Can Miniature Bull Terrier Swim? All You Need To Know

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This miniature variant of the standard Bull Terrier packs the same amount of energy just like the standard Bull Terrier, requiring adequate exercise to stay healthy.

Swimming can be considered as an optional form of exercise to keep a pooch fit and you might be wondering if the Miniature Bull Terrier can swim.

Yes, Miniature Bull Terrier can swim, this is due largely to natural instincts, but unfortunately, they are not natural-born swimmers and they tend to sink and may drown if not properly taught to swim or supervised.

There dense, muscular body and short legs come as a disadvantage as regards to having them be great swimmers. They simply weren’t built for long-duration swimming.

That being said, Mini Bull Terrier can be taken out for a swim, but, there are certain things you need to take into consideration before that can be done.

In this blog post, I will be going into detail on the various steps you can take to ensure your Mini Bull Terrier has a lot of fun in the water while staying safe.

I will also dive into other things you need to know as regards to taking your Mini Bull Terrier out to the pool, beach or lake, what to look out for and things you have to do.

Let’s begin.

Do Miniature Bull Terriers like to Swim?

It is not possible to know if every Miniature Bull Terrier would love to swim as each individual Mini Bull Terrier has its unique personality.

For Mini Bull Terriers, being in the water and going for a swim can either be a great time or dreadful experience.

miniature bull terrier
miniature bull terrier

It is important to teach your Mini Bull Terrier how to swim from a very young age to foster a positive association and fondness for larger bodies of water.

Going swimming can be made into a great bonding and training experience for you and your Mini Bull Terrier.

It is no secret that the Mini Bull Terrier can be independent-minded, difficult and stubborn to train and requires a firm hand and a gentle voice during training, this can also be related to swimming training as well.

Teaching your Miniature Bull Terrier to Swim

As noted, it is important to train your Mini Bull Terrier on how to swim from a very early stage (when a puppy).

With this in mind, it is important to get your puppy first introduced to a smaller body of water such as a bath tub or a kid’s pool.

This will give you better control of the situation, allowing your Mini Bull Terrier’s natural swimming instincts of flapping his/her legs to kick in. It can also be a great time to create a positive association with water.

When getting them introduced to a smaller body of water, such as a filled bathtub, for the first time:

  1. Ensure the water temperature is at the right temperature, which would be the room temperature between 80 – 90 degrees Fahrenheit or 30 degrees Celsius, not cold nor hot.
  2. Place one hand underneath your puppy, ensuring he/she is well supported.
  3. Gently drop your Mini Bull Terrier into the bathtub filled with water while still providing support with your hand.
  4. Carefully let go while still keeping your hand in reach, this should trigger a natural instinct for your Mini Bull Terrier to start flapping its feet.
  5. Ensure to keep this exercise short and always shower your dog with praises and treats to help encourage him/her to continue further.
Can miniature bull terrier swim
Miniature Bull Terrier diving to retrieve a ball

With that being said, here are some steps to take while teaching your Mini Bull Terrier to swim in a swimming pool or a larger body of water:

  1. To be safe, get a life jacket for your Mini Bull Terrier.
  2. Start from the shallow end of the pool or lake to get his/her feet wet, do not advance until you are sure he/she is comfortable with being in the water. This should be done with a leash attached to the life jacket.
  3. Perk your Mini Bull Terrier’s interest with treats or its favorite toys as you gradually move further into the deeper areas where his/her feet don’t touch the ground.
  4. Be at hand to help him/her in the event of a panic.
  5. Keep the training sessions short and always reward your Mini Bull Terrier with praises and treats after every milestone.
  6. It is important to teach your Mini Bull Terrier how to exit the pool or lake, preferably, how it came in. This can be very useful when they get into a pool unsupervised.

Teaching your Mini Bull Terrier to swim can be a great tool to help prevent accidental drownings.

Can Miniature Bull Terrier Swim in Chlorinated Swimming Pools?

Wondering if you should let your Mini Bull Terrier swim in Chlorine treated swimming pools isn’t wrong as most Mini Bull Terriers tend to have sensitive skin.

