Miniature Schnauzers & Swimming: 3 Quick Tips For Success

If you live near lakes or the sea and love water you’ve probably given thought to how well Miniature Schnauzers can swim. We know dogs can be capable swimmers, but turns out not all of them are as gifted as others.

Whether a dog is talented at swimming or not comes down to a lot of factors, most tied to its breed, so some species will just swim better by default.

So with that in mind, let’s take a look at whether your dog can swim or nor, or more accurately whether can schnauzers swim or not.

Minature Schnauzers can definitely swim, but before you go to celebrate to a pool with your pet you should keep in mind that “can” and “will” aren’t quite the same thing. Basically all dogs “can” swim, with enough time and training.

But Miniature Schnauzers by default are fairly bad swimmers because of their water absorbent double coats, smaller stature, non-webbed toes and thick beards. So don’t expect your dog to become the next Michael Phelps anytime soon. Chances are it won’t be able to float on its own at first.

So why exactly are miniature schnauzers so challenged when it comes to swimming? Well, there are a lot of factors to consider, and while we might like to think that swimming is easy given we learn to do it as kids… that’s not quite true.

A large percentage of swimming comes down to body shapes, and that’s something nobody can just change on their own.

This relationship between the body and how good each species is at floating is what makes dog breeds so different when it comes to the water-

So what is the magical recipe to make a dog a great swimmer? Some breeds just are better swimmers since their ancestors lived in wet areas, but physiologically there’s a key set of traits a dog wants to swim like a mermaid.

A good swimming dog is medium or large in size, has a water resistant fur coat, webbed toes and a long muzzle. And if that largely sounds like a list of everything that a schnauzer isn’t… Well, that properly explains why they aren’t that good at swimming.

What this demonstrates is how naturally good a dog breed is at swimming, and there’s two important differentiations to make here.

First is that being naturally challenged doesn’t mean a breed can’t learn, and second is that being a bad swimmer doesn’t mean dogs will dislike water, which I discussed in my schnauzers as outdoor dogs article here.

In fact, unlike swimming it’s not like we have a real way to guess if an animal will like water or not.

Do Miniature Schnauzers Like Water And Being At The Beach?

Dogs are after all individuals before just being part of a specific breed, and whether your dog will like water or not will come down to it.

At the very least it’s not like miniature schnauzers have a natural water aversion. In fact, in hot temperatures they’ll likely seek it to cool themselves down. And most dogs who avoid water usually do so because they’ve had prior bad experiences with it. Which is just reasonable.

So with all that in mind… Your mini probably won’t be able to swim at first on its own, or it’ll do so pretty badly. But as we’ve covered already natural talent isn’t the last call when it comes to swimming.

So bring your own pool goggles and floaties, as we go deep into how to properly teach your mini friend how to rock the waves!

Swim training 101: A Quick Guide on How to Best Teach Your Miniature Schnauzer (4 Tips)

After what I’ve said so far you might have some doubt on how possible it really is for a mini schnauzer to actually learn how to swim. After all, they sound like they were made to never do so.

However, learning to swim is never impossible, regardless of age or breed and I actually have a great example of that. Meet Livi, a miniature schnauzer that learned how to tame the waves and became a skilled swimmer on her own right after hating it at first.

You can read all about her in this link, and here’s another schnauzer jumping right in the water!

The first thing to keep in mind is that patience is key here. Rewards take effort and chances are you’ll be training a long time before you see real results.

And logically, expect to have an easier time the younger your dog is; after all you know what they say about old dogs and new tricks.

Thankfully, teaching a dog how to swim isn’t that much different from teaching a kid. Just keep patience, kindness and safety always on your mind and keep on trying.

The very first thing you should do is to grab a doggy life jacket like this Outward Hound one on; you can also find them at most specialty pet stores or online.

The perks of having a life jacket at hand are almost endless, and obviously the most important part is basic safety.

Swimming is a new experience for your partner, and while it might not be intuitively good at floating, not only will it keep them safe but also make sure that they don’t get bad memories from almost drowning.

Plus, life jackets are just good to have for any kind of water related trips with your pup.

Patience and Building Confidence With Your Mini Schnauzer In The Water

Since the life jacket will take care of floating for your dog, the main thing to teach it is how to enjoy water. You need to make your mini schnauzer feel comfortable and entertained in the water, and this is a gradual process.

If your mini is already rushing to play on the water with you then you have half your work done. But if that’s not the case then just keep things steady but slow.

Confidence building is the most important part of the process so make sure to be a part of it. Join your dog in the water, use a shallow pool so it doesn’t feel out of its element, and always keep on playing.

The secret to making your dog enjoy water is to do the things it enjoys. Bring its favorite toys, try your favorite games, and be with it at all times.

By playing, your dog will learn the basics to move in the water and improve with each passing day.

Before you notice it your schnauzer will be able to paddle all around the pool, or even race you for a change of pace.

Animals will always respond well to affection and attention, and by playing with it on the water it’ll come to accept it as just another place to be. And both of you will have a lot of fun memories for a long time, so it’s a win-win situation.

The Importance of a Life Jacket for Mini Schnauzers In The Water

Some of you might be wondering if there’s a way to teach and let your mini schnauzer swim without a jacket, but we can’t in good conscience recommend that.

A life jacket is essential to learning because it provides them a feeling of safety in water they won’t have otherwise.

Your dog will most likely start to sink if you bring it to water without it, and the scare might turn it off completely from swimming as a whole.

Now some of you might be thinking that swimming with a life jacket is not quite swimming, and might want to try to take it to the next level.

Once your dog is already a talented jacket paddler chances are it’ll be able to swim without assistance, for short distances at least. And you can probably try that out in shallow pools with little worry.

However just because something can be done doesn’t mean it should be done. At the end of the day schnauzers will never be amazing swimmers, and they are not meant to swim freely without supervision.

Any measure that you can take to ensure their wellbeing is a good one, and a lifejacket is just the most practical one. Accidents can happen at any time, but with a life jacket a misstep in their paddle will just leave them merrily floating on their own.


So can schnauzers swim? Yes, your schnauzer can definitely learn how to swim, and doing so might prove to be a fun and rewarding bonding experience for both of you.

It can also expend some of your schnauzer’s abundant energy which can help them be a calmer dog, which will pay dividends for you as an owner!

But you have to keep the fact straights and remember that they aren’t designed to be great swimmers, and as such every safety step you can take to ensure their wellbeing is a needed one.

In short, don’t let their natural ability keep your mini from enjoying water, but don’t be irresponsible either. Keep in mind what they can and can’t do, and always play safely. Both you and your dog will have a better time for it, which is what really matters.

Related: Can Standard and Giant Schnauzers Swim?

For most of this article I have focused heavily on miniature schnauzers and their relationship with water and swimming. But some of you might be wondering just how well the other breeds work. So can a standard schnauzer swim? And what about a giant schnauzer, can they swim?

Well the only real difference at that they are larger, which might be able to help them have more energy for paddling. But other than that… Nothing really changes. All the other physiological factors that make minis poor swimmers still stand for their larger brothers.

So, on one hand don’t expect a larger schnauzer to be any more talented in the water. But on the other, everything you’ve learned here applies for them as well; so you definitely have a lot to try out at home.

Recent Posts