Can Yorkies Swim?


Can Yorkies Swim? Expert Answers and Tips for Yorkie Owners

Last Updated on August 14, 2023 by Denise Leo. Post first published on June 19, 2023.

Yorkshire Terriers, also known as Yorkies, are popular small dogs known for their energetic and playful nature. One question that many Yorkie owners have is whether their furry companions can swim. The answer is yes, Yorkies can swim, but there are some essential things to keep in mind to ensure their safety.

While most Yorkies can swim, they may not all enjoy it. Some dogs may fear the water or prefer to stay dry. It’s essential to gradually introduce your Yorkie to water and always supervise them when they are near it.

Additionally, it’s essential to take safety measures to prevent accidents, such as using a flotation device and keeping your dog on a leash near open water.

Teaching your Yorkie to swim can be a fun and rewarding experience for you and your pet. Most dogs can learn to enjoy the water with patience and positive reinforcement.

However, it’s important to remember that not all dogs are natural swimmers, and some may require more time and practice to feel comfortable in the water.

By taking the necessary safety measures and gradually introducing your Yorkie to water, you can help them enjoy this fun and healthy exercise.

Key Takeaways

  • Yorkies can swim, but not all dogs may enjoy it or be natural swimmers.
  • Safety measures, such as using a flotation device and supervising your dog near water, are essential to prevent accidents.
  • Teaching your Yorkie to swim can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it’s essential to be patient and use positive reinforcement.
Can Yorkies Swim?
Can Yorkies Swim?

Yorkies and Water

Yorkshire Terriers, or Yorkies, are small dogs that can swim. However, not all Yorkies like to swim, and some may even fear the water. Introducing your Yorkie to water gradually and safely is vital to prevent fear or injury.

When introducing your Yorkie to water, start with very shallow water and gradually increase the depth as they become more comfortable. The water temperature should also be considered, as cold water can be uncomfortable for Yorkies.

Watching your Yorkie’s behavior and response to the water is essential to ensure they are comfortable and not distressed.

Some Yorkies may naturally like to swim, while others may not have the instinct or desire. Never force your Yorkie into the water or throw them in, as this can cause fear and trauma. Instead, encourage them with positive reinforcement and treats to help them associate water with positive experiences.

When your Yorkie is in the water, monitoring the water level and ensuring they can touch the ground or have a flotation device on their chest to prevent drowning is essential. It’s also important to never leave your Yorkie unattended in the water, as accidents can happen even with experienced swimmers.

Yorkies can swim, but it’s essential to introduce them to water gradually and safely. Watch their behavior and response to the water, and never force them into the water or leave them unattended. With proper preparation and caution, your Yorkie can enjoy the water safely.

Swimming Capabilities of Yorkies

Yorkshire Terriers, or Yorkies, are small dogs known for their playful and energetic nature. One question that many Yorkie owners have is whether or not their furry friend can swim. The answer is yes, Yorkies can swim, but it is essential to take certain precautions to ensure their safety.

Like all dogs, Yorkies can swim. However, their small size and lightweight can make it more difficult for them to stay afloat. A flotation device on their chest is recommended to help them find buoyancy when floating in the water.

It is important to note that not all Yorkies enjoy swimming. Some may hesitate to enter the water, while others may not like the wet sensation. Never forcing a Yorkie to swim or toss them into the water is crucial, as this can be dangerous and even life-threatening.

To teach a Yorkie to swim, starting in a shallow pool or calm body of water is best. Making the experience positive and rewarding is crucial, using treats and praise to encourage them. Gradually increase the depth of the water and the distance they swim while constantly monitoring their energy levels and safety.

Swimming can be an excellent exercise for Yorkies, as it can help improve their overall health and fitness. However, following safe swimming practices and guidelines is essential, such as always supervising them and providing fresh water after swimming.

Yorkies can swim, but it is vital to take precautions and never force them to do so. With patience and positive reinforcement, Yorkies can enjoy the benefits of swimming and exercise safely.

Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkshire Terrier

Safety Measures for Yorkies in Water

When it comes to letting Yorkies swim, safety should be the top priority. Even though Yorkies can swim with proper training and precautions, it is crucial to consider their safety in the water. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind when letting your Yorkie swim:

  • Use a Life Vest

A life vest is an essential safety gear for Yorkies in the water. It helps in providing buoyancy and keeping them afloat. Choose a life vest that fits your Yorkie properly and is designed for its size. Supervising your Yorkie when wearing a life vest is also essential, as it is not a substitute for supervision.

