Are Boston Terriers Good Swimmers?

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Most dogs can swim and seem to love being in the water. However, are Boston Terriers good swimmers? To determine that, we’re going to see whether Boston Terriers like water, how to introduce them to swimming, and what you can do to train your pet in swimming safely.

Are Boston Terriers Good Swimmers?

Yes, Boston Terriers are good, natural swimmers like many other dog breeds. While they are not the worst swimmers, they can be good swimmers as long as they are healthy and appropriately trained. Some health conditions, behaviors, and training may influence whether a Boston Terrier can become a good swimmer or not. 

Let’s see how your Boston Terrier can feel accustomed to water activities.

Little boy testing to see if his Boston Terrier is a good swimmer

Factors That Affect a Boston Terrier’s Ability to Swim 

Boston Terriers can be good swimmers depending on their health, training, and behavior. However, it’s not ideal to leave them swimming for a long time or at great distances.

On average, a Boston Terrier can swim about the length of a swimming pool and back. Although Boston Terriers can swim, there are certain physical and behavioral factors that may limit the time and distance they swim.

  • Brachycephalic breed: There’s a misconception that Boston Terriers may not swim due to them being brachycephalic dogs. They naturally have heavier heads and shorter snouts, making them exert more energy in breathing and tire out easily. 
  • Paws: Boston Terriers don’t have canine webbed feet or the skin between the toes. They only have about 1/2 to 3/4 of skin between the toes, which is not as elastic in other breeds such as Labradors, Weimaraner, and Newfoundland.
  • Temperament: Boston Terriers are among the most strong-willed breeds, causing them to become bold and adventurous. However, this also means they can be a bit of a handful, especially when sharing swimming space or playing with other dogs.  

Do Boston Terriers Like Water?

Boston Terriers can love water, particularly if you introduce them to it at an early age. They tend to feel afraid of the water when they feel forced about being in it. Hence, it’s important that you let them try it at their own pace, and make sure to constantly use positive reinforcement.

Introducing Water and Swimming to Boston Terriers

For dogs, 1 minute of swimming equates to 4 minutes of running. With this kind of benefit, you can use swimming as a form of training and exercise.

Woman carrying a puppy

Most dogs are natural swimmers, and Boston Terriers can become good swimmers as long as you train them for it. These are the steps you can take to help your Boston Terrier feel comfortable in the water and learn how to swim.

  • Wait for the right time: It would be best to wait until your Boston Terrier is around 4 to 6 months old. At this age, your Boston Terrier should have stronger bones and muscles to help them withstand water pressure and temperature changes.
  • Walk in puddles of water: To make your Boston Terrier acquainted with the sensation of being wet, walk your dog along puddles of water, beside the lake, or on the beachfront. Take your time until your Boston Terrier feels ready to move further. 
  • Swim in smaller pools: Aside from a kiddie pool, you can fill your bathtub with water. Make sure to use room temperature to ensure they won’t feel a sudden temperature change. 
  • Start gently: When putting your Boston Terrier in the water, start the feet first, and keep doing it until your pet begins to paddle. Be sure to support your dog’s weight until it paddles. You can give treats or a toy as a form of encouragement and reward.
  • Go bigger: Take your Boston Terrier to a bigger pool and guide your pet off the edge. Support its weight even if you’re using a life vest. Try swimming back and forth until your dog finds the courage to do it alone.
  • Use swimming as a socialization activity: Similar to training and other activities, your Boston Terrier will learn how to survive in water through frequent swimming. You can swim with your pet on different water surfaces such as a swimming pool, lake, or beach. You can also play fetch in the shallow parts. 
  • Don’t force your pet: Let your Boston Terrier explore the water freely. Boston Terriers can be sensitive, so avoid using harsh or hostile tones. Forcing them to swim can only make the activity a traumatizing experience for them.
  • Supervise: Always make sure you are with your dog while they are swimming, just as you would do with your children. Boston Terriers are not naturally great at swimming, so they are still prone to drowning.

Boston Terrier Swimming Safety Measures and Tools 

About 25% of dogs suffer from hyponatremia, which happens when a dog consumes too much water, including when swimming. For your peace of mind, these are the things you can do to make swimming a fun and memorable activity.

Boston Terrier going for a swim in the ocean
  • Invest in flotation devices: Even the best swimmer can tire out and drown, so it would be best to bring flotation devices like a lifejacket. Since Boston Terriers are small in size, they need something that can lift their weight. 
  • Prepare drinking water: Your dog may become dehydrated when swimming for long periods, so it’s essential to bring drinking water and healthy dog food.
  • Use toys: You can use toys to make your Boston Terrier focus on a familiar item instead of the water. 

Related Questions

To cap off, let’s discuss more things about Boston Terriers. 

What Are the Best Activities for Boston Terriers?

Boston Terriers prefer low to medium-intensity activities like walking, scent games, and mental stimulation games. Active ones can also enjoy high-intensity exercises such as chasing, fetch games, and agility training.

Are Boston Terriers Easy to Train?

Boston Terriers are easy to train thanks to their clever, determined, and obedient nature. While they can be stubborn at times, reward-based training works best for them to remember rules, commands, and tricks. In effect, you can housetrain a Boston Terrier to become an ideal pet for your family. 


Boston Terriers can swim and are fairly good at swimming as long as they are fit and trained for the activity. As natural swimmers, dogs have the instinct on how to react in the water. However, it would be better to supervise them, remember safety measures, and bring lifesaving tools.