Do Dalmatians Like Water

Do Dalmatians Like Water?

Given their reputation as firehouse mascots, one may wonder if Dalmatians enjoy water. After all, they have to “work” with water at various fire departments!

If you’ve wanted to play some water games with your Dalmatian or take them swimming, you may wonder if they’d even enjoy such an activity. Do Dalmatians like water? Let’s find out!

Do Dalmatians Like Water?

Dalmatians can like water, but it’s not a sure thing. Many do enjoy playing in the water when exposed to it positively. But some don’t like water and may even completely detest it! 

Ultimately, the answer is that each Dalmatian is unique and there’s no sure, scientifically-backed consensus on water and Dalmatians. 

Do Dalmatians Like Water Naturally?

Dalmatians usually do not naturally like water. To understand this, we can look back at the history of their breed.

In the mid-19th century, Dalmatians were working dogs, used to protect coaches and keep horses calm. They were not bred or trained for any water-related purposes.

As such, Dalmatians don’t usually naturally take to water and aren’t predisposed to it. They need to have positive exposure to it to feel comfortable and confident playing with and in water.

With good experiences and a nice introduction to water, they can love it! Poor experiences will have the opposite effect.

Do Dalmatians Like To Swim?

A lot of Dalmatians do enjoy swimming. As such an energetic and physically capable breed, these dogs love any opportunity to do some activity and burn off a little energy.

In fact, some Dalmatians may overdo it, not knowing when to stop paddling and becoming very fatigued. This is why supervision is necessary when it comes to letting Dalmatians swim.

As active dogs, Dalmatians enjoy the buoyancy of water. It allows them to paddle to their heart’s content without too much strain.

It’s good physical and mental stimulation, and swimming can help to release stress, muscle tightness, and other common issues.

Of course, a Dalmatian is most likely to enjoy swimming if they’ve had positive experiences with water. Exposure from a young age will further encourage this activity.

Negative experiences will cause them to dislike swimming. And, of course, some of these dogs just hate water regardless!

It is important to keep in mind that not all Dalmatians like to swim, and not all of the breed are naturally good swimmers.

Assuming a Dalmatian can swim well is dangerous! Make sure you never allow your dog to swim unsupervised. 

Why Is My Dalmatian Afraid Of Water?

Dogs are unique and can have different preferences for many different reasons.

A Dalmatian may be afraid of water because of the “weird” sounds associated with it or because it dislikes the texture or feel of water on its fur.

Also, the transition from walking to floating can be scary for some dogs. The reflections on water can also seem threatening to particularly skittish dogs.

Some Dalmatians may also have additional reasons to be afraid of water due to a negative experience.

This negative experience might be almost drowning, falling into water unexpectedly, being punished with water and spray bottles, or being forced into water. 

How To Introduce Your Dalmatian To Water

The best place to introduce a Dalmatian to water is in a controlled space. This means a swimming pool is your best option.

You don’t want to go to bodies of water like rivers, lakes, and ponds. Stick to things that you can trust.

Strap your dog into a lifejacket first before you begin. This ensures that, if your dog needs help, you can mostly guarantee that they’ll be able to stay afloat.

Remember, throughout this process, you shouldn’t leave your dog unsupervised in the pool!

Step 1

Enter the pool at its shallowest part of the pool without your Dalmatian. Once inside, act excited and enthusiastic and encourage your dog to come towards you and join you.

It’s a good idea to have some toys with you as you do this. Keep everything fun and lighthearted and do not force your Dalmatian to enter. If they don’t want to come in, try again another day.

Step 2

Once your Dalmatian sets foot in the pool, praise them immediately and continue positive reassurance. Expect a fair bit of splashing as your Dalmatian gets used to the water.

Use one hand to either offer chest support or to hold up the lifejacket handle to help keep them steady. Don’t stop being encouraging!

Dalmatian Swimming In The Pool

Step 3

Encourage the proper swimming style by checking your Dalmatian’s leg motions. If they’re only paddling their front two legs, gently touch their back legs to encourage a proper four-legged paddle.

This is a much more effective swimming style.

Step 4

Continue to encourage and support your Dalmatian in the water for 5 minutes. Once the 5 minutes are up, get out of the pool, leading the way for your dog. Immediately reward them with treats and praise.

If your dog wants to go again, you can repeat the process and spend another 5 minutes in the pool. It’s a good idea to stop after this point – a short, sweet lesson is ideal initially.

You can gradually increase the swimming time as your dog gets more comfortable.

Fun Activities To Do With Your Dalmatian Around Water

1.   Get a Kiddie Pool

If you have backyard space, a kiddie pool can be a great, safe introduction to water for a Dalmatian.

Put a little bit of water in the pool and add some toys to encourage them to enter. This is an especially great idea on hot days!

2.   Play With a Hose or Sprinkler

Lots of dogs enjoy playing with the water that comes from a sprinkler or a hose. If your Dalmatian is one of them, have fun out in the garden or backyard with these tools!

But do note that you shouldn’t force this activity. A dog who hates being sprayed will develop a negative association with water if you keep pushing it. 

3.   Go to the Beach

Going to the beach can be a fun recreational activity for a dog! You don’t have to go into the water. Just be around or near the water and encourage safe play with the waves that lap at the sand.

If your dog is a little overly curious, equip them with a life jacket first before letting them roam, or keep them on a leash the whole time.

4.   Play Fetch in the Water

When your Dalmatian learns how to swim and starts to enjoy it, encourage further swimming by taking a classic game to the water.

Throw toys for your dog to fetch into the pool and let them swim, grab the toy, and swim back to you with it. Repeat until you gauge that your dog is tired!


Dalmatians can enjoy water when given positive exposure to it from a young age. But whether or not your dog ends up loving the waves is entirely dependent on their unique traits!

Don’t force your dog to love water. Just be a supportive, encouraging voice as they explore water in their own time!