Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Like Water And Can They Swim?

It is pretty typical for a caring Bernese Mountain dog parent to ask, ‘Do Bernese Mountain dogs like water?’ and ‘can Bernese Mountain dog swim?’

The long, dense coat, the sassy temperament, and their somewhat inactive nature all these factors make it impossible not to question their swimming ability.

And the fact that you are searching on these most commonly asked questions shows that you are also a mindful and caring Bernese Mountain dog parent.

So, if you just adopted this obedient and affectionate dog and you are wondering whether or not you can have some fun with it in the pool or in the place of your choosing, then worry not, as I got you covered.

I will provide you with a straightforward answer as to whether these hounds can or cannot swim.

Do not miss out on the easy to follow guide on how to train your dog how to swim and the must-follow dog safety swimming tips I have prepared for you.

I will also walk you through the benefits of letting your Berner swim regularly.

So, lets dive into it!


Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Like Water?

Yes, most Bernese Mountain dogs like water, but some of these dogs don’t really like water or spending lots of time in the water.

However, you can easily make your Berner like water by using treats each time you want it to get inside the water.

You can also adopt a water loving hound or have a friend bring in a water-loving dog breed to a ‘date’ and play with it inside the water.

And since Bernese Mountain dogs are somewhat ‘jealous’ and love pleasing their owner, this dog breed will definitely join in to play or swim with you.

Please do this at least two times, but don’t overdo it, as you may end up making your dog get aggressive and attack the other water-loving hound or even you!

Can Bernese Mountain Dogs Swim?

Yes, the Bernese Mountain dog breed can swim.

However, unlike most other dog breeds, these hounds are not natural swimmers and, often they shy away from engaging in any swimming-related activity.

Their long, dense double coat and heavyweight may make these hounds find it somewhat difficult to swim, especially when they are not trained at a young age.

However, their strong and long legs coupled up with unending energy and stamina, a water-repellant coat, and a bushy tail that aids in its balance in water make these dogs become good swimmers once trained adequately as pups.

5 Tips On How To Teach Your Bernese Mountain Dog To Swim

If your Berner is finding it difficult to navigate through waters, then worry not, as I got you covered.

Below is the complete guide on how to effectively train your lifetime companion how to swim;

#Help It Fight Its Fears

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Since Berners don’t really like water that much, help it fight its water ‘phobia’.

Have your dog get in an empty inflatable [amazon link=”B01N1S7JRP” title=”dog swimming pool” link_icon=”amazon” /] and slowly fill it with water.

You can also desensitize it from its swimming fear(s) by having a friend bring a water-loving dog around, just like I have discussed above.

Another option is to use toys or treats to lure your hound inside the pool. Just be sure not to push it too hard, as this may do more harm than good.

#Purchase A Dog Floater Or A Life Jacket

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Consider purchasing an easy-to-adjust dog floatation device if you have a young growing pup.

Invest in a [amazon link=” B08ZLGGLQ5 ” title=”dog floater” link_icon=”amazon” /] and use it. A floater helps your dog build confidence in staying inside water without any physical support.

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Ensure that you purchase a [amazon link=” B0081XIK4Q ” title=”dog life jacket” link_icon=”amazon” /] with a large enough D ring that provides you with adequate space to attach your dog’s leash.

#Provide Both Physical And Emotional Support To Your Dog

Always have your dog’s back literally. Hold it in a position that allows both of its legs to move.

Also, praise or boost your dog’s morale each time it makes an achievement in regards to swimming. Verbalize or clap for it.

Make sure that it knows it has done something good.

#Motivate Your Dog With Treats

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Use [amazon link=”B003PMQMK2″ title=”treats” link_icon=”amazon” /] to motivate your hound to perform better.

Make sure that you know what your dog considers a treat and provide it with it each time it improves on its swimming skill(s).

#Be Consistent

Don’t skip your doggie’s swimming training. Also, make sure that you provide it with breaks in between.

Note that engaging in the same activity or training for extended periods may cause your dog to lack the enthusiasm to do it.

Swimming sessions should last at least 30 minutes. Always check for signs of exhaustion when training your hound how to swim.

9 Swimming Safety Tips For Your Bernese Mountain Dog

Adequately Hydrate Your Berner Before And After A Swimming Session

Hydrating your canine companion before a swimming session helps ensure that it doesn’t drink the water in the swimming area.

Providing your Berner with fresh water after a swimming session serves to rehydrate it. That is, restore the water lost during its swimming activity.

Pro-tip; If your Berner is pregnant or highly active, ensure that you provide it with double the amount of water you would give a nonpregnant or inactive dog.

Never Leave Your Dog Unsupervised

One personality trait that sets the Berner apart from most dog breeds is its curious and adventurous nature.

Note! Bernese Mountain dogs were bred to work as a drover of cattle to the market.

And still, up to date, this innate characteristic of venturing into unknown territories without supervision can still be observed in this dog breed.

Owing to their adventurous nature, leaving a Berner unsupervised in the water can cause it to drown. So never at any time get your attention out of a swimming Berner.

Never Disregard Weather Advisories

Weather advisories are meant to help you protect yourself and those around you from weather-related hazards.

So please don’t take your hound for a dive in open waters or in a swimming pool after being given a weather advisory that suggests a severe weather hazard may occur.

Protect Your Dog’s Coat From The Damaging Effects Of Sunlight

Just like human skin, your Bernese coat is also sunlight sensitive; hence it needs to be protected from the detrimental effects of UV light from the sun.

