The Chiweenie is an interesting little hybrid for those that are concerned about caring for a Dachshund. The idea here is that many of the risk factors and health problems associated with over-bred Dachshunds will diminish once you add in the Chihuahua genes. Therefore, new owners will be hoping for a more active dog and capable of more activities. This should be a playful and energetic dog, but is it a good swimmer? Are the Chihuahua genes enough to help the Chiweenie become more capable in the water, or are there still dangers?
Can Chiweenies Swim? A Chiweenie can swim if it has to. Swimming lessons and water safety are essential to ensure that these dogs know the basics. However, there are two overriding factors here. The first is that the Chiweenie still isn’t built to be a strong swimmer. The other is that it may not even want to get in the water.
All new Chiweenie owners will need to understand this hybrid’s limitations, how best to help their dog learn to swim, and other essential safety precautions.
Why are Dachshunds such Poor Swimmers?
One of the biggest concerns about Dachshunds and swimming is that they don’t have the right build for it. The strongest swimmers in the canine world are those with long legs and lean muscles that can get enough momentum through the water. The Dachshund’s tiny little legs aren’t long enough to get a good movement through the water.
Furthermore, they can be a top-heavy breed which places all their weight in the wrong position and makes it even more difficult for them to handle the situation.
Are Chiweenies better Suited to the Water than Dachshunds?
Breeding a Dachshund with a Chihuahua can lead to a different body shape.
One of the reasons this designer dog exists is that it reduces the Dachshund’s exaggerated features via this other small companion dog’s genes.
As a result, the Chiweenie typically has better proportions with a shorter spine, longer legs, and less risk of back or joint issues. However, there are variations between puppies depending on which parent they take after the most.
Some Chiweenies look a lot like their Chihuahua parent with a more robust, longer pair of legs that could handle the water better if it had to.
Others end up with the shorter legs of the Dachshund parent. Also, even if they do get the longer Chihuahua legs, this is still a small dog that isn’t going to be a strong swimmer.
Remember that the Chihuahua isn’t that keen on being around water.
So far, we have a hybrid whose physical abilities in the water aren’t extraordinary.
On top of that, we need to consider swimming’s psychological side, and some dog breeds don’t like the water.
The Chihuahua is one of those.
Their desire to be around the people they love could give them that push to get into the water with their owners.
But, there is a good chance they won’t enjoy the experience all that much.
You could easily find them whimpering or shivering and wanting to get back out.
Small dogs like Chiweenies have a greater risk of developing hypothermia too.
On the subject of shivering, this physical response could result from the temperature of the water or the temperature upon leaving the water.
Chihuahuas have a problem with temperature regulation because of their small stature. They can quickly become chilled and at risk of hypothermia. There is the risk that Chiweenies will experience the same effects.
This can make the prospect of going into a pool or other body of water even less appealing.
How can you Teach your Chiweenie to Swim?
With all this in mind, it is still vital that your Chiweenie has an idea of swimming to keep them safe. If they decide that they want to jump into the pool after you or splash around in the sea with their playmates, they need to handle themselves.
Set aside time where it is just you and the dog and gently encourage them into the water. When you call them to you over a short distance, and their instincts should kick in, they will figure out a relatively effective forward motion.
With time, you can increase the distance to make them feel more comfortable and build on their abilities.
But, it is vital that you don’t make the sessions too long or push the dog into doing something it doesn’t want to do. Ensure there is an easy exit so they can leave the pool whenever they want to and make sure that they enter under their own free will.
Never pick up a Chiweenie and place them in the deep water.
You should also never throw the dog in the water.
This sounds like common sense to many responsible dog owners, but some people think that this tough-love “sink or swim” approach is the most effective.
Are Chiweenies Easy to Train?
These small dogs aren’t the easiest to train.
You need to be aware that the stubborn side of the Chiweenie may come through here, and you could find yourself struggling with training them to swim.
If they don’t want to go near a scary pool, you might find it easier to use a bathtub or inflatable pool, to begin with.
You can also try and make the sessions more fun with floating toys to play with or fetch. Turn it into a game.
Why is Pool Safety so Crucial for Chiweenies?
Teaching your Chiweenie to swim is essential because there is that chance that they will want to come and be a part of the action in the pool. These little dogs can get pretty attached to their families, so they might not appreciate being left at the side of the pool. Therefore, it helps to make pool safety a priority for your little pet. You can try the following:
1) Get them a life vest or other floatation device. There are many great products out there that offer a secure fit and are brightly colored for visibility. This will help if the dog gets tired.
2) Ensure that there is a clear and easy exit. Dogs that panic or have enough need an easy escape route without relying on you to lift them out. Swim close to the steps or install a ramp.
3) Teach kids how to behave when the dog is in the pool. This is a must. Your kids can’t start playing rough or splashing around near the dog. Shrieking may also cause some panic.
4) Put up a pool fence for Chiweenies that want to be close but want nothing to do with the water. Many pups will want to be close to the family so they can stay in a secure area without access to the water. This will also stop them from falling in if they explore the garden and wander away from the family.
Swimming in a Pool vs. a Lake or the Sea
It’s best to restrict swimming activities to a pool where you know the depth and capacity and where you can create this controlled, safe environment.
Little dogs can get out of their depth in unknown natural bodies of water. Also, the waves at the shore could prove too much for these poor swimmers.
Still, you should remember to bring your dog’s life vest with you if you go on a family outing with water-based activities.
The dog may still try and follow you into the water.
Taking Care of Chiweenies after Swimming
Finally, it’s just as important to take good care of your dog after they have been in the water as when they are in it.
As mentioned above, temperature changes are a problem, so you need to towel them off properly and get them nice and warm. You may have to be more careful here with longer-haired Chiweenies where the coat can hold more water.
Also, these little dogs can have sensitive skin that may be affected by chlorinated water.
Don’t forget to pay attention to their big erect ears as these need to be dried and cleaned to prevent infection.
After all that, give them some food and water to rehydrate them and replenish them after all that exercise.
Final Thoughts – Can Chiweenies Swim?
In short, you shouldn’t expect your Chiweenie pup to be very competent in the water because of their build and the nature of their parents. They could easily struggle, especially in open water, and will need care and attention both in the pool and after the session. However, it is still a good idea to teach them to swim and apply pool safety just if they decide to jump in the water after you.
YouTube Video of a Swimming Chiweenie
More info on Chiweenies