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Can Mastiffs Swim? (All You Need to Know)

Some breeds of dogs are born swimmers and enjoy other water activities as well whereas some breeds of dogs are terrified of water or don’t prefer to learn to swim. Hence the swimming ability and inclination towards swimming differ from breed to breed.

So you certainly can think of your Mastiff dog’s swimming ability and probably would like to know whether your Mastiff can swim or not.

So, let us learn the factors concerning Mastiff dog’s swimming ability.

Can Mastiffs Swim?

Mastiffs can swim as efficiently as any other swimmer dog breeds if they get an adequate amount of consistent swimming training from their puppyhood. Besides, Mastiffs have webbed feet so which enable them to swim proficiently even though they are not born swimmers and have an enormous body shape.

Since there are many breeds of Mastiff dogs, you may wonder which of them can swim and which one can’t. So here short explanations over different Mastiff dog breeds’ swimming capability have been provided.

Tibetan Mastiff:

Tibetan Mastiffs are not natural swimmers, neither they are water dogs. So some Tibetan Mastiffs may like swimming while others may not. Tibetan Mastiffs have heavy coats which are more appropriate for winter flocking rather than swimming in summer.


Bullmastiffs are efficient swimmers if they can learn to swim under proper guidance moreover, they have webbed feet that help them to paddle in the water and guide them through water bodies.

English Mastiff:

Like Bullmastiffs, English Mastiff dogs also can swim like any other expert swimmer dog. But they require years of persistent swimming training by their masters or by a professional to achieve that level of swimming.

So only if English Mastiff is trained with continuous careful swimming training from their puppyhood, they can be good swimmers.

Neapolitan Mastiff:

Neapolitan Mastiffs are a little different from other Mastiffs as they are fond of water and various water activities which makes them great swimmers. So undoubtedly, Neapolitan Mastiffs can swim.

But their body structure and size are not that acceptable to swim without facing danger in the water. So you must to be careful while letting them swim.

French Mastiff:

French Mastiffs also like swimming and can swim pretty well. They take swimming as an exercise and they swim whoever they get an opportunity to get wet. French Mastiff just loves the refreshing and cool splash of water while swimming, especially in the summertime.

Italian Mastiff:

Italian Mastiffs are good swimmers too which makes sense that they can swim well. But to make an Italian Mastiff a good swimmer, supervision and effective training methods should be applied to them.

Only then it can be expected that the Italian Mastiffs will be capable enough to swim.

Pyrenean Mastiff:

Pyrenean Mastiffs can also swim but they are not a breed of natural swimmers, so they don’t actually like swimming. However, if they are taught swimming in a fun way and patiently, Pyrenean Mastiff can take swimming as a fun activity and learn to swim.

Do Mastiffs Like To Swim?

It can not be stated with surety that all mastiffs like to swim. Because Mastiffs are not born swimmers, neither they are inherently inclined towards swimming or water.

Besides, there are several breeds of Mastiff dogs such as English Mastiff, Tibetan Mastiff, French Mastiff, and others, it can’t be expected that all the breeds of Mastiff will be great at swimming.

However, many Mastiff dogs are seen to love water, water activities, and swimming. So even though most of the dogs of the Mastiff breed don’t like swimming, you can manage to make your Mastiff like to swim.

And it will only happen if you train him to like water and swimming from his puppyhood so that he can learn using his webbed feet to paddle easily in water.

Especially in the summertime, if your Mastiff gets to realize the enjoyment he can get by swimming in under scorching bright sun, he will like swimming.

Are Mastiffs Good Swimmers?

Although Mastiffs don’t inherit the talent of swimming they can be really good swimmers as any other breed of dogs.

Mastiffs naturally face breathing difficulties in the water while swimming, therefore, they are kind of afraid of water bodies which make them poor swimmer.

Besides, their body size and shape are also not suitable as other simmer dogs that can support them to float in water easily.

Moreover, Mastiffs are fighting/hunting dog breeds, they are not bred as a retriever dog breed. Which makes clearer sense that Mastiffs are experts in swimming.

But Mastiffs surely can prove themselves as good swimmers. If they are supervised carefully and can get control over their body and breathing while swimming, Mastiffs are pretty good swimmers actually.

