Why Does My Frenchie Hate Water? Here’s the Reasons

French Bulldogs, with their adorable bat-like ears and affectionate personalities, are beloved pets in many households. But if you’ve ever tried to introduce your Frenchie to water, you may have encountered a puzzling reaction – an apparent aversion to all things wet. 

In this article, we will dive deep into the world of French Bulldogs and their often-misunderstood relationship with water. We’ll explore the reasons behind their reluctance, how to overcome it, and the importance of keeping your 

Frenchie comfortable around water.

Understanding the French Bulldog’s Aquaphobia

It’s not uncommon for French Bulldogs to display signs of aquaphobia, a fear or aversion to water. This behavior can range from mild reluctance to an all-out panic attack at the sight of water. 

While it’s essential to remember that every Frenchie is unique, several common factors contribute to their water aversion.

Body Structure

One key factor in a French Bulldog’s aversion to water is their unique physical characteristics. Their stocky, compact bodies and short noses make them poor swimmers compared to breeds with more streamlined bodies. 

Frenchies are top-heavy, which means they tend to sink easily in water, leading to a feeling of vulnerability.

Sensitive Ears

Those adorable, oversized ears that give French Bulldogs their distinctive appearance also play a role in their aversion to water. Water can easily enter their ears, causing discomfort and potential ear infections. This sensitivity can make them wary of getting wet.

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Lack of Natural Instinct

Unlike some breeds that have an inherent love for water, such as Labrador Retrievers, French Bulldogs do not have a strong water-loving instinct. Their ancestors were not water dogs, so this trait is not deeply ingrained in their genetics.

Negative Experiences

Sometimes, a negative experience with water during their puppyhood can lead to a lifelong aversion. If a Frenchie had a traumatic encounter with water, such as a slip in the bathtub or being caught in the rain, it can create a lasting fear.

Overcoming Your Frenchie’s Fear of Water

While it may seem challenging, it is possible to help your French Bulldog become more comfortable around water. Here are some tips to consider:

Gradual Exposure

Start by introducing your Frenchie to water gradually. Use a small kiddie pool or a shallow basin to let them get used to the sensation of water. Make sure the water is at a comfortable temperature, and never force them into it.

Positive Reinforcement

Use positive reinforcement techniques like treats, toys, and praise to create positive associations with water. Reward your Frenchie when they approach water without fear or hesitation.

Gentle Bathing

When it’s bath time, use a handheld showerhead or a cup to gently wet your Frenchie rather than immersing them in a bathtub. Be patient and calm throughout the process, and reward them afterward.

Swimming Lessons

If you’d like to teach your Frenchie to swim, consider enrolling them in a canine swimming class. These classes are often conducted in a controlled environment with trained instructors who can help build your Frenchie’s confidence in the water.

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Protective Gear

Invest in a good quality life jacket designed for dogs. This can provide added buoyancy and security when your Frenchie is in the water, helping to alleviate their fear.

Regular Maintenance

Keep your Frenchie’s ears clean and dry to prevent discomfort and infection. Use a soft, absorbent cloth to dry their ears after any water exposure.

The Importance of Overcoming Aquaphobia

Why is it important to address your Frenchie’s fear of water? Beyond the practical reasons like regular grooming and hygiene, there are several benefits to helping your Frenchie become more comfortable around water:

Safety: In case of an accidental fall into a pool or a river, it’s crucial that your Frenchie knows how to swim or at least stay afloat with the help of a life jacket.

Enjoyment: Water can be a source of fun and exercise for your Frenchie. Overcoming their fear allows them to enjoy activities like playing fetch in the water or going for leisurely swims.

Stress Reduction: Bath time can be a stressful experience for both you and your Frenchie if they have an aversion to water. Overcoming their fear can make grooming and bath time a more relaxed and enjoyable process.

Travel Opportunities: If you’re planning a beach vacation or a lakeside getaway, having a Frenchie that is comfortable around water can make the trip more enjoyable for both of you.


In conclusion, the fear of water, or aquaphobia, is not uncommon in French Bulldogs due to their unique physical characteristics and lack of natural water instincts. 

However, with patience, positive reinforcement, and gradual exposure, you can help your Frenchie overcome this fear. It’s essential to do so for their safety, well-being, and the opportunity for them to enjoy the benefits of water-related activities. 

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Remember that every Frenchie is different, so be patient and understanding as you work to build their confidence around water.