This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
Bulldogs always find a way to beat the heat.
Yes, Bulldogs can swim, but they are not natural swimmers.
Find out why English Bulldogs are not natural swimmers, how to teach them, safety precautions when swimming, and more.
Can Bulldogs Swim?
No. Bulldogs are not natural swimmers. But they can learn how to swim.
In general, all dogs can swim even if they don’t have the physical traits of a swimmer. However, Bulldogs generally aren’t great swimmers even if they learn how.
Some of them don’t even learn at all because they don’t want to approach any body of water.
English or British Bulldogs have a hard time floating in water because of their physical attributes. They are also not inclined to swim because of their attitude and personality.
Experts say Bulldogs can drown in a matter of seconds. So if you’re teaching them how to swim, make sure you know how to perform CPR.
If you have a large pool, make sure it’s fenced so your Bulldog won’t fall in.
Why Can’t English Bulldogs Swim?
English Bulldogs can’t swim because they do not have the physical characteristics of a swimmer.
Bulldogs are brachycephalic breeds with a short, wide skull. These breeds were customized by people back in the day because they looked adorable.
In short, Bulldogs were bred for cosmetic reasons without breeders’ knowledge that they can suffer health problems.
The short nasal passage makes it hard for them to breathe underwater. Their large, wrinkled face can also be too heavy while swimming.
Another reason why Bulldogs can’t swim is their heavy physique. Swimmers need large yet lightweight bodies to push more water.
However, Bulldogs are so heavy that they won’t float even if their legs allow them to push more water.
Do Bulldogs Like to Swim?
No. Bulldogs do not like to swim because it’s a difficult activity for them.
Swimming requires the whole body to work, and Bulldogs have low energy levels. They would rather perform other exercises than go swimming.
Some Bulldogs may enjoy swimming but only for a short time. Or they would only stay in the shallow part of the water.
Bulldogs only like to swim when it’s too hot and they want to freshen up. But beware of them drinking the pool water.
If they get too thirsty, they might sip too much and end up having an upset stomach.
Do Bulldogs Like Water?
Yes. Bulldogs like water.
They would have enjoyed propelling in the deep bodies of water but their physical traits hinder them. So they resort to getting wet in safe ways.
You can still help them enjoy the water as long as you take precautions. Let them into a kiddie pool or a shallow creek.
Just be careful not to let them drink too much water. This can lead to water intoxication.
Playing in the water can help them stay cool to avoid heatstroke.
If you want them to try swimming, be sure to use a life vest.
Can You Teach a Bulldog to Swim?
Yes. You can still teach your Bulldog to swim.
However, don’t expect them to be as proficient as Poodles and Labrador Retrievers. These water breeds have an advantage with their webbed feet and long legs.
All dogs have an instinct to paddle. Slowly introduce them to the water, but only for a few minutes at a time.
You’ll also want to start in shallow water, like a bathtub or kiddie pool. Always use rewards so they remain encouraged throughout the sessions.
Teaching your Bulldog how to swim is important for their safety, especially if they enjoy playing in your backyard near the pool.
How to Teach a Bulldog to Swim
Here are a few tips to teach your Bulldog how to swim:
- Start in shallow water.
- Always bring treats to keep your Bulldog encouraged.
- Once they’re familiar with water, take them to the shallow end of the pool.
- Equip them with a life jacket, or a life vest.
- Let them sniff the water and become familiar.
- Hold their chest and back as they try to paddle.
- Reward them for good behavior.
Safety Tips for Swimming with Your Bulldog
Bulldogs have low activity levels, so they are likely to get easily tired from swimming.
- Give them a fresh bowl of water every time they swim to prevent them from drinking pool water.
- Have them wear a life vest or life jacket.
- Always stay beside them in case they need assistance.
- Teach them where the exit points are.
Check out the best life jackets and life vests for dogs.
