Do Huskies Like Water? (The Surprising Truth)

Do huskies like water, or do they prefer to stay out of it?

Most huskies dislike water, and some even seem to hate it. This is mainly due to genetics and their natural instinct to avoid water.

If you are dreaming of a beach day with your pooch, there are some things you can do to change their mind. In this guide I’ll explain the most common reasons why huskies dislike water and how you can train them to enjoy it.

Huskies And Water

Not all huskies hate water. You can certainly find videos of huskies who enjoy swimming. However, these pooches are the exception to the rule.

Most huskies don’t care for water, and they don’t like swimming at all. They want their water in a bowl to drink from, and that’s about it.

This makes sense when you consider their origins. They are from Siberia, where extremely cold temperatures make swimming inadvisable, and even life-threatening. 

Many owners mistakenly believe that all dogs know how to swim instinctually, but this isn’t the case. While there are a lot of breeds that are naturally strong swimmers, huskies are not one of them.

Most dogs will make a paddling motion when in the water, but this doesn’t make them good or effective swimmers.

Some breeds can’t swim at all, while others love the water. Huskies can be taught to swim, but this doesn’t mean they want to.

5 Reasons Why Huskies Hate Water

There are 5 reasons why most huskies hate water. It’s important to note that your husky may hate water for all of these reasons, or just a few.

The reasons why a lot of huskies hate water are:

  1. Genetics and Instincts
  2. They don’t like getting dirty or wet
  3. Unfamiliar With Water
  4. Bad First Experience
  5. Personality 

1. Genetics And Instincts

The first reason why huskies hate water is because of their genetics and instincts. Huskies are bred for sledding. Much of the knowledge and desire to pull a sled is instinctual for them because they have a long history of doing the job.

This is the same reason why a retriever will retrieve items, and a hound will track game. Over time, they’ve developed instincts that allow them to do their jobs well.

This same process can also make them indisposed to some things. In the case of huskies, they can’t bring a sled through a lake, so they instinctually avoid it.

This isn’t just about their job, however. It’s also due to the climate in their native land. Huskies are well adapted to living in arctic conditions.

However, when their coat gets wet, it doesn’t provide the insulation to keep them warm. It can also freeze in artic conditions which can be life-threatening.

Even though your husky doesn’t live in the arctic circle, they still have the instincts from their native land.

2. They Don’t Like Getting Dirty Or Wet

Another reason huskies don’t like water is that they prefer not to be wet or dirty. Huskies may look like wolves, but some of their behaviors are very catlike.

They groom themselves well and keep themselves very clean. You’ve probably noticed that your husky spends more time grooming than most pooches.

Because they prefer to be clean, your husky may avoid getting wet or going for a swim. They work hard to keep their coat clean, why get it dirty?

3. Unfamiliar With Water

If your husky hasn’t seen bodies of water before, they may simply be unfamiliar with water. Dogs, including huskies, tend to be cautious if they aren’t used to something.

It can also be different based on the type of water. If they’ve seen a swimming pool, they may still be unfamiliar with the beach, for example.

4. Bad First Experience

Huskies are very smart, and they remember things well. The main way that dogs remember things is through association.

They may not remember the details of what happened, but they will remember how they felt.

This is how training works. When they follow a command, they get a reward. They will remember that something good happened, and want to obey the command, because it leads to a reward.

Unfortunately, this also applies to negative experiences. Some owners assume that all dogs know how to swim, and enjoy doing so.

These owners may toss their pooch into the water, without realizing that this can be very traumatic.

So, if your husky’s first experience with water was negative or traumatic, it’s no surprise that they don’t like it.

5. Personality

The last reason huskies don’t like the water is their personality. Some huskies are more cautious than others, and this makes them more reluctant to try new things like swimming.

If your husky gets scared or upset easily, their personality may prevent them from enjoying the water.

It can also be a simple matter of preference. Just as some people don’t like to swim, some dogs don’t either.

Can You Teach A Husky To Swim?

Yes, you can teach a husky to swim. However, if your husky hates the water, teaching them to swim can be tough.

