Can Greyhounds Swim? [Veterinary Advice]

can greyhounds swim

If you’re a Greyhound owner, you may be wondering if your furry friend can swim.

Despite their streamlined body structure, Greyhounds aren’t natural swimmers due to the lack of webbing between their toes and some differences in their anatomical structure. However, with proper training, positive reinforcement, consistency, and floating vests, they can learn to swim.

While swimming can be a fun and refreshing activity for Greyhounds, there are both benefits and drawbacks to consider. It can provide an enjoyable way for your furry friend to cool off on hot summer days and get some exercise. However, there are also potential risks to their safety that should be taken seriously.

In our upcoming discussion, we’ll explore the ins and outs of Greyhounds and swimming, including the benefits and drawbacks, safety tips, and training techniques. Don’t miss out on this informative conversation!

Can greyhounds swim like a pro?

Unfortunately, greyhounds belong to the type of dog breeds that are not excellent at swimming. It’s due to its body structure. Especially,

● low amount of fat content in the body
● short coat they possess

Both of these act as obstacles in the process of swimming. Due to the low amount of fat content in the body, they are unable to float on water when swimming.

Also, it makes the process of thermoregulation more complicated after exposure to cold water. Complications in thermoregulation can lead to a considerable reduction in body temperature.

Reduction in body temperature will hinder the optimum temperature needed for the body’s metabolic activities, which will lead to more complications.

The short coat they possess does not act as a complete shield from the cold water. Therefore, greyhounds are unable to swim like other breeds with thick, furry, and long coats.

This short coat also makes the process of floating in the water when swimming more difficult. So we can clearly see that both of the bodies, as mentioned earlier, structures of the greyhounds do not fit well with the process of thermoregulation after exposure to cold water.

Now, do not get upset, wondering that your lovable greyhound will not be the ability to swim and play with you in the pool. As I mentioned above, greyhounds can be taught to swim.

Why aren’t greyhounds natural swimmers?

It’s due to two main differences in their body structure when compared with other breeds. As greyhounds are slender creatures, the body’s content is very low compared with other breeds.

Therefore, they do not tend to float on water when swimming. (less buoyant). This low-fat content also acts as a hindrance in regulating the body temperature after exposure to water when swimming.

As we all know, greyhounds possess a short coat. This coat does not fit well with the cold water. It does not act as a shield from cold water for the animal when swimming in cold water in your pool.

This can cause a considerable reduction in body temperature, which can lead to more complicated issues. This short coat is also a hindrance to its floating ability in the water.

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How to teach greyhounds to swim?

1. start with a shallow area

When teaching your greyhound to swim, first start with a shallow area in your pool. So that dog will feel safer.

Most importantly, do not throw your greyhound to water at its first experience with water! He will get frightened, and you will never be able to get his paws in a pool again!

It’s better if you can wear him a life jacket, first walk with him in shallow water so that he will get used to water and he will start to feel that water is not a dangerous place to be.

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2. Never abandon him in the water

The second most important thing you should bear in your mind is never to abandon him in the water in his swimming lessons.

If your buddy is reluctant to wet his paws, you can both use a physical and verbal appraisal to encourage him. Keep in mind to observe your greyhound’s behavior and body language in water.

If you feel he is not happy and looking panic-stricken, you can try swimming in another day. Do not try to move your buddy to deeper water if he seems shocked and acts reluctantly. If he looks happy, now you can gradually walk with him into the deeper water.

3. Oversee his body language

Oversee his body language when walking with him into the deeper water. When he starts paddling in the deeper water, you can support him with your arms. Also, encourage him with your voice.

Try to train him to use all of his four limbs for swimming. So, he will not get tired easily. Do not keep him in the pool for a longer period of time if it’s his first experience.

After the swimming lesson, you must show him how to get out of the pool safely. Then in the next attempt, he will get out of the pool himself if he gets tired.

4. Wipe him with a towel

Wipe him with a towel, as greyhounds are not good at thermoregulation after exposure to cold water. Then use your time to encourage him by patting, cuddling, and say “Ma buddy, you did a good job!”. Now you can use a dog treat, so he will much prefer swimming next time.

Recommended reading: Do greyhounds like to cuddle?

What to keep in mind when your greyhounds go for a swim?

There are several important points that you wanna bear in your mind when your greyhound goes for a swim.

● Do not throw him into the water. 

He will get frightened, and you will never be able to see your greyhound in the pool again! If it is his first experience, you must not do this! You can walk with him into the water in his first experience. After he gets used to it, let him walk into the water calmly.

●     It is better if you can wear him a life jacket. 

As greyhounds are less buoyant when compared with other species, wearing a life jacket will protect them from drowning.

