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Can French Bulldogs Swim?

Can French Bulldogs Swim?

French Bulldogs are the ultimate companion dogs and make the best adventure buddies due to how energetic and active they are. However, they are not down for every type of adventure – swimming is where these doggos tend to draw the line.

French Bulldogs love cooling off in some cold water, but the problem is that Frenchies and swimming aren’t really a good match. And this is where the question comes in, can French Bulldogs swim? Not really – they will require a life vest when in the water, and it can be very risky leaving them near deep water. Frenchies are not naturally designed for swimming.

We have various guides to help get you clued-up on your favorite breed. We answer all your questions like ‘do French Bulldogs have tails?’, ‘do Frenchies make good family dogs?’ and ‘why are French Bulldogs so popular?’.

But in this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about French Bulldogs and swimming.


Do French Bulldogs like Water?

Most French Bulldogs do like water, but just like humans, all dogs are different and have their preferences. Some Frenchies may love swimming, while others may absolutely hate it. So it does depend on your doggo.

However, we know that this breed is not a natural swimmer, nor are they built for it. But that does not always mean that they won’t enjoy a dip every now and then. Your Frenchie will love cooling off in a little splash pool during those hot summer days!

It helps to read your pup’s body language and see how they react and behave when they are around water. Are they getting excited? Or do they seem scared? Also, take note of the way they are when in the water. If they look relaxed, then they enjoy it. But if they look quite anxious or scared, your dog isn’t having fun.

Always observe your Frenchies’ body language and never force them to do anything they don’t want to do.


Can French Bulldogs Swim? Are They Good Swimmers?

The answer to both of these questions is usually no.

There are a number of reasons why French Bulldogs swim poorly. Unfortunately, their physical features are just not cut out for swimming. Let’s take a look at the main reasons why it’s pretty rare to see French Bulldogs swimming:

Frenchies are compact and heavy

French Bulldogs are naturally a very muscular breed. They also have a compact frame and are known as heavy-boned dogs. Essentially, this means that they have quite a high muscle-to-fat ratio, and this is not good for swimming.

A fully grown adult Frenchie can weigh anything between 16-28 pounds and stands at around 11-12 inches by the shoulder. However, their size does also depend on genetics and gender.

Frenchies weigh a lot compared to other dogs their size because they have a lot of heavy muscle. Frenchies are muscular dogs crammed into small bodies. Another problem is how dense their muscles are, which makes them much more likely to sink.

Their brachycephaly makes breathing very difficult

Frenchies have brachycephalic syndrome, which means that they have short and wide skull bones, and this is what gives them that flattened face. This syndrome also leads to various changes in the overall anatomy of their soft tissue structures.

Frenchies are not the only brachycephalic dogs; a number of other dogs also have this syndrome, like English Bulldogs, Pugs, Boxers, and more. This physical quality certainly affects your French Bulldog’s ability to swim.

Dogs with this syndrome struggle to keep afloat as they need to keep tilting their head up while they are swimming. This basically means that they need to swim in an almost vertical position.

The shorter and flatter a dog’s muzzle is, the more it will need to tilt its head when in the water. This makes it harder for them to float and breathe at the same time. Some dogs struggle more than others do, and unfortunately, French Bulldogs’ faces are extra flat, making it extra hard.

This will be your biggest challenge when trying to get your French Bulldog and other brachycephalic dogs to swim. Some dogs start sinking immediately, so it’s best to keep them in shallower waters.

Frenchies have short legs

French Bulldogs are considered a dwarf dog breed – they have a dwarfism gene which means they have abnormally short legs.

Osteochondrodysplasia is a common condition where dogs’ bones and cartilage grow and develop abnormally. There is also a variation called achondroplasia, where their bones do not fully grow.

Achondroplasia results in abnormally small and short limbs, and this is known as dwarfism. Unfortunately, Frenchies have this, and it is a major disadvantage for them when it comes to swimming.

Usually, when you put a dog in water, it will automatically start doggie paddling. Still, just because a dog can paddle in water doen’t mean that it can float well.

Dwarfism makes it very hard for Frenchies to swim because floating is a lot harder when you have smaller paddles! When you put all of a French Bulldog’s limitations together, it’s easy to see why these dogs do not make good swimmers and why they might not be able to swim in the first place.


The Health Benefits Of Swimming For Frenchies

Swimming can be very good for dogs and makes for a fun and healthy activity. So even though your French Bulldog may have a tough time swimming, it can still have a lot of benefits for them.

Frenchies are relatively active doggos, so they require a fair amount of daily exercise. They should have at least an hour of exercise every day. One of the best things about swimming is that one minute in the water is equal to four minutes of running.

In most cases, swimming can lead to some amazing health benefits like reduced inflammation, increased metabolism, and a healthier cardiovascular system. Another bonus is that improved circulation helps keep your doggo’s coat shiny and smooth.

Frenchies are prone to suffering from a common health condition called hip dysplasia. Since swimming is such a low-impact activity, it can reduce inflammation and pain while also strengthening muscles and joints. This helps to ease the symptoms of hip dysplasia.

According to the American Kennel Club, Frenchies are prone to obesity, which can lead to a number of health problems. This is where swimming can be a saving grace, as it’s the best form of exercise for fighting obesity. Through swimming, doggos can burn tons of calories.

So, although Frenchies aren’t the best swimmers, it can be hugely beneficial for them to try. We’ve got some tips to help you out next.


Introducing your French Bulldog to Water

It can be tempting to simply chuck your dog into the shallow part of the water, but this is never a good idea. You need to introduce them slowly so that they can get comfortable with the water. With a bit of patience, you can make swimming fun and you might even find your French Bulldog loves water!

