Do Bichons Like Water?

Do Bichons Like Water?

Bichon Frises originated on an island, but does that mean that they are good water dogs? If you want your Bichon to love the water, you have some things about the breed on your side, but you also will have some obstacles to overcome. 

Do Bichons Like Water?

Most Bichon Frises enjoy the water and like to swim. However, they are not bred to be water dogs or retrievers, so they may not enjoy the water as much as some other breeds. That said, there are things you can do to encourage your Bichon to enjoy the water. 

Will your Bichon enjoy being around the water? Are they natural swimmers? What about living with a Bichon on a boat? Here’s what you need to know about how Bichon Frises typically respond to the water.

How Do Bichon Frise Feel About The Water?

Bichon Frises developed on an island, so you may expect that they would tend to like the water. The breed spread from its native island region on the boats of sailors.

However, Bichon Frise may not be as well-suited to being in the water and swimming as some other breeds. Here’s what you need to know about how your Bichon Frise will likely feel about the water. 

Reasons Your Bichon Frise May Like The Water

Warm, Weather Resistant Coat

Bichon Frises have a very dense, cottony coat that can keep them warm even in very cold temperatures. Even if the weather isn’t the warmest, your Bichon Frise is unlikely to be too cold to want to jump in the water if that’s what they feel like doing.

Compared to short-coated breeds of the same size, a Bichon may be more willing to go swimming more often because they are not concerned as much about the cold. 

Vivacious, Outgoing Personality

Bichon Frise are known to have a very gregarious, loving personality. They usually enjoy meeting new people and doing new things. They also tend to be quite brave little dogs, willing to accompany their people just about anywhere and do almost anything with them. 

This personality may make a Bichon more likely to enjoy the water than breeds that tend to be a bit more shy or reserved. Provided you give your Bichon Frise good experiences as they are becoming acquainted with the water, it is unlikely that they will react with strong aversion or fear when they are introduced to it.

In fact, you may find that you need to call your Bichon Frise back from getting over their head, both literally and figuratively, when they are in the water. 

Sturdy Build Good For Water

Although Bichon Frises are small dogs, generally only weighing around 10 lbs, they have a sturdy, robust build that makes them very athletic. Bichons often excel in canine sports that require athleticism, such as agility and K9 dance. 

As circus performers, Bichon Frises were known to balance on balls, jump through hoops, and perform all kinds of feets. When you consider how athletic this little dog really is, it should come as no surprise that they are typically very good swimmers. 

Bichon Frises have a sturdy compact build that helps them stay upright in the water. The flopped ears help to keep water from splashing in the ear canal and bothering the dog. Dark eye lines help Bichons to see against the glare when they are swimming in bright conditions. 

A Natural Desire To Be With Their People Along With Considerable Curiosity

Bichon Frises are people lovers, and most like nothing better than to be by their person’s side having an exciting new experience. They’re also naturally curious, sometimes to a degree that can get them into trouble. 

Water is a natural source of curiosity for the average Bichon. Your dog will likely be fascinated by the smell, motion, and the way that they can move in the water. The natural curiosity of a Bichon will likely make them want to investigate a body of water rather than run away from it. 

Why Might A Bichon Frise Not Like Water?

There are some good reasons for a Bichon to tend to like the water, but there are also some reasons why they may not. Here are some things to consider if you want to make sure that your dog is a water lover. 

Small Size

Bichons are rather small dogs, only weighing around 10 lbs. Therefore, they may not be as willing to go into deep water or take on rough conditions as a larger dog. 

While Bichons can be quite rearless, most also have a healthy sense of self-preservation. Your Bichon is unlikely to be willing to go into the water if they believe that it poses any sort of threat to them. 

Not A Water Dog

Many breeds throughout history have been bred to go into the water for all sorts of reasons. Retrieving breeds like Labrador Retrievers and Standard Poodles have webbed feet to help them propel themselves through the water and coats that are designed to keep insulated and warm while also avoiding being hung up on water plants or debris in the water. 

