How Well Can English Bulldogs Swim? Keep Them Safe Around Deep Water

Four English Bulldogs Swimming at the Beach

They say that your four-legged friends are born with full and distinct knowledge of knowing how to swim, but this is not entirely true.

There are some breeds more predisposed to do so, while others find it much more difficult. Thus, the question arises as to whether an English bulldog can be taught to swim. This does not seem like a simple task, but is it possible?

We are going to delve into this topic and tell you all the details. The answer is yes, an English bulldog can swim, the key is to train your English bulldogs, and we’ll let you know how to do it.

The English bulldog is one of those breeds that need no introduction because it is known throughout the world and has earned the fame that it currently has. It is a perfect family pet due to its size and temperament, although it is also a breed that needs specific care due to its morphology.

The English bulldog originates from the United Kingdom, where it was commonly used as a fighting dog in dogfights dating back to the 17th century.

When dog fighting was banned in 1835, the English bulldog was treated as a companion animal, becoming very popular in England and becoming one of its symbols.

This breed is believed to have come about through various crosses between an ancient African breed known as the Maltese Bulldog, and different Mastiffs found in England.

From them, the first type of bulldog emerged that differed significantly from the present-day breed since its appearance was more reminiscent of the boxer, a kind of tall, slender, and lighter dog than the one known today.

As with most dogs, your bulldog has fun frolicking in puddles and children’s pools around the home. Naturally, this would lead you to believe that he’d enjoy swimming in a larger pool or the sea.

Swimming is an excellent exercise for dogs, providing them with physical and mental stimulation. But contrary to popular belief, not all dogs can naturally swim well.

Depending on their body type, they may not be designed to be good swimmers, and depending on their personality, they might adore or dislike water.

However, many dogs enjoy the water and are excellent swimmers, although not all of them start out that way. Your dog’s swimming lessons should be taken slowly so that they can become accustomed to this alien environment without trauma.

It would help if you considered that some dogs may never feel confident when swimming and will always need a life jacket whenever they are near water.

Is Your Dog Suitable For Swimming?

Before choosing a dog as a swimming partner, you should analyze its natural complexion. Brachycephalic breeds and other short-nosed, heavy-weighted, short-legged breeds, including the English bulldogs, which is mainly discussed here are not conducive to being good swimmers.

On the other hand, breeds of medium to large size, with waterproof coats and webbing between the toes, will likely be good swimmers. Some dog breeds that tend to love water include the Newfoundland, Standard Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog, and Labrador.

But Can English Bulldogs Swim?

The answer is yes and no; The physical structure of Bulldogs with their large heads, dense bodies, and stumpy legs mean that they are disadvantaged as swimmers.

Bulldogs are not made for swimming and are predisposed to sinking once they venture into deeper water.

However, with carefully considered training, patience, and kind assistance it’s possible to make your bulldog a more confident and capable swimmer.

As a general rule, dogs are happier around water than cats, but not all of them like it. Teaching your English bulldog to swim as a young puppy is recommended. It will probably show some fear, approaching the water with trepidation. 

For that reason, it is crucial that his contact with water is enjoyable. This positive introduction to water will put him at ease to help you achieve the objective of teaching him to swim!

Quick tips, ahead!

  • Teaching your English bulldog swimming takes patience which will help him gain confidence and skills.
  • Exposing puppy bulldogs to water between 6 and 16 weeks can help him get used to and make positive associations with water.
  • Start with several inches of water by wetting his feet, and then gradually increase the water exposure.
  • When your English bulldog starts swimming, hold him below the abdomen until he is confident, and using all four of his legs.
  • Some dogs will always need a life jacket when they are close to water.

How To Get Your English Bulldog Used To Water

English Bulldog Training To Swim In The Pool

Introducing 6 to 16-week old English bulldog puppies to swimming is the best option to ensure the best long-term results.

However, if your English bulldog is an older adult and has never been in the pool or sea, start the process slowly, beginning with a few inches of water to wet his paws.

Accompany your English bulldog when you teach him to swim and don’t leave him alone. This could lead to drowning!

Some people try to teach their English bulldogs to swim by throwing them into the water. Never dump your English bulldog into the water; it will quickly ruin the possibility of him learning to swim by creating a deep-seated fear of water.

Once your English bulldog is comfortable in shallow water, you can gradually expose him to more water. Use accolades and rewards to encourage him into the water, and watch him carefully.

Find a pool, lake, or beach where your English bulldog can start shallow and slowly venture into deeper waters. Make sure there are sudden drops in depth.

You can also encourage play by using toys. If your English bulldog likes to play fetch, throw the ball a short distance into the water and let him retrieve it. Don’t force him to enter deeper water if he shows fear and allow him to hang around the shallows until he gains confidence.

How To Teach Your English Bulldog To Swim

Once your English bulldog is comfortable with water, you need to urge him to try paddling around in the water.

It is natural for many English bulldogs to try to paddle with their legs to stay afloat. While he is still learning, you should support his abdomen until he uses all four stubby appendages to swim.

