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Can Corgis Swim? Do They Like Water? 5 Dangers + 3 Tips

Can Corgis Swim

If you’ve seen Corgis before, you’ve likely doubted their ability to swim. After all, their legs are just far too small for their size, right?

So it’s understandable that you wonder if Corgis can swim (and if they like water).

Here you’ll find out the truth.

You’ll also discover:

  • The reasons why some Corgis like or dislike water.
  • 5 signs of water poisoning you should watch out for.
  • How you can save your Corgi by performing a pet CPR (step-by-step).
  • The top 3 dangerous contaminants in open water that can harm your Corgi while swimming.
  • And much more…

Can Corgis swim (well)? 

Corgis can swim well. They have strong thighs that allow them to paddle underwater. Their high energy also allows them to paddle for about 10 minutes. However, their joints can be quite fragile, so they should have regular breaks. Equip them with life jackets to keep them safe.

Can Corgi puppies swim?

Corgi puppies can swim. In fact, teaching them early will allow them to naturally enjoy water when they’re older. However, you need to ease them into it first and start small. Begin with steady exposure to water during playtime, then let them swim once they’re comfortable.

Do Corgis like water?

Corgis like water, but not all of them. It often depends on each dog’s individual personality. Some Corgis will readily jump on a puddle, while others may be afraid of it. To be safe, owners should expose Corgis to water slowly, beginning with small drops until they can take them swimming.

What other Corgi parents are saying

Corgi parents are divided on how well Corgis swim or interact with water. Some say their dog is a complete natural. Others state their Corgis hate being anywhere near the beach. To help settle the question, let’s see what their experiences are:

Parent #1

Parent #1 says their Corgi can swim even without a life vest. They confessed that they could have used a life vest, but apparently their Corgi had done fine without it. In fact, the only thing the owner had to do was swim with the Corgi and watch over them.

Also, their Corgi seems to love playing with the waves. When a wave comes, they come back to shore, then go back into the water a few seconds later.

One thing this owner warns us about is algae. Their Corgi was almost poisoned by it. It wasn’t severe, although they had to spend a lot of money for recovery.

Parent #2

Parent #2 says their Corgi loves swimming too. In their case, they took their pet to a dog beach to help them paddle in shallow waters. 

They also placed their pet on a leash to make sure they didn’t go out too far and save them from potential danger. 

They also say that their Corgi now wears their favorite life jacket while swimming. With the jacket, their pet is able to have fun while still feeling secure.

Parent #3

As for Parent #3, it seems their Corgi was fearful of water initially. At one point, their previous owner tried to put them into the water abruptly. This resulted in them developing a fear of water in general.

However, when their Corgi noticed their other pets playing in the water with toys, they started swimming through the water to play with them. It seems the thought of being able to play was stronger than their fear of water.

Now, the Corgi happily swims with the owner’s other pets. As long as there are toys and fun nearby, no water can stop them from playing.

5 ‘hidden’ dangers when your Corgi swims

#1: Your dog can get sick from too much water

While swimming, it’s possible for your dog to ingest too much water by accident. In fact, many owners may not notice it at all until it’s too late.

Further, since Corgis are small dogs, it’s much quicker for them to develop water intoxication than larger breeds.

Water poisoning causes a disruption of bodily functions which can result in gradual brain damage. It’s often fatal to dogs especially if they’re not treated promptly.

When your dog has water poisoning, they will display the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting.
  • Pupil dilation.
  • Restlessness.
  • Overall weakness.
  • Excessive drooling.

If your dog starts behaving oddly after a swim, take them to the vet promptly. The symptoms above can be deceptive and caused by other things, so their advice will help you clear up any confusion.

Note: Limit the amount of time your dog can spend in the water to 10 minutes or less. Take frequent breaks and feed your dog dehydrated food to help them digest the ingested water.

#2: Drowning

This may seem obvious, but this needs to be emphasized.


Because one misconception that owners have is that dogs are born swimmers.

However, this is not always the case. Although there are no statistics for how many dogs drown each year, there are studies that show significant fatalities.

In a 2008 study of 25 dogs and 3 cats, it was revealed that about 36% (10 dogs) died as a result of drowning.

In some of these cases, they listed the following common causes of being submerged underwater:

  • Falling into the water. (5 dogs)
  • Intentional submersion. (2 dogs)
  • Breaking through the ice. (3 dogs)

In other words, it’s always possible to have an accident with your Corgi. As such, it’s highly advisable that you learn dog CPR before taking your pet for a swim.