Miniature Bull Terrier can swim in chlorinated swimming pool, as long as the level of chlorine added to swimming pool is negligible and safe for humans to swim in as well.

Chlorine is added to pools to kill germs. It forms a weak acid called hypochlorous acid which subsequently kills bacteria like salmonella and E. coli as well as some viruses.

Although a negligible amount of chlorine in your swimming pool isn’t toxic for your dog to swim in, you should never let your Mini Bull Terrier drink the pool water nor ingest the chlorine tablets.

An alternative, pet-friendly disinfectant you can use in your swimming pool is Bromine.

There are certain precautions to take note of when taking your Mini Bull Terrier out for a swim in a chlorinated pool and they include:

  1. Ensure your dog is trained not to lick nor drink the pool water to avoid the development of certain complications.
  2. Take fresh water with you in case your Mini Bull Terrier gets thirsty and needs a drink.
  3. Rinse your Mini Bull Terrier with fresh water after swimming to take off any extra chemical stuck on its skin to avoid any form of skin reaction.
  4. Finally, ensure you properly dry up your Mini Bull Terrier with a clean towel after rinsing. You can employ the use of a blow drier if you own one to properly get him/her dry.

If you are not confident in your pooch’s ability to swim, it is important to take preventive measures by always supervising him/her or investing in a guard rail around your pool or a pool cover to prevent accidental drowning.

Taking your Miniature Bull Terrier swimming at the Beach

Taking your Mini Bull Terrier to the beach can be a fun-filled experience for both you and your pooch or it could result in a nightmare.

Miniature Bull Terriers can swim at the beach, as long as the tides aren’t high and you are at hand to supervise them all the way.

There are certain risks associated with taking your Mini Bull Terrier swimming at the beach.

The first and most obvious one is having your Mini Bull Terrier being swept away by Rip Currents. This could result in your pooch getting lost at sea and subsequently drowning.

To prevent this, don’t let your Mini Bull Terrier into the beach if the current is strong, ensure you always keep an eye on your pooch and have him/her in a lifejacket.

Another risk associated with your Mini Bull Terrier swimming at the beach is salt poisoning.

Salt makes up 2.5% of seawater and when salt is ingested in large quantity it can result in saltwater poisoning which can lead to death if not medically treated.

Ensure your pooch is prevented from drinking the seawater. Carry fresh water with you in case he/she gets tasty.

Some notable symptoms of saltwater poisoning include acting confused, seizures, diarrhea, and severe dehydration.

Below is a list of things you should take note of and do if you intend letting your Mini Bull Terrier swim at the beach:

  1. Never let your Mini Bull Terrier go into the water unsupervised,
  2. Carrying fresh water with you in case your Mini Bull Terrier ingests large amounts of saltwater while swimming.
    In such a situation, freshwater will help reduce the high level of sodium created by the excess salt ingested.
  3. Staying on the shallow areas while taking frequents swim breaks to prevent your Mini Bull Terrier from ingesting the seawater.
  4. Use a life jacket for safety.

Taking your Miniature Bull Terrier swimming at the Lake

Living near a lake or going camping around one makes the idea of going for a swim an appealing one. Taking your Mini Bull Terrier along on the other hand is another question you might want answers to.

Miniature Bull Terrier can go swimming at the lake, so long the temperature and conditions of the lake are safe and ideal to swim in.

While swimming in a lake can be a great and fun-filled experience for you and your pooch, it is important to take into consideration some precautions.

These includes:

