Rottweilers are known for their strength and bravery, but they don’t typically have a reputation as water dogs. You may be wondering whether your Rottweiler would enjoy a trip to the beach with you or whether you should consider getting them a kiddie pool.
So do Rottweilers like water? Rottweilers often enjoy getting wet, especially since they tend to get hot easily. As bold and brave dogs, they rarely back down from a challenge, including water, so most are happy to jump in. But their powerful build and dense muscle mean they may not make great swimmers.
Here’s what you need to know about whether your Rottweiler is likely to enjoy swimming and how to set them up for success in enjoying the water whether they are just splashing around or going for a swim.
Why Might Rottweilers Like the Water?
While Rottweilers may not be bred to love the water, that doesn’t mean that they don’t enjoy a good swim or a splash around the kiddy pool. Here are some of the primary reasons why your Rottweiler may enjoy the water.
Rotties Get Hot Easily
Rottweilers have a thick, double coat that is able to keep them warm in some of the coldest temperatures. However, in hot weather that lush coat can get very warm. If your Rottweiler is playing in the sunshine, they’re likely to get hot even easier, since they have a predominantly black coat.
Most Rottweilers are quick to figure out that a splash in the water is a wonderful way to cool down. The average Rottweiler is quick to seek out shallow water such as a kiddie pool or a good patch of mud to roll around in.
They’re Bold and Brave
Most Rottweilers are anything but timid. While they can be inaccurately characterized as lazy, these fearless dogs are bred to take on any adversary no matter the risks. Therefore, the average Rottweiler is unlikely to be afraid of a little bit of water.
If you’re Rottweiler sees you or another dog in the family jumping into the waves, they’re likely to do so as well. Even if a Rottweiler does feel a bit of apprehension about going into the water, they’ll probably still be happy to stay by your side if you decide to take a dip.
They Know How to Have Fun
While a stranger who doesn’t know your Rottweiler may find them to be reserved and a bit intimidating, your family probably knows your Rottweiler to be goofy, playful, and silly. Rottweilers are quick to find innovative ways to have a good time.
Many Rottweilers enjoy playing with a home sprinkler system or biting at the water coming from a hose. If everyone else in the family is jumping in and out of the pool and having a great time, you can bet your Rottweiler will as well.
A Powerful Tail, Drop Ears, and a Thick Coat
While in most ways a Rottweiler may not be designed for the water, they do have some physical characteristics going for them when it comes to swimming. If your Rottweiler doesn’t have a docked tail, they are very likely to use their tail as a rudder when swimming. Rottweilers have historically been herding dogs. Their tails give them a lot of agility and enable them to turn on a dime. This strong tail can also help to steer them in the water.
Most dogs that are bred to swim in the water have droopy ears that help to protect the ear canal. Rottweilers have this same type of ear, although they aren’t designed to be water dogs. The floppy ears help to keep water out of the ear canal, keeping a Rottweiler more comfortable when they are swimming.
Finally, the same thick coat that may cause Rottweilers to be a bit too warm in summer temperatures can also protect them from cool water temperatures. The lush, dense underlayer of hair will provide insulation to keep your Rottweiler warm even in cold water. Therefore, your Rottweiler may enjoy taking a dip even on a chilly day.
Why Might Rottweilers Not Like Water?
A Rottweiler is not a born water dog, and while many may enjoy the water, there are a few reasons that Rottweilers may not prefer to go in the water:
A Dense Build
Rottweilers are heavy, powerfully-built dogs with a lot of muscle mass and large, sturdy bones. This kind of build has come in handy in their work as herding dogs, personal protection dogs, and cart pulling dogs. However, a very heavy build is not necessarily a benefit in the water.
The Rottweiler’s heavy bones and muscles tend to pull them down in the water, requiring Rottweilers to swim strongly to remain afloat. If a Rottweiler decides to dive down into the water, they won’t have any trouble at all. However, a Rottweiler’s lack of buoyancy can cause some anxiety and may cause them not to prefer to go for a dip. The same thing can happen to other powerful bully breeds including pitbulls.
Feet Designed for Gripping, not Swimming
Rottweilers have large, strong feet with sharply defined toes that are ideal for gripping dirt and turf and providing them with excellent agility. However, these feet are not as adept at propelling them through the water.