Further, make sure your Corgi is absolutely healthy. If they have underlying conditions, address them first by going to the vet. It’s best to get their permission before attempting to teach your Corgi to swim.

Note: Check out Tip #2 to find out more about CPRs!

#3: Slippery surfaces

Corgi Slippery Surfaces Meme

Accidents can happen before your dog can even hit the water. For example, the area just beside the pool can be very slippery. This can cause your dog to fall along the way.

Boats can also become slippery once the surface becomes wet upon contact with water. Since Corgis are small dogs with even smaller legs, slippery surfaces can pose a problem.

For one, it can result in leg injuries. This can result in your dog not using the injured leg altogether or going limp.

To prevent injuries, carry your dog until they’re in a safe position. You can use a dog carrier backpack or keep them inside a portable crate.

Avoid making your dog walk on slippery surfaces, especially steps or stairs, as it can also result in other problems such as hip dysplasia over time.

Reading Tip: Can Corgis Climb Stairs? 5 Hidden Dangers & 9 Simple Tips

#4: Water phobia

Another problem with swimming is that your pet might develop water phobia soon after. When your dog is afraid of the water, it can affect not just their desire to swim, but even your ability to bathe them at home.

Often, one reason why dogs become scared of water is if they associate it with bad experiences. Being forced into the water as punishment or suffering intense pain within it can alter their behavior significantly.

However, the reverse is also true: owners may discover their dogs having water phobia way before their first swim. This can be the case if your dog was rescued from prior abuse.

If your dog has problems with water, don’t let them swim and get them away from bodies of water. Ease them up to it by playing with your dog on sprinklers or letting them play with bubbles.

You should also work closely with your dog trainer before you begin exposing your Corgi to bodies of water. Their guidance will help you deal with water phobia more effectively.

#5: The open water itself

Corgis tend to swallow some water while swimming. Even when you’re just giving them a bath, there’s a chance they’ll swallow any water that enters their mouths.

Unfortunately, rivers and seas can be contaminated with various organisms. Although your dog’s digestive system is able to tolerate a lot of things (even their own poop), some contaminants can be lethal to your dog.

In particular, owners need to watch out for these 3 culprits:

Red Tide

Red Tide is the result of toxic algae being swept ashore. When the waves crash into the algae, they tend to break them open, causing a release of toxins.

These toxins can be lethal as they can hit the central nervous system, causing paralysis, seizures, and death.

Corgis can ingest red tide either by swallowing contaminated water or by licking their fur after swimming.

Avoid bringing your Corgi to the beach during a red tide. If they have been exposed, bathe your dog immediately before they start licking themselves.


Although ingesting moderate amounts of water is harmless, seawater is a very different story.

Seawater contains a lot of salt. This causes a dog’s body to dry up from the inside and dehydrate, making them even thirstier. It can also cause nausea and diarrhea.

As such, you should avoid seawater if you can help it. If it’s unavoidable, bring separate, fresh water for your dog to drink afterwards.

Blue-Green Algae

Blue-Green Algae (cyanobacteria) is typically endemic to freshwater areas. They are likely to gather around warm areas or during the summer.

As the name suggests, you can easily find blue-green algae as contaminated waters have a green hue. Ingestion can damage both the brain and liver, causing seizures, lethargy, and death.

Do not let your dog swim when you see blue-green algae. If they are somehow splashed with it, bathe your dog entirely and promptly.

3 tips to teach your Corgi how to swim

#1: Make water a part of their life

Corgi In Water Meme

For any dog to like swimming, they must like water first. As such, you should make water an essential and common part of your Corgi’s life.

Begin by introducing your Corgi to a kiddie pool and fill it up until the water is as high as your Corgi’s ankles. Throw toys into the water and give them a treat once they reach the other side.

Regularly pet your dog with a wet cloth in your hand.  Use a thermometer to make sure the water is lukewarm, between 98-105°F (36-40°C). This will prevent your Corgi from being frightened or shocked. If they respond positively to petting, treat them accordingly.

Note: Don’t pet with a wet cloth during cold days as your Corgi may catch a cold. If your dog goes outdoors often, you can wet pet them to beat the heat.

Make your dog think that water is a part of playtime, too. Bring bubbles and treats together and make sure they see you holding both. 

