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Our Sheltie, when fully grown, will be joining us more and more in our outdoor life styles. He's already experienced geocaching, but has mountain climbing, hiking and kayaking to come. Also both sides of our family are heavily into sailing / yachting etc.

We are expecting that he will require a life jacket, as Shelties are incredibly long haired and he may possibly struggle even in calm water such as a canal (Grand Union, England).

There is a small (very small!) Yorkshire terrier in the family who has a life jacket for his trips out on the family boat (at sea) and I know they struggled to find one. However for now we will keep Blaze to calm waters on the canals.

What I want to know is... Should we make him wear a life jacket even if he is perfectly ok swimming in calm water? Would his long hair effect his ability to swim or would it be more of a struggle?

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For dogs that are shore swimming in a beach like environment, I don't think I would worry too much for a need around a life jacket. They'll generally have easy access to ground, so less likely to get trapped and tired.

However, if you're talking about being on boats or in water settings with no easy way out of the water (or for you to go in and get them), then I would get one regardless of long or short hair. Dogs are usually excellent swimmers, but they can also tire out and a long haired dog is likely to tire faster, so it's just a wise investment.

As for getting one, there are some online options that may work for you. It may be easier to find them that way then scouring through local pet supply stores.

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  • @Aravona - You're quite welcome. :) – John Cavan Jun 10 '15 at 18:37

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