Can Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Swim? + 7 Tips

September 17, 2022

Few things are quite as refreshing as a swim on a hot summer's day. It's a great way to cool off, relax, and get a little exercise simultaneously. And all of this extends to Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, they love to go for a swim.

If they are new to water it may take a little patience and work on your side to get your Cavalier comfortable in the water, but once they realise how much fun it is you will struggle to get them out!

This article will cover everything you need to know about King Charles Spaniels and swimming. From how to teach your Cavalier to swim, to when to start, and a few helpful tips to make the whole process enjoyable and stress-free for both you and your dog.

Sound interesting? Read on!

Can King Charles Spaniels Naturally Swim?

King Charles Spaniels can swim naturally but some may not take to water so readily or could take a bit more time to become comfortable in the water. If bath time is a battle in your household it could be a signal that your Cavalier could be nervous at the start.

For these reasons, it is important you don't rush it and let your dog build their confidence in water at their own pace. A dog that is pressured or rushed can act unpredictably in the water which can be dangerous for themselves and any other person or dog present.

Let's take a look at the steps you should take when introducing your King Charles Spaniel to swimming.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy beside a pool

When Should a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Start Swimming?

Try to introduce your Cavalier to water as young as possible. While they are a puppy is ideal since young dogs are curious, adventurous, and far more open to new experiences.

This is not to say an older Cavalier can't be introduced to swimming. It is just easier to introduce your dog to a new activity when younger.

What Makes Swimming a Great Activity for your Cavalier?

There are a few reasons that make swimming a great activity for a dog. Firstly, swimming allows you to vary your Cavalier's exercise routine. A nice way to mix up throwing the ball in the park or going for a walk.

Also, swimming is an activity you can do with your King Charles Spaniel. This allows you to get a bit of exercise too while bonding with your Cavalier. Your dog loves spending time with you. This is just another way to have fun with your dog.

Just make sure they are comfortable and somewhat predictable in the water before you get in with them.

Going for a dip is also a great way for your dog to cool down on a hot day. While dogs should not be out when it is too hot, even if swimming, can be a great way to cool off during warmer summer months. Basically, anything above 19°C (68°F) is too hot, even if you plan to swim.

Seven Top Dog Swimming Tips

By this point, you are likely pretty sold on the idea of taking your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel swimming. While you have everything you need to get started there are still a few considerations you should have to make everything easier.

Here are our five top additional swimming tips for your Cavalier.

Introduce your Cavalier to Water Early

A Cavalier puppy will take to water far easier than an adult dog will. Take advantage of this by getting your dog comfortable in the water from a young age. This way it will just be a normal activity.

Get a Dog Life Vest

While your Cavalier will be a comfortable swimmer after they get a bit of experience a life vest can help your dog build their confidence and make sure everyone stays safe.

Make sure you measure your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel before you get one but generally speaking a medium would do an adult and small a Cavalier puppy with this dog life jacket.

Let your Dog go at their Own Pace

Even knowing that once your dog understands they can be in the water safely and enjoy swimming and they'll love it. But you still need to let them move at their pace. Don't rush the process.

At worst you will put your dog off swimming for life, and at best you may save a very inconsequential amount of time if your dog takes to water quickly.

It's okay to encourage and how it to be safe/fun. But never force your Cavalier into the water.

Find a Quiet Area and Shallow Water at the Start

While Cavaliers are good swimmers when they get going confidence will be a key problem in the beginning. You should try to make it as gentle of an introduction as you can for your dog.

Shallow water can help here and an area with fewer distractions can help mitigate any stress your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel may feel.

Take a Second Dog Who Loves to Swim

One thing that could encourage your Cavalier King Charles to take a dip is another dog leading the way. If you have another dog or know someone else who has one who likes to swim take them along.

It can be a great way to show your dog it is safe and fun. They won't want to be on the sidelines for too long and let the other dog have all the fun!

Swim with your Dog

Swimming with your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a great way to build your bond and become closer. Just wait until your dog is a confident swimmer before you do it.

Positively Reinforce Progress

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have a friendly nature and don't respond well to negative training methods.

The way to get the most out of your Cavalier is to use verbal praise while training to reinforce positive behaviour. This is the quickest way to get results when training most other Spaniel breeds in general. These dog breeds can be a sensitive bunch!

Where can I Take my King Charles Spaniel Swimming?

With all this talk of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels swimming, you may begin to wonder where to take your dog. Your options will all depend on what is in your local area but here are a few ideas of what you can look out for.

  • Lakes
  • Rivers or streams with no strong current
  • Outdoor pools
  • At the beach
  • Dog-friendly pools
  • Ponds

All of the options above are viable for letting your Cavalier have a quick dip. If you are planning to take a young Cavalier for their first swim it may be best to consider a river or stream in the local park, a dog-friendly pool, or a swimming pool in your own garden if you have the space.

Whichever you choose do consider a dog life vest to take some of the pressure off the first few times. You want to make sure it's a positive experience as the first few swims will set the tone for everything else.

Wet Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

What Should I do After my Cavalier has been Swimming?

After your Cavalier King Charles has been for a swim you need to make sure you dry your dog off properly. They'll give themselves a good shake-off or maybe even roll around a bit to dry a little but this isn't enough.

Your Cavalier's ears are the main area you want to pay attention to. If not dried properly it can lead to an ear infection which is fairly common in the breed anyway due to the design of their ears.

Of course, there can be a bit of a wet dog smell after too if not dried properly.


Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are confident swimmers are can have great fun doing it if introduced with care and patience from dog owners.

Letting your dog swim can be a fun activity for you both and a great way of adding a bit of variety to their exercise. Once they are really confident swimmers you can even play games such as throwing the ball in the water and having your dog retrieve it.

While toy breeds are pretty small they can still enjoy swimming.

Make sure you are not letting your Cavalier into the water if they have any health issues. If you suspect something may not be 100% it would be best to avoid swimming until you've spoken to your vet.

And finally, make sure you dry those ears after the swim!

Allan  Noble
Hi, my name is Allan! I am the owner of Spaniel Advisor and I've got over seven years experience of owning Spaniels.  
I hope this article was helpful for you! 
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