Can Boston Terriers Swim? [Training Tips and Water Safety] is reader-supported. If you buy a product through a link on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

With summer just around the corner, you might be looking forward to getting out into a body of water to cool off and have some fun.

You might wonder if your Boston Terrier, your best friend, can safely go with you. Can they swim?

The short answer is yes, your Boston Terrier can swim. How well and for how long is another question. They aren’t natural swimmers like other breeds and their small size must also be taken into account.

Let’s take a closer look.

Can Boston Terriers Swim?

Boston Terriers aren’t natural swimmers like other breeds and their small size must also be taken into account.

A dog’s breed has a lot to do with how well they can swim. There are certain breeds of dogs that were born to swim like Irish Water Spaniels and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers.

Boston Terriers, on the other hand, are not great swimmers.

As a brachycephalic breed with short legs and heavier heads, I wouldn’t even say that they are good swimmers.

Bostons can swim about two laps in a standard-size swimming pool. There are a couple of factors that prevent them from making the jump to the Olympic pool.

Unlike other breeds made for water, like the Labrador Retriever, they don’t have webbed feet. This means they must work harder to dog paddle through water.

Brachycephalic breeds with shorter muzzles like Boston Terriers tire out sooner while swimming because of their shortened airways and inability to breathe as deeply. This makes swimming for a long time or for longer distances nearly impossible.

How To Train Your Boston Terrier to Swim

If you want to take your dog swimming, training your Boston Terrier from an early age can help him better adapt to swimming and be your best water buddy. Here are steps to teach him properly.

  1. Don’t start your puppy too early. Wait until he’s four to six months old to make sure he’s strong enough and can withstand temperature changes in water.
  2. The best way to start is by filling your bathtub or even a small kiddie pool with room temperature water. You want the first experience to be as comfortable as possible, without the unpleasant shock of chilly water.
  3. Place your Boston Terrier gently into the water. You can keep the water at the level of his feet to start with and increase as you progress. Be very encouraging and reward with treats or his favorite toy.
  4. Increase the level of water until there is enough for your pup to start to paddle. Support his weight by holding his midsection and hindquarters while he gets used to the motions.
  5. Once he’s used to paddling in small bodies of water, you can move him to a bigger swimming pool or lake, continuing to encourage and giving treats. Be sure to start in shallow water, show him where the steps are in a pool, and allow him to swim back to dry land if you are in a lake. He will learn to stay in for longer periods of time.
  6. When your Boston has been swimming confidently for a while, you can introduce a floating toy and incorporate a game of fetch.

Swimming Safety

Always practice safety and follow your dog’s lead when in water. Never force them. If you have rescued your dog, be aware that water can be a trigger if they suffered some form of abuse in the past.

A life jacket is highly recommended for safety in any water and a definite need if you take your Boston Terrier in a boat. A dog life vest could save her life in the event of accidentally falling out of the boat, as it greatly reduces the risk of drowning.

Always stay with your dog while she’s swimming. Make sure the swimming space is safe, without weeds or debris under the water that she could get caught in. Depending on where you live or what water you’re in, look for snapping turtles, alligators, or other harmful creatures.

Remember you can swim longer than your furry friend can. Even if they feel tired, Boston Terriers are dedicated to the activity and their owners and will likely push themselves to exhaustion just to keep up with their people. Make sure they get enough rest and breaks so that every experience is a positive one for them and they’ll be happy to swim with you for years to come.

Final Thoughts

Like all dogs, Boston Terriers can swim short distances. However, they are not considered strong swimmers.

And while they may never be excellent swimmers capable of swimming for long periods and great distances, a lot of people enjoy taking their Boston Terrier swimming with them to do the doggy paddle enjoy the water.

However, it is important to take extra precautions to make sure your Boston Terrier is safe while swimming.

Despite Bostons not being great at it, swimming is still a good exercise for them that they may enjoy.

Wondering if other terrier breeds can swim? Check out the articles below:

Katherine Alexander

Katherine is an experienced terrier owner, having owned 3 Boston Terriers over the last 18 years. She currently lives at home in Tennessee with her best friend, a 3 year old Bosty named Oona.

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