Don’t Do This When Introducing Your Bulldog to Water
Here are the things you shouldn’t do when introducing your Bulldog to water:
- Do not throw or push them in the water. This will create a negative experience or even injuries.
- Do not let them drink pool water.
- Do not leave them unattended.
Don’t throw your Bulldog in the water. It’s better when they think getting in the pool is their idea. And this is possible by luring them with rewards.
Throwing them in the pool can also make them drown. Even though they have an instinct to paddle, they will have a hard time adjusting right away when they land in the pool all of a sudden.
Don’t let your Bulldog drink from the pool water. Instead, offer them a fresh bowl of water to refresh themselves.
Find out how pool water affects your dog.
Is Swimming Good for Bulldogs?
Swimming can help Bulldogs burn calories or stay mentally stimulated, but it may not be worth it if they will have difficulty breathing.
Bulldogs may also sink in water due to their heavy body, so it’s not the best activity for them.
Swimming for a long time can also cause overfatigue, so make sure to switch to other low-intensity workouts for your Bulldog.
Walking may be a better idea than both swimming and running. Just make sure to keep the sessions short.
If your Bulldog does enjoy swimming and they know how to swim, then it is a good form of exercise for them.
Just make sure they have a flotation device, keep their sessions short, and keep a close eye on them.
Find out how good swimming is for dogs.
How Old Should Your English Bulldog Puppy Be Before They Start Swimming?
Your English Bulldog must be ten weeks old before they can learn how to swim.
It’s better for them to start swimming at a young age so that they can grow up without fear of water.
At this age, their body is not yet too heavy for them to sink. Make sure to keep training sessions short.
Check out the right age for puppies to start swimming.
How Long Can Bulldogs Swim For?
Bulldogs should only swim for five to ten minutes to avoid overfatigue.
Because swimming is not the best exercise for them, they should only stay in the water for a short time.
They often have trouble breathing and paddling, that is why they must be assisted out of the pool as soon as possible.
Some dogs who have learned how to swim can last up to 30 minutes in the pool, while athletic water breeds can swim for up to an hour.
Find out the appropriate duration for a dog swimming.
Can My Bulldog Swim in My Pool?
Yes. Your Bulldog can swim in your pool.
It’s the best place for them to swim in because it’s not as deep as lakes or oceans. There is also no current, making it suitable for dog breeds that have a hard time paddling.
Don’t worry about your pool getting damaged. Bulldogs do not shed a lot, and they won’t clog the pool filter.
As long as you maintain its cleanliness, then the pool is just right.
Learn more about dogs swimming in your own pool.
Can Old English Bulldogs Swim?
No. The Old English Bulldog looks similar to the English Bulldog. With the same type of body, this Bulldog variant can’t swim well.
They are too heavy, and their legs can’t push enough water. They can’t breathe well with their nose structure as well.
But they can still learn how to swim with short sessions.
Can American Bulldogs Swim?
No, American Bulldogs have a hard time swimming.
They usually excel more than other Bulldogs, but they’re not very good at swimming either.
They have longer legs and a more suitable trunk for paddling and staying afloat. However, these brachycephalic dog breeds may experience difficulty in swimming.
Learn more about the American Bulldog’s ability to swim.
Can French Bulldogs Swim?
No. French Bulldogs can’t swim because they are too small, heavy, and have smooshed faces.
This means they can’t breathe well. They also can’t push a lot of water as they try to paddle. And their heavy physique will only make them sink.
They can learn how to stay afloat and paddle but it won’t be long before they feel tired.
Check out how to teach your French Bulldog to swim.
Swimming is Not for Bulldogs
By looks alone, we can see that Bulldogs would not make great swimmers.
They have short legs, a smooshed face, and a very heavy body. They naturally have low energy levels too.
But you still need to train them how to swim at a young age so you’ll have peace of mind knowing that they won’t drown.
Once they are done in the pool, find out how to wash your dog after swimming.