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Do Westies Like To Swim? Can Westies Swim?

Westies are an active and energetic breed, and they love to play and splash in water. But do Westies actually like to swim? It turns out that most Westies love to dive right in. However, West Highland Terriers are not the best at doggie-paddle and safety is essential when taking your Westie for a dip.

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.


can westies swim - westie swimming in river


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.

Is Swimming Good For Westies?

There are many benefits of seeing your Westie in the water outside of it being a fun activity.

Despite their smaller size, Westies are strong, active dogs and swimming is a great activity that can provide an outlet for their boundless energy. It’s also a good way to strengthen their muscles and keep them cool during hot summer days. Swimming also helps maintain a healthy weight and cardiovascular health.

As a Westie puppy owner, I love letting her play around in the shallow water before she gets the courage to jump in. It is an excellent exercise in itself and can also help as a sort of physical rehab if they are coming back from surgery or injury in general.


Do Westies Like to Swim

Do Westies Like Water?

Westies’ affinity for water often comes as a surprise to their owners. While you may expect this small breed of dog to shy away from the water, in fact, they love to take a dip in a lake or wade in a river – provided they have supervision and you give them some training on how to be safe in and around the water.

Once trained, many Westies enjoy paddling around and retrieving items from the water.

Are Westies Natural Swimmers?

While Westies may take to the water relatively easily, being an adept swimmer isn’t necessarily in their breed’s nature. Those little legs are not designed for swimming! Instead, their love of swimming often comes from the feeling of being cooled down on those hot summer days – plus, they tend to view it as a game or adventure to explore their surroundings.

Tips for Taking Your Westie Swimming

For new Westie owners, teaching their pet to swim is a great way to bond. Start by introducing your dog to the water very gradually and with plenty of verbal praise and reward them for even the smallest success. A few treats or toys can help your pup get over any apprehensions they may have about the water.

Additionally, it is beneficial to take them to a local park or swimming spot that has shallow depths because it will help them learn the basics more quickly.

Keeping a Westie Safe in the Water

Although Westies love to cool off in the water, it is essential to keep them safe while they’re swimming. Invest in a quality life vest designed with flotation material that helps keep your pup afloat. In addition, you should always be nearby when your pet is frolicking in the lake or pool – never leave them on their own and out of sight for any period of time. Lastly, make sure to dry them off thoroughly once you’re done swimming and brush their fur to get rid of any excess moisture.

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 away from your time 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 boost your Westie’s stamina. 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.


Westie BestieHow Often Do Westies Need Walking?


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.

Hydrotherapy helps in all kinds of ways. It has a lower impact on your body, feels refreshing, and puts less stress on your bones and muscles than exercising on land.

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 in water, 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.

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 to keep 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. 

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