Can Boston Terriers Swim? What You Need To Know

Are Boston Terriers Swimmers?

Boston Terriers can swim. They may not be great swimmers, but they can have a good time in the water. Since they are a brachycephalic breed, they face a higher risk of drowning. In addition, they don’t always like being in the water. So, you should try to introduce them to being in the water at a young age. With adequate training and supervision, your Boston Terrier can go swimming.

The amount of time they can spend in the water and the distance they can cover may be limited compared to other dogs. But that doesn’t stop them from having fun. Once they are comfortable, you can even play games.

Can Boston Terriers Swim?

Let’s first address the question of whether Boston Terriers can swim. Yes, they can swim.

A misconception has come about that Boston Terriers being brachycephalic dogs, cannot swim. People also assume that since the English Bulldog and French Bulldog can’t really swim, a mixed breed like the Boston Terrier would also face the same difficulty. They couldn’t be more wrong.

The Boston Terrier shares many features with the English Terrier since it is related to the English Terrier. And English Terriers can swim.

Now, Bosties are not the best swimmers in the world, and they are not natural swimmers. They may not be as great in the water as a retriever or a water spaniel, but they are better than basset hounds or bulldogs.

A Bostie can learn how to swim if it is introduced to water and the idea of swimming from a young age. It all depends on whether they like to be in the water. In case they don’t like that idea, it would be difficult to get them to swim.

Why can or can’t Boston Terriers swim?

In terms of swimming ability, Boston Terriers face a few issues. The first is that they have short and relatively heavy heads since they are a brachycephalic breed.

They face difficulties holding their head above the water. Sometimes they have tissue buildups near their nose and throat, which makes breathing a challenge for them.

In addition, due to their compact bodies, they are not very buoyant.

Swimming for a long time or a great distance is undoubtedly challenging for these dogs. They tend to get tired rather quickly since they have to expend a lot of energy to swim.

Moreover, they are rather small dogs, so there is a limit to how much distance their tiny legs can take them.

In fact, you can expect them to swim the length of a swimming pool back and forth in one go. But beyond that, it may be difficult, and it depends on how healthy and heavy your dog is.

In addition, their feet are not webbed, and there is hardly any skin between their toes. Dogs rely on their webbed paws to swim. But in the case of the Boston Terrier, the webbing is relatively short and is not elastic.

Some Boston Terriers may have absolutely no interest in swimming or are terrified of water. It is possible that even after your training, they may be adamant about staying away from water.

It is better to let them be rather than forcing them into the water.

Boston Terrier running

Can you teach Boston Terriers to swim?

You can teach your Boston Terrier to swim. You can do this by taking advantage of the fact that Bosties are energetic and playful dogs, and they enjoy their toys.

The key is to introduce these dogs to water at a young age. But you should wait until they are at least 4 to 6 months old before teaching them how to swim.

You will have to check if they are strong enough to swim and withstand the temperature changes that come with being in the water.

You have to be mindful of the fact that brachycephalic breeds have difficulties with temperature regulation.

When they are young, you can introduce them to shallow puddles and get them used to having wet feet. You can develop positive associations with water by playing around these puddles or using rewards and toys to motivate them.

In the alternative, you can take them for walks along the shore, letting them get their feet wet on brief occasions. You can even let them wander a bit till their feet are covered in water.

Once your Bostie is mature enough to learn swimming, you can start training them. First of all, you will need a bathtub or an inflatable kiddie pool.

Then fill it with room temperature water. Your Bostie may be hesitant to step into cold water, and you don’t want their first experience with swimming to be an awkward one.

Then bring your Bostie near the water and dip their feet. Let them get used to the feeling of water around their feet. You can encourage them with rewards or praise.

In case you sense some hesitancy, you can use their favorite toy as a motivational tool.

Then slowly allow your Bostie to go deeper into the water but do not let them get submerged. You want them to try to use their paws for paddling at this stage. Till they start paddling, you should support their weight.

Once they are comfortable with being in the water and paddling, you can take your Bostie to a swimming pool or lake.

Strap a dog life jacket around them and introduce them to the new environment. You should also show them how to get in and out of the pool.

You will have to be in the water with your dog at this stage. Guide them through the water and help them paddle around. Slowly encourage them to spend more time in the water. Let them explore the pool at their own pace.

Once they start paddling confidently, you can let them roam around freely. You can also play games like fetch by throwing a floating toy at them.

Always give them time for rest and recovery. You may have to step into the pool and take them out for a break. In the alternative, you can train them to answer your call.

There are a few things to keep in mind even after your Boston Terrier is comfortable with swimming. Bosties are not natural swimmers, and the risk of drowning is always there.

Don’t leave them alone near pools or water bodies, and ensure you are around to supervise. Even if your dog is an expert swimmer, be cautious around pools and water bodies.

Be extremely careful if you let them swim in a water body that has currents. These dogs tire easily and can get swept away by the current. Further, it may be difficult for them to swim against the current.

Do Boston Terriers Like Water?

Boston Terriers enjoy being in the water if they are introduced at a young age. Forcing a dog to get into a water body is a bad idea.

It could traumatize them into disliking water or make them afraid of water. In addition, using a harsh tone with them may also be counter-productive.

You could consider sprinkling water near them when they are young. See if they register an interest. Then introduce them to bathtubs or inflatable pools. After that, you can consider a pool or a water body.


Do Boston Terriers enjoy being on inflatable pool floats?

Some owners have reportedly introduced their Boston Terriers to the water by placing them on inflatable pool floats and letting their dogs lounge in them.

Is swimming a good workout for your Boston Terrier?

Experts tell us that 1 minute of swimming is the equivalent of 4 minutes of running for a dog. So swimming should be an excellent workout for your Bostie.

In addition, if your dog is on the active side, swimming may be a great way to tire them out.

Should I carry water and dog food when my Bostie goes out for a swim?

Your Bostie may get dehydrated and hungry after swimming for a while. So having some clean drinking water and dog food around would be great.

What can you do if your dog is too tired after a swim?

Boston Terries tend to expend a lot of energy while swimming. It is possible that they end up being too tired to walk home.

Luckily, these dogs tend to be on the lighter side, and you can easily carry them. In the alternative, you could consider getting a small dog stroller.

What health conditions could impact your Boston Terrier’s swimming abilities?

Boston Terriers are prone to health conditions like Patellar Luxation and Hemivertebrae. Patellar Luxation is a condition that forces the knee cap to come out of its groove.

Hemivertebrae is a congenital disability caused by defects in the vertebrae. It is associated with issues with the nervous system. In such cases, your Boston Terrier may have difficulties swimming.

In fact, you should consult a vet before letting them swim in case they have these health conditions.

Recent Posts