can french bulldogs swim

Can French Bulldogs Swim? How To Help Them Enjoy The Water?

It’s understandable why some people might believe that Frenchies can swim. Considering that they easily become overheated, especially in the summer, the water is a great place to cool off.

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.

3 Reasons Why Frenchies Can’t Swim

You can find many videos of French Bulldogs having fun in a lake or pool if you simply search YouTube. Again, we’re not saying that it’s impossible for Frenchies should learn to swim well—they can, of course!

However, Frenchies are climbing an uphill battle when it comes to swimming. They don’t have the best physical characteristics for swimming because of how they were created. The following three points will explain why Frenchies are poor swimmers.

1. Brachycephaly In French Bulldogs Makes It Difficult To Breathe

can french bulldogs swim

Simply put, Brachycephalic syndrome in dogs refers to a shortened head. Dogs with this condition have wide and short skull bones, thus giving the dog a “flattened face” look. The soft tissue structures’ anatomy changes as a result.

Based on the description, it’s easy to see that French Bulldogs are brachycephalic dogs. They are not, however, the only ones. There are numerous other dog breeds with brachycephaly, such as the Boxer, Pekingese, English Bulldog, Shih Tzu, Pugs, and more.

So how does this physical characteristic impact the Frenchies’ swimming prowess? Brachycephalic dogs will have a hard time staying afloat because they’ll need to tilt their head upwards while in water. Of course, this means they’ll be swimming in a near-vertical position.

The flatter and shorter the dog’s muzzle, the more the dog will need to tilt its head. The simultaneous maintenance of breathing and buoyancy is thereby made even more challenging. It’s manageable for some Brachycephalic dogs, however, the Frenchie has an “extra flat” face.

This is possibly the biggest challenge to teaching your French Bulldog to swim safely. Frenchies have been known to suddenly go vertical and sink like stones, according to some owners.

2. Frenchies Are Heavy And Compact Dogs

The French Bulldog is undeniably a muscular dog breed. Additionally, they frequently have heavy-boned dogs with compact frames. In other words, Frenchies have a high muscle-to-fat ratio, which isn’t ideal for swimming.

The French Bulldog is a tiny dog in comparison. A full adult-sized dog will stand between 11 to 12 inches at the shoulder. However, they weigh anywhere between 16 to 28 lbs, depending on factors like gender and genetics.

Because muscle weighs a lot, Frenchies are heavy. They are muscular dogs crammed into a small 11-inch canine body, as we previously mentioned. In addition, muscle is more likely to sink because, well, it’s dense. Just like Frenchies.

3. French Bulldogs Have Short Legs

French Bulldogs are one of the few true dwarf dog breeds. We aren’t making fun of the Frenchie, though. In fact, they actually have the dwarfism gene, as seen in several popular dog breeds. The dog will consequently grow legs that are abnormally short.

Osteochondrodysplasia, or Osteo for short, is a condition where the dog sees abnormal growth and development of bones and cartilage. However, Achondroplasia is a variation in which the bones don’t grow to their full potential size.

The result of Achondroplasia can be abnormally short limbs, which is called Dwarfism. This is what French Bulldogs have, and it can be a huge disadvantage for swimming. But why, you might be wondering.

When put into water, all dogs will naturally start dog-paddling. But just because a dog can paddle in the water doesn’t mean they can keep themselves afloat for very long. The Poodle is one of many dog breeds that does not swim naturally.

And given the short dwarf legs of the French Bulldog, they’re essentially trying to stay afloat with smaller paddles. I have to admit that there are many breeds of short-legged dogs that can swim. However, it can be challenging when you add all the other restrictions.

Do French Bulldogs Like Water?

It’s unfortunate because they do adore the water. Frenchies will therefore want to enter a pool if given the chance, despite their inability to swim unattended.

Because of this, it is crucial to instill in them the idea that a human-sized pool is completely off-limits from an early age. Visits to a children’s pool or the beach under strict supervision will satisfy your Frenchie’s thirst for water.

Do French Bulldogs Float?

The short answer is no. Due to their body structure and muscle density, Frenchies cannot float. Basically, they are top-heavy and have more muscle than fat, which prevents them from floating due to their physical makeup.

Swim Health Benefits For Frenchies

can french bulldogs swim

All dogs, including their owners, can benefit from swimming exercises! As such, there are a ton of great health benefits for your When swimming, a French Bulldog.

Given their activity level, Frenchies require a fair amount of exercise. In actuality, they require roughly an hour of exercise each day. This is the bare minimum. A minute of swimming, however, is equivalent to four minutes of running, which is why swimming is so beneficial.

Naturally, more time swimming leads to various health benefits, such as a better heart and lungs, increased metabolism, and reduced inflammation. Additionally, the circulation will maintain Frenchie’s glossy, smooth coat.

