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If you ever take your dog to the beach and wonder why they aren’t swimming and playing in the water like the other dogs, we might have your answer!
Great Pyrenees are special dogs that have unique personalities and traits. They are known to be calm and level-headed.
But, do Great Pyrenees like water? Can these dogs even swim?
Great Pyrenees are mountain dogs and aren’t natural water-loving dogs. However, many Great Pyrenees enjoy getting wet, especially when they live in warm places. Even though they might be afraid at first, these dogs can become great swimmers because of their strength, athleticism, and their webbed feet!
Before we jump right into it, let’s explore the history of the Great Pyrenees!
What Was the Great Pyrenees Bred To Do?
Sometimes, the past can give us great information about the present. Thinking about what a certain breed of dog was bred to do can help us understand what naturally drives them today!
Great Pyrenees have an incredibly long proven history. Fossils of the Great Pyrenees have been found that date back to over 4000 years ago! They are a breed of dog that was originally found living in the mountains and is still considered to be a mountain dog today. AS a matter of fact, in Europe, these dogs are usually referred to as Pyrenean Mountain Dogs.
So what were they doing living in these mountains?
Well, at the very beginning of their history, these dogs were hunting dogs. But, soon after that, they became the shepherd/guard dogs that we still know them as today. Great Pyrenees were used to herd and guard flocks of sheep. They never harmed the animals themselves and took their jobs seriously!
Great Pyrenees also have an interesting royal history! During the French Revolution, these dogs were used to guard the houses and castles of nobles! They also served as companion animals during this time. They were so popular in France that they were even used to help smuggle items across the border during the war.
Now, you’ll usually find Great Pyrenees as a well-loved member of the family. Great Pyrenees are great with kids and animals and are incredibly loyal dogs. They are relatively low energy and have a very calm attitude.
So, we know about the Great Pyrenees’ history. And, you’ll notice we didn’t mention much about water! But, let’s see how we can use this history to help us understand how these dogs feel about water.
Are There Any Reasons Why Great Pyrenees Might Like Water?
Yes! While the breed overall might not be the most water-loving dogs, plenty of Great Pyrenees still love to be in the water and even love to swim! Here are a few things that might make these dogs like water!
Their Coat Is Incredibly Thick (and Hot).
If you have ever been close to a Great Pyrenees, we almost don’t even need to explain this!
These dogs have some of the thickest coats ever! They have thick, white, coarse fur that is almost like wool. Their coats have two layers. The under layer is a very fluffy thick layer that helps to keep them insulated, while the top layer is waterproof.
Naturally, all of this great insulation keeps these dogs warm. even in cold environments. The problem with the wooly coat is that, when it warms up outside, they can overheat quickly.
In general, there are risks for dogs when it starts to get warmer than 80°F outside. Things can start to get dangerous after that! But, you can imagine for a very fluffy dog with a thick coat, they could get hot a lot easier!
The reason this affects whether a Great Pyrenees likes water is because water is a great way to cool down. Many breeds of dogs enjoy just laying in a shallow pool when it’s hot outside, and the Great Pyrenees is no different.
This video shows a Great Pyrenees enjoying a cool down in the water! You can see this pup isn’t swimming but just wanting to relax in the shallow water.
If a Great Pyrenees lives in a warm climate they are definitely more likely to dip their toes in the water to cool down!
They Have Webbed Paws.
One physical attribute that these dogs possess is webbed feet!
So, while historically Great Pyrenees weren’t exactly water dogs, their webbed paws are a tool used for swimming specifically!
Webbed paws are so useful to dogs when they are in the water. They allow dogs to get some traction in the water when paddling. This is especially helpful in deeper water, where dogs aren’t able to touch the bottom. Webbed paws are usually bigger in surface area, and this makes them helps a dog swim more efficiently.
So, because Great Pyrenees have these helpful webbed paws, it could make them more likely to swim!
