Can Sheep Swim?

Swimming is a life-saving instinct. However, not all animals possess this skill. How about sheep? Can sheep swim? Some hold the view that sheep cannot swim because of their appearance with thick wools. Surprisingly, that is not a hinder factor. The answer will be cleared up in this article.

Are sheep afraid of water?

Sheep have no fear of water; however, it doesn’t imply that they are fond of water at all. So, unless they are well motivated or under great pressure, they won’t wade in water willingly. They are not good swimmers, so most of the time you will not see them go for a swim for pleasure.

Sheep have no fear of water

There are some circumstances that prompt sheep have to cross the river:

  • Food – get to find better meadows.
  • Sex – attracted by heterosexual sheep on opposite banks.
  • Shepherd – followed the guidance by their shepherd.
  • Dangers – get rid of predators.
  • Sheepdog – driven by sheepdog into water.

Although water plays a crucial role in their life, they don’t enjoy themselves in the water. Specifically, they are not really into running water because of their potential dangers:

  • Fast current – sheep can be easily swept away in the fast-moving water because sheep is a farm animal moving slowly.
  • Rocks in the water – sheep cannot control themselves while walking across rocks.
  • Thick wool coat – sheep’s wool gets soaked rapidly which leads to the risk of shrinking.

Anyway, water still do wonders for sheep

Water is one of the indispensable factors in the life of all creatures, and sheep are not the exception. In fact, clean and pure water can prevent disease and parasites, which keep good health for sheep. Also, water has multiple other advantages for sheep that can be mentioned are:

  • Provide clean water for sheep’s life – a sheep consumes 1.5-3 gallons of water per day
  • Become a healthier sheep flock.
  • Control sheep’s body temperature through sweat.
  • Lubricate sheep’s joints.
  • Allow Sheep Biological Functions Normally to eliminate waste and toxins thanks to Sheep Urinates.

Can sheep swim?

Although sheep have not flair for natural swimmers, they still float even swim on the water surface by their instinct. They actually know how to swim, but they are not keen on it, as mentioned at the beginning.

In terms of their swimming pattern, it is like horse trotting. Also, they swim seem to be a kind of Doggie Paddle. In fact, in order to keep breathing, they keep their head above with their legs shift constantly like a dog.

When they are in worst-case scenarios such as tide or flood, their life-saving instinct will wake them up to survive. So, they will try to swim across the river when they cope with the risk of drowning.

sheep swimming

There was an incident that a flock of sheep was gazing before the tide comes in. As the tidewater rose, they were caught and surrounded by deep water. They faced two choices either swim or drown, between life and death. So, they all swam to the shore as a flock trailing one another. After that, they moved to the new pastures and began gazing again.

This incident proves that sheep go for a swim if they are in danger.

Be wary of sheep drowning

At this point, the answer to the question “Can sheep swim?” is clear. However, sheep cannot avoid the hazard of drowning because they are natural swimmers that only swim for necessity. Like all creatures, they can drown if:

  • Get fatigued and give up – Sheep run out of energy for continuing swimming.
  • The current is too rapid – sheep are easily get exhausted.
  • Their thick wool – wool’s sheep become heavier due to water.
  • Obstacles in the river such as rocks – sheep get stuck in it.
  • Health – some sheep are too weak to swim across the river or they are pregnant.

How far sheep can swim?

Up to now, there is no detailed database exists of how far sheep can swim. As mentioned before, they will swim only if it is necessary to survive. Also, it depends on various factors such as age, health… So, it is hard to survey how far sheep can swim.


In short, the question “Can sheep swim?” putting at the beginning of the article have the obvious answer. Sheep actually can swim when they are in a worst-case scenario. Although there are plenty of risks when they swim across the other banks, some special situations that threaten their life forced them to swim.


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