Can Bulldogs Swim? The Ultimate Guide To Keeping Them Safe

There are many breeds of dogs that do well in the water. In fact, many dogs were bred to spend a lot of time in the water. The curly coated retriever was bred for working in the water, along with many other breeds. However, you don’t often see stumpy dogs like the Bulldog going for a swim. 

Can Bulldogs Swim 1 1 Can Bulldogs Swim? The Ultimate Guide To Keeping Them Safe

Can Bulldogs Swim?

Bulldogs aren’t dogs that are made for swimming. Whether they are English or French Bulldogs, this breed doesn’t have the traits that would make them good at swimming. These dogs have traits that make it more dangerous for them to go swimming. 

There are several reasons why the Bulldog would struggle more than thrive in the water. While the Bulldog can be completely fine in a bath, swimming in a pool or other body of water should not be tried with them.

Their Nose Structure

Many people are aware that Bulldogs have squished faces, much like the pug. While this look is super cute to some people, it makes it very difficult for these dogs to breathe in many circumstances. Bulldogs can’t handle hot temperatures because they won’t be able to breathe, and they also won’t be able to handle swimming because of this.

When anyone or any dog goes swimming, they need to be able to get full breaths of air so that they don’t drown. 

Bulldogs won’t be able to get these full breaths of air and their short noses make it more likely for water to splash up into their airways. It then becomes very dangerous for a Bulldog to try to swim on its own. 

Short Legs

Now, this isn’t to say that all small dogs can’t swim. Instead, there are many breeds of small dogs that are great at swimming, but these dogs usually have bodies that match the size of their legs.

Bulldogs have very short legs for their larger-sized body. This is fine when they are trotting around on land, but it makes it very difficult for them to swim. They have so much more weight in their torsos compared to their legs, so it will become very difficult for them to stay afloat in the water.

The stubby legs that a Bulldog has simply don’t have the proper power to keep these dogs afloat while swimming. Besides, the smaller legs that these dogs have doesn’t provide for the same range of motion that treading water requires. 

Compact and Wide Bodies

The Bulldog is a very muscular dog. Its body is full of muscles that have been compacted down due to the nature of being a dwarf dog.

All their weight in compacting into a smaller body, which makes them a literally dense dog. 

Being super dense makes it a lot harder to swim because these dogs don’t float. They are much more likely to start sinking than to stay afloat like some other breeds of dogs can. The shape of their bodies makes them more like a brick trying to swim in the water. As we all know, bricks don’t float. 

What Other Breeds of Dogs Can’t Swim?

Bulldogs are not the only breed of dog that should stay out of the deep water. There are other breeds of dogs that share some of the traits that Bulldogs do which makes it so swimming is a very difficult task.

The Pug

This one should be obvious. Pugs are very similar to Bulldogs with their short legs and squished snouts. While pugs are overall smaller and don’t have muscle weighing them down, it is still dangerous for them to swim in deep water because of their short noses.

Can Bulldogs Swim Can Bulldogs Swim? The Ultimate Guide To Keeping Them Safe

The Basset Hound

These dogs have the problem of having a large head but shorter legs. Their weight isn’t evenly distributed, making them too top-heavy to safely tread the water. These dogs also have large ears that are prone to any kind of infections, especially water infections. 

The Corgi

Some kinds of corgi can swim really well, but it all depends on their leg-to-body ratio. Corgis are very well known for their cute but larger bodies and tiny stumps of legs. These dogs have less leg than even Bulldogs. This trait alone makes it super dangerous for many of these dogs to try swimming. 

The Boxer

Again, it’s a situation where their bodies are too big and compact for their shorter legs. The legs of Boxers, while strong on land, aren’t strong enough to keep themselves up in the water. 

Can Bulldogs Still Enjoy the Water?

Just because these dogs can’t go swimming in a pool or a lake, that doesn’t mean that they can never have fun in some water. Just like there are ways for small children to have fun in the water without being able to swim, there are ways for Bulldogs to as well.

A Kiddie Pool

A great way for your Bulldog to spend time in the water is by filling up a kiddie pool with water and providing toys. A kiddie pool, even when it’s filled to the top, is shallow enough for Bulldogs to safely wade around. 

Having your Bulldog swim in a kiddie pool is an amazing way to keep it cool during the hotter summer months. There are also many ways to make the kiddie pool even more fun for your Bulldog. You can add waterproof dog toys or let them play with things like pool noodles. You can find many crafts online that create water toys for your dog to play with while in the kiddie pool. 


Another way your Bulldog can enjoy the water is with sprinklers. They will need to be careful so that they don’t get water up their nose but done safely it can be a fun experience for your dog. Have a sprinkler run in your backyard and if you can adjust where the water goes, have the sprinklers shoot out either lower than nose level or way higher. 

With sprinklers, your Bulldog can have a ton of fun running around through the sprinklers. This allows them to enjoy getting wet without having to swim around. Your Bulldog will also have fun trying to get a drink from this crazy moving water. 

There are also a ton of different kinds of sprinklers that can create a completely new experience. Some have water that wiggles around, and some have bright colored lights that can be fun in the evening.

A Slip N Slide

As long as your Bulldog’s nails are trimmed, you can have your Bulldog try out a slip n slide. This can be both super fun for your dog and super fun

 for you to watch. It’s funny to watch people go down these slippery surfaces, it will also be fun to watch your Bulldog figure out how it works. If your Bulldog really enjoys it, you’ll see it zoom down the slide.

A slip n slide is a great way for your dog to enjoy cooling down and getting wet without having to swim. It also creates a good bonding experience with the family as the whole family can enjoy sliding down the slip n slide.


Finally, you can take your Bulldog out on a boat. This is good if you want your dog to be near water but not necessarily get wet. This can also be good if your Bulldog doesn’t even like the water, but it is still okay being near it. 

If you bring your Bulldog out on a boat, make sure that they have plenty of shade and available fresh water so that they don’t get sick from the heat. Your Bulldog might also enjoy feeling some mist that gets sprayed up from the water below. 

Boating can be a fun experience for the whole family, especially if you live near the water. It can also be a great in-between activity if you love to swim but you know that your Bulldog can’t. 

There are other ways that your Bulldog can enjoy the water while being unable to swim. These other methods can involve specific water toys for dogs, contraptions made for kids but work for dogs as well, or even just making bath time more fun. The activities listed above are great starting points that don’t just work for your dog but also work for the whole family.

Final Thoughts

Bulldogs don’t have the anatomy to safely go swimming. Their noses are too squished in, their bodies are too compact, and their legs are too stubby. It can be very dangerous to have them try to swim on their own, so they shouldn’t be in any deep water. 

However, this doesn’t mean that a Bulldog can never enjoy the water. There are so many ways to bring the fun of water to your Bulldog. These methods work for the whole family whether it’s just you or if you have kids. 

With that, the Summer will be fun for the whole family while also getting to bond with your Bulldog. 

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