Blow bubbles in front of them and watch your dog try to pop each off. Reward them after they pop a few bubbles.

Lastly, play with your garden’s sprinklers or a hose. Keep the water low and encourage your Corgi to chase after the water. You can also play fetch with the sprinklers on.

Be relaxed while you’re playing with the water and let yourself get wet along with your Corgi. Sing songs loudly, give praise and treat them each time they get sprinkled.

Note: Do not rush your Corgi into joining you. If they’re not cooperative, start small and work your way up. It can take weeks to make them love water, so be patient.

#2: Safety first

When taking your dog out for a swim, make sure they have a dog life jacket equipped. Not only does it serve as a life-saving tool, but it also helps your Corgi paddle safely on water.

When your Corgi swims, they might sometimes encounter debris that can cause irritation or allergies. 

To prevent this, choose a life jacket with bright colors like white or yellow. These will allow you to see anything that latches onto your Corgi even from a distance.

Also, when swimming, start with shallow waters and have your dog swim towards the shore rather than against it. This will allow your Corgi to paddle and touch the ground if necessary.

If you find them swimming against the shore, lure them with a toy or treat to bring them back on track. You should also bring a first-aid kit during any swim just to be extra prepared. 

Typically, a first-aid kit consists of:

  • Gauze.
  • Scissors.
  • Bandages.
  • Wet wipes.
  • Antibiotic ointment.
  • Hydrogen peroxide.
  • Food & water care package.

Note: Familiarize yourself with hydrogen peroxide before swimming. Ask your vet about dosages and when to induce vomiting as it can be lethal to your dog in high doses.

You should also prepare plenty of umbrellas and cold water, particularly during the summer. Corgis may have high endurance due to their double coats and regular shedding, but they can still get heatstroke.

Be sure to watch out for the following signs:

  • Lethargy.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Constant panting.
  • Excessive drooling.
  • Uncoordinated movement.

When you see any of these symptoms, bring your dog to shade immediately. Alternatively, you can have them take breaks every 5-10 minutes to keep them cool during hot days.

Note: Pay attention to weather forecasts. There’s less risk for a heat stroke if outdoor temperatures are between 78-87°F (26-30°C). If it’s much hotter, postpone your visit to the beach and wait for a better day.

Lastly, you should learn dog CPR before going on a trip as an accident might drown your Corgi.

Here’s how you should administer it:

  1. Check for a heartbeat and signs of breathing.
  2. Place the heel of your dominant palm above your dog’s heart
  3. Place the other palm on top of the dominant palm.
  4. Begin compressions.
  5. Straighten your pet’s neck.
  6. Put your mouth on your pet’s nose and exhale in the airway.
  7. Compress once you see the chest rise.

Note: When making compressions, make sure your palm covers ⅓ or ½ of their heart. Be quick with compressions and perform rescue breaths every 2 minutes.

#3: Do your research

Doing research is another way of making sure your dog will love the water. There are two things you need to bear in mind: the location and your dog’s current state.

Corgis can be good swimmers with enough training, but they can be afraid of water when they start hurting around it. In this case, plenty of things can hurt them. These include:

  • Algae.
  • Bacteria.
  • Jellyfishes.
  • Contaminated seaweed.
  • Sharp debris. (e.g, wood)

As such, check the location you’re about to visit. Look at websites and check the reviews, particularly on water quality. 

Alternatively, you can visit specific dog beaches in your area. Dog beaches are basically cleaned up to make sure there is no debris.

Further, the sand is usually clear and the water is devoid of rocks. They’re also packed with staff that will help keep your dog safe in case of emergencies.

If there are no dog beaches, you can try your local pools. However, be sure to keep your dog’s stay in the water at a minimum as chlorine can be an irritant.

Also, have your dog checked first. Scan your dog for open wounds or lesions, as debris and bacteria can enter your dog’s body through them.

If your dog has open wounds from playing or excessive scratching, take care of the wounds and find the reason behind scratching. Go to your vet for a checkup.

The open waters can be a vector of infection, so keep your dog away from them unless it’s completely safe.

Note: You should also ask for an x-ray of your Corgi’s joints. If they have any joint-related conditions like hip dysplasia, ask if swimming can help them. Some vets will testify to its effectiveness, but conditions can vary between each dog.

Check out this article for more tips on teaching your Corgi how to swim (they’re at the end).