Can Shiba Inus Swim?

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Yes! Shiba Inus are intelligent enough to learn how to swim. They need some training, but it’s not too hard.

A Shiba Inu is an incredibly intelligent dog breed that has a natural instinct to try to avoid water. They are, however, able to learn how to swim with enough time and patience. In the Shiba Inu, swimming is linked to hunting. The great water hunters adapted their method of hunting animals where they used to at the bank. There are numerous records of Shiba Inu being able to swim in Japan and also many illustrations showing this. However, in past times Shiba Inus were not allowed access to all types of water or even near water as they would be considered a threat to wildlife and people alike. Recreating a Shiba Inu’s natural instinct to swim involves multiple steps and techniques.

  • Do not force your dog to get into the water if he or she is reluctant, as this may cause the dog to be fearful. Helping him or her gain confidence and slowly build up the desire to swim will help with training.
  • If you have a male Shiba Inu, try to have him walk beside you in the water without entering the water. This helps build his confidence and helps him make friends with other male Shiba Inus who may live near you.
  • Swimming is a great way to exercise your dog, but it is important that you allow your dog access to the water safely.
  • One of the most important things to keep in mind when training your dog is that the dog cannot hear sounds above water. Help your dog learn to adapt to this and it will make training easier.
  • Incase you are concerned about your Shiba Inu getting wet, spending time outside in the rain after an initial test run is also helpful.
  • If you do not want to let your Shiba Inu swim, it is probably because of fear or you may be afraid of him slipping or being injured.

Do Shiba Inus like water?

Shiba Inu are not natural swimmers. Compared to other dog breeds, Shibas are more inclined to be fearful of swimming. Some Shibas may take great pleasure in chasing a ball in the water or jumping over small waves on a beach. However, this does not mean they particularly enjoy swimming.

Some Shiba Inus are so afraid of being in the water that it is necessary to remove them from any pool or body of deep running water when they come across it when walking outdoors. The natural inclination for these dogs is to avoid all contact with any body of water larger than a puddle and even then they will want nothing more than for their owner to save them by taking them away from the water and off of any nearby dock or boat. Shibas may even choose to sit down in the water rather than swim themselves out of it. Despite this natural inclination, there are still many Shiba Inus who are not afraid of water and enjoy swimming and sometimes even playing.

How to train Shiba Inus to be good swimmers?

  1. Find a dog-friendly beach with shallow water about waist deep that you can wade in with your dog. Get the dog to chase a ball or stick thrown into the water. When they get in, let them take it and then encourage them to swim back to you. If they don’t want to swim, turn your back on them and walk away, pretending to ignore them until they chase after you.
  2. Throw a ball or stick into the water for your dog to fetch. Get them comfortable fetching it in shallow water before taking it further out, encouraging them with food if necessary.
  3. Use a special toy that floats and let your Shiba fetch it. Start in shallow water and work your way towards deeper water.
  4. Try swimming along with your dog for a while, encouraging them to swim with you by using a ball or other toy to help keep their attention on you rather than the water.
  5. Take them into the water when they are young and repeat this training often so they learn that swimming is fun and enjoyable.

Tips for keeping your shiba inu safe in the pool

  1. Never leave your Shiba Inu alone in the pool. Keep them on a leash as much as possible just in case they slip away from you and fall into the water by accident. If this happens, they will be unable to get themselves out without your help.
  2. Don’t ever throw your dog into the water unless they are comfortable being held under water for a few seconds first and know how to swim independently.
  3. Never try to teach your dog to swim when they are young, it will take them a long time to learn how.

Shiba Inus are equally comfortable in the water as they are out of it and can function just as well underwater as on land without any mechanical aid. When in the water they tend to have fun splashing and swimming around rather than moving away from water as a survival instinct would dictate.


The answer to this question is a resounding yes! Shibas can be trained how to swim. They need some training, but it’s not too hard. Simply give your dog the opportunity to experience water and have him or her get used to being on a boat or dock, taking time out occasionally until he fully trusts water. It may take some time, but chances are your Shiba Inu will get there.