  • Keep an Eye on Buoyancy

Yorkies have a small body size and low body fat, making it difficult to stay afloat in the water. Keep an eye on their buoyancy and make sure they can stay above water.

  • Apply Sunscreen

Just like humans, Yorkies can also get sunburned. Apply sunscreen to their skin before entering the water to protect them from harmful UV rays. Protect your furry friend with a dog-friendly sunscreen free from harmful ingredients like zinc oxide and PABA.

  • Use Positive Reinforcement

Teach your Yorkie to swim with ease through positive reinforcement. Reward them with treats and praise when they swim and follow your commands. This helps establish a positive association with swimming and makes it an enjoyable experience for them.

  • Watch for Hypothermia

Yorkies can get hypothermia in cold water for an extended period. Watch for signs of shivering, lethargy, and weakness. If you notice any symptoms, remove them from the water and warm them up immediately.

  • Prevent Infections

Rinse your Yorkie with fresh water after swimming to prevent any infections. Protect your Yorkie’s ear and skin health by knowing the potential bacteria and microorganisms lurking in their water source.

  • Consider Allergies

Some Yorkies may have allergies to certain types of water or chemicals used in pools. Look for signs of allergy, such as itching, redness, or swelling. If you notice any of these signs, take them out of the water and consult with your vet.

Following these safety measures ensures your Yorkie stays safe and enjoys their time in the water.

Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkshire Terrier

Teaching Yorkies to Swim

Yorkies are good swimmers but may need help getting comfortable in the water. Here are some tips for teaching Yorkies to swim:

Introduce Yorkies to Water Gradually

Introducing Yorkies to water gradually is crucial, starting with shallow water and building to deeper water. A kiddie pool is a great place to start, providing a safe, controlled environment for your Yorkie to learn to swim. Start by encouraging your Yorkie to stand in the water and get used to the wet sensation.

Use Toys and Rewards

Consider using toys and treats during swimming lessons to make the experience more fun and rewarding for your Yorkie. A floating toy can help encourage your Yorkie to swim, while treats can be used as a reward for good behavior. Choose safe toys and treats for your Yorkie to use in the water.

Teach the Doggy Paddle

The doggy paddle is a natural swimming stroke for dogs, but some Yorkies may need to be trained to use it. Start by holding your Yorkie in the water and gently moving their legs in a paddling motion. Gradually release your grip and encourage your Yorkie to paddle on its own. With practice, your Yorkie should be able to swim independently using the doggy paddle.

Overcoming Fear of Water

Some Yorkies may fear the water, teaching them to swim more difficult. If your Yorkie is scared of the water, introduce them to shallow water and gradually build up to deeper water. Use toys and treats to make the experience more fun and rewarding for your Yorkie. If necessary, consider working with a professional dog trainer to help your Yorkie overcome their fear of water.

Teaching Yorkies to swim can be a rewarding experience for you and your furry friend. Your Yorkie can become a confident and capable swimmer with patience, persistence, and plenty of positive reinforcement.

Yorkies and Other Dog Breeds in Water

Many dog breeds love swimming and spending time in the water, while others may be less enthusiastic. Yorkies, in particular, are often curious about water and may enjoy swimming if introduced to it properly. However, like any other dog breed, some Yorkies may struggle or even panic when faced with a swimming pool or body of water.

Labradors and other water-loving breeds, such as Pugs and Bulldogs, are often great swimmers due to their agile bodies and strong joints. These breeds are known for their love of water and may enjoy swimming in the ocean or a pool during summer. However, it’s important to remember that not all dogs are natural swimmers, and some may need extra help or training to feel comfortable in the water.

When swimming, a dog’s coat can also play a role. Breeds with thick, heavy coats, such as Huskies and Malamutes, may not be as comfortable in the water as breeds with lighter coats, such as Greyhounds and Whippets. With their silky, fine fur, Yorkies fall into the latter category and may be more comfortable in the water than other breeds.

It’s also important to consider a dog’s mental and physical well-being when introducing them to swimming. Some dogs may fear the water or have had a negative experience, making them hesitant to swim. Additionally, dogs who are overweight or have joint problems may not be able to swim as well as other dogs.

Some dog breeds may be more natural swimmers than others, and all dogs can learn to swim with proper training and patience. Yorkies, like other terrier breeds, may enjoy swimming if introduced to it properly and given the necessary support and encouragement.

Post-Swimming Care for Yorkies

After a fun swimming session, taking good care of your Yorkie is vital to ensure they stay healthy and happy. Here are some tips for post-swimming care:

Rinse Your Yorkie

Water in the swimming pool is often chlorinated, harming your Yorkie’s skin and coat. Therefore, it’s essential to rinse off your dog after their swimming routine. Use lukewarm water to rinse their coat and skin thoroughly. Make sure to rinse the shampoo and conditioner completely.

