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Do Australian Cattle Dogs Like to Swim?

Assuming you’re a dog lover for reading this article, this might not be the first time you have heard about certain dog breeds’ swimming ability. It is not a secret that some dogs are more likely to love water and swimming.

Australian Cattle Dogs (ACD) is a breed that naturally loves the water and they love to swim. If you find a Cattle Dog that cannot swim, it is usually more of a confidence issue than a natural disability. 

Australian Cattle Dogs are a lively and intelligent dog breed that excels at most outdoor activities. You might know them by their other common names like Queensland Heeler, Halls Heeler, or Blue or Red Heeler. Regardless of which type, all ACDs love to be active and prefer not to be idle all day. 

Regular physical exercise will keep ACDs active, happy and help them to stay out of trouble. So, if you are looking for a dog companion for outdoor activities, including swimming, then consider an Australian Cattle Dog. 

Cattle Dog Swim

Do Cattle Dogs Like the Water?

Similar to other dogs, some ACDs love water and some will run off at the sight of water. Regardless of whether they love jumping into a pool or lake, ACDs typically don’t want it in the form of a bath. They prefer to run, swim and play in water. Since they need to be physically active and mentally challenged, swimming helps ACDs to expend their energy productively. 

However, it is essential to note that every Australian Cattle Dog is an individual, and they don’t all love water the same way. While some Cattle Dogs love water, some might be neutral about it, and a few may not love water.

If you happen to have an Australian Cattle Dog that doesn’t like water, it may be due to underlying confidence issues. Therefore, it is best to introduce your Heeler to water at an early age to help them get used to it. 

You can still introduce adult Cattle Dogs to water gradually and watch their reaction. You might eventually get them to love water, especially if they are inclined to physical exercises. 

Are Cattle Dogs Natural Swimmers? 

Cattle Dogs do not only love water; they are also natural born swimmers. Their swimming ability is innate; hence, they are natural swimmers. 

Some ACDs may not like water, but this does not mean that they are not natural swimmers. They most likely do not have the opportunity to explore their innate swimming ability. 

Like every other dog, Cattle Dogs also need early socialization. An initial introduction to water will help you bring out their innate swimming behavior without stress. This step will help them realize their innate swimming ability and be poised to harness it. 

Nevertheless, the fact that ACDs are natural swimmers does not mean that they are extensive swimmers. Swimming makes them tired and burns energy quickly. It’s important not to compare their swimming endurance with other physical activities. Ten to fifteen minutes of continuous swimming is equivalent to a forty to sixty-minute walk. 

How to Teach Cattle Dogs to Like the Water

What should you do if your Australian Cattle Dogs don’t like water? There are ways to teach your Cattle Dog to love water. It is all about introducing them to water and building their confidence. 

For most of this breed, liking water is innate. Even if you don’t introduce them to water early enough, it’s never too late for you to teach your Cattle Dogs how to swim. 

Start by introducing the water to them, help them get used to it, and build their confidence about it. Ordinarily, dog paws don’t reach the bottom when they get into the water. Instinct and fear of drowning will make them start paddling.

It is essential to note that you have to take your time with this process. It must be gradual and steady if your dog lacks prior exposure to water. It might be too drastic and yield poor results if you start by dropping your dog in the water. 

You can start with light exposure to water. Start with shallow water, more like a bath, and let your Cattle Dog get used to having the water all over their body. Some might love the water on the first contact, while others will require more attempts before they start liking it.

Help them stay calm in shallow water until they begin to enjoy their time. If you notice that your Cattle Dog is panicking, becoming overwhelmed, or becoming restless, you should give it a break. Take your ACD out of the water for a little rest time or play time. 

You can make swimming fun for your dog. Consider tossing the dog’s favorite toy or ball in the water and raise their enthusiasm about getting it. If you are using something like children pools, you can get into the water yourself and ask them to follow you. 

This teaching process sounds simple and fun, right?

Well, the process is not always as easy. Some individual dogs might be reluctant to learn and run away each time you try to teach them. In this case, you need lots of patience and innovative strategies, depending on your dog’s behavior. 

Another factor to consider all through this process is the safety of your dog. Let us consider some water safety issues that might arise while teaching your Australian Cattle Dogs to like water. 

Safety Issues to Consider When Teaching Cattle Dogs to Like Water 

It is essential to identify the potential risks and safety concerns while teaching your dog how to swim. Some safety issues to look out for include;

  • Drowning: One of the risks in teaching your Cattle Dog to like water is drowning. Ensure that you pay attention to their reaction to water and know when to pull them out. A life jacket might be essential if you are teaching them how to swim. 
  • Swallowing Water: Swallowing water is similar to drowning. Ingesting too much water can lead to water intoxication in your Cattle Dogs.
  • Water in Ear: If your Cattle Dog submerges, they may get water in their ear. This situation can lead to ear infections. If this happens, ensure that you dry out your dog’s ear. Tilt and shake the dog and clean their ear with a dry and clean cloth. 
  • Fatigue: Swimming is one of the activities that rapidly drain out energy from your dog. As stated earlier, ten to fifteen minutes of continuous swimming is equivalent to a forty to sixty-minute walk. Keep an eye on your dogs and know when they are tired and need a break. 
  • Chlorine: Chlorine in swimming pools can irritate a dog’s eyes, coat, and skin. Consequently, it is essential to always rinse off your dog with freshwater after swimming. 


There are numerous things interesting about Australian Cattle Dogs, and their swimming ability is undoubtedly one of them. Cattle Dogs are generally natural swimmers that will jump into the water and have fun. For the few Cattle Dogs exceptions that appear not to like water, you can teach them to enjoy water and swim. Bottom line is, swimming is a great activity for Cattle Dogs!