The Chihuahua is the smallest dog breed in the world, and also one of the most popular too. Here in the UK the Chihuahua is in fact the second most popular dog breed overall, and whilst their undeniable cute-appeal is the main reason for it, their small size itself helps a lot too.
The advantages of being small is that this makes Chihuahua ownership viable for the vast majority of people regardless of the size of their house, or where they live. There are few homes, even studio apartments, that would be too small to house a Chihuahua; and even if you live in the middle of a built-up urban area and need to move around in crowds and on public transport to be able to walk your dog, Chihuahuas can be picked up and carried when needed with ease.
However, their petite build also comes with disadvantages in some respects too, such as that they’re not so hardy, are less able to moderate their own body temperatures effectively, and get tired out very quickly when walking or otherwise exercising too.
These are all things that Chihuahua owners and prospective owners need to bear in mind; and there are other implication of this too, some of which aren’t quite as obvious. One of the most common questions that occurs to most Chihuahua owners at some point when it becomes pertinent is “can Chihuahuas swim? The simple answer to this is yes, but not usually for very long, and most would rather not!
This article will provide a more detailed answer to the question of whether or not Chihuahuas can swim, and whether or not it is safe to take a Chihuahua swimming. Read on to learn more.
Many people assume all dogs can swim; but this is not the case, and some breeds cannot! However when answering just the question of can Chihuahuas swim, the answer is yes. If you put your dog in water or they happened to fall into water, assuming that all other things were equal (such as the temperature not being so cold as to affect them and them not having got hurt entering the water) they would immediately and instinctively swim and be able to keep their head above the water.
Chihuahuas have an appropriate physical conformation to be able to swim in that they generally have a long enough nose despite being brachycephalic to be able to keep it out of the water, and they are finely built enough to be buoyant, and have proportionally long enough legs to be able to swim along.
However, Chihuahuas cannot be said to be good swimmers, partially because their heads are very large compared to the rest of them, which tends to tip them forwards to a degree and mean their necks are under pressure after the initial couple of minutes to keep their head up.
With the exception of professionally supervised and managed swimming sessions such as those that might take place in a canine hydrotherapy pool, there are not many safe ways to let a Chihuahua swim casually, for various reasons.
A potential exception to this is if you have a small, shallow paddling pool that the dog can get into and out of at any time they want to without problems; and that it is warm enough.
However, when it comes to letting a Chihuahua swim in other situations that might be fine for other dogs – like in lakes, streams, ponds and so on – there are a number of threats and hazards that make this unwise.
First of all, dogs of the breed cannot moderate their own temperature too well, and so the water would have to be very uniform and just right, within a couple of degrees of ideal, to not be too hot or too cold.
Additionally, a very petite dog would not be able to get into and out of water in places most other dogs could usually manage fine, and so they might not be able to get out, even if you call them to a spot where you could pick them up.
Also, Chihuahuas tire easily with simple walking exercise, and need short, regular walks. Swimming is a full body exercise and so will tire them out much faster, and most dogs of the breed would begin to flag and struggle after just a few minutes in the water.
Very mild currents in running water that larger dogs might not even be aware of could sweep a petite Chihuahua away or make them struggle and tire out too. On a beach, even a seemingly gentle wave could knock a paddling Chihuahua off their feet and into the sea.
Finally, there are threats in the water to contend with too, like pike, which might even see such as small dog as a meal.
If your Chihuahua fell into water by accident and you saw this and could get them out promptly, they would be able to swim well enough to survive for a short time until they could be got out. But they’re not really a breed that is well designed for swimming in general.
No, not usually. Generally, Chihuahuas are not at all keen on swimming or water as a whole, so aside from keeping your dog safe when walking near to water, you probably won’t find yourself facing problems with your dog perpetually trying to dive in!