With their huge, shining white fur, the Great Pyrenees are well-deserving of their formal title, “Majestic.” These gigantic dogs have played the role of guardians for both humans and their cattle for a long time. On the one hand, they are calm and fun-loving, while on the other, they are fiercely loyal and territorial. To own them is to love them. However, their huge size brings several questions in the mind of their owners, just like the one we’re going to talk about today.
Can Great Pyrenees swim? The Great Pyrenees are not a naturally skilled swimming dog breed, unlike the Poodles and Golden Retrievers. Moreover, they have a bulky body that can make swimming even more difficult for them. However, if you start training your pet Great Pyrenees when they are young, there is a chance that they can learn to swim as they grow older.
Many factors are responsible for making a dog a good or a bad swimmer, the essential one being their individual personality. If they are not inherently inclined towards it, there is little you can do to change that.
In this article, we will talk about the Great Pyrenees’ swimming capabilities in-depth and provide you with answers to all the questions or doubts you have regarding it.
What makes dogs good swimmers?
Before we delve into the Great Pyrenees, let’s talk about dogs as swimmers in general. Many of you might not know this, but several dog breeds are natural swimmers and have a body designed to support it.
Let’s talk about the Golden Retrievers, for instance.
These dogs have a water-resistant fur coat and webbed feet, both of which are ideal for swimming. That’s why Golden Retrievers are one of the best swimmer dog species, with the others being the Newfoundland, Poodles, and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers.
In addition to these important features, having a slender body, a long nose, and even distribution of weight can also help dogs swim better.
Apart from a natural affinity towards swimming, other factors make dogs good swimmers as well. If you train your dog to swim from an early age or expose them to water often, they will learn swimming eventually.
Do the Great Pyrenees like swimming?
To understand whether or not the Great Pyrenees like swimming, we must first learn more about their lifestyle in the wild.
Originally, these dogs belong to the Pyrenees mountain range, after which they have been named. These mountains stand as a border between Spain and France.
About a hundred years (or more) ago, the Great Pyrenees were appointed by humans as their livestock guardians. Thus, these dogs are used to living in dry, elevated regions and have had little opportunity to spend time in the water.
With a species rarely exposed to water, it is only natural that the Great Pyrenees would not like swimming.
Most of the Great Pyrenees go out of their way to avoid contact with water. They’re not one of those dog breeds that like to run on the beach with you, with the sea close by.
With that being said, there can always be exceptions. If your pet Great Pyrenees likes to swim, you’ve hit the jackpot.
Are Great Pyrenees good at swimming?
There are dog breeds that are good at swimming, and then there are the Great Pyrenees.
Although these dogs have a double-coated, water-resistant fur to protect them from extreme cold, it doesn’t do them much good during swimming. Their biggest disadvantage is their huge size and heavy-weight that pulls them down more quickly in the water.
If the Great Pyrenees want to swim, they will need a lot of energy to keep themselves afloat. But most of these dogs are known for having a calm temperament and are less inclined to work that hard at swimming.
Should you let your Great Pyrenees swim?
Although it is highly unlikely for the Great Pyrenees to show an interest in water or swimming, if your pet does, there’s no reason for you to hold them back. Swimming could, in fact, prove to be a great exercise for their joints.
Having to carry around their heavy weight, the Great Pyrenees tend to suffer from several diseases, such as Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Patellar Luxation, etc. Swimming takes away their weight, and the pressure on their joint along with it, for some time.
Swimming is great for your pet dog, particularly during the hot, summer days. Being mountain dogs, the Great Pyrenees have thick, double-coated fur and cannot tolerate too much heat. In such circumstances, spending time in the water will keep their body cool.
Can you teach your Great Pyrenees to swim?
Regardless of their size, fur, or natural habitat, it is possible to teach all dogs swimming.
If you are ready to walk an extra mile to make your pet water-friendly, here are some tips that might come in handy:
- The best way to teach the Great Pyrenees swim is to start as early as possible. Take them into the water with you when they’re young so that they can be familiar with water. This will increase their chances of liking, or at least tolerating water peacefully when they grow up.
- In the beginning, you should take them to lakes or oceans instead of pools. All dog breeds are afraid of stairs and, thus, don’t do well in pools initially. Even when they become familiar with water, make sure to guide them to the exit when you make them enter the pool. In this manner, they will be assured that they can leave whenever they want.
- While teaching them to swim, never throw them into the water. Such an experience can traumatize or scar them, and they are going to have a hard time trusting you again, both near water and otherwise.
- Be patient with your pet throughout the process of teaching. As we mentioned before, Great Pyrenees are not natural swimmers and may take several attempts to learn.
- Lastly, it is possible (even likely) that your Great Pyrenees is still not comfortable with water after all your attempts. At this point, you must accept the fact peacefully instead of trying harder, which is bad both for you and for them.
Swimming with your Great Pyrenees: Things to Remember
People who love to swim are always looking for excuses to indulge their pets in water activities. So, it is not surprising if you have taught your Great Pyrenees swimming only so that they can accompany you in the pool.
Here are some pointers you must keep in mind while going swimming with your pet:
- Even if your pet has become a seasoned swimmer, getting them a life jacket is still essential. Luckily for you, there are plenty of doggy life jackets available both online and in the pet stores that you can buy for your Great Pyrenees.
- Check your pool’s chlorination level before putting your pet inside to ensure it is not too high for them. Also, make it a point to rinse them with fresh water thoroughly after they’re done swimming.
- Although your pet might be doing quite well on their own, it is your responsibility to not leave them alone in the pool, even for a second. You never know when they might need your help. Also, make sure that you’re able to lift them out of the water if necessary.
- Keep your swimming sessions short because Great Pyrenees are not the most energetic dog breed and can tire out easily. Also, make sure to feed them after you bring them out of the pool, and not before.
As long as you stick to these pointers, you can have a gala time with your pet friends in the pool.
Is it necessary to dry the Great Pyrenees properly after swimming? Yes, it is absolutely important to dry them off properly. Being wet for longer periods is detrimental to your pets’ health and can often lead to itchiness and skin rashes.
Do the Great Pyrenees shed often? Yes, the thick-furred Great Pyrenees shed their hair all year along. However, their proper shedding season comes twice a year, when their shedding increase considerably. During this period, you should brush their hair properly and consistently to keep the shedding in check.
Conclusion: Can Great Pyrenees swim?
To answer our initial question: yes, Great Pyrenees can swim. However, they’re not among the best swimming dog species.
Since these dogs belong to the mountains originally, they have experienced little to no exposure to water and are mostly wary of it.
A majority of their population dislikes water and wants to have nothing to do with it. In addition to it, their large, heavy body and little stamina are not ideal for swimming activities either.
If you still want to teach your pet Great Pyrenees how to swim, you must be extremely patient with them.
Most importantly, if you have tried everything and still find them hesitant about it, it is better not to push them to swim.