Can Bulldogs Swim? – Here’s What You Need To Know

Can Bulldogs Swim? - What You Need To Know

Do you wonder if Bulldogs are able to swim at all? Well, then, this blog is for you! In this post, Can Bulldogs Swim?, we will be discussing the anatomy of English Bulldogs, why English and French Bulldogs aren’t good swimmers, how to train a bulldog to swim, and what you can do around water with your bulldog other than swim, and last but not least – water safety for dog breeds that can’t swim. Thank you for reading!

Are English Bulldogs Good Swimmers?

Can Bulldogs Swim? - What You Need To Know

English Bulldogs and French Bulldogs are often thought of as strong swimmers, but this is not the case. In fact, they are not very good swimmers at all.

Bulldogs should not be put in water deeper than their chest height, even with a life jacket.

The Anatomy Of An English Bulldog Is Not That Of A Swimmer

There are many reasons why English and French Bulldogs are not good swimmers.


Brachycephalic breeds such as Bulldogs have short snouts and flat faces with narrow nostrils, short nasal passages, and small airways. This makes bulldogs not well suited for swimming.


Bulldogs are the dog breed least likely to be good swimmers because they don’t possess good buoyancy. They have a low center of gravity, making them unable to stay afloat.

Bulldogs were bred as bull-baiting dogs, not swimming dogs, and as such, they have poor buoyancy due to their design.

Compact Muscular Dogs

Bulldogs are a breed of dog known for their strength and muscularity. Their short body length and deep chest reduce their lung capacity and endurance. Bulldogs are compact and muscular dogs, making them less efficient swimmers.

Legs and Fatty Tissue

Bulldogs aren’t good swimmers because of their short legs and fatty bodies. Their massive hind legs are too strong for their weak front legs when it comes to swimming.

Their short legs are too small to allow them to move through the water easily, and their body is full of fat which makes them slow and heavy in the water. Because of this, they will quickly tire out. These factors make bulldogs unsuitable for swimming.

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Tips To Keep Your Bulldog Safe Around Water

If you’re looking for a dog that is good at swimming, you should seriously consider avoiding bulldogs. If you decide to bring a bulldog into the water with you, be sure to take precautions.

Here are some helpful tips for things you can do:

Whenever your dog is near a body of water, including your swimming pool, invest in a good doggie life jacket and put it on him.

Look for one constructed of waterproof materials and has a handle on top so that you can grab them to safety quickly.

You’ll want to look for a life vest sized for your dog. You want one with enough room to be comfortable but snug and not loose enough to slip out of it.

Video: Bunberry The Bulldog Loves His New Life Jacket

Shallow Water Only

Can Bulldogs Swim? - What You Need To Know

When at a lake or beach, be sure to stay in shallow water. If they want to walk or wade in the water, you can encourage but don’t ever force the issue. Always keep them from going in water over their head. Even at that, though, have them wear a life vest.

Supervise your dog closely at all times whenever they’re around water, including shallow water.

Fence Off Pools

Can Bulldogs Swim? - What You Need To Know

It’s critical to keep your pool safe. Avoid leaving pools and spas unsupervised. You wouldn’t think of leaving a toddler by themself around a pool, and the same thing should go for your bulldog.

If your dog does fall in, be sure to get them out as quickly and safely as possible.

You can limit the possibility of your dog falling into your pool and drowning by fencing it off.

Consider purchasing a small plastic kiddie pool if you still want to give your poor swimming dog a way to cool off in the summer heat. These shallow pools have enough water for your dog to wade in, allowing them to enjoy both the water and playing.

Teaching Your Bulldog To Swim

Can Bulldogs Swim? - What You Need To Know

Although both French Bulldogs and English Bulldogs may not be the best swimmers, given the opportunity, they might be able to learn.

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), with a life vest and some swim lessons, every breed should be able to get around water. The essential feature of this is the life jacket. Even when your bulldog learns to swim, they need a life vest to do so and remain safe.

They suggest starting with your pup in his life jacket, walking around water letting your dog get used to the sight of water. After a bit, you can then start walking in water (assuming it’s shallow and not over his head).

You can encourage your dog with treats and praise. Never pull or throw your dog into the water.

Another option is for him to watch other dogs swim. Your dog can watch and learn, but even more importantly, see how fun the water can be.

If your dog starts to panic or seems overwhelmed, move to shallower water or dry land and let your dog calm down.

It’s also important to teach your dog how to exit the water.

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The Take-Away

Although Bulldogs are not good swimmers, you can do a few things to make sure your bulldog is safe and comfortable around water. By fencing off your pool and teaching your bulldog how to swim, you can ensure they have a fun and safe time around the water.

However, remember that bulldogs are not good swimmers and should not be put in water deeper than their chest height, even with a life jacket.

And lastly, never leave your dog alone in the pool or lake – even if they know how to swim! Thank you for reading Can Bulldogs Swim? What You Need To Know, We hope that you found it helpful!

Do you have any tips for keeping your dog safe around water? Please share below.

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