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10 Good Pups Who Don’t Need Water to Practice Their Doggy Paddles


Air-swimming dogs are officially our new favorite pup videos taking over the internet. If you’ve never seen a canine practicing its doggy paddles without water, you’re seriously missing out. Watch the video above to see some of the most adorable dogs showing off their impressive air-swimming skills.

Why do dogs paddle above water?

As you probably noticed, most of the pups in the videos were air-swimming over some type of body of water, such as the ocean, a pool, or even a simple bathtub. Turns out, this behavior is simply an automatic one for a lot of dogs, according to Sarah Wilson, expert dog trainer and author of My Smart Puppy Guide: How to Train Your Dog to Come (Amazon, $6.95). As Wilson explains, human infants have inborn responses to water, and so do pups.

“Better to swim too soon than too late,” Wilson tells “But, science aside, it is really cute to have your puppy paddling before their feet touch the surface, isn’t it?”

We couldn’t agree more!

All About the ‘Doggy Paddle’

If you have a dog who is able to and loves to swim, you might have noticed that it doesn’t come quite as naturally to them as walking and other motions. As it turns out, a 2014 study found that eight different dogs spanning six breeds swam with a gait that was not unlike the way they trot on dry land.

So when swimming puppers do hit the water, they’re most likely using a basic movement that’s familiar to them, simply with a bit of modification to adapt to a somewhat unfamiliar environment. (Are our dogs smart, or what?) Fascinatingly, that same study found that all the doggos in the study, ranging from a large Newfoundland to a small Yorkshire terrier, paddled in very similar ways, showing little variation between them.

We have to say that we enjoy dogs of all shapes and sizes swimming — whether it’s in or out of water!

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