It is important to note, however, that the webbing on the paws of a Great Pyrenees is not as pronounced as it is in some breeds. This is probably due to the fact that they weren’t bred as water dogs! But, they still definitely have the tools to become great swimmers and water lovers!
They Are Strong and Athletic.
If there is one thing that ALL Great Pyrenees have in common it has got to be their amazing size!
Most full-grown Great Pyrenees weigh 100lbs or more! They are considered to be a giant dog breed. Unlike some other breeds, these dogs don’t tend to carry much extra fat! Great Pyrenees are naturally athletic and fit. This makes swimming a bit easier because they have the strength to propel their large bodies through the water!
Because they don’t tend to carry a lot of fat, they also have good stamina that they could choose to use for a long swim, if they wanted to!
Despite all of these things that make Great Pyrenees sound like natural water lovers, there are a few things that might be keeping your dog away far away from it!
Why Wouldn’t the Great Pyrenees Like Water?
So, now that we know what might make a dog like this like water, what are some of the traits that make a Great Pyrenees not so suited for the water? Ironically, some of the things that could make GReat Pyrenees good swimmers could also ve the reason they don’t want to go near the water! Our first reason is a perfect example of this.
They’re Too Heavy When Wet!
Remember that amazing thick coat we were talking about earlier? Yes, the wooly, warm, double-layered white fur!
Well, that warm coat actually might be keeping them out of the water.
The problem with all of that fur is that when it gets wet it can be quite heavy. So the fluffier your Great Pyrenees is, the heavier they are going to feel when wet. It’s the same problem that other double-coated breeds like Huskies and Rottweilers have in the water.
While this might not be a problem for some of the more active members of this breed, the lazier dogs probably won’t want to be walking around after a swim with all of the extra weight.
To give you an idea of how much fur a Great Pyrenese really has, here is a detailed video of a Great Pyrenese grooming. You can see that it takes a long time for the coat to become fully wet, but once it does, it looks so heavy!
Another thing to observe in this video is how much hair was brushed out of the dog! Imagine how heavy just that amount of fur would be when wet!
While a heavy coat might make a hot dog want to jump in the water, it also might keep a lazier or less active dog out of the water!
They’re Afraid of the Water.
It’s funny to think of these huge gaurdian dogs being afraid of anything!
But, if you;re a dog owner you know that animals sometimes have fears that we don’t fully understand.
Like we said earlier, Great Pyrenees are mountain dogs. Traditionally they only saw bodies of water in the height of summer, when the snow had melted. This is not a breed of dog raised to do anything in or near a lake or the ocean.
Because it’s not an instinct to swim, some Great Pyrenees might end up being afraid of the water. To be fair, some people are afraid of swimming as well! If your big dog is afraid of the water, but you want them to swim, we have some tips below for helping your dog get their paws wet!
They’re Just Too Low Energy!
Great Pyrenees owners often speak to the calmness and stoic-ness of their pets. Great Pyrenees are very regal and composed, and also are just low-energy dogs in general.
This low energy level could have come from generations spent as guard dogs or companion dogs. When these dogs spent time with a grazing flock of sheep, they weren’t necessarily running circles around them. It’s possible that the mere presence was enough to scare predators away. This means that the Great Pyrenees could have ended up laying down for most of the day.
Because these dogs have such a calm temperament, they really make great family pets. But, they aren’t always the most playful! It can be difficult to get your Great Pyrenees to get up and out the door for a walk! Of course, they are always exceptions but for the most part, these dogs just want to relax.
When most dogs go into the water, it is because they are playing and enjoying themselves! This play and swimming take a lot of energy. Energy, that a Great Pyrenees just might not have to spare!
So, your low-energy companion might not like the water because they would rather just lay on the beach next to you! Doing their guard dog thing in the most relaxing way possible.
How Can You Help a Great Pyrenees Like Water?
Whether or not a Great Pyrenees enjoys the water can totally depend on how they were raised and where they are living.
