Can Bichon Frise Swim?

By John Martin - May 3, 2021

Bichon Frise swimming at the lake

Do you think all dogs are natural swimming experts? Well, most animals can swim and adapt to nature, but dogs may not be among them. More so, if they belong to a short-height breed like the Bichon Frise.

That does not mean, however, that dogs cannot swim. Some pooches are specially bred and recognized for their swimming skills. Needless to say, it is an excellent work out for them.

Are you wondering can Bichon Frise swim or not? Well, small dogs do face certain challenges in the waters. Read on to learn about these fluffballs and their swimming habits.

Bichon Frise Habits and Traits

Did you ever come across a little furball and thought it was a Poodle, which actually was a Bichon Frise? It is natural to mistake this white-furred baby as a Maltese or a Poodle. Still, it is different.

Descending from the Water (or Barbet) Spaniel, this little French pooch is energetic and perky. It is a cheerful doggo that will bounce around your apartment, looking like a big toy.

If you are planning to add this curly-haired doggie to your apartment, that is perfectly fine. That is because it can live without a yard, given you take the puppy on daily walks.

So, can you take the pup to your swimming sessions too? Let’s find out!

Bichon Frise and Water

You may be wondering since Bichon Frise descends from the Water Spaniels, it will surely love water. You may be wrong to think so. These little pups are not fans of the water.

It may be due to their petite structure that they often fear jumping into deep waters. That is, even if it is your private pool.

Though they have water dogs as their ancestors, Bichons Frises do not fall under this group. Moreover, the American Kennel Club has categorized the breed as a non-sporting one.

The good news is, if you like, you can teach your Bichon pup swimming. You will be amazed at how the pooch enjoys the cool waves and splashes once a swimmer.

That said, you will need to give them a considerable amount of training for the same. Additionally, there are a few precautions that you must take as deep waters can be dangerous for the tiny bud.

Also Read: Do Bichon Frise Get Along With Cats?

Bichon Frise: Challenges in Swimming

Do you want your Bichon Frise to accompany you on your swimming sprees? Well, you must consider the following before deciding.

Stamina: Yes, the little bundle of energy can run from one room to the other exceedingly fast. You may encounter such energy-bolts 2-3 times a day. However, these can only last for a short while.

Bichons Frises do not have the stamina of running or hiking more than 5-6 miles. The same goes for swimming.

Though these pups require some exercise, they may have a little difficulty while swimming for a prolonged period.

Height: Bichons Frises may range from 9-12 inches in height, which is not quite tall. These pooches have relatively short legs for swimming, which can tire them quickly.

Brachycephalic: Brachycephalic dog breeds are those with short faces. They have relatively short noses and also lack pointed muzzles. As a result, such dogs may have a few respiratory issues.

Bichon Frise is one of the brachycephalic dogs. Therefore, they may have certain problems if they work out for too long.

Needless to say, it also means they cannot breathe underwater for a long time. Apart from that, these canines may also have difficulty keeping their heads above the water.

Despite the challenges, you can still teach your canine friend how to swim. They may not enter the water by themselves, but you can take the Bichon babies along with you.

Bichon Frise: Precautions to Take While Swimming

Life Jacket: A life jacket is downright the best gear that can support your pooch while swimming. That is not only while the Bichon is learning how to swim. You can make the baby wear this jacket at all times to prevent any mishaps.

Leash: Once the white furball loves swimming, it may swim too far away from your reach. Make sure you always keep the doggo on a long leash. You must also follow this when you go boating, fishing, or other water sports.

Exit Points: Whether your furry friend is in the learning phase, or has already learned swimming, keep the doggo near water exits.

Make sure to train the little pooch to run to the exits when in need. Additionally, see to it that the doggo only swims in a safe place, i.e., near the exit, especially while learning.

Short Duration: As mentioned earlier, Bichons Frises do not have a lot of stamina and can tire quickly. You must remember to keep your little doggie’s swimming sessions short enough. In this way, the pup can learn and exercise while not getting too tired.

Does the Bichon Frise Like to Swim?

So far, you have read that you can train your tiny bud to swim, even though Frises are not water dogs. Still, questions like do Bichons Frises like to swim prevails.

Well, the answer is—no, Bichons Frises usually do not like to swim. They will learn swimming and accompany you, but it is certainly not one of their favorite hobbies.

That said, you must know that it greatly varies from one doggo to another. If you are lucky enough, your pooch will love swimming as much as you do!

Is Swimming Good for Bichon Frise?

