You may have seen the occasional viral video or two of adorable corgis swimming in their owner’s pools with deft enjoyment, and wonder why your family corgi just can’t seem to achieve the same maneuverability underwater.
Make no mistake- corgis can swim, and can be taught to swim if they couldn’t before.
You can learn some valuable information on corgi hydrodynamics and how to get started with supplementing your corgi’s swimming lessons by reading on in this article!
Why Aren’t Corgis Natural Swimmers?
While Corgis can and (some do) enjoy swimming, there are a few reasons as to why Corgis aren’t natural swimmers.
First of all, obviously like all dog breeds Corgis are not an aquatic species. They don’t have specialized limbs or movement for maneuvering in water, and they certainly don’t spend the majority of their time near water, either.
Part of this is because the individual corgi may have not spent much time near a terrain that enables them to swim frequently such as not living near a beach or even having a personal fear of water.
Part of it can be biological, anatomical reasons that disqualify them from being labeled as “water dogs” at all (see below).
Nearly all dogs can swim, but that doesn’t mean their breed was specialized to do so. A corgi’s love of water won’t come naturally to him as much as they do to a breed like Spaniel’s, for that matter.
Biological Reasons as to Why Corgis Can’t Swim “Well”
While Corgis can swim adequately for certain periods of time, they certainly aren’t the dragsters or formula ones of the dog breeds available in regards to swimming in the water.
Corgis, if you haven’t noticed, have rather short stubby legs. Because of the shortness of their limbs, you shouldn’t expect your pet to swim far while watching or accompanying their swim.
However, their hind thighs are rather powerful and at least able to keep them afloat and propel themselves reasonably well for long periods of time.
How Corgis Swim and How They Compare to Other Breeds (Alaskan Malamute, Shiba Inu, Akita, Golden Retriever)?
Like must breeds, a corgi will keep its head and ears high, clear of water while paddling with its legs utilizing the infamous “doggy paddle” technique.
Keep in mind that because corgis were bred to walk around on farms all day, this means they can’t swim as well as other breeds.
Take the Akita for example, built with even more muscle and noticeably longer limbs. Or the Alaskan Malamute, of who were practically built for surviving in harsh cold climate and terrain, which may demand slodging across icy water occasionally.
Thus you’re much more likely or frequently to see owners with Shiba Inus or Golden Retrievers paddling away happily in the water than Corgis, both of whom swim well although the former may have an adorable fear of water at first.
Remember that a longer body doesn’t necessarily equate to being hydrodynamic, but if the limbs are correspondingly sized and developed, it can certainly contribute to being a better swimmer.
Do Corgis Like Water?
Asking this question will yield the same answer for most breeds (definitely sans bulldogs, since they would sink immediately upon being placed in water). A Corgi’s preference or aversion to water ultimately comes down to the individual dog.
To increase your chances of a Corgi leaping for joy at the sight of water, be sure to associate encouraging vibes and words of praise to your dog anytime he or she gets a bath.
Try to avoid traumatizing your dog in events involving water (such as water spraying as a means to punish or prevent further misbehavior), to minimize his association of water with pain or discomfort.
Teaching your Corgi to Swim
First and foremost: never leave your dog unattended in the water, regardless of breed! You shall aspire to be the lifeguard of your pooch at all times.
Just like teaching anything to someone, or a dog for the matter, be sure to clear distractions away. Loud noises or enticing toys and nosy children ought to be cleared out of the way during your teaching your corgi how to swim.
Teaching a dog to swim can be as simple as leading it to the water. However, as the famous saying for horses goes, it can apply to Corgis as well (“You can lead a horse to the water, but you can’t teach it to drink!”). Sometimes, an extra push or two is needed.
This does not mean being demanding or forceful at all during your lessons, however. Simply tossing or throwing your dog in is definitely not recommended, especially when this breed tends to do belly flops rather than a graceful dive like other dogs!
Remember: calm, soothing, and encouraging words. Your pooch will be able to pick up your goodwill, so refrain from ever dragging or using other forceful physical means to coerce it into a body of water when it doesn’t want to.
Once it has reached neck-deep, depending on the individual dog’s personality, it may have the confidence to simply just take off and entirely begin swimming on its own, the ever pervasive doggy paddle coming intuitively to him.
Make it clear to the dog that it can leave the water at any time it wants, when things get sketchy or uncomfortable for her.
If not, you’re going to need to pay exclusive attention to your corgi pet’s body language- notice its confidence or lack of it as you put your arm underneath its belly for support. Free up space with just one arm, so that the corgi would have incentive to kick with its rear legs as well as its front.
Keep following and supporting your pet with one arm until its paddling with all four limbs, then end the first learning session briefly to prevent too much fatigue.
Show your corgi a proper and safe way to exit the pool so that he or she may be able to find the way out on its own next time. Rinse your pet’s fur to rid of any harmful chemicals or algae collecting in the water.
Last but definitely not the least, heap plenty of praise and treats upon your dog in order for it to associate a positive experience with immersing itself in water. Think, if I were a dog, how can I look forward to the next swimming lesson?
You may need some extra supplies necessary to ensure maximum success for teaching your pet to swim, see below.
Supplies You Will Need
- Life Jacket
- Decent-Sized Pool (Preferably Shallow)
The life jacket or vest should fit on comfortably and snugly on your corgi, easy to slip on and out of, without scratching or otherwise hurting your dog. It goes without saying that this device will assist your pooch in staying afloat should it tire out.
If it’s your corgi’s first time ever stepping foot into water outside of a bath, you might want to avoid ambitious trips to the beach and stick to inflatable pools or the backyard swimming pool as your training grounds.
The leash is necessary to make sure your dog doesn’t swim too far out beyond a safe distance, such as towards the deep end, whether it be at a pool or a natural body of water such as a lake or the ocean.
Swimming for Exercise (for Obese Corgi)
It’s summer, and your corgi has gotten complacent and chubby from lazing around all indoors in order to avoid heat from the sweltering sun.
What can be a possibly better seasonal remedy than swimming?
Swimming is great not only for cooling off dogs regardless of size, but because it is an activity that is easy on the joints, and the joints of obese corgi are especially susceptible to arthritic pain. For this reason, swimming is also recommended for dogs recovering from post-surgery.
Overweight problems in corgis can lead to all sorts of organ complications as well as spinal issues, that can be avoided by exercising in water. With the buoyancy of water, all that extra weight would feel less uncomfortable and more inclined to workout underwater than it would on dry land.
In fact, swimming for the purpose of nourishing both body and mind is known as hydrotherapy, and recommended for dogs as well as their human masters! It can be done as early as one years old, even.
For more extensive details on the benefits of hydrotherapy for dogs, check out this article by Pet MD.
Other Activities Corgis Enjoy
Beyond the basic walk and what this article covered: swimming, what else do corgis enjoy?
Here’s a brief list of possible ideas:
- Leash jogging
- Running alongside a bicycle
- Running on a treadmill (yes, they can be trained to use human treadmills!)
- Playing with a ball
- Tug of war with a toy
- Doing tasks for food as reward
- …and more!
But, as cheesy as it may sound, one of the simplest yet best things corgis may enjoy is spending time with you, whether it be napping next to each other or simply chilling by your side, doing nothing.