Can American Bulldogs Swim?

Have you always wanted to take your American Bulldog to the beach but worry about the risks?

This might make you curious as to whether American Bulldogs can swim or not. This breed can swim, but not as great as water dog breeds. 

Find out if American Bulldogs are natural swimmers. 

We also talk about their webbed feet and what to do if they don’t like to swim.

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Do American Bulldogs like to swim

Can American Bulldogs Swim?

Yes. American Bulldogs can swim but they have difficulty doing it for a long time.

Compared to other Bulldog breeds, American bulldogs are better at it because of their physical characteristics. 

But they are still not as good as water breeds.

Their flat faces make it difficult to breathe in water, so it’s harder for them to swim. 

Swimming for too long with an American Bulldog can make them sick. Activities requiring a lot of energy tire this breed easily.

You must always look for ways to keep your American Bulldog active without exhausting them.

Swimming for a short time can still be beneficial.

This American Bulldog is unlike other dogs. They can swim across the lake despite their physical traits. Check it out.

Are American Bulldogs Natural Swimmers?

American Bulldogs are not natural swimmers because they lack the characteristics of a water breed.

But among the different kinds of Bulldogs, American Bulldogs are more privileged when it comes to the sport.

Unlike English Bulldogs, American bulldogs are taller. Their weight is evenly distributed, so they won’t easily sink when put in the pool. 

They also have longer legs, which makes it easier for them to push through the water. 

American Bulldogs can sometimes be considered as working dogs. This means they have more strength and endurance for swimming.

But they’re still brachycephalic. Their smooshed, heavy faces make breathing and swimming difficult. Unless well-trained, Bulldogs can drown in water.

Do American Bulldogs Have Webbed Feet?

No. The webbing between the paws of an American Bulldog is not suitable for swimming. 

The thin membranes don’t help them push more water.

Instead, the webbing aids in muddy and rocky terrain. It helps them walk and run faster on land. 

All dogs have the same thin webbing on their feet like the American Bully, but only water dog breeds have thick webbed feet that allow them to swim swiftly. 

Do American Bulldogs Like to Swim?

No. American Bulldogs do not like to swim. 

Despite their superior physique and strength, they prefer to play on land.

To understand why American Bulldogs do not like to swim, we need to look at their origin.

They were brought to North America by immigrants to work on farms. They protected the farmers and hunted bulls and wild pigs.

With this history, it is unlikely that they had access to pools and oceans, let alone be required to swim for their work. 

There are always exceptions though.

This American Bulldog enjoys swimming with his toys.

Do American Bulldogs Like Water?

It depends. 

American Bulldogs may enjoy splashing around with the hose, playing in the shallow area of the pool, or simply taking a bath because it keeps them cool. 

Brachycephalic breeds struggle to regulate their body temperature due to poor inhalation and exhalation.

Try letting them stay in the shallow part of the water or beachside, so they will learn to love water and gradually enjoy swimming.

But some American Bulldogs may even dislike baths like other dogs because it stresses them out. 

What if My American Bulldog Doesn’t Like to Swim?

It’s not surprising if your American Bulldog does not enjoy swimming. 

They would rather play Frisbee, run around the park, or take a walk around the neighborhood.

But swimming may have some benefits for them, so it’s important to teach them how to love swimming. 

It will also keep them safe, especially for dog owners who have backyard pools.

The first step is to make them feel comfortable in water first. This happens when you slowly introduce them to small bodies of water. 

As they get acquainted, move them to deeper and larger water like pools and lakes.

It’s completely okay to start with a kiddie pool or bathtub.

Safety Tips for Swimming with Your American Bulldog 

Keep your pup safe in the water:

  • Make them wear a life jacket or a life vest.
  • Always stay by their side, especially if they’re still learning.
  • Teach them where the exit points are.
  • Keep them hydrated before and after each swimming session.
  • Make sure to keep each swimming session short. 

Find out the difference between a life jacket and a life vest to see what your American Bulldog needs. 

Don’t Do This When Introducing Your American Bulldog to Water

  • Do not throw them in the water – it makes them anxious, and scared.
  • Do not force them to swim if they don’t feel comfortable yet.
  • Do not leave them unattended.

The best way to teach them how to swim is to use positive reinforcement techniques.

American Bulldogs take time to enjoy the water. Try introducing them to small and shallow bodies of water before taking them to the pool.

Lastly, even if your American Bulldog already knows how to swim, they might still need your help getting out of the water if they get tired.  

Is Swimming Good for American Bulldogs?

Yes. Swimming is good for American Bulldogs but only if they don’t swim for too long.

Swimming is a great form of cardio exercise for Bulldogs. The low-impact workout does not hurt their hips and joints compared to walking or running.

It’s also great if your American Bulldog needs to lose weight but has low energy levels. 

Swimming can burn more calories than other exercises done on land.

Swimming sessions must be kept short to avoid near-drowning and over exhaustion. 

Find out more benefits of swimming with your dog.

How Old Should Your American Bulldog Puppy Be Before They Start Swimming?

Your American Bulldog puppy has to be around 10 weeks old to start swimming. They need to learn to swim early so they can grow up enjoying it and stay safe.

Young bulldogs are more curious, adventurous, and obedient. Adults can be stubborn and lack energy.

Take advantage of their carefree attitude while they’re still puppies so that they can learn how to swim early.

Find out how old other puppies can swim depending on their breed and abilities

How Long Can American Bulldogs Swim For?

American Bulldogs can only swim for 5 to 10 minutes. 

They can’t swim for a long time because of their smooshed faces. They will easily tire and have trouble breathing, so 5 to 10 minutes is enough for a good workout.

Other Bulldog breeds can only swim for a maximum of five minutes because they are either too small or heavy to stay in the water for long.

Find out how long dogs can stay in the pool.

Can My American Bulldog Swim in My Pool?


Swimming pools are safer than salt water or lake water for your American Bulldog to learn to swim.

It’s alright for American Bulldogs to swim in your pool. They won’t ruin your pool filter, although some hair can get caught in it.

Make sure to clean your pool and filter regularly while maintaining the right chlorine levels.

Find out the tools you need for pool maintenance when you have a dog.

American Bulldogs Can Swim

Many American Bulldogs can swim even though it is not a natural skill for them. It’s a good exercise that also keeps them cool to avoid overheating.

If your American bulldog doesn’t like to swim, don’t force them. Never throw them in the water or take them to the deep part of the pool when they feel uncomfortable. 

Take your time when training them. Give them treats, toys, and other objects that will make swimming enjoyable for them. 

Check out these tips on how to get a dog out of an above-ground pool.