Bichon Frises do not necessarily have these physical characteristics designed to make them excel in the water. While they have typically been around water for much of their history and most have no problem taking to water, they are not as likely to adore the water as a breed that was designed for it, such as a poodle.

How To Teach Your Bichon Frise To Love The Water

If you want your Bichon to be a dedicated water dog, it’s best to start from a young age. Start somewhere where the water is calm and shallow. You don’t want a sudden big wave or a drop off to frighten your Bichon Frise and give them a bad first experience. 

Starting with shallow water makes it easier for your Bichon Frise to figure out the physics of water and begin to understand their own weightlessness before they have to swim to keep themselves afloat. Allow your Bichon Frise to go deeper into the water of their own volition. 

Don’t force your dog to go into water where they will have to swim. Instead, stay nearby so that your Bichon Frise does not get sucked out into deep water and then feel frightened. 

While most dogs have a natural instinct to paddle when they are in the water, many dogs tend to panic and point up when they paddle, trying to push their heads out of the water. This frantic paddling actually makes their head dip under the surface. 

This experience is very frightening and can even cause a dog that isn’t experienced in the water to drown. Be by your Bichon’s side so that you can offer them support and help guide them as they begin to understand how to swim. 

A Bichon that isn’t panicking going into the water is much more likely to do it properly the first time. 

Go Slowly With The Ocean

Bringing your Bichon Frise to the ocean can be a lot of fun, but the ocean brings new challenges as well. Rarely is there a time when the ocean is perfectly flat such that your Bichon can wade out into it without concern of being hit by a wave.

Waves can often be very unpredictable, which can make it hard for you to protect your Bichon Frise from being in a situation where the water is over their head.

Do Bichon Frises Make Good Boat Dogs?

One reason that you may be wondering whether Bichons like the water is if you are considering a companion on your boat. It’s wonderful to have a dog if you live on a boat, not just because of the companionship, but because they can be a valuable alarm system. 

Do Bichons Like Water?

The Bichon’s small size makes it convenient for you to lift your dog on and off the boat and into and out of a dingy, but these dogs are still sturdy and robust enough to keep up with you on foot when you go on adventures at your destination.

The white, hypoallergenic coat makes it easy for you to see if your dog has gotten into something on shore before you get back into the boat. 

Because Bichon Frises are comfortable being around the water but aren’t necessarily water dogs, you may be more likely to be able to keep your Bichon on the boat. They aren’t as prone to jump off if they see something they want to go explore as water dogs might be. 

In general, the Bichon Frise is one of the more adaptable dogs around, easy to make happy in a wide variety of situations. If you’re looking for an adorable, playful companion for your boat, you are likely to be very satisfied with the Bichon.

Enjoy The Water With Your Bichon

It is a lot of fun to enjoy the water with your Bichon. These little dogs love nothing more than to make you laugh, and they find plenty of opportunities to get up to adorable antics around the water.

Whether you live on the water and you’re looking for the perfect companion to enjoy it with you or you’re looking for a dog that enjoys a trip to the beach, the Bichon is a wonderful option.

Coral

From the tiniest Chihuahua to the greatest of Danes, I am simply obsessed with dogs. I’ve been working with dogs professionally for nearly a decade. I managed a private dog daycare and worked as a liaison at the University of Florida Small Animal Hospital. My experience as the liaison of integrative medicine, neurology, and zoo medicine at UF Small Animal Hospital gave me valuable insight into the challenges faced by pet owners with animals who have medical conditions. My time there also gave me the opportunity to care for a disabled dog and write a book about the experience. As manager of a dog daycare, I learned about how dogs play and interact, warning signs for aggression, and how to rehabilitate dog-reactive dogs. During my time there I was under the mentorship of two groomers, from whom I learned grooming essentials. I currently work with high-risk shelter dogs and manage a blog to help other volunteers and foster families. I have two dogs of my own, a Maltese and a Standard Poodle pup.

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