Do Boston Terriers like Water, and Swiming

A few months ago my wife and I decided to bite the bullet and get an inground pool installed finally. Our first thought after they started digging was will our two Boston Terriers like water? Ok….. we had a lot more questions than that about our Bostons and the pool.

Although I have read otherwise online, the truth is that Boston Terriers do not like to swim. I have two Bostons Terriers. and my family and friends would add around 8 more. None of the 10 will go into the pool on purpose nor do they enjoy when they fall in.

If you would like to read more about my attempts to get my Boston Terriers in the pool, please keep reading. I have had many dogs in the past who loved to swim so there are a few tips I will also share.

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Can a Boston Terrier Swim?

When you think about dogs who are great swimmers, Boston Terriers are not the breed that comes to mind. Usually, you see a dog with webbed toes like a labrador retriever. These dogs are bred to retrieve ducks out of the water. Their mouths are soft to carry back the duck without damaging it.

Their snout is long to allow breathing while swimming. A Labrador’s feet are even set up to swim, their toes are webbed to pull the water much faster than other dogs. I don’t have any Labs but I remember as a kid playing fetch in the pond with my Grandfathers dogs.

Now on the other hand Boston Terriers have none of the traits that you use to describe a great swimming breed. They are a Brachycephalic or flat-face breed. If you don’t think that would have anything to do with swimming try to swim with a running mask or something that makes it harder to breathe. You will find that it’s much harder to swim for a long period of time. So now look at your Boston Terrier and realize that’s how they feel all the time.

If you look at a Boston Terriers’ feet you will not see webbed toes. The toes are separated without any skin connecting them. So when a Boston Terrier swims it’s basically like when a kid swims with their fingers open. They move along but they have to do a few more strokes in order to get there.

Yes, Boston Terriers can swim and they are strong swimmers. The only issue they have is the amount of time they can swim. So if you take your Boston Terrier swimming it is good to get them a dog vest or make sure they have a way to take a lot of breaks when needed.

Boston Terrier hanging out by the hottub

What our adventure with trying to get Boston Terriers to Swim was like

The first time we tried to get our two Boston Terriers to swim was when they were already almost 3 years old. Just like humans by the time they are 3 or 21 in human years, they kind of have decided what they like and what they are scared of. Ours decided as the pool was being dug that it was not for them.

The first thing we tried was to make them want to come in on their own. Our pool has a tanning ledge that is shallow enough for them to stand up if they wanted to jump onto it. So my family and I would hang around the shallow end of the pool and just have so much fun. We would put on a show and call the dogs names.

Well as you can probably guess the Bostons would run around the edge of the pool and act crazy while never really jumping in. They wanted to get to us but this big bath was in their way. They couldn’t figure out how to jump over it and get to us without being in the water.

How can you ensure a Boston Terrier will like water?

The trick to getting a Boston Terrier to like water is to start early. It’s pretty much that way for most dogs. If you want them to like something you need to introduce it to them early and make it seem like a great idea.

Years ago I had a Great Dane which was a very interesting dog to have. When he was still a puppy and I was taking a shower he decided to peek around the shower curtains to see what was going on. So I’m my brilliance I thought here is my chance to make sure he likes to take baths. So I invited him in and played with him.

I had no idea how bad of an idea it was to get a Great Dane used to the idea that taking a shower was fun. Especially since he didn’t care who was in the shower all he knew was the water comes on it is time to go have fun.

I ended up having to warn anyone in my house before they took a bath to make sure and lock the door. I don’t know if you can picture it but if it’s not your dog a Great Dane or any mastiff-type dog can be a little intimidating. They are very gentle dogs but their size is still just very big.

I will never forget my father coming to visit and staying over one weekend. I forgot to warn him about the door or maybe he just didn’t understand why I was telling him to make sure to lock the door. Either way, a few mins after he went and jumped in the shower I heard a yell.

By the time I got to the bathroom, they had worked it out. Both my dog and my father were in the shower. My dad was laughing and I asked if he was alright. He let me know that I had a crazy dog and he never met a dog that wanted to play in the shower before.

That was a long story but the point was if you want a Boston Terrier to enjoy swimming you need to introduce it to them at a young age. They need to know that swimming with their family is fun. Make sure their first few experiences are good. The worst thing you can do is throw them in the water and add fear on top of the new experience.

The key warning to take away though is that if you want to prevent a Boston Terrier from ever wanting to swim, scare them with it early. This is true for just about anything and any breed. If you make something a bad experience while they are young it will stick with them.

Boston Terrier Running from the pool


I hope that through my experiences I have been able to shed some light on the question do Boston Terriers like water. I am sure there are other people who will give a different opinion than mine and maybe they are a rare case.

The answer to do Boston Terriers like water is usually not. They can swim and do a pretty good job if they have to, but they are not the type of dog breed that wants to jump in the pool and splash around.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to read more about Boston Terrier please check our other post on common questions about Boston Terriers HERE!

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