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Can Yorkies Swim?

For many people, summer time fun includes a trip to the nearest lake, beach or river, with their furry friend right by their side.

After all, dogs are a part of our extended family and your Yorkie wouldn’t want to miss out on the fun!

If swimming’s a big part of your summertime fun and you’d like your Yorkie to come along, you should be aware of whether she knows how to swim or not.

There’s no doubt that yes, Yorkies CAN swim, but does your dog know how?

Have you taken her swimming before?

Does she even like water? Well, you won’t really know until you try her out!

Are Yorkies Good Swimmers?

yorkie swimming

For the most part, Yorkshire Terriers can swim and they’re actually good at it.

If your Yorkie has never tried swimming before, however, she may not have the confidence to simply jump in the water.

You may want to test your Yorkie in your home pool or kiddie pool to see how she reacts to water.

That way you’ll know what to expect on your waterside ventures.  

Yorkshire Terriers actually have several advantages over other dog breeds when it comes to mastering the art of swimming.

First, their sleek, light-weight build and silky coats are conducive to swimming.

Dogs with bulky builds and double coats will find it harder to stay afloat.

Second, Yorkies have a strong sense of adventure and loads of energy – favorable traits for learning to swim, especially if they’re joining you in the water.

On their own, Yorkies may be less inclined to swim.

If you’re by their side, however, how can they resist the fun?

Even if it turns out your Yorkie is a good swimmer, never leave her in the water alone.

She could get tired and not have the energy to return to the pool steps or shoreline, if you’re at a lake or beach.

Putting a life-vest on your pup will ensure she stays safely afloat if her energy runs out.

Yorkshire-Terrier swimming in the pool

A life-vest will enable your pup to play in the water longer without going under when you least expect it.

Even with a life-vest, you should still supervise your pup’s swimming and be close by at all times.

Any time your pup’s in or near the water, whether it’s a pool, in a lake, on a boat or in the ocean, she should wear a life-vest for protection.

With a life-vest, your Yorkie can be safely included in more water activities during the summer holidays.

Make sure your pup’s vest has an easy-grip handle so you can grab your pooch in an emergency to keep her from harm.

Is Swimming Good Exercise for Yorkies?

Swimming provides great exercise for dogs, assuming, of course, that your pup loves the water.

Yorkshire Terriers, like many small dog breeds, are susceptible to developing joint and thyroid problems.

Swimming and water exercises are often part of their treatment plan for these conditions.

Swimming on a regular basis could even help prevent issues with your dog’s joints.

For dogs that are overweight, swimming is the perfect sport for burning calories as it puts no stress on a dog’s joints.

Want to keep your Yorkie trim and fit? Take her swimming!

Yorkies have a lot of energy and need both physical and mental stimulation daily.

If your pup likes to swim, more power to her! Just be sure she’s well supervised and doesn’t overdo in the water.

Once she shows signs of getting tired, encourage her to take a break or to stop for the day.

Until then, have fun working out with your pup!

Teaching Your Yorkie To Swim

yorkie Dog playing in swimming pool

Lack of experience shouldn’t sideline your pup when it comes to swimming.

You just need to give her a chance to try it out to see if it’s something she could learn to enjoy.

And the time to do that is while you’re still at home!

Don’t count on your pup just jumping into a lake or running into the ocean on vacation simply because you’re in the water.

Even though your dog has the instinct to swim, she may need help developing the skill and becoming comfortable in a water setting.

Here are a few ideas on how to introduce your Yorkshire Terrier to water and help her learn to swim.

Kiddie Pool – The easiest way to introduce your Yorkie to water is having her play in a kiddie pool.  

You and your pup can cool off together as you get your Yorkie accustomed to water.

Only put a few inches of water in the pool to begin with, along with some floatie toys your pup can play with.

Encourage your pup to play in the water, but don’t force her.

Let her decide when to get in and out of the pool on her own.

As your pup becomes accustomed to the water, fill the pool some more so she can practice floating and dog paddling around.

She should wear her life-vest for this phase of her training.

Home Swimming Pool – If you have an in-ground pool, start off by introducing your Yorkie to the water on the steps so she can get wet while still touching the bottom.

Stay with your pup the whole time to give her moral support and make sure she’s wearing her life-vest.

Although Yorkies are adventurous, your pup will feel more secure exploring the unknown with you close by.

Once your pup feels comfortable in the water, try taking her further out, even if you have to hold her the whole time.

Never throw your Yorkie into the water thinking she will automatically start to swim.

Chances are she’ll panic, which could produce a long-term water phobia.

The idea is to help your pup become used to water gradually and encourage her to swim.

Forcing your Yorkie to swim before she’s ready is a recipe for disaster.

By going slow, your Yorkie is more likely to take to the water and enjoy swimming from that time onward.

So, support your pup until she’s ready to launch out doggie paddling on her own.

Once she starts swimming, you can give her more freedom to swim around, but don’t go far, in case she falters and needs help.

Don’t leave your pooch in the pool too long either, as she could exhaust herself.

When she starts slowing down, take her out to rest.

If this is her first time swimming, reward her with words of praise or a special treat to show how pleased you are with her accomplishment.

This will encourage her to swim more often.

Once your Yorkie has mastered swimming in a pool, you can try her in different bodies of water, such as a safe lake or pond or around the shoreline of the ocean.

Make sure your Yorkie always wears a life-vest in these settings as a safety precaution and always supervise your pup to avoid accidents.

Once your pup is done swimming, a good rinse off is in order to cleanse your dog’s coat of chlorine, sand, salt water, etc.

If your Yorkie’s in and out of your pool a lot during summer, a weekly bath with gentle shampoo and moisturizer will keep her fur clean, soft and manageable.

Always bathe your pup after a swim in a lake or river, however, as this water may contain contaminants that you’re unaware of.


Yorkies can swim and they’re quite good at it, once they get the hang of it.

It’s an acquired taste, however, and not all Yorkies have a love for water.

If your Yorkie turns out to be a water dog, make sure she wears a life-vest to keep her safe during her water ventures.

If your Yorkie doesn’t like water, well, find other ways to enjoy her company.

After all, the important thing is sharing quality time together with your pup.   

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National Canine Research Association of America