Do Boston Terriers Like Water & Can They Swim?

Swimming is a great exercise both for people and for dogs. Some dogs also happen to love it, especially in summer, as a way to play and cool off at the same time. Not every dog likes it, of course, which begs the question that is the subject of our article.

Do Boston Terriers like water and swimming?

In this article, we’re going to explore that subject in-depth in an attempt to answer any questions that you might have about Boston Terriers and their opinions about water. Without further ado, let’s discuss Boston Terriers and swimming!

Do Boston Terriers Like Water?

If they are introduced to water at a young age, many Boston Terriers seem to love it! Older Terriers, not so much, or at least not without a good bit of coaxing. The odds are, if your dog plays with you in the sprinkler, then they’ll probably take to swimming too if you take things slowly.

Can Boston Terriers Swim?

While they aren’t bred to be swimmers, Boston Terriers can indeed swim. However, they are brachycephalic, which means they have short noses and so they shouldn’t be swimming for extended amounts of time. A little is okay; just keep a close eye on them because they can tire out quickly.

Do Boston Terriers Have Webbed Feet?

No, Boston Terriers do not have webbed feet. They can still swim with the standard ‘doggy paddle,’ but as they are not bred for swimming, they have no specialization like webbed feet to assist them. There is some skin between the toes, but it is minute, measuring in at ½ to ¾ of an inch, not enough to help with swimming.

How To Introduce Your Boston Terrier To Water

Teaching your Boston Terrier to swim can be lots of fun for both of you; just make sure to bring the treats and the praise! Below we’ll detail some easy steps that you can use to get your Boston Terrier used to the water and to get them confident enough to give proper swimming a try.

Use A ‘Kiddy Pool’ Or A Bathtub To Get Started

First off, you’ll want to get a small, inflatable ‘kiddy pool’, or you can even make use of your bathtub if you’d like. What we are doing in this step is getting your dog used to water and if you like, getting them to play in the sprinkler is also a good idea at this stage.

Fill your kiddy pool or bathtub partially so that it’s not enough to swim in, only to stand in. Make sure that the water is pleasantly warm so that the next step isn’t a shock for your dog.

Lower Your Dog Into The Water Amidst Praise And Comforting Words

Slowly lower your Terrier into the water, reassuring them the whole time, and once they are standing in it, then this is a great time to give them a treat and maybe put some plastic balls or other toys inside to induce a little playtime.

A few sessions like this can help your dog get pleasant associations with water, which is the key to getting your dog to swim. If you make it fun and if you are involved, your dog will want to do it!

Slowly Raise The Water Amount Until You Can Hold Them While They Paddle

Try about 3 sessions, raising the water each time a little so that there is enough water to hold up your dog so that they can do a little paddling by the third session. Let your dog paddle for a bit, and then take them out of the tub, rewarding them with a treat.

Repeat these sessions until your dog seems comfortable and until it seems like they are becoming a strong paddler.

Get A Doggy Lifejacket And Test The Fit

A doggy lifejacket is a good idea for any dog, but that goes doubly so for your Boston Terrier. If we’re going to let them swim in deeper water, then we want to be sure that we have some safety precautions in place. Get your dog a nice doggy lifejacket and make sure that it fits snugly.

The lifejackets are great, helping to reduce worries that your dog might get tired, and they also have handles on the back so that you can get your dog out of the water quickly!

Your Dog Is Ready To Try Out Deeper Waters

Now that your dog knows how to paddle and is safely vested-up, you are ready to take them out for a swim in the pool or your local lake if you like spending a little time in nature. Get in the water yourself first, and call them to you, and your dog will probably jump right in.

You may need to pick them up by the lifejacket handle the first time, but once they are used to it, you might find it’s harder to keep them out of the water than it is to get them in. Congratulations, your Boston Terrier now knows how to swim, and summers will never be the same again!

What Are The Benefits Of Swimming?

Swimming comes with a lot of perks from a health perspective, so it’s a great activity for your Boston Terrier. We’ll list out the benefits below and expand on each to elaborate on the reasoning for you. The benefits of swimming include the following:

  • It’s great for overweight Terriers
  • Boston Terriers can recover faster from sprains
  • Swimming is good for pain relief
  • Helps with arthritis and stiffness in older dogs
  • Relieves stress while giving a good cardiovascular workout

It’s Great For Overweight Terriers

For overweight dogs, swimming is a great weight-loss tactic. The water provides a low-impact workout, with buoyancy keeping your dog elevated and able to paddle their legs freely without having to support their own weight. If you have an overweight Boston Terrier and they like a good swim, consider regular sessions. They’re a great way to quickly and safely get your dog in good shape.

