sure they have a life jacket that fits them well if they need one.

Another risk for your Shih Tzu when it comes to swimming is that it could get an ear infection. Shih Tzus often get ear infections because their ears hang down, and being in water a lot can make the infection risk even higher. To lower this risk, make sure your Shih Tzu’s ears are completely dry after swimming and use ear cleaners that your vet suggests.

Also, chemicals like chlorine that are found in swimming pools can be bad for your Shih Tzu’s health. Chlorine can make their eyes and skin itch, and if they eat it, it can make their stomachs hurt. Highly chlorinated or treated bodies of water. Instead, rinse it off with clean water after swimming in a pool.

Last but not least, extreme weather can also be bad for your Shih Tzu’s health while they are swimming. Shih Tzus are very sensitive to changes in temperature, so it’s easy for them to get too hot or too cold in the water. To keep this from happening, only let your Shih Tzu swim in water that is the right temperature for them, and don’t let them swim in extreme weather

Overall, there are some risks that come with letting your Shih Tzu swim, but they can be kept to a minimum with the right safety measures and close care. Taking the right safety precautions can make swimming with your Shih Tzu a fun and healthy thing to do together.


Their cute looks and playful attitudes can make their owners very happy. Although Shih Tzus may not be natural swimmers because they have short legs and flat faces, some can enjoy running around in the water with the right care and training. But know that every Shih Tzu is different, and some are much more comfortable with water than others.

Differences in Anatomy: Chihuahuas may have trouble swimming if they have short legs, flat faces, or thick fur.
You shouldn’t force your Shih Tzu to swim; they have their tastes.
First and foremost, safety. Constant supervision, life jackets, and slow starts are very important.
Swaddling pools, guided trips to the beach, or bath time fun are some other water activities to think about.
Boosting Confidence: Positive early contact with water can help some Shih Tzus get over their fear.
Medical Advantages: Swimming is a low-impact sport that is good for your heart and lungs and helps people get closer.
Warnings: You should be aware of the risks of drowning, ear infections, and chemical pollution.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does Shih Tzu like to swim?

Shih Tzus dislike water, even if they look like seals when wet. They may take a long time to dry due to their fur!

Can I take my Shih Tzu to the beach?

Be careful with short-muzzled pugs, Boston terriers, and Shih Tzus. They overheat easily. Check for overheating. Quick breathing and hunger, coordination issues, bowel motions, collapse, and loss of awareness are symptoms.

Do dogs feel better after a bath?

When you wash your dog’s skin and fur, you get rid of allergens, germs, and parasites, as well as dirt and grime (like the smelly stuff your dog rolled in the grass). Bathing also gets rid of dead hair and moisturizes and feeds the skin and coat, which makes your dog feel better and less itchy.

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