The French Bulldog is an affectionate, fun-loving and low maintenance small dog. A small version of the English Bulldog was popular with Nottingham lace makers who emigrated to Northern France when work became hard to come by in the UK. Following some cross breeding with other dogs, the bat-eared French Bulldog was created. 

The friendly nature of the French Bulldog means they prefer to be with their owners as much as possible so may not suit a family where they will be left alone for periods of time. 

Being a small bred, they only require about an hour of exercise per day in total and can be trained, despite not being the most intelligent of breeds. They like to please everyone, so they are willing to learn, and they love playing games and getting lots of attention. Making training sessions fun with treats and lots of attention as rewards can be very successful. 

The breed has become hugely popular in the UK and in 2015 they were ranked the third most popular breed. They can live happily in almost every type of environment needing only a small garden or outside space, but they do suffer from the cold especially if it is wet as they have a short coat and a small body size. They can also suffer breathing problems because of their short face, especially in hot weather.

Pet profile

Perfect for more active families who love spending time outdoors.

  • Small (28cm to 33cm) 
  • Typically weighing under 13kg
  • Around 10 years life expectancy


Exercise and nutrition

The French Bulldog only needs 2 half-hour periods of exercise a day. As they are so small you should be careful not to over-exercise them and try to make sure they are warm and dry if the weather is bad as they suffer from the cold. Check they are not exerting themselves too much if it is hot. Their short muzzles can cause breathing difficulties when they are trying to cool down so watch for any signs of distress in hot weather.

French Bulldogs can become overweight quite easily so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on their weight and exercise and feed them a high-quality food with low fat content. Consult your vet if you are worried, they are getting overweight.

Common health problems and illnesses 

Unfortunately, French Bulldogs can develop several breed specific health issues. As such, it’s a good idea to take out insurance for your little Frenchie while they’re still a puppy. Almost all French Bulldogs are born by C-Section, which sometimes leads to birth defects, so getting insurance that covers congenital and hereditary conditions could be a wise move.

Brachycephalic dogs have been specifically bred for their cute, short noses, but this can cause respiratory problems. French Bulldog owners may find their dog has issues with their airways, developing breathing difficulties during exercise or snorting and snoring in their sleep. If the condition is particularly severe, an operation may be required. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is advised that you consult your vet for their appraisal of the condition.

Patellar Luxation is when the Patella (the kneecap) does not stay in the groove it usually sits in, causing strain on the knee joints. In some cases, the knee cap can slip from side to side. Dogs with this condition may appear to limp or stumble without apparent cause. The main treatment for this condition is surgery or a plan designed to help manage the condition, involving physical therapy if the condition is mild. Consult your vet for advice if you suspect your dog suffers from this condition.

Distichiasis is a condition where hair grows on and around the eyelids, in areas where it usually doesn’t such as inside of the eyelid. These hairs irritate and scratch the surface of the eye which is horribly uncomfortable for the dog and can cause infections. If your puppy has this condition it should be treated immediately. Complications from untreated Distichiasis can lead to anything from ulcers on the eye to blindness. If you think your dog is suffering from this condition, visit your vet as soon as possible. 

Due to the breeds Brachycephalic nature, they struggle to cool down effectively, especially in hot weather. The narrowed airways can become inflamed at times of high stress, making it difficult for them to breathe. This will cause the dog distress, discomfort, and puts them at risk of overheating. Consult your vet for advice on treating heat stress if your dog is prone to it.

This is a birth defect in which the affected dog’s spine is deformed. They can have multiple specific deformities, but the result is usually that the spine ends up twisted. This can cause compression of the spinal cord, which can lead to paralysis. Watch for loss of control, pain, or weakness in the lower body.

This condition can be treated using anti-inflammatories, but often is not severe enough to warrant surgical treatment. In rare cases, corrective surgery is needed. Consult your vet if you think your dog might be having back problems.

Due to the breathing problems that French Bulldogs can develop when it comes to exercise, and their natural love of treats, they are prone to putting on weight. If they are overweight it can lead to a host of other conditions and diseases so it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on their weight and hold back from over-indulging your pup no matter how cute they are!

Fun facts

  • The French Bulldog originates from Nottingham in the 1800s. It became known as the French Bulldog after lace makers emigrated to France for better opportunities, taking their toy dogs with them.
  • The Frenchie is a celebrity favorite, owned by big names such as Hugh Jackman, David and Victoria Beckham, Michael Phelps and Reese Witherspoon!
  • French Bulldogs are particularly sensitive pets - if you scold one too harshly, it may take to sulking!
  • While Frenchies don’t bark much, they are still extremely verbal! Aside from their usual snorts and snores, they love to “talk” with yelps, whines, and moans.
  • In 1800’s in France they became known as Bouledogues Francais and were the favourites of the Parisian streetwalkers, les belles de nuit. One Frenchie called Bouboule featured in several painting by Toulouse Lautrec.

French Bulldog