It was built in 1775 during the reign of Stanisław August Poniatowski (1764 - 1795), the last king of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. When the canal was first built, it was called Kanał Królewski (Royal Canal), after the Polish king, since he was the initiator of the concept. Additional work was carried out starting in 1837 and completed around 1846-1848.
Navigation on the Dnieper-Bug Canal has been interrupted by a weir (dam) on the river Bug near Brest, Belarus, the border town. This dam is the single most significant obstacle for navigation of small draught vessels between Western Europe and Ukraine through inland waterways. The waterways from the German-Polish border (Warta, Noteć, Kanał Bydgoski, Wisła, Narew, Bug) used to join the Belarus and Ukrainian inland waterways (Mukhavets River, Dnepro-Bugskiy Canal, Pripyat and Dnipro), thus forming an uninterrupted liaison between North-Western Europe and the Black Sea.
Recently the dam in the Bug and the impossibility for ships to pass has led to a considerable neglect of the most western part of the Mukhovets; some of the locks have been filled in and Brest Harbour can only be reached by vessels approaching from the East. (Source: NoorderSoft waterways database).
More recently efforts have been undertaken to restore the Canal to a class IV inland waterway of international importance. In 2003 the Government of the Republic of Belarus adopted the inland water transport and sea transport development programme to rebuild of Dnieper-Bug canal shipping locks to meet the standards of a class Va European waterway. According to the Belarusian government (see report below), four sluice dams and one shipping lock have been rebuilt which allowing the passage of vessels 110 meters long, 12 meters wide with a draught of 2.2 meters. It is expected that reconstruction will continue over the next few years.