Can American Staffordshire Terriers Swim? 7 Water Safety Tips


american staffordshire terrier beach

American Staffordshire Terriers are amazingly athletic dogs. There are very few activities these dogs won’t excel in when it comes to their power, agility, and intelligence. Though many Bully breeds are known to be poor swimmers, many ask if this also applies to the AmStaff.

Can American Staffordshire Terriers swim? As a whole American Staffordshire Terriers can swim with some practice. Each dog will take to the water with a varying level of skill, but with some training the American Staffy can swim much better than many of their bully breed cousins.

Many Bully breeds struggle when it comes to swimming because of their large heads, broad chests, and shorter legs. For the American Staffordshire however their taller stature allows for better swimming abilities. The AmStaff is not considered a natural swimmer. They can however pick up the skill fairly easily when properly taught.

In this post I will cover some important water safety tips you should always keep in mind when your American Staffordshire Terriers swims. Whether your American Staffy is a natural swimmer or just learning, these tips are important to keep your dog safe. Let’s dive in!

Avoid The Cold Water

Cold water is one of the primary causes of hypothermia in dogs. When out swimming with your American Staffordshire Terrier it is vital that you avoid extremely cold water. Even prolonged exposure to cold water can bring on hypothermia, so exercise caution when the water is too chilly.

A general rule to follow is if the water is too cold for you, it will be too cold for your dog. The shock of cold water to an Amstaff that plunges into their swimming spot can create panic, distress, and potentially a struggle to stay above the water. This can have life threatening consequences.

Avoid the cold water when taking your American Staffy swimming to avoid potential disaster.

Don’t Leave Your AmStaff Unattended

american staffordshire terrier face

Always be close by when your American Staffy goes for a swim. Regardless of your dog’s skill level, things can happen in an instant and you need to be close to help when needed. Don’t leave your dog unattended, or let them swim out too far to be helped if trouble arises.

Even the strongest of American Staffordshire Terrier swimmers can begin to struggle, and if you aren’t close by to help them, this could be fatal. Keep your dog within a short swimming distance and never take your eyes off them when they are in the water.

Advance Slowly

Allow your American Staffy to advance at their own pace. When learning how to swim it is best to advance things slowly and allow your dog to gain confidence gradually. Pushing your Amstaff too hard too soon can create panic, and it can also turn your dog off from the activity as a whole.

Swimming should be a fun activity that your American Staffordshire Terrier engages in voluntarily. Allow them to push themselves a bit further each time. Encourage them to take a few extra steps or doggy paddles. Never force them beyond their comfort zone.

Keep Swim Sessions Short

Swimming is a fantastic form of exercise for American Staffordshire Terriers. A great deal of energy is required for these dogs to swim and it won’t take for them to become tired. As a result swimming sessions should be kept fairly short to avoid potential exhaustion.

American Staffies are known for their boundless energy and enthusiasm, but even the most energetic swimmers can tire quickly. When your Amstaff is too far from shore and begins to run out of steam, trouble can happen.

Monitor your American Staffordshire Terrier’s energy as their swimming session progresses. Take breaks to ensure they are not pushing themselves too hard. The last thing anyone wants is your dog running out of energy and beginning to struggle far from shore. Keep swim sessions short and avoid this danger.

Don’t Drink The Water

To your American Staffordshire Terrier water is water for the most part. Having a quick slurp from their swimming spot makes sense and is really convenient for them. Unfortunately this can make your dog sick if they consume too much water where they are swimming.

Whether your American Staffy is swimming in a creek, lake, or backyard pool, the water is not ideal for drinking. Natural bodies of water can have all sorts of bacteria, parasites, and other nasty bugs that can make your dog very sick.

Backyard pools can be full of various chemicals that are not meant for drinking. Chlorine and various other pool cleaners can be toxic in large amounts, and generally make your dog not feel well in small doses. Deter your American Staffordshire Terrier from drinking their swimming water.

Keep a bowl of fresh, clean drinking water nearby when your Amstaff is out for a swim. Be sure to lead your dog to their drinking bowl so they know it’s there, and redirect them back to it when they begin drinking the swimming water.

Beware Wildlife

american staffy amstaff smile in grass

Natural swimming spots are shared by many different forms of wildlife. Fish, birds, deer, beavers, alligators, and wolves just to name a few. Depending on what part of the country you live, natural bodies of water will have a host of other creatures nearby. Be aware of the wildlife in your area and keep a close eye for them while swimming.

With wildlife present near your swimming spot there is a potential for your American Staffy to chase after and potentially harm them. Or, a potential for wildlife to chase your Amstaff and harm them. Both scenarios should be avoided by knowing the area and keeping watch.

Safety First, Wear A Lifejacket

Regardless of your American Staffordshire Terrier’s swimming abilities I am a firm believer in safety first. This means that I would always recommend they wear a life jacket when swimming or playing near deeper water.

The risk of your American Staffy getting themselves into trouble when swimming are drastically reduced when wearing a life jacket. For me this added layer of precaution is well worth the cost of purchasing one.

Here are just a few options for your American Staffordshire Terrier. These are some of the top quality and top rated life jackets you can pick up for when you take your Amstaff out for a swim.

Outward Hound Granby RipStop Dog Life Jacket


EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device Life Jacket


Resources & ReviewsThe Best Dog Gear & Safety Accessories

Final Thoughts

Whether your American Staffordshire Terrier can swim naturally or requires a few weeks or months of training, safety should always come first. Swimming is one of those activities that is very beneficial for your dog, but always poses many risks.

By following these simple water safety tips you can ensure your American Staffy can swim safely. Having the piece of mind that your dog is safe while enjoying a fun activity is my goal with this post. Now get out there and enjoy the water.

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