What’s Good About ‘Em, What’s Bad About ‘Em

Despite his glum expression, the French Bulldog is comical, entertaining, and dependably amiable.

As comfortable in an apartment as he is on a farm, he is more lively than you might suspect from his chunky appearance. French Bulldog puppies are especially frisky, and ball chasing is one of their passions. Adults are more dignified and can be champion couch potatoes, but also love to clown around and go for walks in cool weather.

Many Frenchies are friendly with everyone, while others are politely reserved. French Bulldogs will bark to announce visitors, but are otherwise quiet dogs.

Usually peaceful with other pets (though some French Bulldogs will hunt small rodents), males may bicker with other males.

The French Bulldog is quite stubborn and can be challenging to train, yet also surprisingly sensitive, remembers what he learns, and responds well to early, patient, persistent training that utilizes food motivation.

Snorting, snuffling, and flatulence go with the territory of short-faced breeds.
Swimming pool owners must exercise caution: Because of his squat build and heavy head, many Frenchies cannot swim and will drown if they fall into a pool.

If you want a dog who…

  • Is smallish but very sturdy — not a delicate lapdog
  • Has large expressive eyes
  • Has a sleek easy-care coat that comes in many colors
  • Is usually polite with everyone, including other pets
  • Typically loves to play games and chase balls
  • Doesn’t need much exercise
  • Doesn’t bark much

A French Bulldog may be right for you.

If you don’t want to deal with…

  • Snorting, snuffling, wheezing, snoring, some slobbering
  • Gassiness (flatulence)
  • Stubbornness and slowness to housebreak
  • Quite a few potential health problems due to his deformed face
  • High cost

A French Bulldog may not be right for you.

More traits and characteristics of the French Bulldog

If I was considering a French Bulldog, I would be most concerned about…

  1. Minimizing the problems that can be caused by their short face. Read about these special health problems and make sure you’re willing to take extra steps to care for your French Bulldog:
  • His respiratory system is compromised, so don’t smoke near him, don’t use chemical cleaning products, and keep him away from allergenic pollen and freshly-cut grass.
  • Make sure your vet uses only the most modern anesthetics (such as isoflurane) and insist on a heart and blood pressure monitor. Many vets are NOT careful enough when anesthetizing short-faced breeds.
  • In hot or humid weather, minimize his outdoor activity and keep him in an air-conditioned home. Short-faced dogs have a high risk of heatstroke because they can’t pant vigorously enough to lower their body heat.

Walk him in a Y-shaped harness that wraps around his chest, not his throat. A collar puts pressure on his windpipe and makes it harder for him to breathe.
Wash and dry the folds of skin on his face after every meal.

2. Stubbornness! French Bulldogs are not Golden Retrievers. Most French Bulldogs are quite stubborn and can be manipulative. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say. (Food is a great motivator with French Bulldogs, but if you give too much and don’t provide commensurate exercise, you’ll end up with a fat, unhealthy French Bulldog.)

3. Housebreaking. Expect four to six months of consistent crate training.

4. French Bulldog sounds. Because of their short face, most French Bulldogs snort, snuffle, wheeze, grunt, and snore loudly. The sounds are endearing to some people; nerve-wracking to others.

5. Gassiness (flatulence). All short-faced breeds gulp air when they eat, and that air has to go somewhere.

6. Health problems. Because of poor breeding practices and their short face, French Bulldogs suffer more than their share of health problems, especially joint diseases, spinal disorders, eye diseases, heart disease, and more.