Cavapoos are 50% Poodle and 50% Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, which tells us that Cavapoos can probably swim and even enjoy it. Spaniels have always been known to be water lovers and hunters. Despite the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel being bred as lap dogs, they still have the same interest in water.
On the Poodle side is a breed that got its origin as water dogs used for duck hunting. Cavapoos inherit many things from both sides of the family. They get intelligence and loyalty from the Poodles, and playfulness and good temperament from the Poodle. From both sides of the family, Cavapoos get their love of the water.
However, can Cavapoos swim? Cavapoos are generally very good swimmers, at least when they enjoy swimming. With that said, not all Cavapoos actually enjoy swimming. Some of this might be from insufficient socialization to water at a young age, and some may be a general disinterest in the water.
If you want your Cavapoo to be a water-lover, fear not! You can certainly increase the chances they’ll enjoy the water and we’ll show you how.
Do Cavapoos Like Water?
Coming from both the Poodle and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, it’s not surprising that Cavapoos like the water. Some of it might be their body size while some of it may just be a breed-specific quality. Dogs with large chests like Bulldogs or Pugs don’t generally enjoy the water that much because they can’t swim well.
The Cavapoo, on the other hand, is the perfect size for swimming. Caution should be used though because toy breeds like the smaller Cavapoos tend to tire out quickly and don’t have the stamina or strength to swim long distances.
This is one reason why you should never assume your dog can swim or assume he likes the water. Let the dog go in on his accord, and start him off in a shallow area that he can walk in on his own. They might not have the same enthusiasm in a swimming pool as they do on the beach. The reason is that they won’t have the security of knowing they can touch the bottom or climbing out on their own in a swimming pool.
Are Cavapoos Good Swimmers?
Cavapoos are generally good swimmers. Poodles have always loved water, and of all the breeds, Spaniels are probable the best swimmers in the world. Although swimming is almost instinctive to Poodles and Spaniels, they’re not necessarily born good swimmers. They enjoy the water so much that they develop their swimming skills from being in the water starting at a young age.
As much as they enjoy swimming, most Cavapoos enjoy playing in shallow water rather than swimming in deep water. They’re active and playful dogs that enjoy a good game of water Frisbee or fetch. Even if they are good swimmers, they’ll still get tired after a while. They should not be forced to be in deep water for longer than they feel comfortable.
That old saying, “Just throw them in the water, and they’ll swim” is not only just a saying but can also be very dangerous to the dog. When a certain breed of dog that typically likes water, such as the Cavapoo, expresses disinterest or fear of the water, it’s often the result of an unpleasant or frightening experience the dog may have had in the past. Dogs have very good memories, especially when it’s regarding an unpleasant situation.
Introductions to Water
Even though Cavapoos are believed to be natural-born swimmers that enjoy the water, they may not know that at a young age.
Introducing him to the water gradually can make his first time in the water pleasant and something he’ll look forward to in the future. Let the dog go in at his own pace even if he barely leaves the shoreline. Each time he enters the water, he’ll feel more comfortable with the water.
Trying making a game out of it. If the dog enjoys playing fetch, and most Cavapoos do, toss the toy a few feet into the water and allow the dog to retrieve it. Introducing them to the water properly for the first time and making it an enjoyable experience.
Fun Water Toys
Even if your Cavapoo appears to just enjoy swimming, he’ll have even more fun with safe dog water toys. Here are some popular and inexpensive choices found on Amazon.
- Kurgo dog floating water toys – These brightly colored neon toys will float on the water. They’re shaped like skipping rocks!
- RUFFWEAR – Lunker Floating Bumper – These floating toys are made of memory foam and have a rope for easy access and tossing.
- Doggles Yellow Get Wet Duck – This toy is bright yellow, easy to throw, is soft, and it floats.
- 2-in-1 Fetching and Bite Tug Toy – Dogs love this durable floating toy. It’s made from firehose material and also works great for training dogs.
What About Their Ears?
Cavapoos have long, hanging ears that are prone to infection, so it’s important to protect them. You may want to put cotton in their ears to prevent water from seeping in the ear canal. As soon as the dog is done swimming, make sure the ears are cleaned and completely dried with a rag or wipe.
