The majority of dogs are wonderfully well-adapted to accommodate the moderate temperature gradients, especially when only the top 18” of the water, at the most, is entered into by the dogs. The upper layer of lake water is considerably warmer year-round here in the Seattle area than many areas of the country. I understand that our year-round temperate climate might be different from the mid-west or east coast frozen waters you might be familiar with. The good news is that Seattle dog-owners are fortunate to be able to effectively exercise their pups in open water year -round because of these milder temps.
Some folks assume that breeds specifically meant to be water dogs and/or sporting dogs are the only candidates with enough “vigor” or “resiliency” for fresh-water swimming exercise. Fortunately, for the dogs of other breeds, as well their owners, this isn’t really true. Once a dog, regardless of species, is confident in the water, they tend to want to be in the water just as much in the middle of winter as the summer – if they’ve been having good experiences prior. I’ve taken dogs out swimming when it is snowing, believe it or not. The swim time will be reduced in length, naturally, but the dogs who love swimming (all breeds) are utterly indifferent to the frigid temps. I keep an eye on them noting any reluctance, but generally that isn’t observed when a dog has prior swimming experience. And when the water romp is finished for the day, these dogs are invigorated and exhausted and deeply content. After all our year-round, water romp trips, they are cleaned off, rubbed down or gently massaged while they are being towel dried. They will have their ears dried out too. To finish up, we walk five or so minutes to cool down their muscles.