Complete Guide To French Bulldogs: Health Concerns, Feeding, Care, and Costs

With a fondness for people, a quirky personality, and minimal exercise requirements, it is no wonder that the French Bulldog is a popular pet for so many people. This dog is petite but has a big dog shape, not to mention irresistible “bat ears.” Perfect for families of any age, this dog is on the shortlist of suitable breeds for apartment dwellers, ideally well suited for city-life. Affectionate and endearing, the French Bulldog will make an outstanding furry family member. 

 How Big Do French Bulldogs Get?

  • Male and female French Bulldogs are about the same size.
  • The breed standard for the French Bulldog is about 11 to 13 inches tall at the shoulder.
  • Although smaller in size, the French Bulldog has a robust and thick build but should always weigh under 28 pounds.
  • The frame and shape of the French Bulldog are almost identical to a Standard Bulldog, except this dog’s trademark “bat ears,” which prominently stand atop his head.

What Are The Different Colors Of French Bulldogs?

Color variations for the French Bulldog Breed Standard include:

  • Fawn
  • White
  • Cream
  • Any color variation above with a Brindle stripe

That being said, some other color variations that are gaining in popularity but are outside the breed standard include:

  • Blue/Grey (I’ve not seen the color dilution alopecia that some think is associated with this color)
  • Solid black

It’s highly recommended not to go with some of the newer, more exotic colorations that aren’t on this list. Breeding with the intention of creating an unusual coat can be associated with a higher predisposition towards an unhealthy dog.

How Long Do French Bulldogs Live?

As a small dog, the French Bulldog has an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years. With the proper care and exercise, this dog can easily live to be older. The oldest known French Bulldog lived to be 18 years old.  

What Health Issues Can French Bulldogs Have?

The most common health issues include:

  • Brachycephalic Syndrome
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Heart Disease
  • Spinal Disease
  • Allergies

For a more detailed discussion on all these diseases (and more), check out my article on Health Concerns Of French Bulldogs. This breed is becoming quite common in my practice lately and I have extensive experience with them.

What Is The Best Dog Food For French Bulldogs? 

Most small kibble dry dog foods will be suitable for a Frenchie. Because of their small mouths, smaller kibble will be a better idea than one that may be larger and harder to chew.

Grain-free diets are a myth. Please do not feed your French Bulldog a grain-free diet unless there are specific food allergies that would benefit from a grain-free diet. Always consult your veterinarian before you decide to make any major diet changes.

Some good brands that I recommend include:

I usually tend to go with the bigger dog food companies because of the amount of time and money they have to research and test their products. They also have a stronger history of safe foods (very rarely will they have recalls) over the newer, more boutique-style dog foods.

Because of their low energy and exercise requirements, this dog can be prone to obesity. Having a dog that is overweight can not only cause undue stress on the joints and bones but can also lead to diabetes. It is important always to give your dog high-quality dog food. Monitor the number of treats and “people food” you give your dog to keep him healthy and fit. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight is the best and easiest way to extend the life of your French Bulldog. 

What Kind Of Grooming Do French Bulldogs Need?

The French Bulldog is an easy dog to care for when it comes to grooming requirements. The short and stiff coat on this dog requires very little maintenance. Compared to other breeds, the dog won’t shed a lot, but a simple weekly brushing using a short bristle brush will help reduce the amount of fur found through the home.

Expect a more significant shed in the spring and fall, as your French Bulldog will prepare for the changing seasons. Brushing the fur often reduces shedding, and it can help distribute natural oils found on the skin throughout the fur, promoting new and healthy hair growth.

Aside from regular brushing, the French Bulldog only needs regular maintenance grooming. Try to bathe your French Bulldog about once per month to keep him clean and shiny. Bathing your French Bulldog too often will pull the essential oils out of your pet’s skin, making his coat dull.

Remember to trim your French Bulldog’s nails regularly. Because of their low energy level, they are often not walking on the rough pavement to naturally wear the nails down.  

The French Bulldog has an adorably wrinkly face which is part of their appeal. Unfortunately, the wrinkles make a prime site for moisture to become trapped. Too much moisture can lead to dangerous bacteria, which can cause skin infections. After bathing your Frenchie, be sure to carefully dry in the wrinkles’ folds to remove excess moisture. Between baths, use a soft cotton ball or baby wipe to clean the skin folds, removing debris and bacteria. 

How Much Exercise Do French Bulldogs Need?

