Can French Bulldogs Swim? Discover Here The Most Thorough Answer!

Do French Bulldogs swim? When someone asks you if your energetic French Bulldogs swim, your first thought may be to say yes! This is because most of us think any dog can swim instinctively. They would love their bath but that does not answer the question about swimming.

The internet is full of jubilant, adorable swimming French Bulldogs, please don’t be fooled! All dogs are potential swimmers, but some are bad swimmers – a category in which your beautiful Frenchie falls. The bulldog breed is in general a bad swimmer. This is because of their build and flat snouts.

Your playful, courageous French Bulldog definitely loves water, but he won’t actually be able to swim. As much as he loves his bath and shallow water, that is as far as he should be allowed. When he can still stand on the bottom, he will be fine.

“Because of their front-heavy structure, Frenchies cannot swim and should never be left unattended near a tub, pool, or body of water.”

American Kennel Club

They Love Water…but, Do French Bulldogs Swim?

Many French Bulldog parents make the mistake of thinking their dogs can swim simply because they love water. This is especially when you talk to French Bulldog owners living close to the sea. These owners taking their playful pup to the beach will experience a frisky, elated pup chasing the toy ball, jumping at nothing including empty breezes. He definitely notices the sea, and after the first initial intimidating times, this intelligent puppy will become braver. The lure of the water will become too much, and he will speed off towards the surf. While it is important to let him have fun, you must keep him on a leash. Do Not let French Bulldogs swim without close supervision and without a leash or life jacket.

Frenchies overheat easily and swimming is a great way to cool them off to regulate body temperature.

“Dogs are not as good as humans at dealing with high temperatures. It is important to pay attention to signs that your dog is too hot and take necessary precautions to avoid heatstroke. Make sure they have plenty of water and shade to cool off.”

The Kennel Club UK

French Bulldog Physique

Frenchies with their adorable temperament have a personality that sets them apart. From that to their physical appearance, the front-heavy beauties have their limitations. The problem comes with your gorgeous Frenchie’s physique. His beautiful frame and swoon-worthy face are what prevent him from swimming safely. He is heavier in the front than behind and this is why French Bulldogs swim straight ahead only for a very short time. He may get into trouble when he wants to turn as his heavy front makes him tilt and go under.

Your Off-Balance Funny French Bulldog

Even though not all dogs of the same breed are physically built the same, generally they are front-heavy. Notice the next time that you pick up your playful, lovable dog, he feels off-balance. To achieve stability, you will need to lower the rear section when holding him. Trying to float a Frenchie is like trying to float a hammer, physically impossible.

If this sounds like a criticism, it is not, it is fact. A Ferrari isn’t any good riding off-road, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t swoon-worthy and magnificent. It simply cannot achieve something that it wasn’t designed for.

When French Bulldogs swim and their head goes underwater, they cannot lift themselves to the water surface and you will have to act quickly to get them out.

Brachycephalic Breed

Aside from him being off-balance with a high muscle-to-fat ratio, his swoon-worthy flat face is another reason for his inability to swim. Brachycephalic breeds are not dogs that are super-fit either, they exhaust easily which causes them to drown fast. This is aside from potential breathing difficulties that most bulldogs suffer from including French Bulldogs.

Top 3 FAQs – Can French Bulldogs Swim?

French bulldog breed information

1Is it possible to teach a Frenchie to swim?

A French Bulldog is highly intelligent and can be trained with high success, however, you can’t teach him to swim. Frenchies cannot swim and it isn’t something that they can be taught either as it is physically impossible for this breed to swim. Their magnificent physical attributions which are beautiful are what prevent them from being able to swim. When you want to treat your beloved pup with a great cool-down session in the pool make sure you fit a proper life vest. When you manage to let your Frenchie swim with a vest, never think, he can swim without the vest, ever!

2Why can’t French Bulldogs swim?

You may see the odd swimming Frenchie, but that is not normal. The reason why they cannot swim is due to their weight distribution and genetic make-up. With their body proportions, little legs, wide skulls, short snouts, and adorable faces, they are simply not cut out as swimmers. Because of their short snouts, they must tilt their heads back to keep their snouts out of the water. They have heavy bodies and such short legs, and the combination makes it hard to remain afloat.

3What will happen when my Frenchie falls into a deep pool, will he be able to swim to the surface?

The sad answer is that your French Bulldog may likely drown when he is in deep water. He may be able to swim a few feet, straight forward, but cannot turn, and neither can he swim to the surface. Frenchies that sustain themselves with a few meters of swimming cannot sustain it and will also sink. Once he sank, he remains under. It is sad that a dog that loves water this much, cannot swim, therefore, it cannot be stressed enough, don’t leave your Frenchie unattended, especially during hot days. He will want to swim when given the opportunity!

What to Do When Your French Bulldog Falls into a Pool

Even when your jubilant Frenchie can swim well, he will panic when he accidentally falls into water or a pool. The ground may be too high to climb out like harbors or swimming pool where he is too far from the steps. Even when you take him boating and he falls in the water, it will also be difficult to get him back in. The most important factor is to remain calm as your panic will cause him to become more anxious. If he doesn’t wear a harness grab him by his collar or neck skin. Frenchies cannot cope for long with low temperatures, therefore when the water was very cold, dry, and warm him as soon as possible.

“Even dogs who seem confident, such as those running into the water as they chase a toy or another dog, can end up in big trouble. They often just chase that dog into the water without realizing the surface has changed, you don’t want your dog to panic realizing the ground has disappeared.”

American Kennel Club

Frenchie and Water Dangers

Your beloved French Bulldog will drown, harsh words to make sure you know it. They will certainly drown when left in the water that is deeper than them. They may swim for around 10 feet but typically not much more. They will sink to the bottom after that. Dogs like Labradors are buoyant and can swim back to the surface. Your Frenchie is not a lab, he has plenty of excellent qualities and traits, but swimming isn’t one.

What can you do to ensure Frenchie water safety?

  • If you own a Frenchie, have a pool, or want to get your Frenchie to have summer fun around another pool or take him boating, you should invest in a Doggy Life Jacket.
  • Buy a shallow swimming pool for your Frenchie for hot summer days. Obviously, you will have to buy quality, not plastic, which will last a couple of seasons of active French Bulldogs swim sessions.
  • Always keep his harness on with a strong leash when you take him for walks on the beach, pond, or along a dam, rivers, or anywhere where there is water. This will make sure neither you nor your Frenchie is helpless in a potentially difficult situation.
  • Teach your Frenchie from a young age that the human pool is out of bounds! Make it part of his puppy training and if you struggle get help with training videos or professional trainers.


Treat Your Frenchie Like A Human Baby! A baby French Bulldog is like a baby and toddler, never leave him alone near water. That is the best advice, always treat your Frenchie like you would a human baby. While you will not prevent a baby from learning to swim you will not leave your baby alone. Therefore, when your Frenchie loves water and enjoying it, keep the significant risk in mind when French Bulldogs swim. Remain alert and teach him to swim with a life jacket and keep the pool enclosed as you would when you have toddlers around. If you are going to treat him by buying a paddling pool, make sure it is shallow enough for water not reaching past his shoulders. Even then, keep your eye on your French Bulldog.

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