Are Beagles Water Dogs?

do beagles like water

Have you noticed that your Beagle can sense when you’re talking about giving her a bath? Or, that the sound of the bathtub filling with water sends her to the opposite end of the house? Why is this?  Are Beagles Water Dogs? The short answer is…yes!

Beagles are active and have high energy. They are small to medium-sized scent hounds that were originally bred in the United Kingdom to develop their strong hunting instincts. Beagles are now one of the most popular breeds in the United States, and for good reason make great family dogs.  

Beagles are adaptable when it comes to being outdoors. However, their affinity to water will depend on the individual dog’s personality and past experiences with water.  Some adult Beagles love water and are natural swimmers, while others may not even like to get their paws wet.  

In this article, we discuss the reasons your Beagle may not like water and tips that you can use to encourage your Beagle swim and play in all types of bodies of water.

Are Beagles Water Dogs?

Most dog breeds have an interest and desire to swim and play in water, and Beagles are not an exception.  However, whether or not a dog swims and enjoys water heavily depends on the types of experiences he or she has had with water in the past.  

It’s important to slowly introduce water and swimming to your Beagle in manageable steps without forcing them to deep water and swimming situations too quickly.  If it’s a lake or a swimming pool, make sure that the water is at a comfortable temperature which is similar to the ambient air temperature – for bathing always use caution and ensure that the water is not too hot such that it causes scalding and injury. 

You also don’t want your Beagle’s first experience to be in fast moving river current or windy and wavy waters. A small bathtub or backyard kiddie pool with shallow water will be the most appropriate setting to begin with.  Work gradually to increase your Beagle’s confidence in the water and never force them into water situations before they’re ready. 

Treats and dog toys work well to keep their enthusiasm high, but positive reinforcement is the best way to make sure the experience remains top-notch at all times.

Can Beagles Swim?

Beagles are adventurous hunting dogs with a natural instinct to track and use their keen sense of smell outdoors.  They thrive both indoors and in an outside environment; however, they don’t have the physical traits that make them naturally strong swimmers. 

Beagles can swim, most definitely, but their smaller size, short legs and lack of webbing between their toes mean they won’t be winning any swimming awards anytime soon.

Some dog breeds produce more oil on their skin than others, this helps repel water while they swim. Strong swimming dog breeds tend to have a more muscular build and have high levels of endurance.  

Although Beagles have lots of energy, they lack the strong athletic build that is needed for high endurance and highly efficient swimming.  All is not lost though, Beagles are still good swimmers and can easily develop a love of water with patience and proper training.

Preferably start your Beagle puppy in a kiddie pool or bathtub with a mat so he won’t slip. The water level should be at a low height initially, no higher than the top of their back.  Then, as you raise the water level support them so they feel as though they are floating and encourage them with positive reinforcement. 

Your Beagle’s natural instinct to paddle will kick and suddenly you’re well on your way to having a swimming buddy. Once your Beagle gets comfortable with this small-scale experience, you can introduce him to a small backyard swimming pool or calm lake.

Use plenty of treats and praise to make swimming a positive experience.  Any bit of encouragement will compound and help your Beagle enjoy swimming in the water. 

Is Swimming Good Exercise for Beagles?

Beagles need moderate to high levels of exercise to maintain a proper weight and good health.  Provide them with 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day is a good starting point.  Exercise can come in the form of walking, swimming, fetching or hunting.  

If your Beagle likes the water and is a stable swimmer, then getting them in a pool or lake is one of the best forms of exercise you can provide.  There are several benefits of swimming; it is a low-impact exercise offering a full body workout that naturally incorporates resistance from trying to paddle through water.  

Additionally, exercising in water will help keep your Beagle’s body temperature lower and prevent overheating. It is important to recognize your Beagle’s swimming ability and make sure to not overwork them in the water.  

A great way to ensure safety is to use a life vest for your beagle.  These are always a good idea to use on your Beagle when they’re around water, whether they are good swimmers or not – they provide piece of mind when they are out exercising in the water or just on a joyful boat ride with their owners.

