Can Goats Swim?

Written by Nixza Gonzalez
Updated: May 3, 2023
© AjazKh/
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Goats are adorable creatures and they have a secret talent few people know about; they are powerful and fast swimmers! Have you recently watched a video of a baby goat splashing in the water? You can accidentally spend hours just watching baby and adult goats swim in the water happily.

There are a lot of interesting features to a goat. First, goats are likely the first animals that we as humans domesticated over 9,000 years ago. There are well over 200 domestic goat breeds bred in the world. Usually, they are docile, even in the wild, but will protect themselves by kicking fainting or head-butting predators.

Ready to discover if goats can swim and how well? Continue reading to find out more interesting facts about goats and their surprising aquatic abilities.

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Can Goats Swim?

Interestingly, nearly all goats can swim. Swimming is a survival tool that is a big part of a wild goat. Wild goats living in their natural habits swim when they are in danger and need to cross paths or even islands.

Usually, goats start ‘swimming’ with a “doggy” paddle, but they are strong swimmers. These gentle creatures have funny personalities, especially goats that are domesticated. Working and pet goats don’t enjoy swimming, but they can.

Think of a cat. All cats can swim, but that does not mean they want to. You can teach a domestic goat to swim, but they won’t be happy with it. Just as some cats like to swim, some pet goats will actively seek out ‌pools and swimming holes.

can goats swim?
Goats are naturally strong swimmers but instinctively avoid water.


Why do Goats Hate Swimming?

Let’s answer the big question; why do goats typically hate swimming? There is no one reason that goats hate swimming, but the best-educated guess is that domesticated goats are not used to the feeling of the water. 

Domesticated goats prefer staying away from water, but will swim in situations where they are fear-filled. Also, goats are not made for water. These talented animals can climb and run since their bodies are built for these movements, but they do not have natural protection from water.

Goats instinctively jump over puddles and ponds if they can. If a goat accidentally wets their hooves, this can cause them to slip and slide. Wet hooves are not good, and these intelligent animals know this!

Did you know that goats also hate the rain? Pet and wild goats can get sick from the rain. When a goat is wet, its body temperature decreases. Wet weather can be dangerous for goats as they can develop pneumonia.

What to do if you are in the Water with a Goat

It is tempting to ‌run into the water to save goats if they are swimming but ignore this feeling. While ‌goats instinctively dislike water, they are fast swimmers and will use their large hooves to push themselves across the river and onto dry land.

Goats are generally sweet pets and are not dangerous. Domestic goats are not afraid of humans and it is unlikely they will attack you unless they feel like they are in danger. However, if the weather is wet, and it is cold outside, it is a good idea to dry the goat with a towel.

Low temperatures are dangerous. Usually, goats live in the mountains and dry and warm areas. Their beautiful coats do not repel water and take hours to dry properly.

Cold temperatures and a wet coat are dangerous for goats since they can develop pneumonia.

©Molly NZ/

Do Goats Need Help Swimming?

Goats are strong swimmers and runners. On average, goats run 15 miles per hour, but larger breeds like mountain goats run way faster. Goats also have thick and strong muscles which help them run, climb, and jump.

Goats approximately jump at least five feet high, however, the exact amount depends on the breed, age, and size of the goat. Overall, though, goats do not need help swimming unless the current is thick and dangerous. Unless you see a goat in the water panicking, it is unnecessary to help them.

How to Protect Domesticated Goats in the Water

Most of the time you don’t have to protect or help goats in the water. But, if a goat is in the water when the outside temperature is cold, keep them warm and outside of the icy temperatures. Dry their fur as quickly as possible with towels.

Pet and domestic goats need regular baths to repel ticks, fleas, and overall smelliness. However, to protect goats, owners need to bathe these animals in warm water and outside directly under the sun.

Some domestic goats also love water play. It is rare since their instincts push away the want for water. If you let your goat play in the water, make sure it is in a warm and sunny place so its fur dries quickly. Some pools contain high amounts of chlorine. The chlorine can cause diarrhea, dehydration, and sickness in goats. Goats can severely suffer from drinking pool water.

Where do Goats Live?

Goats have a long history. The oldest goat remains date back 8,000 to 9,000 years ago, but scientists believe ‌goats are at least 10,000 years old and originate in Iran. In no time, humans domesticated mountain goats to produce milk and cheese products. North America (the United States) and Great Britain are large domestic goat’s milk producers. There are well over 200 domestic goat breeds bred in the world.

Wild goats cannot live anywhere. Instead, you have the best luck finding mountain goats in elevations between 3,281 to 16,404 feet. They live in dry, warm, and sunny conditions. Domestic goats need proper shelter and requirements to live. Without a ventilated shelter and a large grass supply, domestic goats do not thrive.

Spanish Goat standing on a cliff.
Domestic goats live in mountains with an elevation between 3,281 to 16,404 feet above sea level.

©Tomas Calle Boyero/

What do Goats Eat?

Goats have a fascinating diet. These vegetarian animals will not willingly eat meat. Goats are not picky, though, and will eat just about any vegetation near their feet including grass, grains, tree bark, and weeds.

Domestic goats live about 15 to 18 years with a strong appetite. They also eat fresh vegetables like carrots and tomatoes. Goats need more than just food to survive. They are heavy water drinkers and need at least three gallons a day, more if they are lactating.

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About the Author

I have been a professional content writer for 6 years now, with a large focus on nature, gardening, food, and animals. I graduated from college with an A.A, but I am still pursuing a Bachelors of Marketing degree. When I am not writing, you can find me in front of my TV with a blanket, snacks, and my fur babies.

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