You might have different views about Bulldogs and swimming, there are tons of videos out there showing that Bulldogs can swim. Also, there are lots of experts warning against Bulldogs swimming. The question then is – can a Bulldog swim?
Bulldogs come in various types, there is the English Bulldog, French Bulldog, American Bulldog, Olde English Bulldog, Miniature Bulldog, Pugs, etc. Can they really swim?
One thing is common to all the earlier mentioned dog breeds, and that is them being brachycephalic dog breeds – these are dog breeds with a short nose and somewhat flat faces. These dog breeds find it difficult to breathe in unfavorable weather, poorly ventilated rooms or places.
They are not tall, and have thick muscles and heavy bones, these features makes swimming very difficult for dogs of such breed or with such features.
Contrary to the belief of many people that the inability of bulldogs to swim is a result of their brachycephalic face only; there are other reasons why swimming is difficult for dogs of these breeds – this and more are what we will discuss in this guide.
Reasons why Bulldogs Cannot Swim
Bulldogs, including English Bulldog, French Bulldog, Miniature Bulldog, and pug find it difficult to swim, as they were not bred for swimming like other breeds.
Can dogs swim? Yes, many breeds of dog can swim. Can Bulldogs swim? No, they cannot. Except in cases where they are guided and given support.
This part of our guide will inform you on why Bulldogs cannot swim. There are several reasons for Bulldogs not being able to swim, let’s take a look at them:
Bulldogs can’t swim because of their Short Snouts and Short Nasal Passage
Bulldogs (French Bulldog, English Bulldog, Miniature Bulldog and pug) are not great swimmers; in fact, you should not leave them all to themselves anywhere near a large body of water.
They have wide skulls, short nasal passage,s and short snouts; this is why they are referred to as brachycephalic dogs. The structures of their face do not allow them to breathe well. This is majorly why it is difficult for them to swim.
While swimming, dogs often have their heads inside the water; however, in the case of brachycephalic dogs, they have to raise their head up, which of course, will be very difficult to achieve while swimming. This makes them susceptible to drowning. Hence, the advice against swimming for Bulldogs.
Bulldogs can’t Swim because they have Concept and Muscular Bodies
Bulldogs have short legs, and stocky and muscular bodies; they were built for bullbaiting and not for water or water-related actions. The muscles come naturally with them which makes floating on the water more difficult for them.
They have more muscles than they have fats, and fats are prone to floating, while muscles are prone to sinking. Keeping afloat will be difficult for them when they stay in water for minutes.
Bulldogs are compact, they have a huge body weight in a short body – this makes them compact and heavy. There is the possibility of them sinking if not properly guided. This still answers the question – can a Bulldog swim? No. If you really want to give your Bulldog that swimming thrill, then they need to be closely monitored.
Bulldogs can’t Swim because they have Short Legs
Some dogs have short legs, yet, they can swim, Corgis are practical examples of this type of dog. They have short legs, yet, they are great swimmers.
Bulldogs on the other hand find it difficult to swim, this is because they have large weights and stocky bodies. Their short legs joined with this make swimming a very difficult task for them.
Can I Teach my Bulldogs how to Swim?
It is not advisable for Bulldogs to swim, however, if you choose to teach them how to swim; then you can teach them. They need to be taught how to swim and provided with the equipment needed for them to swim.
In the process of teaching and swimming, Bulldogs will need supervision. It is also worth knowing that you should not force them into the water; only teach them to swim if they like entering the water.
To answer your question, you can teach Bulldogs how to swim, provided they show interest in swimming and you give them the equipment needed for it.
Bulldogs Swimming with Life Jacket: Life Jacket for Bulldogs
If you are going to teach your Bulldog how to swim, it is important you provide them with a life jacket for training them as well as for using to swim eventually.
With the use of a life jacket, your mind will be at rest that your Bulldog won’t drown; this however does not mean you should leave them unsupervised.
In choosing a life jacket for your Bulldog, you should choose a good life jacket. Here are the qualities a Bulldog life jacket should have:
- Life jackets that have rescue handles
- Choose a life jacket with bright colors e.g. red, yellow, light blue, etc.
- Choose a life jacket that can be adjusted to fit a Bulldog’s size
Teaching a Bulldog how to Swim
This part of our guide will discuss how you can teach your Bulldog how to swim. It is important you train them on how to swim before allowing them to do so.
Introduce your Bulldog to Water
The first step in teaching a Bulldog how to swim is to introduce them to water; this process will allow them to be familiar with water.
It will also be better if they are introduced to water at an early age, they tend to show more enthusiasm and learn quickly when they are puppies.
You should not go big at first; start with a small body of water, such as a bathtub, kiddies tub, etc. Drain the water in the tub or kiddies pool, and get your dog into the place. Let every step done be rewarded with a treat.
After getting your dog into the bathtub or kiddies pool, release water into the tub, then allow them to get used to it. Repeat this step a couple of times.
The next thing to do is to take your dog to a large body of water where they can swim, either at a pool, a lake, beach, pond, river, or kiddies pool.
Don’t let them get into the pool just yet; take them to the body of water and let them stroll around it, sniff it and wet their feed in it. Repeat this for a week; as this will get them comfortable with the water.
At the end of the week, let them start walking around the shallow area of the water, this is a way of getting them used to the water.
Get your Bulldog to Swim in Shallow Area
When starting with Bulldogs or dogs in general on swimming, let them swim in the shallow area first, it is important to keep them in areas where they can still keep their feet standing.
Don’t forget to strap your Bulldog in life jacket before getting them into the water. They will also need to be rewarded with treats to motivate them at each step.
Another way of getting them to learn how to swim is by getting them toys such as Frisbee or other floating toys. This should be used at the shallow areas of the water.
Let your Bulldog swim in the shallow area for some time, this will help them build swimming confidence. You should always be with them all through this period.
Motivate your Dog by Throwing Floating Treats into the Water
A good way of motivating your Bulldog to swim and continue with the training is by throwing treats that can float into the water.
This does not only motivate them, it also serves as fun to them, while also letting them know they can enjoy water.
Teach your Dog to Navigate and Turn Around in Water
Another step in teaching your Bulldog how to swim is to teach them how to navigate and turn around in the water. This you can do by throwing their floating treats in a scattered manner on the water surface.
Another way of teaching Bulldogs how to navigate when swimming is by throwing their toy in the water, with this, they will try to swim to get it.
Items needed for Training a Dog to Swim
Can Bulldogs swim? No. However, with training and the right equipment or items, they can swim. Here are the items needed to train Bulldogs how to swim:
- Kiddies pool
- Dog’s toy – ball, Frisbee or any of their favorite floating toys
- Sunblock – to be applied on the upper part of their nose and their ear
- Dog’s ear-drying solution
- Dog’s ear wrap – this prevents water from entering their ears
- Dog’s life jacket – it lets them float
At What Age can I Start Training My Dog how to Swim?
Training your dog on how to swim should start at an early age; you can start when they are five months old, as they tend to learn faster at this age.
Not all dogs love to swim; you should pay attention to their attitude towards water. If they don’t show interest, don’t allow them to swim.
Final Thoughts on Bulldogs and Swimming
Can Bulldogs swim? Ideally, it is not advisable you allow your Bulldog to swim, with the right equipment, however; you can train your Bulldog how to swim.
While swimming, it is very important you are always on the ground to supervise your Bulldog.