Related:  We discuss the Best Beagle Harnesses

Are Beagles Water Dogs? Reasons Why Your Beagle May Not Be a Water Dog

Personality or Natural Demeanor

Quite simply, some dogs are more outgoing than others and have a more adventurous personality.  If your Beagle falls into this category then take advantage of it and get them out to explore the outdoors.  

Plenty of exercise is essential to raising a happy and healthy pet.  If your Beagle is more on the timid or shy side, then it’s important to gradually introduce them to water and slowly ascend to more challenging water and swimming situations.

Negative Past Experiences

Bad past experiences are the most common cause for a pet not liking something or someone, in this case they associate a negative experience with water or a swimming pool or a bathtub.  Obviously, avoiding these negative events is most ideal, but they can occur through no fault of the Beagle owner.  

Some of these water related negative experiences can include very cold water temperatures, hot water temperatures, high waves and choppy water, swimming into or getting entangled in logs, vegetation or other obstructions.


Beagles are intelligent, but stubborn.  They can quickly connect the dots between the loud frightening sounds of thunder with rain and then with being wet.  If your Beagle gets anxious during storms, it is best to provide them with comfort and never expect them to go outdoors during the storm event.  

Thundershirts work well with curbing anxiety during storms or other stressful situations; however, don’t expect them to provide much help when it comes to encouraging your Beagle to get over their fear of swimming or water. 

Whether it’s thunder, water or separation anxiety, all dogs experience stress in their life.  It’s important to always remain calm with you pup and provide plenty of mental stimulation and positive reinforcement to help combat any negative energy.

Tips For Teaching Your Beagle to Like Water and Swim

are beagles water dogs

Regardless of the reason, or reasons, your Beagle is anxious about water or swimming, we have several tips that can aid in getting them to think more positively about water, bathing and swimming.  

Here are a few best practices that can help turn your beagle pups into great swimmers and water lovers.  Like most new tricks or training, it’s best to start them out at a young age.

  • If you can control the water temp, keep it at a luke warm water temperature.  You don’t want it too cold or too hot.
  • Make bathing fun.  Give them toys and treats when they’re in the bathtub to encourage positivity.  Also talk to your Beagle constantly and give plenty of positive reinforcement.
  • Make swimming a game by throwing a ball in shallow water first, then as they get more comfortable and adventurous gradually throw the ball to deeper water.
  • Bath your Beagle in an indoor bathtub so you can better regulate water temperatures and control of your Beagle.  Bathing outdoors with a hose can be a cold and frightening experience due to the loud and wayward spray from a garden hose.
  • Using a life jacket with help with their floatation and safety, but also the tight fitting coat will provide them a secure feeling.
  • Get in the water with your Beagle, encourage them to come in and play with you in shallow water first.  When they come in with you, be sure to give positive reinforcement and make it a fun experience.
  • Start out training your beagle to swim in a pool or small body of water.  A large body of water with no shoreline on the horizon can be intimidating for dogs (people too!), so keep them in their comfort zone whenever possible.
  • Introduce your Beagle to another dog that is a known good swimmer.  Let the two play near water and allow the veteran swimmer to teach your Beagle a few things to raise their level of confidence.

What's Next?

Beagles are great companions and high-energy dogs that love to venture out with their owners.  Many Beagles have the personality of natural swimmers and enjoy being in the water. However, it’s not unusual for a Beagle to be timid or frightened of swimming and water. 

With a little encouragement, patience, and gradual escalation you can teach your Beagle to be an avid swimmer.

If your Beagle ever looks overwhelmed or regresses with their swimming progress, take a few steps back to let it learn to feel more comfortable and confident in the water.  The joy and exercise that swimming provides your Beagle is priceless to their overall mental and physical health.

Are you looking to get a new beagle for your household?  Should you adopt or buy at beagle?  Our article will give you some great tips and considerations!

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