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French Bulldog dog breed

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French Bulldog dog breed information and advice

French Bulldogs were originally bred as companion dogs, so it’s no surprise why they’re one of the most popular breeds around. They also have a huge personality, so there’s no denying that once you invite a Frenchie into your home, they will leave a lasting impression on everyone.

Here’s what you need to know about French Bulldogs; from their temperament to the training requirements of these sometimes stubborn but loveable pups.

French Bulldog facts

Lifespan 11 - 14 years
How much £800 - £2500
Size 28 - 30 cm
Weight 12.7 kg
Colours common colours are brindle, pied and fawn. Rare colours include lilac, merle and blue/grey
Grooming once a week
Temperament affectionate, energetic, social
Exercise 60 minutes daily

French Bulldog insurance

Covering your French Bulldog with pet insurance can help take away the worry of paying for your dog’s health care. Accidents and illnesses can happen to any dog at any age. A breed like a Frenchie as they are affectionately called, can be susceptible to common health issues, so it’s important to take out French Bulldog dog insurance. Getting the right level of dog cover can help protect you and your pup and give you peace of mind.

Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance for French Bulldogs

Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance can protect your French Bulldog as young as 8 weeks old. We also cover older dogs if you take out insurance before their 8th birthday. Once you have cover in place, we’ll insure them for their entire life - as long as you renew your policy year after year.

How to care for a French Bulldog

Diet, grooming, exercise and training are all important parts of caring for a French Bulldog.

Feeding and nutrition

French Bulldog puppies should be fed 3-4 times a day, whereas adult dogs should be fed 2 times a day. Measurement guidelines for how much food to give your dog are on the back of the food packaging, along with the nutritional content. Speak to your vet if you’re unsure of what food is best for your dog.

You should weigh your dog’s food to make sure they’re not over or underfed. An overweight or underweight dog is more likely to develop a health problem.


You’ll need to brush your Frenchie once every week and bath them every 4 weeks, to keep their coat clean and skin healthy. Bath time is a good time to also check their ears and eyes for any signs of infection; any redness or inflammation should be checked by a vet. You’ll also need to clean between the folds on their face daily to prevent skin problems.

Your dog’s nails will need trimming every 3-4 weeks to keep them from growing too long. If left, they can curl around and dig into the pad, causing pain and leading to an infection. If you choose to cut your dog’s nails yourself, make sure you are shown how to do so first by a professional. A dog’s nail has a quick that contains nerves and blood vessels, if this is cut it will bleed and will be painful for your dog.

Practical clothing for your pup can also protect your dog’s sensitive skin from the sun and will help to keep them warm in the colder months. Just take care not to wrap your dog up too much as they can get too hot and overheat.


You may be surprised to know that despite their small size, they need 60 minutes of exercise daily. This should be split into multiple short walks throughout the day. French Bulldogs are a brachycephalic breed (short nosed), which means that they will have difficulty breathing if over exercised or if they get too hot. On a hot day, it’s best to walk them during cooler times such as early in the morning and late in the evening.

They’re extremely playful and love to play fetch, which is a great form of exercise. They’re also very good at tug-of-war due to their strong jaws.


Training a French Bulldog can be difficult because they are playful and sociable but sometimes just plain stubborn. They can be easily distracted by the presence of another dog or person or just not be in the mood to listen. There is no easy answer for how to train a French Bulldog. You need to get to know your Frenchie first to know how they tick and then you’ll figure out what works best for them. If your dog is driven by food, and most are, use treats as a reward. But if your dog loves toys use them to make training fun. Train for short periods to keep your dog interested.

House training is the best place to start as there are minimal distractions at home. Some breeders may have started the puppy toilet training process before you collect your puppy, which will make it easier for you to continue it in their new home. If they haven’t, start slow, be patient and try to get them going in the same place and at the same times. Every morning when you get up, after every meal and when you go to bed.

Temperament and behaviour

This breed is known for its lively personality; they may be small in size but they have a lot of character. They were originally bred as companion dogs, which means they don’t like to be left alone. They are affectionate towards people and love to play.

Common health problems

Certain health issues are common in this dog breed, most of which are breathing, eye, dental, spine, or skin problems. Some health conditions can affect the dog’s life expectancy, so it’s important to take your dog to the vet as soon as you notice symptoms such as changes in their behaviour. Pet insurance for French Bulldogs will help to cover vet bills but only if the policy is started before symptoms are noticed.

Brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome (BAOS)

Brachycephalic dogs are those with short noses. The problem with having a short nose is that the tissues inside get squashed and as a result will fold or wrinkle. This can cause blockages in the airways making it difficult for the dog to breathe. That is why short nosed dogs are loud breathers and often snorers. Overweight dogs are more prone to breathing difficulties as the extra fat squashes the airway. In the most severe cases, the dog will need surgery to remove some of the tissue and open up the airway.


This condition refers to difficulty giving birth and may be due to foetal or maternal factors, or a combination of both. Medical or surgical intervention is needed to deliver the puppies. You should be aware that there might be foetal abnormalities and mortality. Dystocia is common in this breed so it is best to speak to your vet before breeding your dog.

So, is a French Bulldog right for you?

As a companion dog, they are best suited to an owner that can spend a lot of time with them. They like to get lots of attention and will happily allow you to dress them up in cute French Bulldog outfits. With their trademark pointed ears and short tail, it’s no wonder they’ve become such a popular breed.

French Bulldogs make good pets for adults and children and are quick to become part of the family.

Do French Bulldogs shed?

They have a short, fine and smooth coat that doesn’t shed much. During Spring and Autumn, they will shed more than normal; you can help with this process by removing the excess hair using a grooming brush or mitt. The rest of the year, brushing once a week and bathing every 4 weeks will keep their coat clean.

How long do French Bulldogs live?

French Bulldogs have a life expectancy of 11-14 years. The right diet and exercise will keep your dog healthy. An overweight dog is more prone to health conditions, especially in a brachycephalic breed, which can shorten the dog’s lifespan.

Do French Bulldogs have tails?

French Bulldogs aren’t born with tails, not much of one anyway. They have short stumps instead, which can have a short curve or screw shape to it. The tails aren’t docked; they just don’t grow very long. They’re not the only breed that doesn’t grow a tail, other breeds include the Boston Terrier, English Bulldog and Welsh Corgi.

Can French Bulldogs swim?

French Bulldogs, like other brachycephalic dogs, cannot swim without a life jacket. Their short nose makes it difficult for them to keep it above water. As they raise their head, their bum drops causing them to sink. Just because they can’t swim, it doesn’t mean they don’t like getting wet, just keep an eye on them when near deep water.

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Vetstream ltd (online) French Bulldog. In: Vetlexicon Canis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: opens in new window

Johnson L, Sammarco J & ter Haar G (online) Brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome. In: Vetlexicon Canis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: opens in new window

Vetstream ltd (online) Brachycephalic upper airway obstruction syndrome (BUAOS) Owner Factsheet. In: Vetlexicon Canis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: opens in new window

Braund K & Davidson A P (online) Dystocia. In: Vetlexicon Canis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: opens in new window