Do Bloodhounds like water and swim and what about their relationship with water? This article seeks to answer that question and explore the implications for owners of this remarkable breed.
Do Bloodhounds Like Water?
It turns out that there is no single answer to this question. Some bloodhound dogs are more comfortable with water than others, depending on the individual’s temperament and training.
A quick look at the history of the Bloodhound reveals an animal that has been bred for centuries to track humans and animals over long distances. Such an ability requires a certain level of comfort with wet climates and a willingness to traverse rivers, streams, ponds, and other bodies of water.
This begs the question: do Bloodhounds actually enjoy getting wet?
As this breed evolved centuries ago as hunting dogs in northern Europe, they tracked land-based targets. While they may have tracked them through streams and pools, they were not exposed to deep water and so no traits of water breeds were bred into them.
This means they lack any kind of natural affinity toward them. In fact, many bloodhound owners report that even seeing a pool or lake causes a fear of water with them barking or even cowering.
This fear of water is understandable given the nature of the breed, Their body features are designed for tracking, not water-based activities, and may find themselves out of their depth in deeper waters.
Can Bloodhounds Swim?
The answer is yes, bloodhounds have the body structure and stamina required for some swimming although they are not particularly adept and some will display a deep dislike for water.
Some bloodhound owners report that their pets often take to the water with enthusiasm, especially when it is hot. They are usually content just paddling around or playing fetch with toys; however, if trained correctly, they can be taught more complex behaviours such as retrieving items or competing in dock diving competitions.
Why Aren’t Bloodhounds Natural Swimmers?
Bloodhounds are not natural swimmers, because they possess several physical features that hinder swimming.
While their stocky build is good for holding their large heads close to the ground for tracking, both of these characteristics are not great for swimming.
Their stockiness makes their bodies less like the keel of a boat and more like a balloon. Their higher muscle mass makes them less buoyant. Their large heads also add strain to keep them above the water.
This means they spend a lot of energy just to remain afloat and will never win any swimming races.
Added to their predilection for picking up ear infections and you are probably best keeping your bloodhound out of deeper water
They are not as bad as small breeds with brachycephalic breeds (those with flat faces and short noses) that are both rotund and at risk of drowning.
Given the physiological constraints associated with the breed, it is unsurprising that bloodhounds generally prefer to avoid entering deep water.
How To Teach A Bloodhound To Swim
Since bloodhounds are not natural swimmers and are stubborn, this can be a bit of a challenge. However, they can be trained to enjoy being in the water and swim safely with the right techniques.
One way to teach a bloodhound to swim is by introducing them gradually to the water and providing them with plenty of positive reinforcement.
One of the best ways is to take them somewhere they can see other dogs enjoying the water. This should preferably be shallow and non-chlorinated water as this can affect a bloodhound’s sensitive sense of smell and literally get right up their nose!
Next, start slowly by having your dog stand at the edge of shallow water or get in the pool with them. Allow them to explore on their own terms.
You can then guide them further into deeper waters, but only if they seem comfortable doing so. Be vigilant and ensure that their harness is securely fastened and/or they are wearing a life jacket
Reward your dog for each step taken in the process with treats or verbal praise so that they associate being in the water with positive experiences.
If you plan to take your dog out on a boat or similar you may even want to consider investing in some doggy life jackets for added security during swimming or sailing.
Swimming should be kept as an enjoyable activity for both you and your dog, rather than something that causes stress or fear. With patience, a bloodhound can eventually become a decent swimmer – just make sure you take all necessary steps for safety first!
What Is The Best Life Jacket For Bloodhounds?
Since bloodhounds are not the greatest swimmers, if they fall overboard you will be glad of the extra buoyancy it gives them while you turn around and come back for them.
Lifejackets also have another benefit in that they can help keep your bloodhound’s ear out of the water, reducing the risk of infection.
Dog life jackets come in various sizes and can easily be adjusted to fit any breed of dog, including bloodhounds. The buoyancy material used typically consists of closed-cell foam that is soft and lightweight, allowing for maximum comfort and flexibility.
In addition, most dog life jackets come with a top handle which makes it easy to grab onto dogs who have gone too far out into the water or start sinking due to fatigue. This feature provides an extra layer of safety without restricting mobility or natural movements.
Overall, investing in a quality life jacket designed especially for dogs is an effective way to ensure that your bloodhound stays safe while they enjoy their time in the pool or lake. With suitable materials providing ample buoyancy and adjustable straps providing a secure fit, you can rest assured that your beloved pet will remain safe while they enjoy some time in the water.
