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Do German Shepherds Like Water?

Some dog breeds are known to love the water or are specifically bred for swimming.  The German Shepherd was bred for herding.  So, you may wonder, do German Shepherds like water?

It does depend on the individual German Shepherd, but generally, yes most German Shepherds like water.  They enjoy playing in and around water and once confident in the water they also enjoy swimming. 

Do German Shepherds naturally like water?

I wouldn’t say ALL German Shepherds take naturally to water.  Some German Shepherds go right to the water, while others may need to get comfortable in and around the water first.

German Shepherd in water

My German Shepherd loves the water, but it didn’t come as naturally for her.  My girl is a very confident working line German Shepherd.  I thought it would be fun to purchase a kiddie pool for us to play in during the summer.

I set it up brought her outside and she just looked at it.  Then she would go up to it kind of put a paw in then jump back.  Mind you this was the first time she had ever been exposed to any type of pool. 

So, I decided to get in the pool and kind of coax her in by showing her what to do.  That worked!

She got in behind me and then didn’t want to get out.  Now, she loves the water!

I don’t think that liking the water comes naturally for all German Shepherds, but I think some of that is just apprehension about what to do in a new situation.  Once they are shown how to play with water, most German Shepherds will love the water.

Do German Shepherds like to swim?

If properly exposed to the water, yes, many German Shepherds like to swim. 

Since German Shepherds weren’t bred for swimming sometimes, they won’t just jump right into a pool without having ever been exposed to one.  However, if you take the time to introduce your dog to the water in a safe non-threatening manner, most German Shepherds will take to swimming naturally.

This is what happened with my German Shepherd.  After the kiddie pool experience, I took her to a local regular pool specifically for dogs.  It didn’t take her a long as with the kiddie pool to be ready to jump in. 

At first, she hesitated, probably wondering what the heck this big pool was.  Then once I started going toward the water and showed her it was safe, she got right in.  After being in once, she was eager to jump in and out on her own without hesitation.

Why is my German Shepherd afraid of the water?

It depends. 

Some dogs have had a negative experience in or around water, and thus they have retained that experience and have learned to fear water.  Other dogs may just be unconfident or unsure of what to do or if the water is safe.

Tips for getting your dog to like the water

GSD fetching in pool

Never force your dog into any body of water

If your dog isn’t eager to jump into water, don’t push it.  Play around the water, and slowly get them comfortable, you may find that with some time they eventually want to get in on their own. 

Plus forcing your dog into the water before they are ready could create fear of the water, and they may never want to get in if they become too scared.

Get in yourself, but don’t just jump into the deep end. 

Get into a shallow body of water, or just sit on the steps of the pool. 

Jumping straight into the deep in, if your dog doesn’t understand that water is safe can cause them to think there is a danger to you.  Easing in will help your dog see that you are safe and the water is safe.

Get your dog swimming lessons

Yes, there are swimming lessons for dogs.  The place I took my girl too offers lessons, water therapy, as well as just free water play sessions. 

The teachers know how to gradually get your dog comfortable with the water and they also have doggie life jackets for added security. 

You may find your dog only needs a lesson or two before being comfortable swimming.

Have your dog around other dogs that like the water

Just like being around peers works for children, it also works for dogs.  If your dog is around a bunch of other dogs that are comfortable with the water, jumping in and out and swimming they may be more likely to join in the fun.

Play games that incorporate the water

Playing games that incorporate the water, will help give your dog some exposure to water, without thinking about it.  

For example, if your dog likes to fetch.  Tossing a toy in and around a kiddie pool may let them focus more on chasing the toy and less on the fact there is water around. 

When doing this, first don’t have any water in the pool, then gradually put in small amounts of water a little at a time.

Before you know it, they’ll be jumping in and out with a good amount of water in the pool.

Fun activities that incorporate water

  • Getting a kiddie pool

This is a relatively cheap idea that can give hours and hours of fun.  You can also get some water dog toys and use those to play games in and around the pool.  Plus, if you have kids, this will be fun for the whole family.

German Shepherd at the beach
  • Taking a trip to a beach that allows dogs

Dog beaches are a fun day trip that can be a good outing for everyone and allow your dog to get some exposure being around water.  With other dogs around, you dog may even dip their paws in the beach water.

  • Swim lesson or play times at a dog pool

Swim lessons or going to a dog pool can help your dog become more confident swimming as well as give your dog exercise.

Final Thoughts

I hope this article gave you some insight into the question… do German Shepherds like water? 

Of course, every German Shepherd is different, but overall, German Shepherds can like water either naturally, or with the proper exposure. 

When the weather is warm, consider getting a kiddie pool and start exposing your GSD to water, I think you’ll find they will have a blast.

Check out my article on puncture-proof dog pools to get some ideas.

Does your German Shepherd like water?  Let me know in the comments!

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