If you want to get your GReat Pyrenese to enjoy the water, remember that they are large relaxed dogs who might want to hop in just to cool themselves down. These dogs probably aren’t going to be the ones swimming across the lake for their ball.
So, what are some ways to introduce your Great Pyrenees to water in a way that they will almost surely enjoy?
Try a Kiddie Pool!
Kiddie pools are those small shallow pools we all used to splash around in when we were little. Did you know that dogs love these pools too?
The reason why kiddie pools are a great option for Great Pyrenees is because they feel safe. Your dog is never going to feel threatened or worried about the small shallow water of the kiddie pool. And, if they are warm in that thick coat of theirs, they will definitely want to hop in!
Here are a few Great Pyrenees lounging in a kiddie pool in their owner’s backyard.
While these dogs aren’t swimming, they sure are enjoying the water! And this is the first step toward getting your furry friend to swim.
Let Them Roll in the Mud.
Okay, we know this one sounds crazy, but if your dog still doesn’t want to get in a kiddie pool on a hot day, maybe they want to roll in a muddy puddle!
If this is true, one way to get them to like water more and more is to just let them roll in the mud, they are dogs after all! Rolling in the mud is fun for them and does a great job of colling them down. When they roll in the mus, they get a little wet and get braver around the water.
We know you’re thinking about the big downside of this – a bath. But, you can take advantage of a dirty dog by offering another way to reinforce their growing love of the water.
Use the Garden Hose to Play With Them!
So you’ve got a muddy, 100lb dog trying to get into your house? Well, don’t let them until you’ve hosed them down outside!
As obvious as this might be, getting your dog used to the hose can be a way of helping them love the water. Many dogs love to play with the water from the hose, seeing it as a toy and not a bath!
Even if your Great Pyrenees isn’t so playful, try to show them how fun the hose water can be outside. And if they still aren’t into it, you can even try giving them treats for coming near the hose.
Can You Teach a Great Pyrenees to Swim?
If your Great Pyrenese likes the water but is afraid to swim, there are some things you can do to help them along in their journey.
It is always best to offer your dog a calm body of water to swim in for the first time! If you only take them to the beach and they don’t want to get in the water there, it might be because it is intimidating to them. The crashing of the waves and pull of the current can be very alarming for dogs that aren’t natural water dogs. A still lake or even a dog-friendly pool are great alternatives in this case.
If you’re worried about your dog not being able to swim when the time comes, you can always get them a life jacket! There are so many options now for large dog life vests. This life vest sizes all the way up XL to fit our huge Great Pyrenees friends! Find the latest price and shipping information on amazon,
- SIZING BASED ON GIRTH: Dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Whether your dog is short and stout or long and...
- SPLASH WITH SAFETY: The Outward Hound Granby Splash life jacket for dogs is designed with bright colors...
If you do choose to try a life vest with your dog, make sure they are comfortable wearing it out of the water before you test it out in the water! Otherwise, it could just make them even more unlikely to jump in.
Is Swimming Good for Great Pyrenees?
There is actually a great benefit to allowing your dog to learn to swim!
AS we know Great Pyrenees are giant breed dogs. Because these dogs are so big they tend to have chronic issues with their joints as they age. They might experience arthritis and uncomfortable pressure on their knees, elbows, and hips.
Swimming is a great way to relieve some of this pressure. Swim therapy is a common therapy used in veterinary hospitals. Therapy in water exerts a healthy amount of pressure while still protecting the joints and limbs of an older or injured dog.
If you can get your Great Pyrenees to swim and love the water, this can be a great form of healthy exercise for them! And, if they even need swim therapy from a veterinarian, at least they will enjoy it!
So, Will Your Great Pyrenees Like the Water?
Sadly, we can’t guarantee this! Every dog is one of a kind and sometimes they make up their minds before we have a chance to change them.
Luckily, Great Pyrenees are able to swim and do have the potential to become great swimmers! If raised near the water, in a warmer climate, you can assume that your furry friend will quickly learn to like the water.