Your French Bulldog likely already has some understanding of water, especially if you have been giving them regular baths. However, you should always start with smaller bodies of water and gradually introduce them to larger bodies of water, like a swimming pool.

You could start with a kiddie pool or a bathtub. At first, it’s all about getting their feet wet. You don’t need to fill the pool or tub up completely, just enough so that a little bit of your French Bulldog’s body is submerged in the water.

Once your dog has gotten used to the water, you can start introducing them to a pool. However, they aren’t ready to go in just yet. First, give them time to sniff and explore the water. Don’t forget their dog life vest!

Frenchies are very curious pups, so they’ll likely be quite excited to explore the water. It’s also a good idea to take your dog to a spot they’re used to when you want them to start swimming. This is because they’ll be more familiar with the surrounding area, which gives them comfort and security.


How To Teach Your French Bulldog To Swim

The good news is that with some training and patience, you can get your French Bulldog swimming.

We know that Frenchies generally struggle to swim, but this doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Even if they won’t be doing it often, it’s recommended that you teach your dog how to swim. This is so they can help themselves if they ever fall into water accidentally. Knowing how to swim makes life much safer for them.

It’s important to note that swimming can be quite scary for your doggo. This is especially true if your French Bulldog doesn’t really love water to begin with.

It can be a very overwhelming activity, so be patient with your dog and never push them to do anything that they don’t want to do. Teaching your pooch how to swim likely won’t be a fast or easy process, but here is how to do it:

Step 1: Get a dog life jacket for your French Bulldog

The first thing you need to do before teaching your French Bulldog how to swim is invest in the proper equipment. You need to get a good quality life jacket for your Frenchie. A life jacket is generally recommended for all breeds, especially at the start of training.

A life jacket will give your French Bulldog a lot more confidence. It can also give you, the pet parent, that extra peace of mind as you know that your fur baby will be able to stay afloat. Don’t just take it from us; the American Kennel Club also recommends using a life jacket.

It is best to get a life vest that is very bright so that you can easily spot your dog in large natural bodies of water. You should also find one that has safety handles, as they make pulling your dog out of the water much easier.

Step 2: Slowly introduce your French Bulldog to the swimming pool or body of water

We have covered this, but we need to highlight that this step is crucial. Take it slow and steady, and give your dog as much time as it needs.

Step 3: Try getting your French Bulldog in the water

After a few days (maybe even weeks) of preparing your dog for its big day, it’s time to put them in the water. Always start in the shallow end of the pool and check that the water is reasonably warm. You want to avoid freezing cold temperatures.

We highly recommend bringing along some of your fur baby’s favorite toys and treats. These work as great incentives to get them into the water. It’s also best for you to get in with them. Your dog trusts you, and this will give them the extra confidence they need.

Alternatively, try bribing them by holding a treat or signaling for them to get into the water. You could also throw one of their favorite toys in, as they will likely jump in after it.

If throwing a toy in does the trick, then start throwing it into deeper water, or move further away from them with the treat in your hand to get them deeper into the water. After some time and a lot of patience, your French Bulldog will start to get the hang of it.

You can visit our homepage to find more information on positive reinforcement training techniques, which will help you teach your pooch to swim.


Safety Precautions When Swimming With a Frenchie

When it comes to swimming, it is best to take it slow so that your pup can build some confidence when in the water. Life jackets are essential, and your pup should always wear one as their short legs are not built for swimming. Ensure that the life jacket is their size and fits well.

Keep an eye on your dog at all times, and be prepared to jump in or help at any second. You should also take note of the weather and conditions of the water. Your pup should not go swimming in extreme cold or heat, and you need to think about the water they are swimming in. There may be dangerous debris under the water and strong currents.

Always read your pup’s behavior and body language. If they look stressed and unhappy, take them out of the water or stop the activity entirely. Do not let your dog drink a lot of water while swimming either, as it can make them drown or make them very sick.

It is also recommended that Frenchie owners check in at the vet to see if their dog is fit and healthy enough for swimming. Always take the necessary precautions to ensure that your dog is safe and having fun.


What To Do With Your French Bulldog After Swimming

There are a few things that you should do with your Frenchie after they have had some fun paddling in the water. You must give your pup a good rinse after they have been in swimming pools, dams, or any body of water. This will wash off any leftover dirt and other debris.

Use a towel to dry your dog – you want them to feel warm and comfortable again. Focus on their paws and ears, as these spots can easily get infected if they haven’t been dried properly. Check their ears for water at the same time as trapped water can also lead to infections and health issues.

Once they are clean and dry, give them a good brush to end your grooming routine. Keep a good eye on your pup for a while after they have gone swimming to watch out for any abnormal behavior or problems, and give them loads of water. Swimming can be very demanding on their bodies, and they may need some extra hydration afterward.

Always give your pup the proper care and maintenance after a fun day out in the water!



Can French Bulldogs swim in seawater?

Yes, they can. A French Bulldog swimming in seawater needs to wear a life jacket, though. Frenchies are not made for swimming, and you do not want to risk any accidents in the ocean. Keep them in shallow water, and always keep your eyes on your dog.

When should Frenchies not swim?

You should not let your dog swim when it is cold outside or when the water is too cold, as they can get hypothermia. If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them. This is the case for most dog breeds.


Final Thoughts

So, can French Bulldogs swim? They might not be the next Michael Phelps, but they can swim if you teach them well and have plenty of patience with them. Many Frenchies love spending time in the water during those long summer days as long as they’re wearing their dog life vest.

Swimming can be a very fun and healthy activity for your Frenchie if you make sure to supervise them at all times. As a Frenchie owner, you need to be aware that your fur baby isn’t a natural swimmer, but it’s still an activity they may come to love!