However, you/any swim trainer should never force a Mastiff to lead swim.

How To Teach Your Mastiff To Swim?

If you are struggling with teaching your water-shy Mastiff to swim then probably you should give a read to this section. Here the easiest ways of teaching a Mastiff to learn swimming have been explained to help you out.

Start Early:

The first and foremost way of teaching your Mastiff to swim is by starting his swimming lessons as early as possible. So puppyhood is the best time when you can introduce your Mastiff pup to water bodies.

Puppies are intrigued to learn new things and can adjust to them easily than an adult dog. So, even though your Mastiff pup is water-shy if you teach him swimming from his puppyhood, his shyness and fear will go away.

So, he will learn to balance his body and swimming quickly.

Teach Swimming In A Less Deep Waterbody:

Always remember to give your Mastiff swimming lessons in a less deep water body because Mastiffs struggle to breathe underwater and are scared.

So, you can use a kiddie pool to give his first swimming lessons. Keep the water level not more than 2 inches and slowly make him encounter water. Don’t force him to swim in the first place, just make him like water at first.

Besides, in less deep water, your Mastiff will learn to control his breathing and body movement better.

Make Swimming Lessons Fun:

Mastiffs really like to play games, so you can take this advantage and make his swimming lessons fun to attract him to learn to swim.

You can throw your Mastiff’s favorite in the water and play a catch and fetch game or can bathe him in the kiddie pool. Either way will work to teach him to paddle in the water on his own.

If he learns to swim and fetch the toy by himself, you can make him practice in the same by taking him to the swimming pool or pond.

Give His Body Support:

Naturally, your Mastiff’s body will not float on the water, neither he will paddle. So make him wear a life vest or support his underbelly by holding it with your hands. So that he can keep his body flat and paddle easily.

A life vest is a better option. While wearing a life vest, he will keep the right position of his body on his own and will move his legs without support. Therefore, he will confidently swim without any fear.

Teach To Enter And Take Exit:

Make your Mastiff recognize how to enter the pool/water body and how to take leave from there so that he doesn’t hold any more fear of getting lost in the water.

You can lure him with treats staying at the entry point and call his name back keep him on a leash to take leave from the water. Once he can enter and take the exit on his own, you can let him swim by himself.

When Can Mastiff Puppies Go For A Swim?

Mastiff puppies can go for their first swimming lesson at the age of seven weeks old.

But as Mastiffs are not well swimmers and are water-shy, so you must keep your Mastiff pup under strict supervision while making him practice swimming.

And you are required to provide his underbelly support by holding him with your hands or making him wear a life jacket.

Also, remember that if your Mastiff puppy is strongly willed to not enter the water, do not ever force him to learn swimming.

Are All Mastiffs Natural Swimmers?

Mastiffs are not natural swimmers because they are not bred as water retriever dogs that are expected to retrieve prey from the water bodies. Therefore, Mastiffs are not born with the natural talent of swimming.

They are rather water-shy dogs, some Mastiffs are scared of water, and let alone swimming, some Mastiffs even hates bathing.

Do Mastiffs Like Water?

Mastiffs don’t like water and it’s a natural characteristic of Mastiffs. Mastiffs are hunting/fighting dogs that don’t come to contact with water bodies.

Besides, their body shape and size and being brachycephalic dogs naturally restrain them from liking water bodies.

As a result, most of the Mastiffs don’t like water but some of them surely can like water if they are trained properly to like water.

Do Mastiffs Have Webbed Feet?

All breeds of Mastiff dogs have a kind of feet. But to say specifically, Bullmastiff dogs are better known to have webbed feet among all other Mastiff dogs. And their webbed feet provide them a great advantage in learning to swim like other dogs.

Final Thoughts:

Mastiffs are not proficient swimmers due to being born with no talent in swimming. But they surely can be competent swimmers if they are trained well and persistently. Also, their webbed feet support them greatly to paddle underwater which makes can make them learn to swim like a pro.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why Does My Mastiff Smell So Bad?

How to Make a Mastiff Gain Weight?

Why Do Mastiffs Howl, Whine & Cry So Much?

How High Can a Mastiff Jump?

Do Mastiffs Have Webbed Feet?

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