Can French Bulldogs Swim? Water Fun Uncomplicated!

Can French Bulldogs Swim? Photo of a French Bulldog in the water.

Natural and intrinsic swimming reflexes are both commonly noticed among dogs. I had no idea how things could differ between dog breeds when it comes to their reaction to water, so I came to terms with this topic since I’ve seen how the French Bulldog interacted water. Have you ever seen a french bulldog swimming?

So, can French Bulldogs Swim? No, French Bulldogs can’t swim due to their body structure. They tend to have more difficulty breathing with high-intensity activities, such as swimming, firstly due to their short noses. Gasping for air changes their swimming position and doesn’t allow them to float naturally. Along with the fact that their weight distribution isn’t great, their torso is heavy, with weighty muscles and bones. These anatomy features plus their tiny legs add up to the equation, making Frenchies unsuitable for swimming, neither being left alone near water.

Despite this, not being able to swim doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t enjoy and play with water or in water. I invite you to understand more why this occurs and retain some tips on how to face it and still keep your French Bulldog entertained in the summer days.

Body Structure? What now?

The grand majority of dogs are immediately associated with their incredible swimming skills or the will to play with water. But contrary to what most of us think, not all of them are avid swimmers. Even though you might have noticed French Bulldogs have the swimming instinct and love water, moving their paws back and forth as soon as they are above water, their body structure won’t make it easier for the task.

To be more specific, their short skull shape, the well-known and characteristical squashed nose, is the factor that plays the most crucial role in French Bulldogs’ swimming inability. I’ve had dogs since I can remember. The realization of a dog not being able to swim freely hit me like a truck when I learned about why.

For some dog lovers, their smooshed faces might be an adored characteristic, but in truth, unfortunately, they can face an extensive list of health problems on account of it.

Brachycephalic airway syndrome is in that list. It is noticeable when you see their difficulty to breathe through their short and often almost closed airways, which can worsen when they are excited or experience heat.

When you think of ways to go through the usual horrid summer days, a really lovely refreshing dip in sea water comes instantly to mind, right? You might have thought the solution could be going for a swim with your buddy, putting them in water so they can cool down and alleviate that symptom. If it were any other breed with a “normal” snout length and general anatomy in their favor, things could be different. With our Frenchies, though, the case changes.

They can’t even float. Their tilted head up, while trying to breathe, and their torso contribute to that; they just sink as they try to swim. And there they go, like a rock, underwater in no second. It is almost impossible for them to stay afloat. Eventually, they become tired and sink in deep water, which presents a significant danger and should be something to avoid, having them in water.

When I say that it’s almost impossible for them to stay afloat, I want you to compare the situation just like it happens with small children that can’t swim. By learning some security tips, though, you will be able to find a few ideas and perks that might help you to experience some joy in the water with your dog. Here’s what I discovered.

How Can French Bulldogs Swim?

Ways To Introduce More Summer Fun to Your French Bulldog Safely

As I mentioned, one way to accept the issue is by taking the same precautions used with children, whenever they are close to the sea, a swimming pool, or water in general.

This may include swimming pools security, so they don’t fall in them, and anything else you can think about that adds up safety-wise must be taken into account so you can make sure your dear Frenchie is secure. Because, remember, if they fall into the water, they sink.

Reinforced Safety in Pools

Having a swimming pool outside can be particularly dangerous for your Frenchie. I found that having an inground pool outside turns out to be a worrying thing if you have a rock-like-heavy-Frenchie. They can be in danger whenever you let them outside unattended since they can fall into water easily.

One way to solve the issue is having a fence installed around the pool area, and, with worries aside, you will be able to focus on the best part: having fun with your dog. He can always go for a swim in the big pool whenever you’re there too and for that, there are some really cool accessories you can purchase so he can be by your side having fun, but more on that later.

Another thing I found to be very helpful when you don’t feel like going for a swim with him in the bigger pool is to buy a baby pool. Whenever the weather is favorable, you can let him go outside and have fun in the water. This is really helpful to face those high-temperature summer days and their tendency to overheat.

Another thing you must keep in mind as a French Bulldog owner is this fact; as a brachycephalic breed, as I explained in the previous section, they tend to have more difficulty with this matter. They have a harder time panting, which is how dogs usually deal with heat and high temperatures, by inhaling and exhaling heavily.

Frenchies are not able to do it as easily due to their constricted nasal cavities, hence why it is as vital to prevent overheating and help them cool down. This is as crucial as protecting them from drowning.

