Do Havanese Dogs Like Water? 3 Tips to Use

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Many dog owners like to bring their dogs outdoors for activities such as swimming. That begs the question: Do Havanese dogs like water?

A Havanese dog may not immediately like water and might even be cautious about them, but over time and training, they can grow to enjoy it, whether it is taking a bath or going swimming with you!

In this post, we are going to talk about how these cute and goofy furballs take to the water and some cool tips you can use to enjoy your time with them.

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Can Havanese dogs swim?

Lots of Havanese owners are curious about whether their pets can swim. I mean, who doesn’t like splashing around in the water during a hot summer day?

The thing is, many of us are deceived by the appearance of the Havanese.

This petite and cute little dog with its long hair doesn’t look like the swimming type, but under all that cuteness is a surprisingly agile and athletic character that is more than capable of handling the water.

Although they might not necessarily be a top swimmer, nor will be ever find swimming to be their favorite activity, they can certainly keep up with the right encouragement and training.

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Fun fact about the Havanese and water

This might come as a surprise to some, but the Havanese dog has quite a history with water.

They were brought over to Cuba from Spain and were named after the capital city of Havana. Very soon, they became the pet of choice for the aristocracy and wealthy planters, who often took them for outings that included water.

So don’t be surprised to find that your Havanese can swim like a natural!

Amongst its famous owners are Ernest Hemingway and Charles Dickens, so you are in great company!

Doggy says, you might like this too: Do Cavaliers Like to Swim? [Love Affair or Not?]

Can Havanese puppies swim?

If your Havanese is still young, don’t expect it to be able to swim just yet. The same can be said for any other dog breed.

At their young age, the only exercise required is their daily playtime of jumping and running around your home, occasionally destroying the pillows and cushions on your couch. This form of exercise alone is sufficient for a Havanese puppy.

The time when you can consider bringing your Havanese for swimming lessons is when it reaches maturity, typically around 1 year.

Another concern is that when they are puppies, they might not be completely potty trained yet. I think you can imagine what would happen if your puppy got nervous when in the water. Disaster is an understatement!

And lastly, if you intend to bring your dog to a lake or a pool, they might not be able to handle the nasty stuff in there as their immune system is not fully developed yet.

Chlorine on one hand is not great for dogs, while in the freshwater, you never know what kind of bacteria is lurking and waiting to hitch a ride inside your dog.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Why do Havanese dogs lick so much?

do Havanese dogs like water

Do Havanese dogs like to swim?

Sometimes we got to think about dogs being similar to us. Yes, really.

Each dog has its own personality and character.

Some might be super active while others are more laid back, even within the same breed.

They have a mind of their own and can sometimes be very resistant to change, though that can be mostly changed by training and conditioning them.

That said, most Havanese love swimming!

As with all dogs, you need to make the first experience a positive and stress-free one so that they do not leave with a bad experience.

In general, if your dog is not exposed often to the water or if they had a negative experience previously, then they will tend not to like going swimming.

Swimming is a fantastic exercise not just for humans but also for dogs, so you should definitely consider bringing your Havanese out to the pool.

Just remember, don’t pressure them, and always look out for their well-being and safety.

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Why teach Havanese dogs to swim?

The Havanese dog, despite its appearance, is actually one with very good endurance and can take part in a fitness regime or join yours.

One of its traits is its desire to please its owner, making it a very easy dog breed to train.

This means to say, training it to swim is well within your books for sure.

A lot of patience and love can motivate your dog to become your favorite exercise companion!

If you give your Havanese the chance to swim, it is most likely that they will take it.

And I think that learning to swim is sort of like a life skill.

We humans learn to swim at a young age, and when the situation arises, we are able to perform the action.

The same goes for your dog.

Training it to be able to swim means more opportunities to partake in the same activity as you, but also allow it to have the skill to survive should it be thrust into an emergency situation.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Havanese peeing in the house?

Should Havanese dogs swim?

do havanese like to swim

Some dog owners might be concerned about whether their Havanese should actually swim.

This could stem from previous experiences with other dogs and might have something to do with the health risks.

In general, it is safe to bring your Havanese out for a swim.

However, if you are keeping your dog to take part in shows, then swimming might not be the best exercise for it.

As the Havanese has a long hair-like coat, it can be detrimental when it interacts with freshwater or chlorinated water like in the pool.

Chlorinated water also tends to cause entanglement which makes it very difficult to brush.

Not to mention, prolonged exposure could mean that the hair loses some of its colors and become very dry.

I would encourage you to keep your Havanese’s coat short if you do not intend to bring it for shows.

If these are your considerations, then you might wish to avoid bringing your Havanese to the pool.

The good news is that there are lots more activities your dog will love!

How to teach Havenese dogs to swim?

As I mentioned earlier, the Havanese is a real family pet. It is highly sensitive and works well with people.

