Do Westies Like To Swim

Do Westies Like to Swim?

West Highland White Terriers, or the affectionately dubbed Westies, are nothing short of perfect when it comes to owning a family pet. This iconic breed of canine is a favorite among dog-lovers everywhere, but you may be wondering how to entertain one.

Westies enjoy swimming, due in part to their energetic demeanor. It is important to note that they are not genetically designed to swim for long periods, though. They have short legs and are not the strongest dogs, so make sure that when they are swimming, they are supervised.

There are plenty of ways to play with a dog, and Westies are no different. If your dog is a Westie, he or she will more than likely want to take a dip with you, especially on the hot summer days. Read on to learn all about Westies and their affinity for swimming. As much as they will want to swim, you will also want to know how to make sure your Westie stays safe while doing so.

Do Westies Like to Swim?

While the stubby legs of a Westie might be a highlight, they can be a huge problem when it comes to their ability to swim. You should always be attentive when your Westie is in the water, as it requires a lot of physical exertion that they may not have yet. Here are some things to think about when your Westie is in the water:

  • Longevity, how long has your Westie been swimming for
  • Exercise for your Westie
  • Canine hydrotherapy

There are lots of benefits of seeing your Westie in the water outside of it being a fun activity. As a Westie puppy owner myself, I love letting her play around in the shallow water before she gets the courage to jump in. It is a great exercise in itself and can also help as a sort of physical rehab if they are coming back from surgery or injury in general.

How Long Should Your Westie Swim 

Westies are generally small, energetic animals. I always have to keep my head on a swivel when taking care of my own. This can be stressful, to begin with, but even more so when near a body of water. Your Westie is going to want to swim longer than it is probably capable of. Always take into account how long your Westie has been in the water and take note of any signs of exhaustion or strenuous motions.

A good idea (and a cute one, admittedly) is to buy your Westie a life jacket. You can find them in a variety of sizes no matter how big your Westie is, and it takes a lot of stress out of your enjoyment on the water. Always keep an eye on your dog, but know that it is safe with its own floatation device in case it starts to get tired. If your Westie is anything like mine, though, it probably runs circles around you. All the more reason to protect it.

On the other hand, swimming is an outstanding exercise for your Westie. It would be a good idea to keep an eye on your dog’s longevity in the water for a number of reasons, including incremental progress in terms of how long it is staying in for. Chances are it is building muscle if it is moving around easier or otherwise staying in the water for longer periods of time. Who knew fitness could be so fun?

Westies Love Staying Active

West Highland Terriers have tiny bodies but big motors. They never seem to stop running around and never quit. Long walks work wonders, but is it enough, though? Westies are famous for their energetic personalities and love to do anything that involves physical activity. You can absolutely bet that swimming is high on that list and that your Westie will be the first one in a body of water.

Westies are lightweight dogs, making them super easy to hang out with in the water. 

  • You can swim around while also helping your Westie navigate a pool or lake, entertaining its curiosity
  • Over time, as it gets more comfortable, you may even be able to let it swim on its own
  • This is a great way to ensure your Westie is getting the activity it craves and also sneaking in a decent workout for it

By incorporating a swim routine into your regular walks, you will be boosting your Westie’s stamina and playful demeanor through the roof. Your Westie will not mind one bit, as it characteristically wants to run around as much as possible. Again, however, it should be noted that no matter how comfortable your dog is in the water, supervision is important.

Westies Love Canine Hydrotherapy 

Hydrotherapy has been around for centuries, and you have undoubtedly seen it used before, whether you realize it or not. It is the science of using water to help rehabilitate joint pain or other chronic injuries. Have you ever seen someone walking on a treadmill underwater? That is hydrotherapy; it helps in all kinds of ways. It has a lower impact on your body, feels refreshing, and overall puts less stress on your bones and muscles.

The same can be said for dogs; yes, even when in pain, your Westie will appreciate some time in the water. Older dogs, in general, will have trouble getting around as they age.

Hydrotherapy can help reverse that, for example, by taking stress off of their bodies while they are underwater, relieving joint pain, and building muscle without going on long, strenuous walks. This, in turn, will make the dog stronger when it gets out of the water, bolstering its mobility and keeping it happy for years to come.

Westies can benefit from this. Between their love of running around and playing as much as they do, this can put a lot of stress and pain on their short legs. Hydrotherapy can help a dog like a Westie as it will eliminate that stress. Physical therapy might be painful or make your Westie upset due to how stiff the ground is. You will want to help it out by doing something your dog loves, like swimming. 

As long as that tail is wagging, you know you are doing the right thing. There are multiple ways to explore how much Westies like to swim, even in the case of physical rehab. Canine Hydrotherapy is something to consider keeping your Westie happy throughout the course of its life. Since Westies like to swim so much, this is the best way to keep them active and allow them to do something they enjoy. 


I think it is a resounding “yes” that Westies like to swim. They have all the energy in the world to exert on a fun activity like swimming; they just need some additional supervision along the way. Giving your Westie the green light when they are younger to splash around in the water is something that will pay dividends over time, as it is not only a ton of fun for them but also a great source of aerobics.

I cannot stress enough how great swimming is for older Westies as well. As I mentioned before, the amount of stress on their joints, particularly in their legs, will undoubtedly take a toll on them as they get older. Canine Hydrotherapy is a great way to make sure they stay young and keep them spry, even into their elder years. Westies are beautiful dogs, and it always makes me happy to see a smile on their faces.