All Things Dog

Golden Retrievers: Born to Swim

We've all seen the Golden Retriever at the beach who chases the tennis ball into the surf for hours. We wonder how he is able to get past the breakers, swim with his head above the chop, and manage the strong currents, focused only on getting that ball and dropping it at the feet of his owner.

The answer is in his DNA. Goldens were bred in England in the mid-19th Century to retrieve waterfowl and game birds. The now-extinct Tweed Water Spaniel was crossed with Irish Setters, Newfoundland dogs, Bloodhounds, and other water retrievers to create the breed we know today. The result is a strong, highly trainable dog with a water-repellent coat that can easily withstand cold water.

Taking the plunge with your favorite Golden

You've probably noticed your retriever's excitement as he gets near water. His instinctive love of water is so strong, trying to hold him back rarely works-so why not join him? Just keep these water safety tips in mind:

  • If you're swimming with your Golden near the ocean, remember that he's probably ingesting some salt water. Carry an ample supply of fresh water for him to drink so he doesn't become dehydrated during play.
  • If your Golden is playing with children in a pool or lake, remind them not to hang onto his collar or drag him down. While he's a stronger swimmer than most children, there is a risk of him getting pulled under.
  • Remember, cold water is not the deterrent to your Golden Retriever that it is to you. He could jump into frigid waters, and if he can't get out, this could spell trouble. Leashing your Golden near deep water is a good idea.


Take these few precautions and you can expect years of enjoyment watching your Golden do what he does best-swim effortlessly and endlessly through the water!

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