Unlike most water dogs which have webbed feet, the Rottweiler’s defined toes will spread out when they swim, allowing water to pass through them and preventing them from having as much movement in the water as water dogs would have.
Some Rottweilers are Brachycephalic
While Rottweilers are not supposed to be brachycephalic, or short-snouted, in the way that boxers or pugs are, in some circles they are increasingly bred to have shorter snouts. Individual Rottweilers may also be born with a shorter snout even if most of their lineage does not have this type of snout by a chance of genetics.
Some people may find the shorter snout to be cuter or more intimidating looking, but it comes with some issues. Brachycephalic dogs can have more difficulty breathing, an issue that becomes even more problematic in the water.
Since Rottweilers tend to be heavy dogs that sit low in the water when they swim, any difficulty in moving air through their nasal passages can make it hard to breathe when they swim or make it more likely that they will aspirate water as they swim. Faced with difficulty in breathing, many Rottweilers will choose not to swim.
How to Help Your Rottweiler Enjoy the Water
Every Rottweiler can enjoy the water in some ways, even if they are not the most adept swimmers. Here are a few ways to help your Rottweiler enjoy getting wet and finding some relief from summer heat:
Provide a Kiddie Pool
A kiddie pool is the perfect way to give your Rottweiler enough water to cool off in without providing so much that they need to swim. Try filling a kiddie pool with about 6in of water in your backyard.
You will likely find that your Rottweiler loves jumping in and out and rolling around in the water in between bouts of playing. A kiddie pool with a sprinkler can increase the fun and also prevent your Rottweiler from quickly emptying the kiddie pool when they are splashing around. Not to mention, your kids are likely to love playing with your dog in this pool as well.
Get Them a Water Toy or Play With a Hose
Many Rottweilers love chasing and biting at the water from a hose. By spraying the hose around randomly so that your dog has to chase it, they’ll have a blast running around and getting wet. If you don’t want to have to hold the hose, consider getting a water toy that sprays water out in random directions.
A toy like this can entertain your Rottweiler for hours. They’ll love chasing the water shooting out in all directions. Just don’t get one if you are too worried about the expense, since there is a good chance your dog will turn their attention on biting the hoses themselves after some time.
Accept Their Love of Mud
Many Rottweilers have a pig-like adoration for rolling around in mud. Not only does mud cool them down immediately, but it stays on their skin, keeping them cool longer than water when they run around and play. If your dog loves the mud, consider letting them have their fun and hosing them off afterward.
How to Help Your Rottweiler Enjoy Swimming
If you want your Rottweiler to not only enjoy getting wet but also enjoy going for a swim with you, there are a few things that you can do to increase their enjoyment of the water:
Consider a Life Jacket
A dog life jacket can be the perfect way to increase your Rottweiler’s buoyancy and make them feel more comfortable in the water. Your Rottweiler is likely to enjoy swimming much more if they don’t always feel that they are being pulled down into the water. So not only does it improve their safety, but it increase their chances of enjoying the water as less effort is required on their part.
You can check out our review of the best life jackets specifically for Rottweilers in this article.
Try Swimming in Saltwater
Saltwater is more buoyant than freshwater, which means that your Rottweiler’s density won’t work against them as much. Your Rottweiler may find that they are able to stay higher in the water when swimming in a calm ocean or bay, which may make them enjoy swimming considerably more.
Check out these adorable Rotties enjoying a swim in the ocean!
Choose Calm Water
Since a Rottweiler tends to sit low in the water when they swim, even a relatively mild chop can get into their face and make them feel that they can’t breathe easily. If your Rottweiler is brachycephalic, choppy water can be even more problematic. Therefore, it’s best to choose places and days when the water is calm and there isn’t too much spray to introduce your Rottweiler to swimming in the water.
Enjoy a Water-Loving Rottweiler
Although Rottweilers are not natural water dogs, they can enjoy getting wet and even swimming immensely when provided with the correct tools and conditions. Keep your Rottweiler’s water limitations in mind and equip them to enjoy the water and you will likely find that you have a Rottweiler who loves getting wet.