Can French Bulldogs swim?
It’s easy to see why someone might think Frenchies can swim. After all, they overheat easily, especially in the summer and the water is a great place to cool down.
So while it might be tempting to let your Frenchie cool off in the pool it’s important to know that they absolutely cannot swim.
Why can’t French Bulldogs swim?
Due to their compact size, short legs, and lack of snout, these dogs were just not made for the water.
Most will sink like a rock if left unattended. Even if your French bulldog can swim a little bit, they won’t be able to sustain it for long. Unlike other dog breeds such as Labradors, Frenchies are unable to swim to the surface once they start going under.
Do French Bulldogs like water?
The sad part is, yes, they absolutely LOVE the water. So, despite being unable to swim unattended, if given the opportunity, Frenchies will want to go into a pool.
That’s why it is so critical to teach them that a human-sized pool is 100% out of bounds at a very young age. You can satisfy your Frenchie’s love for the water with strict visits to the beach or a children’s pool.
Do French Bulldogs float?
The simple answer is NO. Frenchies can’t float due to their body shape and muscle density. Basically, they have more muscle than fat and are typically top-heavy which makes it physically impossible for them to float.
Can Frenchies still enjoy the water?
With that being said, and while you should never let your French Bulldog swim unattended, here are a few ways they can still enjoy the water and cool off while having fun!
If you want to let your Frenchie frolic and play with the family in the pool during those hot summer months, you’re in luck! There are life jackets that have been specially made to fit your little dog and give them enough extra buoyancy to keep their head above water.
If you’re buying a life jacket for your Frenchie, be sure to get one that is tight-fitting to avoid the risk of it slipping off or not keeping your dog afloat. In many ways, these life jackets serve as inflatable flotation sleeves do for small children. The extra flotation can help keep them above the water, but in both cases, it’s important to still closely observe your little one to make sure they are doing OK.
Even with a life jacket, a French bulldog’s nose is still barely above the waterline due to the compact nature of their faces. It’s important to supervise your dog at all times while they’re in the water, and don’t take them in any water with a current. The ocean with its many waves and unpredictable tides is not a good place for a Frenchie.
Also, you should be very strict when ensuring your Frenchie only ever enters the water with their life jacket on. This is critical.
The Outward Hound Granby Splash Dog Life Jacket comes in a range of sizes and is made with a comfortable but secure fit.
Teach Your Frenchie to Swim
Even with strapped-on flotation, it’s still important to teach your dog how to swim, and especially how to safely exit the water.
This can save their life if they accidentally fall into water above their head when you’re not around to help them get out.
PetMD suggests using the “buddy system”; a method where you swim alongside your dog and help them get the hang of paddling with a life vest on and keeping their head above the water.
Treats are always a great training tool and are especially useful when it comes to the prescribed post-swimming ritual. This is when you should rinse and dry your dog off ensuring they know the proper way to exit the pool on their own.
A great, safer option to help your Frenchie cool off in the summer is to fill a kiddie pool with chest-deep water.
While your dog should still be supervised, this will allow them to stay cool while making it much easier for their heads to stay above water. There are even collapsible kiddie pools for traveling!
The Jasonwell Collapsible Dog Pool is portable and doesn’t require inflation!
French bulldogs absolutely cannot swim, and should never be allowed in the water unaided and unsupervised.
Having said that, your little dog can still enjoy pool days with the family through the use of special life jackets and proper training. You can even get them a little pool of their own where they can safely splash around and stay cool.
Will is the proud co-owner of Frankie, a Female Brindle French Bulldog, with his wife Michelle. We share our Frenchie experiences with the world to help health-conscious French Bulldog owners who want a happy, healthy, and long-living dog.
10 Replies to “Can French Bulldogs Swim? Your Questions Answered”
My french Bulldog can swim… please don’t put all Frenchies into one category… that’s like saying “women, cannot swim.” Sure I’m bet someone has said that before they allowed one to try or gave a female swimming lessons… but don’t white wash the breed with that because it is nonsense.
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We would highly recommend that Frenchie owners don’t let their pups swim. As much as there are some cases of Frenchies being able to handle the water, for the most part, it is very dangerous for them. Yes, they love it. Which is part of the problem. Once they swim they will want to continue swimming whenever possible and perhaps even when you’re not around.
The Frenchie stature and breaching capabilities are not made for swimming in most instances and it is a high-risk decision to introduce them to pools or deep bodies of water.
Today my 5 month old Frenchie decided to dive into the sea at my local beach. She managed to swim until i could wade in to rescue her in waist deep water
I have 2 frenchies, they both love the water and seeing as we live on a lake I do not let them outside alone without their life jackets on, they do sink like a stone! I agree that not all can be painted with the same brush but I would say the vast majority of frenchies do not swim well.
Thanks for sharing Karen!
Thanks for the great info Will!! Not sure if my MeeMee is one of the swimming Frenchies, but I’m so terrified of a drowning accident I plan to keep the baby pool filled all summer to stay cool!!
It’s already filled and she’s splashing away!!
That sounds like fun Gloria!!
Thanks for the advice, Will. Our local supermarket stocks those children’s blue plastic paddling pools/sandpits, so Fanny (1 year) will have one and I will also buy a FB flotation aid for marine excursions.
I can garantee 100%that frenchies will sink very quickly i put my millie in a horse trough when she was hot she stayed afloat for a few seconds then preceded to sink she would have drowned had i not being there maybe crossbreds can swim i have pugs as well they sink also