They are eager to please and are willing to be trained.

The key to success?

You need to train it with positive reinforcement.

In fact, that is the only type of training we subscribe to here at DDD.

Always make use of a reward to motivate your dog, rather than prescribing punishments that will only have negative impacts on them.

Rewards are usually given in the form of treats, but you can bolster that with words of encouragement, cuddles, or a combination of all.

So how should you go around training your Havanese to swim?

I have a few tips that just might help you out.

1. Learning water commands

So there are 2 specific parts to this, one is entering and the other is exciting.

Teach it to listen to your command to enter the water area, the water itself, as well as the command to leave the water, and one final command to move to the designated area.

2. Training in a paddling pool first

Making use of a paddling pool can give your dog confidence and let it get used to being submerged in a body of water.

The good thing is that a paddling pool can easily fit into your backyard, or if you live in an apartment, you should be able to fit one in the kitchen.

Alternatively, you can also bring it to a park where there is a water source to fill it up.

At the start, do not train your dog in a lake, pond, or sea. That is way too stressful for a beginner.

Check out this popular paddling pool that comes in lots of sizes and is super budget friendly too.

Key Benefits

  • Portable: foldable, easy to store, and bring with you and your dog everywhere
  • Simple: No need for inflation, set up in no time. With a bottom/side drain, easy to drain and refresh the water

At this stage, you can fill up the pool to your dog’s belly height. This move lets your dog get used to the sensation of water.

Stay as close to your dog as possible during this time to reassure it and give it confidence.

You may also introduce a couple of its favorite toys to give it comfort.

If this is successful, the next stage would be to increase the height of the water to its neck level.

It is also a good idea to let it wear a doggy lifejacket at this point for it to get used to it.

You will see the little cutie start paddling here, which is a good sign. Keep a close eye to ensure it is not struggling.

Once it is ready, the next stage would be to fill the pool to a level out of her depth. Lower it slowly and watch her start paddling.

You should place her hands below its belly to support it at first, but let go gradually.

Don’t let it do this for more than 15-20 seconds at a time until you can tell that it has the confidence to go further.

A few of these sessions would be enough for your dog to explore an actual pool.

3. Just before you start

Before you bring your dog for swimming lessons, always give it sufficient time to digest after a meal.

I recommend waiting for at least 60 minutes before participating in an activity like this.

Ensure that you let it wear a safety vest for the first lessons until you can see that it is confident.

You need to exercise your own judgment here.

Make sure it has learned all the commands when near the pool, and actually practice them before starting.

Keep the praises flowing for Havanese are emotional dogs.

They love lots of nice words and hugs!

And finally, it might be worth taking a lesson in animal CPR if you do intend to swim with your dog often or bring it to some other spots that are more challenging.

Can my Havanese swim in the pool?

Canines and chlorine are not exactly the best of friends.

In some cases, chlorine can become an irritant to them and cause itchiness in their ears, eyes, or skin. Keep a lookout on how they react after they take their first swim.

When the session is over, ensure that there is fresh water around for it to drink, and also use plenty of fresh water to rinse your dog off.

If you notice that your dog is drinking pool water, you need to stop it immediately and take corrective measures.

If necessary, you should stop the session.

Can my Havanese swim in the sea/ocean?

The short answer is yes, but only after it has gained lots of confidence being the water.

There are also precautions to take in order to make it a safe and enjoyable experience for them.

  1. Keep an eye on the water conditions. Rough waters are suitable for your Havanese to swim in.
  2. Don’t let it drink seawater. There is a high level of salt in seawater that will cause dehydration quicker than usual.
  3. Stay near the coastline. Waters are unpredictable in the sea, and there might be an undercurrent that your eyes cannot detect. Keeping your dog near the coastline is critical to its safety.
  4. Watch for post-swim scratching and behavior. If your dog exhibits any kind of abnormal behavior after the swim, consider bringing it to the vet for a checkup.

What breed of dogs like water the most?

Now that you know so much about Havanese and their relationship with water, what about other breeds that love water too? Here are some of the dog breeds that love water like they were born to swim:

  • American water spaniel
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • Flat-coated Retriever
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Newfoundland
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Spanish Water Dog

Conclusion: Do Havanese like water?

Do Havanese dogs like water? I would say Yes!

As you can tell, most Havanese will grow to love water very quickly, though there will still be a small percentage of the population that will resist it.

It is important to make their first experience with water to be a positive one, and use positive reinforcement methods to train them.

Be sure to grab yourself a paddling pool for dogs to start the learning journey!

Being a dog owner can be tough, which is why we have created this blog to help you out.

Be sure to check out other dog behavior articles such as why dogs sleep with their bums facing you, how to stop your dog from peeing on the deck, why dogs sleep with their tongues out, and many more!

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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