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Dagmar, a 10-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever, plays in the water. (Courtesy of Seth Casteel)

WASHINGTON – All dogs go to heaven, but do all dogs know how to swim?

It depends on the breed and the length of their legs.

Dogs with short faces also may struggle in the water, according to

Spaniels, setters and retrievers all tend to be strong swimmers mainly due to their strong limbs. But many of these dogs were bred to help hunters, often retrieving waterfowl, or for water rescues.

But sturdier breeds, such as bulldogs and boxers, sink like the Titanic in water. Their short legs make it it difficult for them to stay afloat.

Dogs with short faces, like pugs, also struggle to swim because they get tired easily.

Although small dogs like Chihuahuas are good swimmers, they may chill or fatigue easily and face a higher risk of drowning. recommends using a pet life vest if your dog isn’t the best swimmer.

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WTOP’s David Burd contributed to this report. Follow @DavidBurdWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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