Yorkshire Terrier

Can Yorkies Swim?

7 minute read
Post Thumbnail
Can Yorkies Swim
By LITTLE PUPPY PAWS | May 31, 2024
Share on

Yorkshire Terriers, with their adorable faces and lively personalities, are beloved companions for many. If you’re a Yorkie owner or considering bringing one into your family, you might have wondered: can Yorkies swim? This question isn’t just about fun in the water—it’s also about safety and understanding the capabilities of these small, but spirited, dogs.

Yes, Yorkies can swim, but their small size and long coat can make it challenging. Supervision, life jackets, and gradual introduction to water are crucial for their safety and enjoyment.


Understanding Yorkies

Before we discuss their swimming abilities, let’s get to know Yorkshire Terriers a bit better. Yorkies are a small dog breed with big personalities. Originating from England, they were initially bred to catch rats in clothing mills and mines during the 19th century. Despite their small size, they have a terrier’s typical tenacity and energy.

Physical Characteristics of Yorkies

Yorkshire Terriers have distinct physical characteristics that set them apart. They typically weigh between 4 to 7 pounds (1.8 to 3.2 kg) and stand around 7 to 8 inches (17 to 20 cm) tall. Their small size makes them popular choices for apartment dwellers and those looking for a portable companion.

Their coat is another defining feature. Yorkies have long, silky hair that requires regular grooming to prevent matting. This luxurious coat, though beautiful, can pose challenges when it comes to water.

Natural Instincts of Yorkies

While Yorkies were not bred specifically for swimming like some retriever breeds, they still retain some natural instincts related to water. Many dogs have an innate ability to swim, a behavior passed down from their ancestors.


Can Yorkies Swim?

The short answer is yes, Yorkies can swim. However, there are several important factors to consider before letting your Yorkie take the plunge.

  • Size and Buoyancy: One of the primary concerns when it comes to Yorkies and swimming is their size. Due to their small stature, Yorkies can struggle to stay afloat in water. Unlike larger breeds with natural buoyancy, Yorkies may need to exert more effort to stay above water.
  • Coat Considerations: The beautiful coat that Yorkies are known for can become heavy when wet, making swimming more challenging. A soaking wet coat can weigh them down and impede their movement in the water. Additionally, their long hair can obscure their vision, which might lead to disorientation.
  • Temperament: Yorkies are known for their spirited personalities. Some may take to water eagerly, while others may be more hesitant. It’s essential to consider your individual dog’s temperament and comfort level around water before introducing them to swimming.
  • Health Concerns: Before letting your Yorkie swim, ensure they are in good health. Any underlying health conditions could affect their ability to swim and handle water. Always consult with your veterinarian if you have concerns about your dog’s health and swimming.

Safety Tips for Swimming with Yorkies

Swimming can be a fun and enjoyable activity for you and your Yorkie, but it’s essential to prioritize safety. Yorkies may face unique challenges due to their small size and long coat. If you’ve decided to introduce your Yorkie to swimming, here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Start Slowly: Introduce your Yorkie to water gradually. Start with shallow water where they can touch the bottom and slowly increase the depth as they become more comfortable.
  • Use a Life Jacket: A life jacket designed for small dogs can provide extra buoyancy and safety. It will help keep your Yorkie afloat and make swimming less tiring for them.
  • Supervision is Key: Never leave your Yorkie unattended around water, whether it’s a pool, lake, or bathtub. Accidents can happen quickly, so always keep a close eye on your pup.
  • Rinse Thoroughly: After swimming, be sure to rinse your Yorkie’s coat thoroughly to remove chlorine, salt, or any other chemicals. This will help prevent skin irritation.
  • Avoid Strong Currents: Stick to calm waters when swimming with your Yorkie. Strong currents or waves can be overwhelming for small dogs.

Are Life Jackets Necessary for Yorkies?

Yes, life jackets are highly recommended for Yorkies when they are swimming, especially in larger bodies of water. Yorkies are small dogs with relatively low body fat, which means they may have difficulty staying afloat for extended periods.

A properly fitting life jacket provides buoyancy, making it easier for your Yorkie to swim and ensuring they stay above water. Additionally, the bright colors of many life jackets make your Yorkie more visible in the water, which is important for safety, especially in crowded or murky swimming areas.

Even if your Yorkie is a strong swimmer, unexpected situations such as fatigue, currents, or accidents can occur. A life jacket can be a crucial safety measure to prevent drowning and provide peace of mind for you as their owner.

Training Your Yorkie to Swim

If you’re interested in teaching your Yorkie to swim, patience and positive reinforcement are key. Here are some steps to help you get started:

  • Familiarize with Water: Let your Yorkie explore shallow water on their terms. Encourage them with treats and praise.
  • Use a Ramp or Steps: If you have a pool, provide a ramp or steps for easy entry and exit. This will make swimming less intimidating for your Yorkie.
  • Support and Guidance: Be there to support your Yorkie as they learn to paddle. You can hold them under their belly to help them stay afloat initially.
  • Keep Sessions Short: Especially in the beginning, keep swimming sessions short and positive. End on a high note with praise and treats.

Yorkies can indeed swim, but their small size and unique coat present challenges that owners should be aware of. With proper precautions, training, and supervision, many Yorkies can enjoy the water safely. Always consider your individual dog’s comfort and health before introducing them to swimming activities.

Remember, not all Yorkies will take to water, and that’s perfectly okay. Each dog is an individual with their own preferences and comfort levels. Whether your Yorkie becomes a water-loving swimmer or prefers to stay dry on land, what matters most is their safety and happiness.


So, can Yorkies swim? Yes, they can, but it’s up to you to ensure they do so safely and enjoyably. Whether it’s a splash in a backyard kiddie pool or a leisurely swim in a dog-friendly lake, with the right approach, your Yorkie can make a splash in the water!