Can A French Bulldog Swim?

Imagine the scene. You’re at the beach for a nice day out in the Sun. You’ve taken your Frenchie out and she loves it. Running around your legs, chasing the ball that you’ve thrown and generally having the time of her life. She’s already noticed the sea, at first she was intimidated but over only a few minutes she becomes braver.

All of sudden, the lure of all that fun water becomes too much and she darts off at full speed towards the wet stuff. Should you be worried or just let her do her own thing and have some fun?

Can a French Bulldog swim? A French Bulldog may be able to swim for short distances but eventually, they will sink due to the physical properties of their bodies.

The French Bulldog should be treated like a baby near water, never to be left alone. However, if you’re in the water with her, it can be a good way to regulate her temperature if it’s hot. To learn more about how you can manage your French Bulldog in and around water, take a look at the below.

The French Bulldog

Can A French Bulldog Swim?

Firstly, just a very quick summary of the physical properties of the Frenchie. You probably know this already but some of it is relevant when we talk about her being able to swim.

The French Bulldog is a smallish breed that is particularly popular with families in both the United States and Europe, with good reason as they make an exceptional companion. Their heads can seem large for the size of the dog and indeed they are most definitely front-heavy. They have a lifespan of around 10 years and will typically reach about 20 lbs when fully grown, although this can vary of course.

Should A French Bulldog Swim?

It depends. My advice would be to treat them like a baby. Would you prevent your baby from swimming? No. Would you leave your baby whilst she swims? Also, no.

So, I guess that means that as long as you are there with her (talking about the Frenchie now) and she’s enjoying it, then why not? Is there any risk associated with this? Oh yes, and unfortunately it’s a significant one. You must be alert at all times and she must be wearing a Life Jacket. 

The French Bulldog is Not Like Other Dogs

Well, we all knew this already. The French Bulldog has an adorable temperament that sets itself apart from other breeds. However, they’re not only different in personality, but they are also, of course, different physically. The Bully is very much front-heavy. I know they’re not all built the same, but generally, they are.

Can A French Bulldog Swim?

You know this already (assuming you have one) as when you pick them up they feel off-balance and you need to lower the rear section when holding to achieve some kind of stability. Now, if you put one of these dogs into water there’s a good chance that it will be the equivalent of trying to float a hammer. They’re just not physically designed for swimming.

This isn’t a criticism, just a fact. A Lamborghini Aventador isn’t any good at going off-road, doesn’t mean it’s not awesome. Just you’re trying to get it to do something it wasn’t designed for. 

The French Bulldog Can’t Regulate Its Temperature

We all know the difficulties that the French Bulldog has in regulating its temperature. This can be very dangerous in high temperatures. In fact, some airlines have banned this breed from flying as several had died because of the high temperatures within the aircraft’s hold prior to take-off. So, you can see the attraction right?

A very hot dog in summer, unable to regulate its temperature will get increasingly stressed and anxious as it can’t cool itself down. This happens to me every year on holiday. We’re away, somewhere hot lying in the Sun by the pool, getting increasingly hot (and err burnt). Eventually, it becomes too much and you jump in the pool – instant relief. It’s exactly the same for the Frenchie. Not only would their temperature reduce but no doubt they’d love it. Just make sure you’re in there also with them.

What Are The Dangers?

The danger is they will drown. And they will drown if left in the water that’s deeper than them in a very short time. Yes, they may be able to swim for about 10 feet or so but typically not much more than that. After that, they will sink to the bottom.

They are not buoyant and will not be able to swim back to the surface. Other dogs, such as Labradors can do this. The French Bulldog is not a lab though, it has other qualities but being able to swim is certainly not one of them. Even if a doggy life vest is fitted, close attention should be paid and you should never leave them alone.

Unfortunately, you may not get a second chance if they do jump in and drop to the bottom. Even a few seconds can be (and has been) enough to drown a little Frenchie, it’s so ridiculously sad – don’t think they’re invincible. 

Can The French Bulldog Swim Safely?

If you are going to invite them into your pool then they simply must be wearing a doggy life jacket. If you haven’t got one and are after one then you must check out the Kimol Doggy Life Jacket. Click on the link to get the latest price from Amazon but you’ve just got to look at the reviews of this thing to realize it’s worth the small price.

No matter how good the life jacket is though, it should never be relied on fully. Make sure that when she’s in the water, you are too and don’t take your eyes off of her. Remember, it can only take seconds for something not very nice to happen, so don’t let it. Anyway, why would you honestly want to take your eyes off that gorgeous bundle of awesome?

Little Garden Pool

A lot of people have garden pools, some permanent and some temporary. If you have a temporary pool set-up then just because it’s not 8 feet deep, doesn’t mean it’s dangerous. Remember, it only takes a couple of feet of water to drown your French Bulldog – that’s only around your knees.

So, just because it’s a temporary pool, doesn’t mean you can relax. However, having said all of this, I do think they’re a good idea.

It’s nice to be able to go outside with your Frenchie on a hot day and play. There will only be so long they can stay in the Sun for before they start to overheat though, what better way to cool off? If you’re in the market one, then why not take a look at this little swimming pool from Amazon.

It’s a nice 12 ft size, made with quality materials (not just plastic) so will last quite a few seasons. It’s the same with all of these pools though that there’s a chance she’ll just jump in when you’re not looking – so get yourself a cover whilst you’re at it. They’re not expensive and might just save your little Bully’s life.


  • A French Bulldog does not have physical properties that are compatible with being able to swim.
  • Some are able to swim, despite the above for a few feet.
  • All will eventually sink however and will not be able to surface on their own.
  • Being submerged in water is a good way to regulate their temperature in hot weather however as the breed is unable to regulate this themselves. 
  • A Doggy Life Jacket should be worn by the dog if it does come into the water with you. 
  • They should be treated like babies and never left alone in the water.
  • A temporary outdoor swimming pool can be a good idea if actively monitored and a cover provided for when you’re not able to.

I’ve written quite a bit about the French Bulldog, if you’d like to see a complete guide this unique dog breed, then please check my article out here. If you’re interested in known how much a French Bulldog will cost you, then take a look here. Note that both links open in a new tab.


I'm Matt Pettitt, joint founder of the Pets Knowledge Base alongside my wife, Jane. Since I was just 2 years of age I've had pets in my life - which I don't mind admitting is 47 years! I strongly believe that when you introduce a pet into your family you should do everything you can to give it the best life possible. I've learned a lot during the past (almost) five decades and this blog gives me a medium to share everything I have learned ( both good and bad) about pets. If you'd like to know more about us, and how to contact us - take a look at our About page here!

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