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Do French Bulldogs Make Good Pets?

Written by Ella White

Updated

French bulldog standing on a log

One of the most popular breeds in the USA, the French Bulldog is an adorable dog with plenty of personality. But do they make good pets? In this blog we’ll look at the history of the Frenchie, their personality traits, care needs, and other factors to consider before welcoming one into your family.

The small yet stocky French Bulldog is known for its endearing flat face and large ears. They love people, children, and other animals and adapt easily to most living situations. So it’s easy to see why they’ve become such a popular pet.

Despite their name, Frenchies are actually originally from the UK where they were often bred as a companion breed to lace makers. They would lie on the workers’ laps to keep them warm, which could be how they developed such a gentle and docile nature. They’re playful and affectionate with their owners – but they are prone to bark and become slightly territorial when someone they don’t know enters the threshold.

Frenchies can be stubborn, but they love to play so using this as a tactic can make training a little easier. But once they’re obedience trained and socialized, Frenchies are a fun addition to your family – whether you live in a big house with a garden or a small city apartment. All French Bulldogs really want is for their owners to be around (and they can easily become anxious when they aren’t).

All dogs are prone to certain illnesses and conditions, and the best way for owners to help keep them healthy is to be aware of the symptoms and how to treat them. As a brachycephalic or flat-faced breed, French Bulldogs can be more susceptible to certain illnesses related to their breathing and their wrinkled skin.

Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS)

BOAS is a condition caused by the shorter faces of brachycephalic dogs like French Bulldogs. It means that their airway is blocked which can make it difficult to breathe. French Bulldogs should also avoid long walks or going outside in hot weather as these can lead to overheating as they’re not able to pant fast enough to cool down.

Though they always breathe and snore loudly, look out for any signs of distress in your Frenchie’s breathing – like wheezing or coughing – that could be a symptom of BOAS.

Joint issues

Many front-heavy dogs like French Bulldogs are prone to luxating patellas, where their kneecaps slip out of place. If you notice your Frenchie limping, struggling to walk, or experiencing lameness this could be why.

French Bulldogs can also develop issues in their spines, like intervertebral disc disease that causes the cushioning around their backbone to swell or even burst. This puts pressure on the nerves in the spine leading to further back problems.

Skin conditions

Frenchies can develop dermatitis in the folds of their skin. This is caused by excess oils, so their faces should be cleaned regularly. If you notice their skin looking sore or dry, seek veterinary attention.

Eye problems

Frenchies are prone to cataracts so make sure to get their eyes screened. And if you notice their eyes look glazed or cloudy, seek advice from your vet.

Dental issues

Brachycephalic dog breeds tend to have crowded teeth as their faces and jaws have less space than breeds with longer snouts. This can lead to a range of dental issues, so be sure to take your Frenchie for regular checkups and clean their teeth as often as possible.

UTIs

French Bulldogs are susceptible to a condition called Hyperuricosuria, where stones or crystals can form in their urine. This can lead to infections, trouble urinating, or the presence of blood in the urine.

Buying your French Bulldogs from a reputable breeder that can present you with their parent’s health records will help you understand which illnesses your dog is more likely to be prone to. Good breeders of pedigree dogs will never knowingly breed dogs that are known to carry genetic diseases and will avoid the unethical breeding practices common with covetable flat-faced dogs.

Though French Bulldogs love to please their owners, they also have a stubborn streak and can become demanding if they’re given whatever they want with no opposition. So when it comes to training, you need to work with their devoted side, not their diva side.

Start from the earliest age possible and use reward-based training and positive reinforcement to help your Frenchie learn desirable behaviors and unlearn anything you don’t want them to do like barking, jumping up, or begging for food.

Having all members of your family aware of the training plan is the best way to make it work, as any disruption to their lessons can set you back. Some first-time owners prefer to invest in professional help to get their Frenchie house and obedience-trained quickly.

Like most breeds, French Bulldogs need to be socialized with as many people and animals as possible while they’re still young. The more people and animals they interact with as small puppies, the more confident and less anxious or aggressive they’ll be with whoever they meet as they grow up.

Frenchies are a needy breed that love their owners, so they don’t like to be left alone. They’re best suited to families who spend a lot of time at home and won’t go out to work, leaving them for more than four hours at a time. When left alone for too long, they can become anxious and destructive as a result.

One of the most adaptable dog breeds, French Bulldogs are happy to do pretty much anything their owner is doing – so long as it's not long walks, strenuous runs, or swimming as brachycephalic dogs should avoid water. So when it comes to life at home Frenchies are an easy pet to look after.

They like short walks but demand a lot of attention from owners who are devoted to them. Though they can sometimes bark if they’re feeling territorial, French Bulldogs don’t yap – but they breathe and snore heavily which can make them noisy roommates!

Frenchies should be brushed weekly to stop their short coat from shedding, and their skin should be cleaned just as often to prevent oil build up. Because they’re not big into exercise, they can be prone to weight gain so a calorie controlled diet of healthy, natural food is essential.

Their flat flace can also mean Frenchies are prone to acid reflux as a result of eating too fast and struggling to swallow their food. If this is a regular occurrence for your Frenchie, try using a slow feeder or speak with your vet about different ways to manage their eating.

Though they don’t need a lot of exercise, they still like to be active. So make the time to play with them at home and never miss their short daily walks. In especially hot conditions they should be walked in the early mornings or evening and kept indoors to avoid the sun.

French Bulldogs are a generally low-maintenance breed that loves to spend time outside, so if you have an enclosed garden be sure to give your Frenchie free reign of it. They’re curious dogs that will keep themselves busy snuffling outside – and to keep them mentally stimulated you could turn it into a game by hiding their food or favorite toys in the grass.

As a particularly popular dog breed, the purchasing cost of a French Bulldog from a reputable breeder can set you back $1500 to $3000. Cheap French Bulldog puppies could come from puppy farms or non-reputable breeders, and could be carrying hidden genetic diseases that shorten or impede their lifespan.

A cheaper way to purchase a French Bulldog is by rescuing from a trusted shelter, which will usually only incur adoption fees and donations.

But buying a dog costs more than just the cost of the puppy alone. Before welcoming your new pup into the home you’ll need to pay for:

  • Mandatory vaccines and boosters
  • Equipment like a collar, lead, harness, bed and blankets, bowls, brushes, toothbrush and paste, poo bags, dog toys and chews, and a crate if you’re using one
  • High quality dog food and treats
  • Ongoing medical care including spaying and neutering, flea treatments and worming medication
  • Pet insurance

Other costs you may need to take into account in the future include:

  • Professional training
  • Daycare or boarding costs
  • Dog walking
  • Replacement costs for equipment

Healthy French Bulldogs can live for 10-14 years so when you invest in a puppy, you’re committing to them for the long-run. Remember, they may not be with you for all your life, but you’ll be with them for all of theirs. The good news is, their laid-back nature and adaptability makes them fairly easy family pets that will get on with kids, adults, and other pets.

You’ll need to dedicate plenty of time to their attention and never leave them for longer than 4 hours at a time, but for families that love to spend time at home they’ll fit in perfectly. Just be aware of the potential health conditions associated with French Bulldogs and brachycephalic breeds and make sure they’re trained as early as possible so they can live a safe and happy life, wherever you live.