Dry Your Yorkie

After rinsing your Yorkie, gently towel-dry them. Avoid using a hairdryer, as the heat can damage their coat and skin. Instead, use a soft towel to pat them dry. Make sure to dry their ears, paws, and other areas where water may have accumulated.

Check for Infections

Yorkies are prone to allergies, infections, and other ailments. Therefore, checking for signs of infection after their swimming session is essential. Check their ears, eyes, and skin for redness, swelling, or irritation. If you notice any signs of infection, take your Yorkie to the vet immediately.

Give Them a Bath

You may need to bathe if your Yorkie is particularly dirty or smelly after their swimming session. Always use a dog shampoo and conditioner to thoroughly clean their coat and skin. Make sure to rinse off all the shampoo and conditioner thoroughly.

Protect Against Algae

Algae can grow in swimming pools and other bodies of water, harming your Yorkie’s health. Therefore, it’s essential to protect them against algae. After their swimming session, give them fresh water and avoid letting them drink from the pool or other bodies of water.

Following these post-swimming care tips can help ensure your Yorkie stays healthy and happy after their swimming session.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Yorkies natural swimmers?

Yorkshire Terriers are not naturally born swimmers but can learn how to swim with proper training. Their small size and light bones make them agile swimmers, but they may need assistance staying afloat.

Do Yorkies enjoy being in the water?

Not all Yorkies enjoy being in the water, but some do. It is essential to introduce them to water gradually and make sure they feel comfortable before attempting to swim.

Can Yorkies safely swim in a pool?

Yes, Yorkies can safely swim in a pool as long as they are supervised. It is crucial to ensure the pool is safe for them to swim in and that they wear a flotation device to help them stay afloat.

Do Yorkies need to be taught how to swim?

Yes, Yorkies need to be taught how to swim. It is crucial to start with shallow water and gradually move to deeper water as they become more comfortable. Providing positive reinforcement and encouragement during the training process is also essential.

What are some water safety tips for Yorkies?

Some safety tips for Yorkies include providing a flotation device, supervising them at all times, keeping them away from strong currents or waves, and ensuring they do not drink the water. It is also important to rinse them off with fresh water after swimming to remove any salt water or chlorine residue.

Is swimming a good form of exercise for Yorkies?

Yes, swimming can be a great form of exercise for Yorkies. It is a low-impact activity that can help improve their cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and overall fitness. However, it is crucial to start with short swimming sessions and gradually increase the time and intensity to avoid overexertion.

Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkshire Terrier


In conclusion, Yorkies can swim, but it depends on the individual dog. Some Yorkies love water and are natural swimmers, while others may not enjoy it as much. Owners should test their Yorkie’s comfort level with water before taking them on any water activities.

Due to their small size, Yorkies may have more difficulty swimming than larger dogs. However, with proper training and a life vest, Yorkies can safely enjoy water activities. Supervising Yorkies in the water is crucial, as they are more prone to drowning and other water-related sicknesses than larger dogs.

Swimming can be an excellent exercise for Yorkies, as it helps build muscles and provides a low-impact workout. However, it is crucial to consider the environment and the weather conditions before taking a Yorkie for a swim. Cold water and strong currents can be dangerous for Yorkies, so it is essential to exercise caution.

In summary, Yorkies can swim, but it is essential to consider their small size and individual comfort level. With proper training, a life vest, and supervision, Yorkies can safely enjoy water activities and swim as a form of exercise.

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References and Further Reading:

[1] American Kennel Club, Yorkshire Terrier Information.


  • Denise Leo

    My name is Denise Leo, and I hail from Australia. My journey with dogs, especially with the delightful Pomeranian breed, has been a lifelong passion extending over 50 years. I have had the honor of breeding and exhibiting close to 100 Pomeranian Champions, dedicating many years to the intricate art of dog training across various disciplines. Beyond the show ring, my experience stretches to the pastoral fields as both a Dairy Farmer and Beef Cattle Breeder, where working with dogs of all breeds has been an integral part of my daily life. This diverse exposure has deepened my understanding and appreciation for these incredible animals. I firmly believe that dogs are the most extraordinary beings in our universe, capable of offering us unconditional love that surpasses even their own self-interest. The countless wonderful dogs that have shared my life over the years have not only brought immense joy and companionship but have also profoundly enriched my existence in ways I could never have imagined. About us page