French Bulldogs are a really popular dog breed. With good reason. Unlike many other breeds, they make great pets for first-time dog owners, are incredibly loving and affectionate, and are pretty suited to living in apartments. They were originally bred in England (not France) as companion dogs and have made wonderful family dogs ever since.
But there's a common question amongst Frenchie owners: can French Bulldogs swim?
Do French Bulldogs like water?
First of all, yes, French Bulldogs love water. They're a brachycephalic breed, which means their airways are obstructed, their nostrils are narrower and they have a rather flat face. Hot summer days can be pretty difficult for them as they find it difficult to pant and cool down – which is why they're attracted to cool water. They love playing with water in the garden and it's a great way for them to bring down their body temperature.
Unfortunately, though, French Bulldogs can't swim.
Why can't French Bulldogs swim?
As already mentioned, Frenchies are brachycephalic dogs and breathing is hard for them at the best of times (which is why they grunt and snort a lot)! When in the water, they find it very difficult to get enough air to stop them from drowning.
That's in addition to their body shape. Although adorably cute, they don't exactly look like they were born to be water dogs. They have very short legs and short necks which they find difficult to keep above water. They're also very muscley dogs, which means they're prone to sinking and don't have the strength that other dog breeds do to swim back to the surface.
So, what can you do during the summer months if your French Bulldog can't swim but loves water?
How to let a French Bulldog enjoy the water (safely)
Stay in the water with them
It's important to remember that most French Bulldogs think they can swim, and they only remember they can't when it's too late. It's really important you're watching your dog all the time when they're around water, even a small mistake could have potentially lethal consequences.
If you do have a swimming pool, doggie pool, or kiddie pool, getting in with them can ensure you're always there to help. It's not recommended to take them into deep water, but they'll love swimming and splashing around in the shallow end and having you as support to make sure they stay afloat.
Get them a dog life jacket
The safest way to make sure nothing happens to your French Bulldog when they're around water is to get them a life vest. Even if they're not going to be jumping into the deep end, accidents can happen and a dog life vest is the best way to ensure they stay safe. They're also really, really cute…
When buying a life jacket for a French Bulldog, it's important you get one that's well made and that has some sort of support for their head. This will help to keep their little, short snouts above water. It's also a good idea to get a life vest with a handle. This lets you quickly lift them out of deeper water (should anything happen) but it's also really useful for teaching them how to swim. You can hold them from above as their short legs do the work below.
Conclusion – Can Frenchies swim?
No, unfortunately, even though they love water, French Bulldogs can't swim. Their little bodies just make it physically impossible. They can, however, safely enjoy the swimming pool by wearing dog life jackets that help to keep their heads afloat. Doggie pools are also a good way for them to cool down. No pup should be left unattended around water, though.
Does your dog love water? How do you make sure they're safe?
I’m Charlotte, a content and copywriter from the North of England and currently living in Berlin. Animals have always been a huge part of my life, so writing about dogs is a total pleasure! I love all kinds of dogs and their cheeky personalities, but I’d have to say Weimaraners are my favourite!