Can Shih-Poos Swim? [Are They Naturally Skilled In H2O?]

image of aussiedoodle in park

It is great fun to go swimming with pet dogs and endearing when smaller breeds do their very best to keep up. But, some smaller dogs are better in the water than others. How do the offspring of a water-loving Poodle and a companion Shih Tzu fair? Is it a stronger swimmer than you would expect or not as good as it would like to be?

Can Shih-Poos swim? There is a good chance that a Shih-Poo will inherit a love of water and have every intention of swimming. This comes from the Poodle side. However, the Shih Tzu genetics could make it very difficult for these dogs to swim for long. Owners can encourage swimming as long as the activity is supervised.

Poodles Love to Swim

The Poodle genetics of a Shih-Poo means that there is a good chance that it will want to be out in the water.

Poodles were working dogs that retrieved prey from the water before they were ever companion dogs. They are strong swimmers and have that perfect water-resistant coat to allow for long periods in lakes and rivers.

Miniature and Toy Poodles aren’t as adept because of their smaller stature. But, they are still capable and have the same great coat.

Shih Tzus Aren’t Quite As Familiar With Water

Shih Tzus can have a completely different relationship with water.

While some will be more than happy to splash around a little bit in the waves or paddle with their family, they aren’t keen swimmers. Some may not incline to go near the water at all. This is because there was never any reason for these dogs to go anywhere near it.

They are lapdogs that prefer creature comforts and cozy interiors to the countryside. There is no reason for them to venture into the water and get wet unless you give them a good reason.

Therefore, some Shih Tzus will like the water more than others.

The ability to swim can depend on the build of the dog.

Dogs that are leaner with longer legs and take after the poodle more could be more capable in the water. They should have the stamina and endurance to swim as long as they want to, although this will still be less than a pure poodle.

Those that are shorter and stockier with longer Shi Tzu coats will struggle more. They won’t have the same ability to get through the water and could tire quickly. There is also the possibility of that curlier water-repellent coat, which could make things easier.

The biggest problem that owners can face when learning whether their Shih-Poo can swim is that both parents’ traits can combine in an unfortunate way.

You could have a dog that inherits a love of the water and wants to jump straight in after their family. But, they might not yet realize that they don’t have the build of a Poodle to take them as far as they would like.

Go Slow

This is why it is essential to take things slowly with Shih Poos when introducing them to water.

Please don’t assume that a Shih-Poo will happily swim for ages unaided and put it straight in the pool.

This could lead to a panicking dog that overestimates its abilities or shrinks away from the water’s depth. The best thing that you can do in this situation is to bring the dog to a pool area and let them sit on the side as you get in.

Watch what they do when they approach the water.

Are they keen to jump in after you or more tentative about dipping a paw in the water? The former could be over ambitious and in need of careful training, while the latter could require some cautious encouragement.

Then you can get started with their swimming lessons.

Get an idea of what they can and can’t do in the water in a controlled environment.

Start with a calm private swimming pool rather than heading into the ocean or a lake. You know the pool’s depth, you can keep watch, and there are no additional threats. Let the dog swim to you when it is ready, and keep an eye on them at all times.

It would be best if you watched out for signs of fatigue to understand their limits. Don’t force the lessons either. Some days they may be happy to paddle for ages, and others, they might not be so keen.

Try and respect this, and don’t force the dog to swim if it doesn’t want to.

Water Safety

Keep your little Shih-Poo safe at all times when around water.

Consider putting a life vest on Shih-Poos if heading out to larger bodies of water, especially if they are determined to keep up with everyone else.

It is better to be safe than sorry if they jump in the pool, especially if this goes unnoticed.

When the pool isn’t in use, a dog fence can provide the perfect barrier to stop dogs from wandering too close and falling in.

Also, be careful about staying close to these dogs if you are all in the pool for a long time. You might think that shutting them indoors will keep them safe, but they may get lonely. It is better to have them close by with all the right safety precautions than be sorry.

Final Thoughts – Can Shih-Poos Swim?

Some Shih-Poos may have better swimming abilities and enthusiasm than their Shih Tzu parents because of their Poodle genes. This, plus a desire for companionship, could see them joining in at the pool. But they aren’t the strongest swimmers and still require training and constant supervision in the water.

The best thing that owners can do is be patient and know how their pet feels about the water. With the right safety precautions and careful steps, you could swim with your Shih-Poo and have fun.

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