Why French Bulldogs Can’t Swim

A French Bulldog floating in a pool

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Why are Frenchies such Bad Swimmers?

Did you know that Frenchie’s can’t swim!? That is, swim without a buoyant life jacket and constant supervision.

Why can’t Frenchies swim, you might ask? Why not just teach them how to swim?

If only it were that easy…

Why French Bulldogs Can’t Swim

Frenchies have flat faces and a high muscle-to-fat ratio which makes it hard for them to stay afloat or even breathe at all.

For that reason, I highly recommend keeping your Frenchie away from water (pools, lakes, even bathtubs) unless you are keeping a close eye on them. If you know your Frenchie is going to be around water, be sure to fit them with a life vest, but even with a floatation device you still must keep a close eye on them.

French Bulldogs are a Brachycephalic Breed

In addition, Frenchies’ flat faces make it almost impossible for some to keep their noses up enough for air.

The reason French Bulldogs seem to just sink in the water is that their bodies have so much more muscle compared to fat… which makes it almost physically impossible for them to float.

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What you can do about it

Fortunately, your Frenchie can still go for a swim as long as you do a few things to make sure they’re safe.

You’re absolutely going to need one of the following

1. Use a Life Vest

When your Frenchie is going to be around the water a lot, it doesn’t matter if they’re going to be swimming or not. They need a life jacket just in case they fall into the water.

When looking for a life vest for your Frenchie, you’ll want to look for these key features

  • Provides sufficient floatation
  • Doesn’t cause skin irritation
  • Proper fit that doesn’t slide up/down when they’re running/swimming around.

My Life Vest Suggestion – OUTWARD HOUND Life Jacket

If you need a life vest to keep your Frenchie afloat in the water, I’d recommend this vest…

Stay Safe!
Outward Hound Standley Sport Dog Life Jacket
$45.94

Extra-rugged high-quality construction

Keep your Frenchie safe in the water

Built for adventurous Frenchies

It ticks all three boxes for a life vest: highly buoyant, high-quality materials, and a snug, safe fit.

2. Get them a Puppy Pool

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If your Frenchie is just way too cool for life jackets and other annoying floatation devices, just get them a puppy/kiddie pool as seen in the video above.

When looking for a pool for your Frenchie, you’ll want to look for the following:

  • Resistant to holes from their sharp claws
  • Non-toxic materials
  • Good size so they can easily get in or out of the pool

My Puppy Pool Suggestion – Frisco Outdoor Dog Pool

What I love about this pool is that it doesn’t need to be inflated.

You just unfold it! That means their claws won’t destroy the pool, unlike an inflatable one.

Keep your Frenchie cool!
Frisco Outdoor Dog Swimming Pool

Easy to set up

No inflation necessary

Perfect size for Frenchies



Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Teach my French Bulldog to Swim?

No, you can’t teach a Frenchie to swim.

Their bodies simply don’t allow them to swim like other dog breeds. A life jacket is your best option, but their short noses still make swimming for them far from ideal.

Do French Bulldogs need a lifevest to swim?

Yes. Frenchies absolutely need some floatation device & constant supervision if they were to go swimming.

Can French Bulldogs swim?

Yes, but they can’t swim without help!

Frenchies need to wear a lifevest at all times when swimming. (and don’t take your eye off them!)

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