Do Frenchies Like Water?

Do Frenchies like water? You bet! Here we’re referring to the lovable and ever-popular French Bulldog. French Bulldogs not only like the water, they love it. Unfortunately, they aren’t built for it.

Do Frenchies Like Water

Can French Bulldogs Swim?

NO. Because of this breed’s body build, they are not natural swimmers without help. They have very large heads in proportion to the rest of the bodies, and lots of muscle.

These dogs tend to be heavier in the front half of their bodies which will complicate their buoyancy and potentially cause them to sink.

While some bulldog breeds may be able to swim for very brief amounts of time, they eventually sink to the bottom.

Many larger dog breeds are natural swimmers, like Labradors, Water Spaniels, or Newfoundlands, but our beloved little Frenchie isn’t one of them. These larger dogs have bodies with better distribution of their weight, enabling their water prowess.

Leg Length

Frenchies have very short legs which don’t work in their favor. For them to be able to keep that disproportionately sized head above water will take a lot of effort and short legs are no advantage.

The traditional “dog paddle” swimming method that canines employ in the water is virtually impossible.

Can French Bulldogs Swim

Oxygen Deficit

Due to the difficulty Frenchies have keeping their head above water, they are at risk for oxygen deprivation.

Frenchies are flat-faced canines known as brachycephalic dogs meaning they have practically no snout which will complicate breathing under exertion.

They must lift their heads to remain above the water surface, but this will lower their center of gravity making it a problem to stay afloat.

Swimming also requires a considerable amount of physical exertion, meaning they’ll get tired faster. Even if they can swim a little bit or make an effort to do so, they will not be able to sustain the physical effort required.

Once they go under, they also will not be able to return up to the water’s surface. This can happen very quickly and put them at risk of drowning. 

Can a Frenchie Float?

No, they will not float due to body build and muscular density. Thanks to flat muzzles they tilt backward to keep their noses and mouths above water, but they have more muscle and little fat with a top-heavy shape that makes it virtually impossible for them to float.

Can a Frenchie Learn to Swim?

Because these dogs do enjoy the water, you may be up to teaching your K-9 best friend, but the “buddy” method is the only way to try this. According to PetMD, you can teach dogs to swim with the right precautions in place.

Safety Measures 

You’ll need to be your dog’s “buddy” and use positive reinforcement to help your Frenchie feel comfortable and safe in the water. A flotation device or canine life jacket is ideal for French Bulldogs.

Any dog that has shorter legs or tends to be lightweight should be fitted with a life jacket. This is especially true if you plan on taking your dog boating, even if you are not planning on swimming.

Life jacket is ideal for French Bulldogs

Life jackets should fit snugly, but comfortably, and should enable your dog to keep its head above water. A life jacket should not inhibit movement whether in the water or on a boat or land.

Your dog needs to be able to move, however, the life jacket should not be at risk of slipping off once your animal is in the water.

Never leave man’s best friend unattended in the water. Dogs should not be left unsupervised in the water, and this is even more so for the French Bulldog and breeds with similar difficulties.

Even wearing a flotation device, your Frenchie will have difficulty keeping his or her nose above water, so constant supervision is necessary.

The assistance of a professional trainer might be the best option when attempting to teach a life-jacketed French Bulldog to swim.

Frenchies and the Heat

One of the reasons one might be tempted to take their French Bulldog to the beach or invite them into the family pool other than their love of water is because they easily overheat during the summer. Water is one of the fastest methods for cooling your fur baby off.

You may even notice your Frenchie is interested in your family swimming pool; however, it should be off-limits.

Even if you teach your dog to frequent the family pool with you wearing a life jacket, there is a risk that one day he or she will jump into your pool with no one present, and without wearing a flotation device. 

A pool for French Bulldogs will be more appropriate and safer. 

Puppy Pools

Another viable option is to get your Frenchie a puppy pool where he or she can go to cool off or to play but there is no risk of drowning. Of course, if they are anything like my dogs, they may decide it’s more fun to chew on than to cool off in.

Pools exist specifically for dogs and will have several characteristics:

      • They are produced in non-toxic materials
      • They are available in sizes pertinent to the breed size
      • They are more resistant to piercing and tearing from claws

Dog pools are similar to children’s pools but more resistant, usually being made of hard plastic or PVC.

Acclimation Steps

If you wish to begin working with your Frenchie in the water, keep in mind these considerations:

1.) Fit your French with a proper life vest for his or her size.

2.) Place them in a puppy pool or body of water that will feature a gradual water depth increase.

3.) Avoid places featuring distractions or loud noises that can frighten your pup while in the water.

4.) If you are working in a family pool or natural body of water, keep your dog on a leash at all times in the event that your pup experiences distress.

Keeping dogs on leashes unless they can and will swim back to you when called, will further that you can intervene should your pooch experience difficulties in staying afloat.

5.) A dog should never be thrown into the water. For dogs to have a positive experience with water they need to be introduced gently. Frightening them initially can ruin their rapport with water and swimming in the future.

See also: Do Beagles Like to Swim? (In-Depth Guide)

A Final Thought

French Bulldogs are not natural swimmers and left to their own devices will be at risk for potentially fatal consequences.

Just because some French Bulldogs are able to swim, does not mean that all Frenchies will be able to or want to do so. 

You can work to teach them. This will require uninterrupted supervision, a properly fitting canine life jacket, and tons of patience. A Frenchie should never be left unaided in a pool or body of water.

Susan R Elliston
I have over 11 years of experience as a vet working with a wonderful variety of species of innocent and lovely animals. Whilst I still work two days a week for a local practice, I realized that I could help more people by sharing my knowledge and experience with my readers.

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