In addition, Hip Dysplasia is one of the most common health issues in French Bulldogs. But because swimming is a low-impact activity, it’ll help reduce pain and inflammation, while strengthening joints and muscles.

According to the AKC, Frenchies are prone to obesity. Numerous other health problems are correlated with being overweight. Fortunately, swimming is the most effective form of exercise for obese dogs. They are able to burn a lot of calories without much risk of injury!

How To Teach A Frenchie To Swim

Yes, French Bulldogs struggle to swim—some more than others. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to give them swimming lessons. With proper equipment and training, it’s not only possible but also safe for them.

Keep in mind that taking your Frenchie swimming can be frightening for him. Most dogs may find it to be overwhelming. That being said, you should never force your Frenchie into the water. Having patience is a must because this process will take some time.

1. Get A Dog Life Jacket

Investing in the proper tools is the first step in teaching your Frenchie to swim. And by equipment, I only mean a dog life vest. I advise all owners to do this when training their dogs, Frenchies included.

Not only will life jackets increase the confidence of your French Bulldog, but they’ll give owners peace of mind knowing their pets will be okay. Even the American Kennel Club concurs with this recommendation.

We adore this for a number of factors. First, it’s made from high-quality ripstop material that’s both comfortable and flexible. It not only gives your Frenchie more buoyancy in the water but also allows for unrestricted movement.

The bright color options are great for swimming in natural bodies of water. You’ll recognize your dog right away once the sun begins to set. Plus, rescue handles are perfect in case you need to pull them up quickly.

2. Introduce The French Bulldog To Water

The next step may be the most crucial: introducing your water with a French Bulldog. Although it might be alluring, it’s not a good idea to simply drop your dog into the shallow end and begin. You want to gradually introduce them to water.

The likelihood is that your Frenchie is familiar with the concept of water. If they’ve been taking baths, that is. Even so, you’ll want to start with small bodies of water and slowly move up to bigger bodies of water.

You can start with the bathtub or a small kiddie pool. You merely want to literally get their feet wet at this early stage. No need to completely fill the tub or pool. But make sure some body parts are submerged.

After getting the dog adjusted for some time, move on to larger bodies of water, such as a lake or a pool. But it’s still too early to bring them in. In this step, you just want your dog to sniff the water and “explore” it.

Since French Bulldogs are curious dogs, they are unlikely to become fearful or frightened at first. Their curious nature will take over and they’ll be inspecting the water before you know it!

And if you already know where the dog will be swimming, it’s a good idea to take him to the exact spot. This way, they’ll be more familiar with the area and surroundings, creating extra security and comfort for the dog.

3. Getting Your Frenchie Into The Water

It’s finally time for your Frenchie to swim after days or possibly even weeks of practice. It’s important that you start with the shallow end. Go somewhere with warm water if at all possible. or at the very least, not icy cold.

Make sure to bring the dog’s favorite treats and toys to incentivize them into going in the water. The most effective way to do this is to immerse yourself in the water. Dogs have confidence in their owners because of this straightforward action.

You can also try bribing them into the water by holding a treat and signaling the “okay” for them to come in and get it. Attempt to toss their favorite playthings into the water. They frequently automatically lunge in pursuit of it.

If this simple ruse succeeds, try dropping the toy farther into the ocean. Similarly, you can move deeper in and bribe them with treats. Your French Bulldog will learn to swim very quickly if you have a little patience.

4. Frenchie Swimming Tips

The best time to introduce your Frenchie to swimming is after you’ve taught the dog basic obedience commands and skills. A trusting relationship has probably been established if the dog and owner are working on obedience.

Dogs learn best by modeling the behaviors of other dogs. Then again, your Frenchie is more likely to join if they observe other dogs having fun in the pool. If known individuals are swimming, the same applies.

So, it’s a great idea to bring another friendly and familiar dog that already knows and loves to swim. Most dogs don’t like to be left alone and out of the “fun.” They will undoubtedly follow as more people and dogs enjoy their time.

It’s best to train for short periods at a time. Swimming may require a lot of energy. And while French Bulldogs do have a lot of energy, this activity can be mentally exhausting for first-time canine swimmers.

And finally, never force your Frenchie into the water. On some days, they might not feel like entering the water. The most crucial factor is that they feel safe and at ease. For them, swimming can be permanently ruined by just one negative experience.

can french bulldogs swim

Final Word

French bulldogs absolutely cannot swim, and should never be allowed in the water unaided and unsupervised.

Nevertheless, by using specific life jackets and receiving the right training, your small dog can still take part in family pool days. They can even have a small pool of their own where they can safely splash around and keep cool.