Can French Bulldogs Swim? & How to Teach Them to Swim

French Bulldogs have been a popular pet worldwide for a long time because of their cuteness. Millions of families choose French bulldogs as their friendly and gentle companions. However, many people who intend to buy French bulldogs as pets might wonder, “Can French Bulldogs swim?”

Let’s scroll down and read this article carefully to find out the full answer!

Can French Bulldogs Swim
Can French Bulldogs swim?

Can French Bulldogs swim?

Normally, dogs can swim, unlike those little kittens. Moreover, French Bulldogs are active and energetic dogs, so is swimming a good activity for them? And surely they can swim because it’s their instinct, right?

Unfortunately, due to their short facial structure and flat skull, it is hard for French Bulldogs to raise their heads in the water, leading to suffocation during swimming. Therefore, French Bulldogs are often afraid of water.

There’s no need to be disappointed as there are also many methods for bulldogs to swim safely. Especially when you want to cool down your Bulldogs on hot summer days, let’s do a little research on why they can’t swim to find out how to teach them.

Why can’t French Bulldogs swim?

Brachycephaly in Frenchies

French Bulldogs are brachycephalic dogs. These breeds have a broad and short skull, resulting in their “flat-faced” faces, which prevents them from swimming. Additionally, their short muzzles force them to tilt their head upwards underwater, making it difficult for them to breathe and float.

These are probably the biggest impediments that might harm your pet while swimming.

Heavy and Compact

It is undeniable that though the French Bull’s body is small, they are very muscular, and you can easily see their solid muscles when they move. The French Bull’s shoulders are very wide. A full-sized adult dog will have its shoulders measure between 11 and 12 inches.

Plus, they are usually heavy-boned dogs with a compact frame. Their sizes and weights will increase their sinking possibility underwater. 

Short Frenchie Legs

Another reason why the French bulldogs are afraid to swim is that their legs are very large compared to their short and sturdy body.

Short Frenchie Legs.
Short Frenchie Legs.

They are few dwarf breeds with unusually short limbs, which affect their swimming ability.

The fact that French Bulldogs always have difficulty swimming does not mean that they cannot swim. With proper training, your French bulldog puppies might be able to conquer the deep water. Below are ways to properly train your Frenchie so that they can learn to swim safely!

Further reading:
Persuaded Reasons Why Are Pugs So Expensive?
Things You Need To Consider Before Purchasing Doberman Puppies

How to teach  French Bulldogs to swim

Getting Dog Life Jackets

Safety is always priority number one. The first step to teaching your Frenchie how to swim is to buy suitable safety equipment. And that device is a life jacket for dogs.

Not only does it help boost the confidence of your French Bulldog, but it also gives Bulldog breeders peace of mind that their pets will be fine in the water.

To choose a suitable life jacket for your Frenchie, be sure to buy something that is easy to get on and off but fits well to avoid the possibility of slipping off. It will keep your dog on the water even if they haven’t mastered the skill.

The jacket size does matter as your Frenchie must be able to move without restriction while wearing a life jacket, whether underwater or on the ground. 

Though the life jackets will keep your dog above water, remember to keep a close eye on him to prevent bad situations.

Dog Life Jackets
Dog Life Jackets

Exposing bulldogs to water

Introducing your French Bulldog to water may be the most important step. It’s not a good idea to throw your dog in the shallows and start swimming right away. It would help if you let them get used to the water gradually.

Start with small bodies of water first, then move up to larger bodies of water. You can use the bathtub or a kid’s pool. In this first phase, you should wet their feet. Though submerging some parts of your French Bulldog’s body is crucial, it’s unnecessary to fill the tub or pool with water.

After the dog has acclimatized for a while, change into larger bodies of water, such as lakes or pools. Once again, let him get used to it first by sniffing the water and exploring it. French Bulldogs are curious dogs. Their curious nature will prevail, so they probably won’t hide or become fearful at first.

Getting in the water with your Bulldogs

French Bulldog Smiling.
French Bulldog Smiling.

After a while of getting used to the water, it’s time for your Frenchie to start swimming. You must start with shallow water. You should take your bulldogs somewhere with warm water if possible, or at least not too cold.

To encourage your bulldogs to get into the water, you should bring along their favorite treats and toys. Our advice is for you to join in the water with your pet because they trust their owners. Doing this will promote their confidence.

Then you can throw their favorite toy into the water for them to instinctively rush after.

If this small trick works, try tossing the toy deeper into the water. Likewise, you can go deeper and bribe your companions with gifts. Be patient and wait. Your French Bulldog will swim in no time!

Practicing swimming with a stick

This method is also a useful way to help your bulldogs learn to swim effectively. 

First, grab a stick and start playing with your Frenchie in shallow water.

Next, take the cane from the dog and place the stick in deeper water, within a few feet of his reach. The dog may not be able to swim on his own yet, but this approach helps him gradually get used to the deep water and calm him down.

Once your dog is confident enough, you can push the stick into even deeper water, beyond his depth. It would be best if you always stayed with your dog to avoid unexpected situations.

When teaching your French Bulldog to swim, you need to provide positive reinforcement and handling. Say encouraging words and offer a reward if your dog can swim out and get the stick. Doing this will promote its courage to tackle the challenge.


French Bulldogs have difficulties in swimming on their own. These hardships come from their characteristics. Nevertheless, with its patient owner coaching him, these limitations are no great deal at all. Above, we have taken you through the ”Can french bulldogs swim?” guideline. Be sure to remember that forcing your companion to jump into the water when it doesn’t feel like it on some days is to avoid. Make sure that he has a positive relationship with water and feels secure while playing in it.

Further reading:
Caring for your Frenchie during the Summer
How Old Do French Bulldogs Live? French Bulldog Lifespan