Definition of dog paddle in US English:

dog paddle

(British doggy-paddle)


  • An elementary swimming stroke like that of a swimming dog.

    • ‘He wasn't such a great swimmer, about his only move was the doggy-paddle.’
    • ‘Their fur will hold air for a while, enough for a short dog-paddle, but beyond that their musculature just weighs them down.’
    • ‘Only being equipped with basic knowledge of the doggy-paddle, Del didn't dare test her swimming strength in water that exceeded her height.’


[no object]dog-paddle
  • Swim using this stroke.

    • ‘She had seen her friend doggy-paddling and thought she heard her call for help.’
    • ‘I doubt I'll be doing any synchronised swimming moves by then, but I should be able to doggy-paddle my way round the pool.’
    • ‘I jumped in without a thought after her, even though I hardly knew how to doggy-paddle.’