Speak to him in a positive, calm voice, giving him praise and floating toys while he swims.

Your English bulldog might adjust to the water quickly or he could take much longer to acquire competency. Once he can swim comfortably with assistance, allow him to swim to you on his own, and practice having him returning to the edge of the pool or shore when you call him.

Even if you consider him a good swimmer, don’t leave him unattended while taking a dip. When swimming in lakes, rivers, or the sea, you should put a life jacket on him with a handle to protect him from strong currents or steep descents.

As an added safety measure you should consider attaching a long rope to his life vest so he can be pulled in if he gets overzealous in his swimming or gets into trouble and can’t get back into the safe zone.

Follow these guidelines in case:

  • Ensure to make playing in water enjoyable

Taking our bulldog with us wherever we go is part and parcel of having a pet. When first taking him to the water we should ease him into it by splashing him gently from the feet up until he relaxes and settles down.

In order to create a fun atmosphere try using his favorite toys to draw his attention away from getting wet. Playing fetch would be a great way to start. Throw the object further into the water as the game continues and he’ll probably unthinkingly venture to the deeper areas by himself.

  • Select the shallow areas

Avoid having your bulldog jump into deep spots when starting out because he will likely sink like a rock. This will be devastating for his confidence and downright dangerous to boot. A backyard pool or better still, a blow-up pool will be a sensible beginning.

With the help of a ball, a few words of encouragement, and affection, the shoreline of the beach could motivate him to dive in by himself without even needing our help.

If you’re at the beach or by a lake, try pitching a ball into the shallow spots while giving him lots of encouragement to get the ball. Be sure to praise him or give him a treat when he completes the task.

Try not to go to beaches with big surf or rivers with strong currents.

  • Using floats are a safe option

Your dog can feel security if you use floats to assist his buoyancy, therefore making it much easier to keep his snout out of the water. This will give him a confidence boost when learning to swim.

Also, these could save his life, since not all English bulldogs have the innate agility to bathe over long periods of time. Remember that the important thing is to make the water a fun place for him and not create trauma that will lead to adult problems.

In addition, it could save him from drowning if for some reason he escaped your supervision and got into difficulties. English bulldogs are not capable swimmers and shouldn’t be kept in water for prolonged periods of time.

It’s all about having fun with your dog, right? Let’s not treat him like a fish.

Your careful attention and kind assistance are what will make or break your bulldog’s affinity for swimming. Be loving and caring and don’t allow your pet to get freaked out and stressed. That is never a good thing.

Showing affection and speaking encouragingly to your bulldog will instill trust and confidence in him that he can do the task at hand. Even though he doest comprehend your words he certainly registers the tone of them.

Hugging your dog around the waist and entering the water together is another way to ease him into swimming. Once you are sure that he is using his legs to kick you can release him into the water and monitor his swim.

My Bulldog Loves To Play In The Water. What Do I Have To Do?

A dog life jacket is an answer!

English bulldogs require training and close supervision when swimming. Using equipment can enhance the experience for the pet and the owner.

If you’d like your English bulldog to romp around in the surrounding water, it’ll be a great peace of mind if you don him with a well-fitting life jacket so that he can stay safely afloat.

There are small and medium vests for a snug fit for your English bulldog puppy or adult Bulldog.

The first time your bulldog takes a dip in the pool or in the lake or ocean wearing a vest, make sure that you enter together in a very slow easy manner.

The instinct to kick will take over when the depth of the water is over his head, at which point you can allow him to freely swim.

Training your dog to enter and leave the water by offering some kind of reward (eg. a snack) is not without merit.

Don’t forget to keep watching him and don’t assume that the life vest will protect him from all the dangers of being in the water. Keep a careful eye on him while he is swimming or playing around bodies of water.

Are There English Bulldogs That Can Swim Without Dog Life Jackets?

Just as the temperament of each Bulldog is different, some have different qualities and can swim without the help of a life jacket. Only a limited number of English bulldogs can do this; however, it is always better to keep your friend safe and to take all appropriate precautions.

Yes, there are but that is after training and after gaining the skills and confidence from many sessions of swimming. The rule of thumb is that bulldogs are not made for swimming so they will always be at risk when exposed to deep or rough water.

You need to take the utmost care to make sure that he will be safe.

In Conclusion

After every swimming escapade, make sure that you rinse your bulldog off thoroughly with fresh water as pool chlorine or algae in lakes can also bring on health problems. Furthermore, be careful that he isn’t drinking any of that water.

Every dog can swim, but to what extent differs significantly, especially due to the physical attributes of the dog. Unfortunately, English bulldogs in particular are poorly equipped for this activity.

Training is essential. Never underestimate the ambition and abilities of your four-legged friend. He’ll be happy for all your help and the chance to hang out having fun together while grabbing a little exercise.

John Kilmerstone

I love dogs and believe that in particular, the bulldog breeds make great family pets and companions. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of bulldogs. Discover how to care for and look after this faithful pet and make the most of your valuable time together.

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