Many owners of dogs with floppy ears use these silicone ear plugs for their pups.
When you’re playing with your Cavapoo in the water, it’s important to not overdo it. Your Cavapoo may be very excited about playing catch or just frolicking in the water, but he may not know when he’s had too much. Dogs can experience hyponatremia or water intoxication. This disease occurs if the dog is so excited playing that he ingests large amounts of water too quickly. Hyponatremia may be somewhat rare, but it can be fatal to the dog so it’s better to play it safe.
Doggie life vests (like this one on Amazon) are an excellent idea if your dog spends a lot of time in the water playing or riding in a boat with you. They’re definitely a good idea in a pool where the dog can’t touch the bottom and may experience fear and nervousness.
Even dogs that hunt and swim every day should wear life jackets, and the owners should be aware of the dog’s capabilities in the water and shouldn’t expect the dog to exceed those limitations. Doggies life vests are made with different material and with different levels of buoyancy so it’s important the dog have a vest that meets his size and weight requirements.
Always Supervise Water Time
Do not ever leave your dog unattended in the water even if he is wearing a life vest. They can become hot and cumbersome, which often makes dogs attempt to chew them off. Regardless of how good of a swimmer a Cavapoo may be, owners should still take certain safety precautions when they take the dog into the water. Cavapoos that are near unfamiliar water sites, such as ponds, rivers or similar watercourses should always be on a leash to prevent the dog from trying to jump in.
Drowning Is A Serious Danger
Although we think of dogs as naturally born swimmers, every year dogs drown from swimming or boating adventures. Even the best swimming dogs tire, makign them susceptible to drowning if they get in waves, currents, or too far from land.
Even if they don’t actually drown, they can suffer from “near drowning” if they swallow too much water and it gets into their lungs. Symptoms such as infection, inflammation or other discomforts may not show up for a day or two later when it might be too late to help the dog.
Many doggie life vests on the market today (like our favorite one) have lifting handles in case you need to lift the dog out of the water. They consist of straps, handles, and buckles all designed to keep the dog as safe as possible while also making it easier for the owner to help the dog out of the water if necessary. If the vests have long straps, make sure you cut them or tie them off so they aren’t snagged on something under the water. The best thing about life vests is they help the dog float in a horizontal swimming position and add extra buoyancy, which helps the dog float better if he becomes tired.
Large Bodies of Water
Swimming in lakes and oceans can be a lot more hazardous than in shallow water. Dogs often have a difficult time keeping up with the waves and currents. It can affect the dog’s buoyancy or ability to float in the water. The cold temperatures can also become harmful and more than the dog can deal with, especially if he’s too far from shore and in deep water. Another thing to be aware of is algae in the water.
It can cause serious skin irritations and fatal illnesses if swallowed. Avoid allowing your dog to swim where others are fishing to avoid the dog being snagged or hooked. One more thing to be careful about is food. Overeating prior to swimming can result in bloat so wait a couple of hours after the dog is done eating before allowing him to go swimming. With proper care and caution, swimming can be a great source of exercise as well as a bonding experience you can share with your Cavapoo.
What Cavapoo Owners Are Saying…
“Mine hasn’t had a chance to try swimming yet, but she LOVES to play in the water. She splashes in puddles, pounces on the water sprinkler and sticks her entire head into the spray from the garden hose. When I water plants, she lives to jump right into the pot that’s being watered! What a mess! She’s always wet and/or muddy. I asked my vet today how often I can bathe her. Not that I really want to, but she’s such a mud puppy! He said once a week is fine. Guess we’ll be adopting a weekly bathing schedule.”
“Mine won’t go anywhere near water unless it is to drink.”
“Mine loves the pool and tennis balls in the pool”
“Our little guy has been in love with water since he was a puppy!”
“My sister’s Cavapoo learned to dive off the dock today. Mine HATES the water. She’ll sunbathe on the kayak though!”
“Absolutely! Can’t keep mine out of the water once she sees it.”