There are dogs who love water and dogs who won’t have anything to do with it. Although Dogues de Bordeaux were not specifically bred to work in water, like the Labrador Retriever, they are typically water bugs by nature. Dogues will take every opportunity to get wet. They like water for a lot of the same reasons people do. It’s cool and refreshing and just plain fun to play with! This is one of the many breed traits that often endear people to the Dogue de Bordeaux.

Much as people try to predict dogs’ personalities according to their breed, every dog is an individual with a unique personality. There are plenty of Dogues who prefer not to get wet. For that reason, if it is your desire to enjoy the water with your Dogue de Bordeaux, introduce her to water at a young age. Make each trip to the water an enjoyable one. Do not FORCE your puppy to get in the water if she is not ready to do so. Let her see, sniff, and explore at her own pace. Young puppies learn much quicker from watching adult dogs. So arrange a water play date with a friend who has a friendly dog who likes water. The puppy will learn from the older canine.

Here is my CH Odin as a young pup enjoying a creek near our home.


Even though dogs and people both like water, they often differ in their choices of swimming holes. Give a dog the choice between a sparkling-clean swimming pool and a deep, murky, mucky puddle, most will take the muck every time. No one is really sure why they do it. Most likely it traces back to their ancestors’ history. It made sense to cover their personal odors for survival.

“Just like humans wear camouflage or special scents to conceal themselves from their prey, dogs may have an urge to put on the smells of their environment to make them blend in,” Dr. Vint Virga, D.V.M. says. Ever seen a dog roll in dirt immediately after a bath?! Ugh!

Regardless, we just love to see our Dogue de Bordeaux babies having a marvelous time in the water! However, there are some precautions to take next time you hit the beach:


Life Jacket – I prefer taking my Dogues to a creek where there is really no deep water. They can still fully enjoy the water, but I do not have to be overly concerned about the possibility of something terrible happening. Plus, it’s cleaner.

Should you decide to take your Dogue de Bordeaux to the lake with deep water, get a life jacket! Dogues de Bordeaux have huge heads and dense bodies. They are very top heavy. Not the ideal anatomy of a long distance swimmer. Watch your Bordeaux very closely when she is swimming in deeper waters. Make sure she takes breaks and rests periodically.

Dry Those Ears – dogs who spend a lot of time in the water have a high risk of getting ear infections. Due to the shape of your Dogue de Bordeaux’s ears, moisture can become easily trapped inside. Take a minute to swab the inside of your Dogue’s wet ears with the corner of a towel to reduce the risk of infections.

Rinse Their Paws – Just as wet ears are prone to infections, wet paws can also be problematic. Especially when dogs have been wading in dirty, bacteria-filled water, says Lynn Cox, D.V.M. He recommends rinsing your dog’s paws with clean water after she has been wading. Or you can wipe the pads and between the toes with baby wipes. Having antimicrobial medicated wipes on hand is also a good policy.

Take Your Own Water – Dogs who wallow in pond/lake water usually drink a lot of it too. True, their digestive tracts are much tougher than ours, and are not as likely to get seriously ill. Still, even a mild infection can cause diarrhea, so it’s worth packing water from home. The more fresh water your dog drinks the less likely she’ll be to imbibe in the pond water. You might try adding ½ cup of beef broth to a gallon of water. This will make your water much more interesting than that nasty pond water.


Dry Drowning – Also known as “secondary drowning.” This can occur when a dog has inhaled water perhaps after an actual near-drowning episode in which your dog had to be rescued, but it can also occur simply from your dog gulping a lot of water from the water hose, or while swimming. In a matter of seconds your Dogue de Bordeaux can inhale a large amount of water into her lungs. The main effect of water inhalation is compromising the functioning of the respiratory system.

Secondary drowning can be fatal and can occur up to 3 days after the incident. After initially appearing to be normal, pets suffering from secondary drowning become lethargic, weak, may turn purple or blue, cough, and struggle to breath. Symptoms can progress rapidly. Death can occur due to respiratory distress and lack of oxygen. If you see your Dogue de Bordeaux exhibit ANY of these signs after recently going swimming or playing in water, take her to the vet immediately for a thorough evaluation.