Why French Bulldogs Can't Swim

It's true, French Bulldogs can't really swim. Learn about the best life jackets to keep them afloat, puppy pools, and the reasons behind why Frenchies just sink in the water.

~3 minute read
last updated October 27, 2019

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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…

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 because their bodies have so much more muscle compared to fat… which makes it almost physically impossible for them to float.

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 - RUFFWEAR Float Coat

If you need a life vest to keep your Frenchie afloat in the water, I’d recommend this vest from RUFFWEAR in the medium size.

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

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 - Jasonwell Foldable Pool

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Teach my French Bulldog to Swim?

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.


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