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Do Pitbulls Like Water (And Can They Swim)? Facts & FAQ


May 1, 2023
Blue nose Pit bull dog swimming in the pool


Blue nose Pit bull dog swimming in the pool

As a devoted Pitbull owner, you’ve likely pondered whether Pitbulls like water. By and large, most Pitbulls absolutely love splashing around in water. But there are always some that may be more apprehensive or indifferent.

If you’re eager to introduce your furry friend to the joys of water, this discussion will be beneficial to you. We’re not only exploring whether Pitbulls can swim but also sharing some tips on how to make water-based activities fun for both you and your pooch.


Can Pitbulls Swim?

Generally speaking, yes, Pitbulls can swim. However, their physical characteristics may make it a bit more challenging for them compared to other breeds. Pitbulls have muscular bodies and large heads, which can make staying afloat a bit tricky.

Despite that, many Pitbulls are capable swimmers and can learn to enjoy the water with the right encouragement and training. So, while they might not be the best canine for swimming,1 that doesn’t seem to stop most Pitbulls from fearlessly tackling it.

pitbull terrier swims and plays in the water in the lake
Image Credit: Eduard Goricev, Shutterstock

How Do I Get My Pitbull to Like Water?

If your Pitbull is new to water, it’s important to approach the introduction process with patience and positivity. Here are some tips to help your furry friend become a water-loving swimmer:

  • Start Slow: Choose a shallow area, like a kiddie pool or the edge of a calm body of water, to help your Pitbull acclimate to the wet environment. This will allow them to get used to the sensation of water on their fur and paws without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Be Patient: Some Pitbulls may take to water like a fish, while others may need a little more time and encouragement. Remain patient and offer plenty of praise and treats as your dog explores the water at their own pace.
  • Use Toys: If your Pitbull has a favorite water-safe toy, bring it along for the adventure. Tossing the toy into the water can encourage them to wade in and retrieve it, helping them build confidence and associate water with fun.
  • Swim With Them: If you’re comfortable doing so, wade into the water with your Pitbull. They may feel more at ease if they see that you’re enjoying the water too.
  • Invest in a Life Jacket: A doggy life jacket can provide additional buoyancy and support, making it easier for your Pitbull to swim. This can be especially helpful for dogs that are still learning or those that tire easily.

For most dog owners, starting with shallow water is the best course of action. From there, you’ll find it much easier to teach your dog the ropes of swimming.

Teaching Your Pitbull to Swim

Once your Pitbull is comfortable in shallow water, you can start teaching them to swim. Here’s how to help them take the plunge:

  • Support Their Body: As your dog ventures into deeper water, place a hand under their belly to provide support. This will help them learn to kick their legs and stay afloat.
  • Encourage Forward Movement: Use treats, toys, or verbal encouragement to coax your dog to swim towards you. Be sure to reward their efforts with plenty of praise!
  • Practice, Practice, Practice: Like any new skill, learning to swim takes time and repetition. Be patient and consistent with your training, gradually increasing the duration and depth of your swimming sessions.
Pitbull swimming in the pool in a life vest
Image Credit: GoDog Photo, Shutterstock

Water Safety Tips for Pitbulls

Teaching your Pitbull to swim is an ongoing journey. And there are a lot of safety measures that go along with it. To ensure a safe and enjoyable swimming experience for your Pitbull, keep these tips in mind:

  • Always Supervise: Never leave your dog unattended near or in the water. Accidents can happen quickly, and your watchful eye can help prevent mishaps.
  • Check Water Conditions: Before letting your Pitbull swim, inspect the water for hazards like sharp rocks, debris, or strong currents. Make sure the water is safe for both you and your dog to avoid potential injuries or other issues.
  • Be Aware of Temperature: Cold water can lead to hypothermia in dogs, while hot water can cause overheating. Monitor your dog’s body temperature and be cautious of water temperatures that are too extreme.
  • Rinse After Swimming: After your swim session, make sure to rinse your Pitbull with fresh water to remove chlorine, salt, or other irritants from their fur and skin.
  • Know Your Dog’s Limits: Keep an eye on your dog’s energy levels, and don’t push them to swim longer than they’re comfortable with. Pitbulls can be prone to overexertion, so it’s essential to monitor their stamina and give them ample opportunities to rest.



Not all Pitbulls are born water lovers, but with patience, encouragement, and proper training, many can learn to enjoy swimming. Keep in mind that every dog is different, so it’s crucial to pay attention to your Pitbull’s comfort level and preferences when it comes to water activities.

If your Pit just doesn’t seem to get acclimated to water, don’t try to force it on them. What matters most is that your dog is healthy, safe, and happy. And that may very well mean a life away from water and swimming.

But if your Pit does enjoy being in water, you can help your furry friend build confidence by creating a fun, safe, and enjoyable experience. So grab a life jacket and some toys, and let the splashing begin!

Featured Image Credit: Diego Thomazini, Shutterstock

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