Irrespective of your Bichon’s liking towards the water, swimming is excellent for dogs and humans alike. So, if you are wondering whether you must give swimming lessons to your Bichon Frise or not, go ahead!

To further clear your doubts, here are a few reasons why swimming is good for Bichon Frise.

Excellent Work Out

Good health and physique are unsaid benefits of swimming, even for doggos. Short swimming sessions are also enough to give the little pooches enough activity for the day.

If you cannot take your doggo for a walk, you can replace it with playtime in the pool. When your Bichon Frise swims, all its little muscles and bones will be at work.

Swimming also helps to improve the blood circulation and metabolism of your little bud. Thus, it is an all-win-and-no-loss situation.

Does Not Lay Much Stress on Joints

Bichons Frises are tiny doggies that do not have a lot of stamina. Moreover, they have moderate energy levels. So, if you are looking for a low impact exercise for your little pooch, go no further.

Swimming will not lay much stress on your tiny canine friend’s joints. That is because, inside the water, your doggo’s weight will be relatively less. Additionally, the pressure applied to its muscles and joints will be lesser.

When your canine friend is inside the pool or any other water body, the water will support the little friend. So, they can move around with ease.

Calming Activity

If you love swimming, you will know how refreshing it is. Even a short swimming session can help you relax and calm your nerves.

The same goes for your furry friends. If they swim even for 10-15 minutes, they will be fresh and happy for the entire day. Even if you cannot take the furball for swimming every day, makes sure to do so 2-3 times a week.

Apart from relaxing, swimming is also a fun activity that your pooch will love. More so, during the summer months as Bichon Frise has a thick coat. Staying in cold water can help the baby beat the heat.

Helps in Recovery

If your doggo has had recent surgery, swimming is a good option for its fast recovery. As with humans, hydrotherapy can help doggies recover from their injuries.

Swimming has a great physical as well as a mental effect on dogs. Thus, you may consider taking your doggo to a hydrotherapy center. Alternatively, you can prepare a tub of warm water for your Bichon’s swimming.

Tips for Bichon Frise Swimming Lessons

  • Shorter Durations: Keep the lesson durations short, especially in the beginning. You can increase it by a few minutes gradually.
  • Breaks: Make sure to take frequent breaks so that you do not tire the little Frise.
  • Swimming gear: The right swimming equipment is highly recommended. That is not only while learning but also later on.
  • Constant Supervision: Never leave the doggo alone or unsupervised. Doing this will make the pup feel confident and also minimize any chances of mishap.
  • Maintain consistency: Your Bichon Frise may not like going into the water for the first few days. You must be patient and consistent with your training.
  • Cleaning: Once the swimming session ends, you must thoroughly bathe your pup. Swimming pool chemicals may irritate the furry baby’s eyes or affect the coat.
  • Gradual Introduction: Before getting to the swimming classes, introduce your doggo to its swimming gear on the land itself. These may include water toys, tubes, swimming jackets, etc.


Can Bichon Frise Swim Long Distances?

No, Bichon Frise cannot swim long distances. These are short-height doggies with little stamina and can get tired quite fast.

You must ensure not to let the little pooches swim for longer than 10 minutes in the beginning. Even if the doggie has completed all the lessons, you must only let it swim for 30 minutes at most.

Extra work out can lead to muscle and joint pains in your Bichon Frise.

Are Bichon Frises Water Dogs?

No, Bichons Frises are not water dogs. They descend from Barbet Spaniels, also known as Water Spaniels, that are actually water dogs.

These dogs were known to be sporty dogs and often accompanied sailors on their boat trips. However, the current breed has undergone several modifications and is not classified as water dogs anymore.

How to Introduce My Bichon Frise to Swimming?

Bichons Frises usually do not like jumping into the water, and thus, are not great fans of swimming. That is why you need to conduct special training for these babies to learn swimming.

Here are a few tips for introducing your Bichon Frise to swimming.

  • Make the process gradual, and do not force the doggo at all.
  • Play water games with your little bud. When the canine considers swimming a fun activity, it will have more confidence and learn faster.
  • Always conduct lessons in shallow water.

Final Thoughts

Bichon Frise is an adorable lapdog that has a thick white coat and buttoned nose. Unlike its forefathers, the little pooch is not a water enthusiast, and certainly not a water dog.

So, can Bichon Frise swim? Despite all these facts, yes, Bichon Frise can swim, provided you train your canine friend well.

Due to its petite structure, the doggo may face a few challenges while swimming. However, the Bichon can successfully swim with diligent practice. Moreover, the activity is highly beneficial for the mental and physical well-being of the furball!