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Do Boston Terriers Like to Swim? How to Help Them Enjoy The Water

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 10, 2024 by Dogster Team

Teaching Boston Terrier puppy swimming

Do Boston Terriers Like to Swim? How to Help Them Enjoy The Water

The Boston Terrier is a small breed, but it is known to have an outgoing personality and that personality generally means that the breed enjoys trying new things and has a sense of adventure. Although it doesn’t have the benefit of webbed feet and its brachycephalic face can be a hindrance to its swimming efforts, the Boston Terrier is known to be a reasonably decent swimmer. Whether a particular dog likes to get in the water will depend on its experience with water, however, so yours may or may not enjoy swimming.

Read on for more information on whether the breed can swim, whether it likes water, and details of some breeds that generally love to jump in and swim.


Do Boston Terriers Like Water?

It is impossible to say whether an individual dog of any breed will like water, but most Boston Terriers do like water and are reasonably good swimmers. However, it does come down to the individual dog’s experience with water. If your dog has had a negative experience in water or has no experience in water at all, it may not be keen on getting in a pool or jumping in the sea in the first place.

They Don’t Have Webbed Feet

Some breeds of dogs, like Poodles and Weimaraners, have webbing between their claws. This improves drag when they push their feet back, improving propulsion in the water and making it easier for them to swim. Boston Terriers do not have this feature, which means that it can be more challenging for your little Boston. That doesn’t stop most Boston Terriers from getting in the water and giving it a go, though.

boston terrier puppy lays on an armchair with a sad expression on his face
Image by: C_Gara, Shutterstock

Brachycephalic Facial Features

Boston Terriers are brachycephalic, which means that they have a broad and short skull. This causes a squashed face, and it also has an impact on things like the airways. Brachycephalic dogs can find it difficult to breathe, especially after extensive exercise. These features can make it difficult for a Boston Terrier to swim for extended periods but, again, it isn’t usually enough to stop them from having a go in the first place. You do need to keep an eye on your pup to make sure that it isn’t struggling to breathe as a result of those facial features though.

A Fun-Loving, Lively Breed

One aspect of the Boston Terrier breed that may help it swim, or at least lead to your pup wanting to give it a go is the dog’s temperament. Boston Terriers are known to be a fun-loving and lively breed. If they see the water as a game or a challenge, they are likely to leap in and consider the consequences later. Initially, this means that Bostons are happy to give swimming a go, but in some cases, it can prove a hindrance. If your dog leaps into a pool and then struggles to swim and has a negative experience, it may deter the dog from wanting to have another go.


How to Teach Your Dog to Swim

Boston Terrier surfing on the beach on a sunny say
Image by: Malisa Nicolau, Shutterstock

Generally, Boston Terriers will learn to swim of their own accord. You won’t need a canine float and swimming instructor. However, there are some steps you can take to increase the likelihood of your tuxedoed pup becoming a capable swimmer.

Start Young

Ideally, you should introduce your dog to the water when it is young. This way, your pup will be comfortable in and around the water, and young dogs are more capable of learning new tricks and activities than old dogs.

Start Small

Don’t just sit your dog next to a swimming pool and expect it to jump in and start swimming. While getting your Boston Terrier used to the water, you can start with puddles before progressing to shallow paddling pools and then walking your dog next to the sea or river.

Little girl playing to high five a Boston Terrier beside a river
Image by: bubutu, Shutterstock

Start With Paddling

Starting in the sea or at the edge of a river means your dog has the opportunity to get used to the whole experience and the sensation of being in the water. It also means that it will further get used to having wet feet and legs, and, over time, your dog may naturally progress to swimming in deeper water.


When your dog is comfortable in puddles, move on to something deeper, and when they get used to that, you can move on again. Keep this regular progression up and, eventually, you will have a Boston Terrier that is swimming in the sea and leaping in rivers.

Boston Terrier
Image by: Avi’s Colors, Pixabay

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Top 3 Dogs Breeds That Adore Water

Some dog breeds can barely walk past a puddle without leaping in and getting wet. If you are looking for a dog to take swimming or on water-based adventures, the following three breeds are known to be especially keen on water.

1. Golden Retrievers

Pretty much any retriever enjoys getting in the water. They were bred to retrieve downed game and to do so on land and in water. They have partially webbed feet, and their coat is highly effective at repelling water, so they have the tools to swim, too.

2. Irish Water Spaniel

Spaniels, like retrievers, are another class of dogs that are renowned for their prowess in the water. And the Irish Water Spaniel even has it in its name. Despite being a spaniel breed, the Irish Water Spaniel was bred as a Retriever so it, too, was reared to fetch ducks from water.

3. Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese Water Dog is another breed that has water in its name, and it performed similar tasks to herding and farm dogs, except for fishermen. It was used to drive fish into nets and to retriever nets. Although rarely used as a working dog today, the Portuguese Water Dog still loves to get wet.

PK_Webbed feet in dogs
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The Boston Terrier is a lively and adventurous little dog and while it might seem like the kind of breed that would steer clear of water, thanks to its brachycephalic facial features and its lack of webbed feet, it is generally considered a capable swimmer. However, whether an individual Boston Terrier likes the water and is good at swimming will depend on that individual’s experience in the water.

Start taking your Boston in the water when it is young and start with small bodies of water before progressing.

Featured Image Credit: Aneta Jungerova, Shutterstock

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