Pro-tip; apply a dog-safe sunscreen to your dog’s coat 15-30 minutes before you take it out for swimming.

This ensures that the sunscreen is adequately absorbed, thus making it effective.

Don’t Allow Your Dog To Swim In Very Cold Waters

Even though Bernese Mountain dogs can withstand low temperatures of 10.4 °F (-12 °C)  please don’t allow your hound to swim in cold waters as you risk predisposing it to hypothermia.

NOTE! There is a difference between being exposed to a cold yet dry environment and a cold and wet environment.

The latter environment tends to make your dog lose its body heat much faster.

Don’t Allow Your Dog To Eat Anything In The Swimming Waters

Water contains so many living organisms. Some of which can be beneficial or harmful.

And since it may be hard to differentiate what living organism is helpful or harmful to your hound, don’t allow it to eat anything.

Adequately Train Your Dog How To Exit A Swimming Pool

This is important as it may help prevent your dog from drowning just in case you are not around to save it.

Never Let A Pregnant Dog ‘Momma’ Who Is Past 7 Weeks Swim

Despite swimming being therapeutically beneficial to pregnant dog ‘momma,’ it is highly recommended that you don’t take your dog out for a dip after 7 weeks.

Unless your vet says, it is safe to do so. This rule applies to only dogs who know how to swim.

If you notice that your dog who is not fully trained to swim is exhibiting signs of pregnancy which are increased appetite and weight, nesting behaviors, and tendency to become easily fatigued and irritable.

Then don’t allow it to swim as you risk having your dog drown.

Invest In A Quality Dog Life Jacket/Vest

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Again, invest in a quality [amazon link=” B0081XIK4Q ” title=”quality dog life jacket” link_icon=”amazon” /] and have your dog wear it every time you go out swimming.

Extra tip; Always shop for life jackets that are orange or yellow in color, which are made of polyvinyl chloride or polythene material.

This material is not only waterproof but also ensures your dog stays afloat regardless of the turbulence or waves in the water.

Adequately Groom Your Berner After A Swimming Session

The Bernese Mountain dogs have thick and long coats that easily mat when wet or when adequate brushing is not achieved during grooming.

Immediately after a swimming session, wash your Berner with dog-safe shampoo

Rinse it with warm water, dry its hair adequately by using a dog air velocity dryer, and adequately brush its hair using a dog brush that has long round-tipped pins.

This type of brush ensures that you satisfactorily brush your Berner’s coat without damaging or irritating its skin.

5 Benefits Of Swimming For A Bernese Mountain Dog

Help Relieve Joint Pain

Senior Berners who experience joint pains due to arthritis and other joint-related medical conditions tend to gain therapeutically when they engage in swimming.

Swimming promotes blood circulation and reduces muscle stiffness, thus relieving pain in joints.

Studies conducted have shown that engaging in a 10-minute swimming session promotes the release of oxytocin which is an anti-pain hormone.

Improves Your Bernese Mountain Dog Cardiovascular Fitness

Your dog’s cardiovascular fitness, also known as cardiorespiratory fitness, is enhanced through swimming.

This is so since swimming strengthens your dog’s heart muscles, which in turn enables your heart to pump blood competently.

This in turn, reduces any heart-related conditions caused by insufficiency of your hound’s heart pumping mechanism.

Promotes Agility And Stamina

Compared to other physical exercises, swimming holds the number one title for the physical exercise that directly promotes agility and improves your dog’s stamina.

It is more difficult for your dog to move in water than on land.

So regularly having your hound exercise its agility potential via swimming is an excellent way of promoting its agility (ability to move with ease and speed).

Through swimming, your dog is able to learn how to withstand prolonged physical and mental stimulation (stamina).

Keeps Your Dog Busy, Thus Preventing It From Adopting Aggressive Behavior

Having your dog take a plunge in soothing cool waters is an effective way of keeping it busy, thus deterring it from engaging in aggressive behaviors.

Such aggressive behaviors include; excessive barking, biting without provocation and chewing on things.

Helps Your Hound Burn Excess Calories

The resistance force created when your dog moves against water when it is swimming helps burn the excess calories in its body directly.

This, in turn, help maintain weight, reduce the risk of heart disease, osteoarthritis (this is a medical condition that involves wearing out of your dog’s joint cartilage), and hypertension from occurring in your dog.

Key Takeaway

Do Bernese Mountain dogs like water? Yes, they do, but not all of them appreciate getting wet.

Can Bernese Mountain dogs swim? Yes, the Bernese Mountain dogs can swim.

However, they are not quite good swimmers when compared to other dog breeds.

You can train your Berner to swim like a pro by;

Helping it fight its swimming or water fears first, using a floatation device to build its confidence in the water, maintaining consistency in its training, and using treats to motivate your intelligent hound to perform better.

In order to keep your Berner safe when you are out for a plunge, ensure that you;

Do it with a fitting easy adjustable, and reflective life jacket, do not leave it unsupervised, make sure its hydrated, apply sunscreen on its skin, and adequately groom it after its swimming session.

Do not let your hound miss out on the therapeutic effect of swimming or on the improvement of its cardiovascular system, which is also enhanced due to swimming.

Letting your dog take a dive into safe waters will also improve its agility and stamina, burn the unwanted calories and also keep your hound busy, thus preventing it from adopting or developing unwanted behaviors due to boredom.

Authored By

Madeline Wright

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