Can Bloodhounds Swim In Chlorine Pools?
When it comes to chlorine pools, bloodhounds may not be able to handle the smell of harsh chemicals.
While some bloodhounds are known to enjoy swimming in chlorinated pools, others hate the smell of the water and typically avoid it altogether.
This is likely due to their sensitivity to the scent of a liquid environment, which can interfere with their ability to detect more subtle odors.
So teaching a pet to swim in a chlorine pool presents unique challenges, especially for bloodhounds when teaching them in a chlorinated environment. Here are three factors that should be taken into account:
Firstly, Bloodhounds have sensitive noses, so don’t expect them to put up with a heavily chlorinated pool. Even if you can get them in, they have sensitive skin and eyes, so it is not a good idea. So read their body language and if they don’t want to get in, it is best not to force them.
Additionally, it can be helpful to use a life jacket or other buoyancy device during initial swim lessons, especially if they are going to venture into the deeper water.
Finally, make sure the water isn’t too hot or cold, they are just like us in that if it is an unpleasant temperature, it is just not fun!
Ear Infections And Other Things To Keep In Mind When Your Bloodhound Goes Swimming
Whether your bloodhound loves playing in the water or not, water can bring on ear infections an bloodhounds are prone to them. Therefore, it is important to dry their ears thoroughly after swimming and keep an eye out for any signs of infection such as excessive scratching or discharge.
In addition to ear infections, there are other health risks associated with swimming in open water.
While dogs do have sturdy constitutions, they can swallow dangerous amounts of bacteria if they ingest contaminated water. They can also pick up infections through any nicks or cuts in their skin, so it is important to make sure that the body of water your bloodhound swims in is clean and safe.
Also, if your dogs are playing in the yard in the heat and you have a pool, make sure to give them plenty of fresh water. Bloodhounds are notoriously thirsty and even chlorinated water will seem appealing if they get too hot.
Taking these precautions will help ensure that your pet’s time spent in the water will be safe and enjoyable.
Can Bloodhounds Track Through Water?
Bloodhounds have long been renowned for their ability to track and follow scents. But can they still do this through water? The answer is yes, but with some caveats.
For starters, it’s important to note that the effectiveness of a bloodhound’s tracking abilities through water depends on several factors.
Many believe that the scent lingers better over water than over many other terrains, however, the first factor is the amount of time that has elapsed since the scent was left.
Additionally, the windier it is, the harder it will be for a bloodhound to pick up on a scent trail in it.
Also, while water hangs over the water well, if the quarry went under the water, this will not leave a scent as their noses don’t work in the water! Luckily most people cannot swim far underwater, so it is usually just a case of hunting around until the scent is picked up again.
It’s therefore essential for owners to take extra precautions when tracking in water in order to prevent them from following an unanticipated scent trail into deep or dangerous waters without their knowledge.
In spite of these challenges, however, bloodhounds remain capable of detecting and following scented trails even across water.
In general, however, it appears that many bloodhounds welcome a chance to take a dip, whether it be for leisure or work-related activities. Thus, understanding how much your particular dog likes swimming can help you better manage their behavior in various aquatic settings.
Overall, it is clear that bloodhounds do enjoy swimming and playing in the water. While they do not have the natural instinct of a water dog, with proper training and supervision, they can learn to swim safely.
Although chlorine pools may be too much for their sensitive nose and skin, there are many other ways for them to play in the water.
Due to their poor swimming abilities, life jackets designed for dogs are essential for any canine that will be taken out in deep water, such as on a boat.
Finally keep monitoring for potential ear infections, as those bloodhound ears seem to pick up infections at the drop of a hat
Sam is an award-winning canine photographer and runs Farlap Bloodhound breeders and Kennels in Devon and is the secretary of the Bloodhound Club.
Sam Clark has a passion for bloodhounds and their amazing ability to track a scent, and was one of the first in the UK to train her dogs to either track humans or other dogs for canine rescue.
- 1 Do Bloodhounds Like Water?
- 2 Can Bloodhounds Swim?
- 3 Why Aren’t Bloodhounds Natural Swimmers?
- 4 How To Teach A Bloodhound To Swim
- 5 What Is The Best Life Jacket For Bloodhounds?
- 6 Can Bloodhounds Swim In Chlorine Pools?
- 7 Ear Infections And Other Things To Keep In Mind When Your Bloodhound Goes Swimming
- 8 Can Bloodhounds Track Through Water?
- 9 Conclusion