  1. Do some research on the lake you intend to swim in, to ensure it is safe for you and your pooch.
  2. Avoid stagnant pools or slow-flowing which are common during the late summer season, as they could be harboring brain-eating amoeba often found in hot, stagnant water src.
  3. Ensure your Mini Bull Terrier is trained and also supervised to ensure he/she doesn’t lick or drink the lake water as he/she could stand the risk of blue-green algae poisoning
    Blue-green algae are commonly found in hot, slow-flowing, and stagnant water and can toxic to dogs when consumed in high volume src.
    Some symptoms of blue-green algae poisoning include diarrhea or vomiting, drooling, neurologic signs such as weakness, disorientation/confusion, collapse/unconsciousness, seizures, and breathing difficulties.
  4. For a younger or less experienced swimmer, it is important to employ the use of a lifejacket to ensure he/she doesn’t panic and wear themselves out.
  5. Watch out for water snakes and any water-dwelling animal that can pose a threat to you and your pooch. As a cautionary note, do not leave your dog unsupervised around a lake.
  6. Keep an eye out for objects such as broken glasses (bottles), fishing lines and hooks, sharp sticks, or metals that could harm your pooch.
  7. If you go swimming in salmon or trout contained lakes, maybe around the Pacific Northwest of the US or in British Columbia, Canada, ensure your Mini Bull Terrier doesn’t eat any salmon or trout as he/she risks getting salmon poison.
    Salmon, and other salmonid fish (including trout and char), in these parts of North America, can contain a type of bacteria and a parasitic fluke (a kind of worm) src.
  8. Take fresh water with you to keep your Mini Bull Terrier hydrated and prevent him/her from drinking the lake water when tasty.
  9. Always rinse your dog off with fresh water after a swim session and wipe dry with a clean towel especially the ears.
  10. Carry a doggy first aid kit and have your vet contact as well on every lake swimming trip in case of an emergency.

Other risks involved in taking your Mini Bull Terrier swimming

Aside from the already highlighted risks involved in taking your Mini Bull Terrier swimming at the beach, lake, and chlorinated swimming pools, there are other risk involved, risks that shouldn’t be taken for granted.

They include:

  • Water Intoxication,
  • and, Leptospirosis.

Water Intoxication

Water intoxication, which is also known as water poisoning, hyperhydration, and water toxemia, is caused by excess intake of water by your dog during swimming.

Smaller dogs are known to find it difficult to remove this excess water from their system, putting them at a higher risk than larger dogs.

The American Kennel Club, states that when a dog experiences water intoxication, “the sodium levels outside the cells are depleted, a condition called hyponatremia. In an effort to rebalance itself, the body responds to the low blood sodium by increasing fluid intake inside the cells”.

Symptoms of water intoxication include bloating, drooling, vomiting, lethargy, pale gums, loss of coordination (including stumbling, falling, or staggering), dilated pupils, restlessness, and glazed eyes src.

To prevent Water intoxication, take breaks in between swimming sessions to let your Mini Bull Terrier rest.

Pay attention to the way he/she swims, if his/her head ever goes underwater, there are greater chances of your pooch ingesting excess water which eventually could lead to water intoxication.


Leptospirosis is a disease carried by rats, wildlife and domestic livestock, with most cases seen in late summer and fall and often after heavy rainfalls.

The organism that causes leptospirosis is called spirochete bacteria and can be found throughout the world. It is known to exist in stagnant pools of water, mud, and dampness.

Dogs contract leptospirosis by swimming or drinking stagnant pools infested with the bacteria.

Leptospirosis can also be transmitted through the urine of rats, raccoons, feral cats, and other animals, so keep your house, Mini Bull Terrier’s crate or playpen clean to reduce the chances of rat infestations.

Leptospirosis doesn’t make your dog visibly ill, but when it does, some signs of illness could include lethargy, poor appetite, fever, vomiting, increased thirst, or urine production.

It takes 4-12 days before the symptoms of Leptospirosis becomes visible.

Unvaccinated dogs stand a higher chance of getting ill from being infected with Leptospirosis, therefore it is important to vaccinate your papillon to help prevent this.

You can also prevent this by keeping your Mini Bull Terrier away from a stagnant, non-flowing pool of water. Swimming pools are safe as long as they are treated with chlorine or bromine.

Leptospirosis is also a zoonotic disease, meaning humans can contract it as well. This can happen when your dog licks your face or when you come in contact with their urine.


In conclusion, Miniature Bull Terrier are not natural-born swimmers and have the tendency to sink and possibly drown.

This is largely due to their dense, muscular body, and short legs which do not pose an advantage in keeping them afloat.

Their perseverance and strong will, on the other hand, are some positive advantage that can be leveraged during their swimming training.

Teaching your Miniature Bull Terrier how to swim if you own a pool can be a great way to prevent accidental drowning.

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