Can Your Boerboel Swim? Understanding Your Dog’s Water Abilities

can boerboels swim?

Boerboels are a powerful breed of dog originally bred for guarding and protection. While they are known for their loyalty and bravery, some owners may wonder if Boerboels have a natural ability to swim.

While not all Boerboels may be comfortable in the water, they can indeed swim with proper training and supervision.

In this article, we’ll explore the topic of Boerboels and swimming, discussing their natural abilities and how owners can teach their Boerboels to enjoy the water.

Background Information

Boerboels have a rich history dating back to the 17th century, where they were bred for their ability to protect homesteads and livestock.

They are a large, muscular breed, typically weighing between 150-200 pounds, with a distinctive broad head and short, dense coat. As a breed that was originally developed for guarding, Boerboels have a natural instinct to protect their families and territories.

Can Boerboels Swim?

To answer the question, yes, Boerboels can swim. Although they were originally bred as guard dogs and do not have a natural inclination towards swimming, most Boerboels can be taught to swim and may even come to enjoy it.

As with any breed, it’s important to introduce them to the water gradually and with proper safety measures such as a life vest and supervision, and to always be aware of their limitations and comfort levels. I’ll talk more about how to introduce your Boerboel to water later on in this article.

It’s also important to note that not all Boerboels may feel comfortable in the water. Some dogs may have a fear of water or may not have the necessary physical ability to swim.

In these cases, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian and a professional dog trainer to determine if swimming is a suitable activity for your Boerboel.

Read Next: Is the Boerboel Breed a Good Fit for Your Family?

Do Boerboels Like Swimming?

Whether Boerboels like swimming depends on several factors, including genetic predisposition, early experiences with water, and socialization. While some Boerboels may enjoy swimming, others may not be as inclined to do so.

Genetic Predisposition of Boerboels

Boerboels, like many breeds, have specific genetic traits that make them more or less likely to enjoy swimming.

For example, breeds that were originally developed for water work, such as retrievers and spaniels, tend to have a stronger desire to swim. Boerboels, on the other hand, were not bred for water work, and therefore may not have the same genetic predisposition for swimming.

Early Experiences with Water

Another factor that can influence whether Boerboels can swim is their early experiences with water. If a Boerboel had positive experiences with water as a puppy, such as playing in a kiddie pool or a shallow body of water, they may be more likely to enjoy swimming as an adult.

On the other hand, if a Boerboel had negative experiences with water, such as being forced into a deep body of water before they were ready, they may be less likely to enjoy swimming.


Socialization is another factor that can influence whether Boerboels like swimming. If a Boerboel is exposed to other dogs who enjoy swimming and is encouraged to swim themselves, they may be more likely to enjoy it. On the other hand, if a Boerboel is not exposed to other dogs who enjoy swimming, they may be less inclined to try it themselves.

Signs that Boerboels May Like Swimming

Some signs that Boerboels may enjoy swimming include:

  • A strong desire to retrieve objects from the water
  • Willingness to get their paws wet in shallow water
  • Enjoyment of being sprayed with a hose or shower
  • Signs that Boerboels May Not Like Swimming

Some signs that Boerboels may not enjoy swimming include:

  • Reluctance to get their paws wet in shallow water
  • Fearful or anxious behavior around water
  • Avoidance of bodies of water altogether

Tips for Introducing Boerboels to Water

If you want to introduce your Boerboel to water, here are some tips you can follow to make the experience positive:

Start with shallow water: Begin by introducing your Boerboel to shallow water, such as a kiddie pool or a calm, shallow area of a lake or river. Allow your dog to get comfortable with the water by standing in it and exploring the area around the water.

Use a leash and a life vest: Once your dog is comfortable in the water, attach a leash to their collar and put a life vest on them to ensure their safety. Hold onto the leash while your dog paddles around in the water, guiding them gently if necessary.

Gradually increase depth: As your Boerboel becomes more comfortable with the water, gradually move to deeper water. Always stay close to your dog and keep them on a leash until you are confident in their swimming ability.

Encourage and reward: Praise your dog and give them treats when they make progress in their swimming ability. This positive reinforcement will encourage them to continue practicing and improving their skills.

Practice regularly: Regular practice is key to helping your Boerboel become a confident and skilled swimmer. Make sure to schedule regular swimming sessions with your dog, especially during warm weather when they may need to cool off.

Be aware of limitations: While many dogs love to swim, some may not be comfortable in the water or may have physical limitations that prevent them from swimming. Always be aware of your Boerboel’s limitations and don’t force them into a situation that makes them uncomfortable or puts them in danger.

With patience, practice, and positive reinforcement, you can teach your Boerboel to be a confident and skilled swimmer. Always prioritize your dog’s safety and comfort, and enjoy the experience of teaching them a new skill!

Benefits of Swimming for Boerboels

Swimming can provide several benefits for Boerboels, including physical, mental, and socialization benefits.

Physical Benefits

Swimming is a low-impact form of exercise that can provide several physical benefits for Boerboels, including improved cardiovascular health, increased muscle tone, and improved joint mobility.

Mental Benefits

Swimming can also provide mental benefits for Boerboels, including increased confidence, reduced stress and anxiety, and improved mental stimulation.

Socialization Benefits

Swimming can also provide socialization benefits for Boerboels, as it allows them to interact with other dogs and people in a new environment.

Precautions When Boerboels Swim

While swimming can be a fun and beneficial activity for Boerboels, it’s important to take precautions to ensure their safety.

Water Safety

Always supervise your Boerboel when they are in or around water. Make sure they have a safe and secure place to enter and exit the water, and consider using a fence or gate to prevent them from wandering into deep bodies of water unsupervised.

Heat Exhaustion

Boerboels are prone to heat exhaustion, especially when exercising in hot weather. To prevent heat exhaustion, make sure your Boerboel has access to shade and plenty of fresh water while swimming, and avoid swimming during the hottest parts of the day.

Can Boerboels Swim?

In conclusion, Boerboels are capable of swimming, but not all of them may be naturally inclined to do so. With proper training, patience, and supervision, owners can teach their Boerboels to become comfortable in the water and even enjoy swimming.

It’s important to introduce them to the water gradually and with the necessary safety measures, and to be aware of their limitations and comfort levels. By following these guidelines, owners can help their Boerboels stay active, healthy, and happy both on land and in the water.


Hi, I'm the owner of Juniper Pets! You can often find me playing fetch with my dogs, working out or cooking up something legendary in the kitchen. Hope you enjoy my blog!

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