Changing Scenarios to The Beach

Whenever you and your furball go to the beach, try to avoid those impossible-to-bear-high-temperature days. Remember, they overheat. Plus, the hot sand is not gentle on them. It isn’t either when our feet touch it, and we can go for a swim. Imagine that with a dog that overheats quickly and can’t swim —disaster sauce.

A good idea is always to take the baby pool to the beach. You will both be able to have an excellent time, he can play around with water the same and in safety, and you will avoid the crazy waves with him in your arms. If you don’t feel comfortable facing the waves and putting him at risk, this might be a safer way to enjoy the beach time. Sure, you can take him to the shore, so he can freshen up with the splashes of water and run, splashing everything and everyone in his way.

French Bulldogs are very friendly, and people always like to pet them; socializing is also something to take advantage of in this scenario. But here goes a useful tip: take him by the leash, so you don’t need to worry about him running towards the deep water. Better safe than sorry, that’s how I think about it.

Useful Accessories for All Instances

Even though now we know your Frenchie-smoochie will only be able to have a good time in the inground pool with you there, there’s always the chance of dropping him accidentally. Pretty much the same happens in the sea or the river, right? Dog Life jackets may come in hand when in water.

Surprise, surprise, because the market is full of ingenious and cute ideas to not only keep them safe but to transform them into awesome tiny-looking sharks.

You may not have the possibility to teach your Bulldog to swim, anatomy isn’t on your side on this one, but you can sure have fun with the aid of a life vest. This way, he can wear a dog life jacket whenever he goes to the big pool or when in calm waters, lakes, etc.

Whenever he just plays outside, two additional accessories may be perfect to keep him from overheating: a cooling vest or a cooling collar. The late one is very convenient; when you go to the beach with the whole family, backpacks get full easily, and it is easier to take it with you everywhere, filling less space in your bag. They are also cheaper, so they can save you a few bucks and still be an essential asset for your Frenchie’s well-being.

Can French Bulldogs Swim? A Quick Recap with FAQs

Why can’t French bulldogs swim?

The French Bulldog has a short muzzle, thus short and very constricted airways. High-intensity activities such as swimming, which usually cause a dog to pant, are unadvised. They breathe heavily to gasp for air with just normal daily activities.

With high-intensity events, especially for brachycephalic breeds, their difficulty breathing increases. Their anatomy, short legs, and bulky trunk impact their capability for swimming as well.

Do French Bulldogs float?

No, they don’t. Due to the French Bulldog’s anatomy, they invest desperately in gasping for air while in water and lose their floating capabilities while doing it. Their massive muscled bodies and short legs play an important part in why they sink without a floatation device.

Can French Bulldogs go to the beach?

Yes, they can. Avoiding the high heat summer days with damaging hot sand for their paws is advised, though, since Frenchies are prone to overheat as well. Be mindful that as you need some essential items in your backpack when you head to the beach, so does your Frenchie, so you can both have a good time in safety over there.

Should French Bulldogs avoid deep water?

Yes, they should. Shallow pools like the common kiddie pools that all retailers have might be the answer to face the high-temperature summer days. It will also guarantee your Frenchie doesn’t overheat while playing outside.

What solutions for deepwater scenarios can I use on my French Bulldog?

A dog life vest can allow your dog to enjoy deep water occasions; the market is full of different possibilities, so you can choose from a straightforward life jacket to the menacing short nose shark life jacket you always dreamt of having. If you are a goof like me, yours won’t have another option than becoming one.

Accessorize equals to summer fun?

It certainly does. Cooling vests and cooling collars are a plus for the summer fun. Grab a bowl of water if yours doesn’t like to drink from a bottle or your hand. Collapsible water containers are a plus for those who enjoy the simplicity and space-saving items. You can extend the “cooling items” by searching for cooling mats for them to lay down in the house too. Use your imagination. Even water spraying them can be a funny activity, as long as they like it.

What to Take Into Consideration

Knowing your French Bulldog, how comfortable he feels in certain situations is the primary key to know his boundaries. Through the experience you’ll have throughout the years, you will be able to fine-tune the situations and accessories that your Frenchie enjoys. You will also know what he doesn’t like. Through the learning curves, the times with him will bring you the capacity to make the best you can, so he enjoys every summer, knowing all the conditioning factors as well when it comes to having fun in the water.

Even though French Bulldogs cannot swim, you don’t need to put a stop to the activities you enjoy doing and whenever you want to include them. A few little precautions might change the game, allowing you and your companion to have a good time together.

Photo of author
Sara Santos

Writer, Editor and member of the Council, I am a dog person and I thrive to get the answers that will help you provide the best care a dog can have. You can also find me on my personal blog here.