French Bulldogs are a severely brachycephalic (flat-faced) breed.
French Bulldogs are very likely to suffer from serious health and welfare issues due to their physical conformation, including severe breathing difficulties, eye problems and skin problems.
Due to the degree of potential suffering caused by breeding for exaggerated physical features rather than health and function, we strongly recommends owners consider a healthier breed, crossbreed or mongrel.
You can read our statement on the problems with brachycephalic (‘flat faced’) breeds here.
French Bulldogs are a member of the ‘Utility’ breed group. Dogs in the Utility group were essentially bred for a specific purpose and so contain a variety of breeds. The function they have been bred for is not included in the sporting and working categories.
French Bulldogs are sweet-natured, affectionate dogs that enjoy playing and cuddling in equal measures! They are willing to please but can also be quite stubborn, which can make training a bit more of a challenge. For more information on training your dog using reward-based techniques, take a look at our dog behaviour page.
French Bulldogs, or ‘Frenchies’ as they’re more affectionately known, are loving family dogs and will tolerate well-behaved children, given the correct socialisation as a puppy. They need grooming just once a week, but their facial wrinkles will need daily cleaning.
Breed-related health problems:
Owners are, understandably, upset when their dog develops a health problem linked to its breed. Often they wish they’d known what problems the breed was prone to have. The potential health problems that French Bulldogs are prone to include:
- Brachycephalic syndrome – upper airway abnormalities which are commonly seen in flat-faced dogs. Can include stenotic nares (narrowed nostrils) and elongated soft palate. This causes breathing problems and symptoms such as exercise intolerance, increased noise when breathing and difficulty in breathing. French Bulldogs are prone to this and it is often the cause of their snoring or wheezing. There are both surgical and medical managements available and you should speak to your vet if you think your French Bulldog is showing any symptoms of BOAS or having any difficulty breathing.
- Luxating patellas - the kneecaps slipping temporarily out of place.
- Entropion – inward turning eyelids.
- Hip dysplasia – hip joint laxity as a result of poor development, which will eventually lead to arthritis.
- Intervertebral disc disease – abnormality of the discs that provide cushioning between the vertebrae (back bones).
- Distichiasis – a condition in which small eyelashes grow on the inner surface or the very edge of the eye, which can then rub on the surface of the eye, causing irritation.
- Heart disease
- Urolithiasis – stone formation in urine.
For some conditions, there are screening programmes available through the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Kennel Club. The Canine Health Schemes allow breeders to screen for a range of inherited diseases, so it’s a good idea to check the parents of any puppy you’re looking to rehome have been screened under these schemes. We’d also recommend discussing the medical history of your potential puppy’s parents and grandparents, and think very carefully before taking on a dog with any of the health conditions listed above evident in the family line.
You can find out more about the Canine Health Schemes on the BVA's website.
French Bulldogs need up to an hour of exercise per day, but over-exercising should be avoided as they can have difficulty breathing due to their flat face. It’s important that they keep active and get this exercise, as overweight or obese dogs are even more likely to suffer from respiratory problems.
In summer months, they should never be exercised in the heat of the day as they are prone to overheating; before 8am or after 5pm is best.
Estimated lifetime cost:
The likely lifetime costs for a French Bulldog are based on estimates calculated using current market prices and include:
- Initial costs of the purchase of the pet
- First vaccinations and booster vaccinations
- Pet insurance
- Flea treatments
The list above does not include veterinary costs if your pet becomes sick or injured, so these average lifetime costs could be even higher.
Insure your French Bulldog with PDSA:
1 in 3 pets need vet treatment each year and vet bills can come to hundreds of pounds. PDSA Pet Insurance can give you peace of mind when your pet is poorly, especially for breeds like French Bulldogs that are prone to certain conditions. PDSA Pet Insurance offers:
- 5 Star Pet Insurance* - from the vet experts
- 4 levels of cover to suit you
- Monthly payment at no extra cost
*Defaqto 5 Star rating applies to our Plus and Premier policies only. Defaqto’s Star Ratings provide an independent assessment of the quality of financial products.
By insuring your French Bulldog with PDSA you’ll also be helping to provide vet care to some of the UK’s neediest pets.