● At first walk with him in shallow water. 

You can start his swimming lesson in a shallow area in your pool. It will make his first impression of the water a much better one.

Do not try to put him into the deep water if he is reluctant. 

Do not persuade him to swim in deep water if he is unwilling. If you force him, he will try to abandon swimming.

● Observe his body language in water carefully. 

If it is his first experience, you must do this. It will give you an idea of his opinion on swimming. By monitoring his body language, you can easily pick up if something wrong with him while he is in water. This is more important because greyhounds are more prone to hypothermia due to exposure to cold water.

● Never abandon him in water until he is used to it. 

You have to be around him until he is safer in water.

● At first, support him to paddle in deep water. 

You can use your arms to support him in water.

● Do not keep your greyhound too much time in the water. 

Greyhounds are animals who easily get tired. So they can not cope up with water for a longer period of time. So you must keep in mind not to keep your pet swimming for a longer period.

● Do not use your pool to train him if he is afraid of staircases. 

Some dogs are afraid of staircases. If your greyhound is also afraid of staircases, never use your pool with staircases to his swimming lessons. His fear of staircases will persuade him to abandon swimming! Now don’t worry, you can use a small pond, shallow areas in the sea to train your greyhound.

● Keep in mind to wipe him with a towel after swimming. 

Wiping them with a towel will help him to increase their body temperature back to normal. This is more important with greyhounds because they have complications in maintaining their body temperature than other dog breeds.

● Avoid distractions if it is his first experience. 

When you first start your dog’s swimming lessons choose a place with a minimum of distractions. It is important because greyhounds are not born to swim. You must provide him with a friendly surrounding to adapt to the water, which is completely a different environment for him.

● Do not let him drink pool water. 

Bear in mind to bring drinking water for your pet to the pool. If he started to drink water from his first time, he would try to drink water from the pool all the times he swims in the pool. Drinking pool water can lead to many complications later.

If it is his first experience, keep him leashed. 

If it is his first swimming lesson, it’s better to keep him leashed. So you can control him and also you can save him easily if he is going to get drowned.

Especially if your buddy is a bit old, be patient with him. 

Old greyhounds will take a much longer time to start swimming than younger ones. So your patience plays a significant role if you are going swimming with your old greyhound buddy.

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Can greyhounds swim in chlorinated pools?

Yes, your loving greyhound buddy can swim in chlorinated pools. But the chlorine level of the pool must be within the normal range. Definitely, you would not want your buddy to drink a lot of chlorine water.

So you must take necessary precautions to prevent him from drinking chlorine water at all times. You can take plenty of drinking water to the pool and let him drink water before and after the swimming session.

Drinking plenty of fresh water after the swimming session will help to minimize the effects of chlorine water he drank accidentally. The sensitive organs of a dog are much more sensitive than humans. Therefore, dogs are much more susceptible to chlorine effects than humans.

What about the fear of water?

As a veterinary student, I plainly know about the dogs’ fear for water, including the greyhounds. But it is not a condition you should worry about in the slightest. We can gradually train him to eliminate his fear of water with some proven tactics.

I will mention them briefly. Do not throw him in the water at any cost. Never abandon him in the water until he gets familiar. Wear him a life jacket.

At first walk with him in the shallow area of the pool. Next, watch his body language. If he looks contented, then carefully take him to the deeper area while supporting him to paddle.

Why the greyhounds get stinky after a swim?

Did your greyhound smell bad after a swim? This can happen depending on the water source you use for his bathing. The greyhound coat can trap bacteria, algae, dirt, plant material, and other debris from the water.

These things will absorb into the coat and remain to leave a bad smell.

How to avoid that?

There are some necessary precautions that you can take to prevent this bad odor.

Right after swimming,

● Wash the dog with a hose with some water pressure (Be careful not to use too much pressure). This water flow will help remove some of the things trapped in the coat that are causing this bad odor.

● Wipe your greyhound thoroughly with a towel. If his coat remains wet for a longer period, bacterial action on the coat will be severe. Bacteria will multiply by thousands and damage the coat, which will later lead to skin infections.

Also, you can use shampoo specifically for dogs when bathing. Be careful not to use harsh shampoo. It can damage the natural balance of the skin.


When we consider ourselves, some of us prefer swimming while some do not. The same goes for the greyhounds. Some greyhounds like to swim, but some are not. But do not get discouraged. As I mentioned above, you can gradually train your greyhound for swimming.

The important thing is being with your pet until he is much more familiar with water. So, I think if you take the necessary precautions as I mentioned, and overcome the above obstacles, you and your greyhound buddy can have a lot of fun swimming!

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