This small dog has very few exercise requirements and is a relatively low-energy dog. Their low energy level makes them a dog well-suited for apartment or city life. A short walk that is maybe 15 to 20 minutes long taken at a moderate pace should be enough to keep your pup happy and healthy.

The French Bulldog can be prone to overheating due to their shortened nose and restricted airway passage. Be sure to always walk your dog in the morning or evening when the temperature is still cool. This dog is extremely sensitive to high heat and humidity, which can cause heatstroke in your dog. Heatstroke can be potentially life-threatening.  

Even though this breed of dog is low energy, they will still need some sort of daily exercise. Failure to properly exercise your French Bulldog can lead to a negative release of pent-up energy. Dogs that are not exercised can adopt nuisance behaviors such as barking, chewing, and digging.

French Bulldogs who do not have a constructive outlet for their energy can be prone to racing through the house. A young Frenchie can easily bounce off furniture and create a racetrack in your home in an attempt to entertain themselves.  

The French Bulldog is also incredibly intelligent. While it needs limited physical exercise, it also needs to occupy its mind. The French Bulldog, despite its bulky and robust stature, can excel at obedience and agility competitions. French Bulldogs have also been known to participate in rally exercises. These activities help keep the French physically in shape and will help keep his mind busy.  

Where Can I Find A French Bulldog?

Of course, a good place to start searching for a French Bulldog breeder is with the French Bulldog Club of America (FBCA). This organization not only helps to keep a list of reputable and trusted breeders but is a great source of information for people considering adopting this fun-loving dog. Rescuing a French Bulldog is also an option.  The French Bulldog Club of America also has a rescue network to connect people with Frenchies searching for a good home.  

French Bulldogs can readily be found from a reputable breeder. After the FBCA, I would recommend checking out breeders that are on the AKC list. Before selecting your Frenchie puppy, be sure to vet your breeder thoroughly. Ensure that your breeder can provide health checks to clear your puppy of possible hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia. Your breeder should also screen for any possible knee conditions such as luxating patella, another common condition in this breed of dog. 

If possible, try to meet the parents of the puppy you want to adopt. This practice is a great way to see the environment in which your puppy was raised and understand the dog’s personality and temperament. Often, a puppy inherits most of his or her character from the mother dog, so this is the perfect way to get a sneak peek at the type of dog your puppy will become. Be sure to choose a puppy that has a fitting personality for the breed. The dog should be playful and affectionate and not overly aggressive toward his brothers or sisters.  

How Much Do French Bulldogs Cost?

Due to their popularity, small litter size, and their large heads necessitating c-sections for many births, French Bulldogs are pretty expensive. Expect to pay anywhere from $1,500 – $3,000 for a good quality Frenchie. Of course, the top puppies can go for 5-figures to the right buyer.

Fun Things About French Bulldogs

  • Incredibly Popular

This fun-loving dog is a popular pet for many families and ranks the fourth most popular dog in the United States. This dog can easily adapt to an apartment or city-life and doesn’t require sprawling outdoor space to stay exercised and fit. The dog is incredibly affectionate and likes to be around people. If you plan to leave your dog outside or at home for long hours, this may not be the type of dog for you. This dog is prone to developing separation anxiety if it is left alone for long periods.  

  • Not As Hard To Train As You Might Think

The Frenchie has a strong personality and can be a bit stubborn at times. While training, a Frenchie may put up an argument but eventually will cave into his owner’s demands. While a Frenchie likes to do his or her own bidding, they are people’s pleasers at their core and will eventually listen to their owner. This characteristic makes the Frenchie easy to house train and work through obedience training. Adding the right motivation, like food, can help get the dog to corporate more quickly.  

  • No Swimming!!

French Bulldogs are not swimmers and should never be around pools or ponds without being supervised. Their barrel chest, short legs, and compressed nose make it difficult for them to stay afloat.

  • They Aren’t Originally From France

Despite the name, they actually originate in England in the mid-19th century as a smaller Bulldog version. They were incredibly popular as rat exterminators in market stalls of lace makers. These lace maker artisans eventually migrated over to Paris and took their dogs with them. The French fell in love with these little dynamos and the dog became a national mascot of sorts quickly.

If you consider adding a French Bulldog to your family, you may want to invest in some earplugs. The French Bulldog makes a range of snorts and grunts. This dog is also a prolific snorer, which is endearing, and a nuisance at the same time.  

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