Boston Terriers Can Recover Faster From Sprains

Swimming to deal with sprains is recommended for humans all the time, and it’s just as good for dogs. The water provides just enough resistance without straining the muscles overmuch. This can help in healing a sprain much more quickly than simply walking around would (in fact, too much walking after a sprain can make things worse!).

 If your dog is limping about, consider some therapeutic swim sessions to hasten healing. It’s well worth the time.

Swimming Is Good For Pain Relief

In this case, we are referring to heated pools. Heated pools can be pain-relieving for your dog, and at the same time that they are soothing those muscles, they are getting increased blood flow and a low-impact workout.

Helps With Arthritis And Stiffness In Older Dogs

Swimming is an excellent treatment for stiffness, arthritis, and joint issues. Older dogs can benefit greatly from one swim session a week. It will help them loosen up a bit and build strength now that they can’t run so fast and don’t have as much energy. Just keep sessions brief and be sure to towel off your dog thoroughly (including the ears).

Relieves Stress While Giving A Good Cardiovascular Workout

Let’s face it; your dog has way too much energy. If you think it’s hard on you, just imagine what it must feel like when you are stuck on a leash and can’t let it out! Swimming lets your dog go wild, getting all of that energy out and playing with floating toys.

 It’s mentally stimulating and gives them a chance to work through that seemingly endless energy supply. Your dog will go home tired but very happy.

What Are The Downsides Of Swimming?

While swimming is good in moderation, there are some caveats about letting your Boston Terrier get in a lot of swimming sessions this summer. Here are the reasons with some elaboration to follow:

  • You need to make sure the water is room temperature
  • Supervision is going to be required
  • Your dog will probably drink some of the water
  • You can get fur in the pool
  • Ear infections are a real possibility

You Need To Make Sure The Water Is Room Temperature

You don’t want to let your Boston Terrier swim in cold water until they are veteran swimmers. With dogs that are just learning, cold water can be an issue. Boston Terriers are very sensitive to it, and the rush of cold water can put your dog into momentary shock.

So, until your dog is a swimming pro, make sure that you don’t let them jump into the water for a swim.

Supervision Is Going To Be Required

We’d mentioned your Terrier is brachycephalic, and so their noses are a little harder to keep out of water. Your Boston Terrier can certainly swim, but start off with short sessions and pay close attention to your dog so that you get a good idea of when they are starting to tire out.

Even when you know this, supervision is a good idea with this breed, no matter how much your dog loves the water.

Your Dog Will Probably Drink Some Of The Water

Your dog is probably going to get a drink of the water at some point. If this is the pool, then your dog might get sick in the pool, so you should be aware of this possibility.

Also, when you are outdoors, check out to make sure that the water that they want to swim in looks relatively clean before letting them get in, and don’t forget to dry them thoroughly afterward.

You Can Get Fur In The Pool

Fur and claws are going to end up in your pool drain, and there’s really nothing that you can do about it. The good thing is that Boston Terriers have fine, short hair, so there isn’t going to be as much as there would with a shaggier dog breed.

Just know that you’ll have to do a little extra cleanup every now and again if you let your dog use the pool.

Ear Infections Are A Real Possibility

Boston Terriers can get ear infections from bacteria in the water. To help minimize it, be sure to towel off your dog thoroughly, paying special attention to cleaning the ears. This will lower the chances of your dog getting a painful ear infection instead of simply having a good time swimming.

Want To Train Your Boston Terrier With Peace Of Mind?

If you haven’t trained your Boston Terrier properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs, you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases, it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your Boston Terrier completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT. 

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)


While they can’t swim for long periods of time, most Boston Terriers love the water, and yours would probably enjoy swimming with you this summer. Just be patient when you teach them how to paddle, and be sure to towel them off thoroughly after every session.

 Get a doggy lifejacket to keep things super-safe, and after that, we hope that you enjoy many a sweet summer swimming with your beloved Boston Terrier!