Even though you can teach them to swim, you’ll need to ask yourself, should you?

You’ll need to consider how reluctant to swim your husky is. Are they scared of the water due to a bad experience? Do they simply hate the water?

Do you think that you can work with your pooch to get them to enjoy swimming?

A husky swimming in a lake

How they feel about a bath can give you an indication. If they are terrified or upset by bathtime, swimming probably won’t go well.

Before you teach them how to swim, you’ll need to get them comfortable with bathing by providing plenty of treats and praise throughout the bathing process.

6 Steps For Teaching A Husky To Swim

Teaching your husky to swim will take a little time and patience. Don’t expect your pooch to immediately take to the water. If you follow these steps correctly, you should have a swimming husky soon.

1. Get A Floatation Device

The first thing you should do is get a floatation device, or life jacket, for your husky. Be sure that it’s comfortable and fits them well.

A life jacket allows your husky to learn to swim safely and helps them relax in the water.

2. Choose The Right Location

You’ll need to choose an appropriate location for your husky’s first swimming lesson. Dogs tend to prefer lakes, ponds, and other natural bodies of water to swimming pools.

A lake looks natural to your dog, while a swimming pool looks artificial. This can make them more hesitant to get in. Still, if a swimming pool is your only option, you can make it work.

It’s also important that the area is calm and quiet. The last thing you want is a crowded beach. It’s too much stimulation and can trigger anxiety when your pooch is getting accustomed to the water.

3. Start Slow

You’ll need to start slow and let your husky make the moves. It’s best to choose an area with a gradual grade, so your husky can move into the water a little at a time.

If you can get them into the shallow water, this is a great first step. It’s best if you get into the water first, so you can remain nearby.

Never force them into the water. Instead, you’ll need to coax them in. You can stand in the water and call them. You can also use a favorite toy or treat to encourage them to come on in.

If there’s not a gradual grade, you may need to hold them in the water, so that they can get accustomed to it slowly.

4. Teach Them To Get Out Of The Water

Your pooch needs to know that they can get out of the water. Show them how to get out, and get in and out with them a few times.

Getting out may be as simple as a step or two out of the water, but practicing this will give your husky confidence. When they know that they can “escape” the water, they will be more relaxed when they are in the water.

5. Move Deeper

When your husky is ready, you can encourage them to move deep into the water. Again, this should be their choice. Don’t force them.

Feel free to use a treat or toy to coax them out further. Give them lots of praise throughout the process.

A red husky swimming in water

Let them stay in the deeper water as long as they are comfortable with it. If they want to turn towards the shore, allow them to do so.

Remain close to them, and watch for signs of anxiety or fatigue.

6. Repeat As Necessary

You may need to repeat some of these steps each time you take your husky to swim, until they are comfortable with it.

Don’t expect them to immediately hop into the water and get into deep water their second time out. Be patient, and work at their pace.

Alternatives To Swimming

If your husky isn’t a fan of swimming, there are a few alternatives to consider. If you want to cool them down, a plastic wading pool works well. Unless they absolutely hate water, they will probably enjoy this.

You can also use a spray bottle of water or ice water to cool them down. Some dogs like to be sprayed with the hose, but if your husky is scared of this, avoid it.

If you want to provide exercise, you can take them for a walk or a run, rather than swimming.

If you are at the beach, just bring a few toys for your husky to play with while you enjoy the water.


Is It Ok For A Husky To Get Wet?

Water won’t hurt your pooch under most circumstances. If it’s cold, water can be dangerous, and even deadly.

As long as the weather is warm, just be sure they enjoy the water if they get wet.

Why Do Huskies Hate Baths?

Huskies may hate bath time because they dislike the water.

However, they may enjoy the water, and not like being made to stay in the tub. They may also dislike the smell of themselves after a bath.

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About The Author

Hi, I’m Carrie! I’ve always had a special connection with nature, and animals of all shapes and sizes in particular. I’ve been a writer for nearly a decade and recently joined the Malamute Mom team. I love providing information to other dog lovers.

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