A question that surprisingly gets asked a lot is, are beagles good swimmers, and do they enjoy being in the water? Most seem to think that Beagles don’t like swimming, but it’s generally not a view that I share.
Some say Beagles are not natural swimmers, while others say that as Beagles were bred for hunting, they should be comfortable in the water. A Beagle introduced to water in a safe and controlled way will take to swimming quite naturally. Whether a Beagle enjoys being in the water comes down to the individual dog.
Let’s explore if Beagles are good swimmers and whether they enjoy being in the water.
A summary of the Beagle breed
Beagles are a compact short-haired dog with an ideal weight of around 22-35 pounds (9-16kg). Beagles generally have a good temperament though they are known to be very stubborn. Beagles typically make good family dogs and thrive in an active home where they can get plenty of exercise and stimulation.
A Beagle can be challenging to train, though a pocket full of doggy treats can often be the best way to keep Beagles attention locked on you until he finds something more interesting that is!
Beagles are scent hounds and are always wanting to investigate smells and scents they find while out and about. Their instinct to follow scents can make them pull while on a leash and get them into trouble when off the leash. Never underestimate a Beagles hunting instinct around livestock or wild animals.
Beagles have a distinctive bark, or bay and will often use this to communicate with people and dogs alike.
Do Beagles like swimming?
For hundreds of years, Beagles were bred for hunting small game such as rabbits and hares. Beagles would be used in large packs to track their prey and would often spend all day outside in all kinds of weather and varying terrain.
While on the hunt it stands to reason they would have encountered streams, brooks, creeks and ponds and other water obstacles. They would have had to negotiate these water obstructions quickly and efficiently. I can’t imagine the pack stopping at the first sign of water and losing the scent of whatever they were tracking!
So while they may not be the first dog to jump in the water (like a St. Bernard would), my own experience shows that Beagles are comfortable in the water and take to swimming quite naturally. A Beagles stubborn nature may make it seem like Beagles are reluctant swimmers, but in my experience given a good reason and early training, they are happy to jump on in.
However, it depends on the Beagle. One of my Beagles did not like the water at all; it didn’t matter if it was a warm wash down at home, paddling in the ocean or local brook, no amount of treats would convince her being in the water was fun. While most of my other Beagles have loved the water, sometimes to their detriment, jumping in before realizing the current was a little too strong, for example.
I guess like people some Beagles love water, and others keep well clear.
Can Beagles swim?
Nearly all dogs can swim, and to most, it comes naturally. However, it’s a good idea to ease a Beagle into the water. Like with most things introducing them to new experiences is best done when they are still young, eager and brave enough to try new things.
Some Beagles will dive straight in, no need to even tempt them. The dog’s instincts take over and before you know it their signature white-tipped tail is bobbing away as they merrily swim around doggy paddle style. However, if you have a dog that is nervous about the water, using a doggy life jacket can help build their confidence. However, in our experience, we’ve not needed one with any of our Beagles.
If you feel your dog is likely to need some help with learning to swim or gaining confidence in the water, then I’d recommend seeking out a local trainer for some help and advice.
5 Reasons why swimming is good for Beagles
- Exercise & Stimulation
- Health & Rehabilitation
- Weight loss
- Low impact – joint friendly
- Cooling down
1. Exercise & Stimulation. Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for Beagles or any dog for that matter. Swimming will quickly tire out your Beagle and give him plenty of extra stimulation. I’ve read that 10 minutes of swimming is the equivalent of 30-40 minutes walk. As most will already know, Beagles have a lot of energy, so any extra help burning of that pent up energy is welcome.
Our first Beagle, Bracken, was a real water baby. From a very young age, I encouraged her to paddle in the local stream near our house. In the summer, we both enjoyed walking up the ankle-deep creek to our local park. Whenever we saw water, she would look at me for approval for her to jump in, as long as it was safe I’d give her the nod, and off she went! Bracken would have no issues following a stick, or another dog into the water. She would always sleep well after any time of being in the water!
2. Health & Rehabilitation. Warm water swimming or aquatic therapy can help with dogs rehabilitation or manage a condition such as arthritic joints. An article on PETMD says that;
Another common reason why dogs are brought in for aquatic therapy is to help them recover following surgery (for something like an ACL tear) or to help arthritic dogs work their joints, maintain muscle mass, and move around comfortably all while minimizing discomfort.PETMD
According to Top Dog Health, swimming provides many health benefits for dogs, including;
- strengthening the heart and lungs
- decreasing inflammation
- increasing metabolism
- improving circulation keeping the skin and coat healthy.
3. Weight loss. Beagles love food, and it’s effortless to overfeed your dog, and before you know your Beagle buddy looks more like a balloon than a dog. If your Beagle is overweight, the low impact nature of swimming can help them get back into good shape without the stress placed on an overweight Beagle by long, arduous walks.
4. Low impact – joint-friendly. If you have an older Beagle or Beagle with some kind of joint issue, then swimming could be beneficial. Your Beagle has probably been active for most of their life, but as they get advanced in years, they may struggle with stiff joints, causing them to slow down or limiting how active they can be. However, rather than staying home and your Beagle becoming bored, swimming could be the answer.
Try and find a local warm water pet-specific pool; they are more common than you might think. Before you know it, your Beagle will love their weekly trip to the pet hydro pool, keeping your dog active and stimulated for longer can only be a good thing.
5. Cooling down. In the height of summer we al love a dip in a refreshing pool or a paddle in a babbling brook. Your Beagle is no different.
If you are lucky enough to live near some natural water then great, if not, buy a cheap children’s paddling pool, fill with clean water and watch as your Beagle completely ignores it. Just joking, most Beagles are inquisitive and will investigate while some will get in and enjoy the freshwater around their feet.
Polly, our second ever Beagle used to do this thing where she blew bubbles in the paddling pool. For no real reason, she would just put her nose in the water and blow! Was funny to watch!
In my experience Beagles enjoy swimming and water in general. However, I’d always recommend seeing how your dog reacts around water first, but if it’s safe to do so and they fancy it, then your Beagle will be perfectly happy to enter the water.