French Bulldogs easily get hot, so they like playing in the water to keep themselves cool.
But can they swim?
French Bulldogs can’t swim because of their physical characteristics.
Find out why French Bulldogs can’t swim well and if they like swimming or water.
And learn whether you can teach your French Bulldog to swim.
Can French Bulldogs Swim?
No. French Bulldogs can’t swim.
For their sake, during summer, many of us want our Frenchies to swim. But they can’t swim well, or for long, because their bodies aren’t designed for it.
If left in the water for more than five minutes, French Bulldogs will sink. In the end, even those who can paddle will be submerged.
Frenchies can’t swim as well as American Bulldogs. But you still must teach them the basics while young.
This will ensure their safety in case they fall in the water.
Other than that, there’s no reason to force them to swim.
Why Can’t French Bulldogs Swim?
French Bulldogs can’t swim because of their body composition.
They have brachycephalic (flat) faces. Their short snouts are linked to health issues like hypoplastic trachea.
It can be difficult for them to breathe in water because their windpipe is narrower.
Due to their sensitive gag reflex, brachycephalic dogs will “reverse-sneeze” constantly, especially when swimming.
Not only that, but the French Bulldog’s head is too heavy. Their head will easily sink, putting their nose and mouth underwater.
Their small bodies easily get tired and their short legs can’t push easily through the water.
If your Frenchie can swim, keep the sessions short and less frequent.
Do French Bulldogs Like to Swim?
French Bulldogs do not enjoy swimming.
Swimming and other vigorous activities are not preferred by brachycephalic dog breeds like the French Bulldog.
They prefer to stay home, relax, and sleep. But we know this is unhealthy, so we recommend indoor games and neighborhood walks.
These activities will not cause excessive exhaustion but will keep their body moving to burn calories.
Generally, it’s rare for Frenchies, like Wiley in this video, to enjoy swimming. But they can still learn how to do it.
Do French Bulldogs Like Water?
French Bulldogs do enjoy the water.
They might not like to swim but are excited to try. They will only dislike it when they’re tired and unable to breathe.
French Bulldogs also enjoy the water because it keeps them cool. Brachycephalic dogs are prone to overheating due to inefficient breathing and panting.
Dogs can’t sweat, so panting is the primary way they try to cool themselves.
French Bulldogs also love the water because of their playful and curious attitude.
Encourage them to play in shallow areas of the pool or the beach. Or try letting them play under the sprinkler or hose.
Can You Teach a French Bulldog to Swim?
Yes. You can teach your French Bulldog to swim but it may be challenging.
French Bulldogs are obedient. They will follow your commands, especially during a training session when there are treats.
Be patient with your Frenchie as they learn to swim. They are not naturally inclined to swim like Labrador Retrievers or Poodles.
Always use positive reinforcement. Don’t punish them if they don’t like the water.
Continue to supervise them once they can swim. We also suggest a life jacket so they can paddle easily and stay afloat.
This video shows Maui the French Bulldog learning how to swim for the first time.
How to Teach a French Bulldog to Swim
Start teaching your French Bulldog to swim in shallow water where they can touch the bottom. It can be a shallow pool, a tub, or a kiddie pool.
This will help them become familiar and confident in water without becoming fatigued.
Once they are comfortable, you can increase the water level or move them to a bigger pool.
We suggest swimming with them. Because Frenchies are people-oriented, they will mimic your actions.
They will enjoy swimming more if you join them.
Make sure they are wearing a flotation vest or life jacket.
Continue to praise them with toys and treats once their whole body is in the pool.
Hold their chest as they paddle. Keep doing this until they are independent enough to swim on their own.
Keep rewarding your French Bulldog so they stay happy and motivated to swim and take them out of the water after five minutes.
Safety Tips for Swimming with Your French Bulldog
Here are some important safety tips when swimming with your French Bulldog:
- Make them wear a life jacket.
- Stay by their side while they swim – even when they already know how.
- Teach them where the exit points are.
- Make sure to keep them hydrated before and after swimming.
The most important safety tip when swimming with your Frenchie is to let them wear a life jacket. Without one, they will have a hard time staying afloat and paddling.
Even if you’re having a pool party and you won’t let them jump in the pool, they still need to wear a life jacket just in case they fall.
You also want to look for a life jacket that doesn’t irritate the skin. It should also slide nicely and stay on while they’re swimming.
Don’t Do This When Introducing Your French Bulldog to Water
On the other hand, here are some things you should never do when you’re introducing your French Bulldog to Water:
- Do not force them to swim if they are not comfortable.
- Do not throw or push them in the pool.
- Don’t let them go into unfamiliar parts of the water.
- And lastly, don’t leave them unattended even if they have a life jacket on.
Is Swimming Good for French Bulldogs?
No. Swimming is not good for French Bulldogs.
It provides more drawbacks than benefits for them.
Your French Bulldog can still burn calories and be mentally stimulated without having to breathe with difficulty in the water.
Swimming can also be dangerous for your French Bulldog because they are more prone to drowning than other dogs.
They can’t move around easily and they get tired easily.
Other forms of exercise they should try include walking in the neighborhood and playing simple dog games indoors.
If your Frenchie does enjoy swimming, always keep an eye on them, and be sure to keep the sessions short to avoid fatigue.
Find out the pros and cons of swimming for dogs.
How Old Should Your French Bulldog Puppy Be Before They Start Swimming?
French Bulldogs should be around ten weeks old before they start swimming.
This is the right age for them to learn because they are more energetic, curious, and adventurous during this time.
They don’t have to swim in the pool right away. Try the tub or kiddie pool first.
Once they are comfortable in the tub, take them to the shallow part of the pool then move to the deeper water once they are comfortable.
How Long Can French Bulldog Swim For?
French Bulldogs can swim for only a maximum of five minutes.
They can’t stay in the water for a long time because their short legs, stout nose, and small body hinder them from moving easily through the water.
American Bulldogs, on the other hand, can stay for up to ten minutes in the pool because they have a longer nose.
But all Bulldogs, in general, should only swim for a short time because they lack the appropriate physical traits.
Water breeds can swim for up to 30 minutes without discomfort.
Can My French Bulldog Swim in My Pool?
Yes. Your French Bulldog can swim in the pool.
In fact, it’s one of the safest places for them to swim in because there are no unpredictable waves, currents, or high tides.
Pool water is also much safer for them compared to lake water, which can be home to the toxic blue algae.
Your pool filter won’t easily get clogged with dog hair since French Bulldogs don’t shed a lot. But you still have to regularly clean it with a pool vacuum
French Bulldogs Can’t Swim
Even if you see a lot of French Bulldogs on the internet swimming, it shouldn’t be a reason for you to force them.
Most French Bulldogs won’t learn how to swim because of their tiny bodies and small legs.
But you can find alternative ways to help them love water and have a good workout.
If your Frenchie can swim a little, make sure they wear a life jacket and only swim for a short time.
Find out here if you should wash your dog after a swimming session.