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Do Australian Shepherds Like To Swim?

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A red merle Australian Shepherd diving in the water

Australian Shepherds are lovely, curious dogs that love engaging in various activities with their owners. But, do they enjoy swimming? Although Aussies have the right build for swimming, they don't have "water work" rooted in their DNA. As a result, some Aussies may thoroughly enjoy swimming while others may have adverse reactions to water.

So, whether or not Australian Shepherds like to swim depends on individual preferences. Fortunately, Australian Shepherds are smart and can be encouraged and taught to swim. Moreover, many Australian Shepherd owners have reported that, once introduced properly, their dogs love to go into the pool anytime they want to cool off.

In this article, I will share some videos with you in which Australian Shepherds are seen swimming.

#1. Luna, the Australian Shepherd loves swimming

Luna is an Australian Shepherd from North Carolina, USA, that loves swimming. According to her owners, Luna loves jumping in the pool with no one around and swimming across. Luna's owners posted the above video on YouTube a couple years ago and asked users if they think their dog was swimming or herding the kids? Many users commented that the dog was swimming but may also be trying to herd the kids back to the side of the pool.

#2. This video shows an Australian Shepherd's unique and hilarious way of swimming

In 2023, this black tricolor Australian Shepherd named Gus went viral for its unique and hilarious way of swimming. This video shows that, like humans, not all dogs are great swimmers. Gus loves to swim, according to his owner, but his unique way of doing it is beyond funny. Many TikTok users jokingly commented that Gus was just staying safe and no shark attacks for him. We can't blame Gus because he wasn't bred for swimming activities. 

As it turns out, almost all AKC-recognized dog breeds were originally bred for certain activities like, for example, swimming. Some of the best dogs for swimming include the Portuguese Water Dog, American Water Spaniel, Spanish Water Dog, Newfoundland, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, and Standard Poodle.

Unlike the aforementioned dog breeds, Australian Shepherds weren't bred for water activities. Nonetheless, they can become water lovers and excellent swimmers when taught through positive experiences and practice.

#3. A video of an Australian Shepherd being taught not to be afraid of water

In actuality, most Australian Shepherds are afraid of water at first. As a result, they need to be introduced to swimming gradually, which is what a man is seen doing in this video. According to the trainer, he played with the Australian Shepherd next to the beach for a couple weeks using the dog's favorite toys/treats without touching the water. At the same time, he was getting the Aussie to be comfortable wearing a life vest. Then he began to throw the dog's favorite toys in the water for it to fetch.

Tips for Introducing an Australian Shepherd to Swimming

For starters, never throw your Australian Shepherd into the water. Let them get used to simply having wet feet. You can do this by walking with your Aussie along the shore. Then, gradually head in a little deeper, but stay in shallow water and avoid areas with strong currents or rough waves. 

If your dog seems happy where they are, then encourage gradual movement into deeper water. Don't forget to use a life jacket and lots of praise and positive reinforcement. Australian Shepherds are very smart and therefore if you reward them for being in the water, they'll want to go in again.

Some Aussie owners said they got their dogs into swimming by first going into the water themselves and then getting the dog to come to them. If your Aussie has a favorite toy, you can throw it in the water and see if they'll go after it. For more information about how to teach your dog to swim, please refer to this AKC article.


Not every Australian Shepherd likes water, which makes it important to understand your dog's preferences. Many Aussie owners have reported their dogs being afraid of water. If that happens to be the case with your Australian Shepherd, then a gradual introduction with positive reinforcement must become the norm for you.


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