Can French Bulldogs Swim? The Definitive Guide

French Bulldogs make wonderful pets for households worldwide. They’re one of the most well-liked dogs in America. They lead active lives and often love the outdoors. But one question remains — can French bulldogs swim?

In this blog post, we take a look at whether or not French bulldogs can swim. We will also cover some tips to help you get your bulldog in the water safely. So whether you’re a new French bulldog owner or you simply want to try something different with your furry pal, keep reading to learn more.

Can French Bulldogs Swim?

french bulldog swimming

The short answer is no. The majority of French bulldogs are incapable of swimming. They seem to struggle to keep their heads above water. If you end up leaving a French Bulldog unattended, it will typically sink under the water.

Even though you think your French bulldog could indeed swim, the likelihood is that they simply will not be able to for long, which puts them in danger. Once they are tired, they will begin to sink.

So why can’t French bulldogs swim? Why do they require additional support when they get in the water? Here are some common reasons why French bulldogs can’t swim.

They Have Brachycephalic Faces

The shortened appearance of a French bulldog’s face, or brachycephalic syndrome, comes with potential medical conditions that make swimming challenging.

Due to their short and wide skull bones, dogs with this condition appear to have “flattened faces.” These facial characteristics make these dogs prone to a medical issue referred to as obstructive airway syndrome.

Since they must tilt their heads upward to stay afloat in the water, swimming becomes a struggle. This hinders horizontal movement. 

The French bulldog has to tilt its head more due to its flatter face and shorter muzzle. It becomes more challenging to breathe while maintaining balance, increasing the risk of drowning.

They Have Short Legs

can french bulldogs swim

These dogs’ short legs are another factor that makes swimming difficult. All dogs instinctively begin paddling when placed in water. Dogs must have strong legs to maintain motion in the water because paddling is a crucial component of how they navigate.

The French bulldog struggles to stay afloat with relatively small paddles because of their short legs. A dog can’t stay safe in the water if it can’t properly float.

Their Body Build Is Not Ideal for Swimming

Swimming is challenging for French bulldogs because of their stout, muscular build, which tends to leave them with little buoyancy. Other dogs can swim better due to an advantageous distribution of weight.

Due to their heavier front halves, however, these dogs find it challenging to swim straight ahead or try to turn while submerged.

Getting Your French Bulldog In Water

Here are some ways you can have your French bulldog enjoy the water while staying safe:

Get Your French Bulldog a Life Jacket

can french bulldogs swim

You can buy a high-quality life vest for your French bulldog if you want them to have some fun with the family in the pool in summer.

There are life jackets available that fit your small dog and provide them with additional buoyancy to keep their head above water.

When purchasing a doggie life jacket for your Frenchie, make sure to choose one that fits snugly to reduce the chance that it will come off or fail to keep your dog afloat.

These canine life vests perform many of the same functions as inflatable flotation sleeves do for young children. Although the additional flotation can help them stay above the water, it is still crucial to pay attention to your dog.

Get Your Dog a Puppy Pool

Purchase a puppy or kiddie pool for your French bulldog if you do not trust having them in deeper water with life jackets or other flotation devices on.

You should search for the following features in a pool for your French bulldog:

  • Not easily pierced by their pointed claws
  • Made using non-toxic materials
  • Easily entered and exited

You want to wet their feet in the beginning. It’s not necessary to fill the puppy pool. Just be sure that some of the dog’s body parts are submerged in the water.

French bulldogs are curious dogs, so they probably won’t be fearful or frightened at first. After a while, their inquisitive nature will kick in, and they’ll be exploring the chest-deep water.

Stay around the dog as they play and sunbathe in the water during summer months. It helps the dog feel more secure and comfortable.

Tips to Help Your French Bulldog Learn How to Swim

can french bulldogs swim

To get the best guidance on water safety for your French bulldog, speak with a qualified dog swimming trainer.

It’s a good idea to have another canine companion who enjoys swimming and is amiable and familiar when taking your Frenchie swimming for the first time. As more people and dogs enjoy themselves, they will undoubtedly follow.

Train the dog for brief intervals on a warm sunny day. Swimming can be exhausting. Even though French Bulldogs have a great deal of energy, learning to swim can be mentally taxing for a dog. Most Frenchies cannot swim at all.

You should never push your French bulldog into the deep water. On certain days, they might not feel like swimming. It is crucial that they feel safe and at ease. For them, one bad experience can ruin swimming.


Can French bulldogs swim? Unfortunately, it’s unlikely. But that shouldn’t stop you from having a great time with your pet in the pool. Dogs enjoy any chance to participate in activities with members of the family, and a doggy life jacket can help your dog get in on the water fun. 

Ensure you always take safety precautions to reduce the likelihood of your dog drowning. With the right safety measures, your dog can enjoy summer outdoor activities with everyone.

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