Animal swimming tests, such as the forced swim test, are extensively used in biomedical research to study rodent behaviour. Hair and skin exposed to water may be an important factor affecting the performance in this test. Since various hair and skin abnormalities are not uncommon in genetically modified or drug-treated laboratory animals, this test may be inappropriate for these animals. Because on occasions it is necessary to screen their swimming behaviour, in the present study we aimed to assess the role of hair in swimming of laboratory rodents in the forced swim test, widely used in behavioural research. For this, we shaved laboratory mice (129S1 strain) and compared their swimming patterns with those of unshaven controls. Overall, shaving mice did not affect their swimming behaviours in the 5 min forced swim test. Our results indicate that hair condition is not an important factor in the forced swim test for this mouse strain, and suggest that this test may have wider utility for behavioural analyses of mice with abnormal hair.