portrait of a french bulldog

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French Bulldog

A complete breed guide for the Frenchie


This article is written by our veterinarian, Dr Teagan Lever, BVSc (Hons)


1. Facts about the French Bulldog

2. History

3. Personality

4. Distinguishing Features

5. Common Health Ailments

6. Nutritional Requirements

7. Related breeds

Further reading

Breed size: Place of origin: Other names:
Small Southern England "Frenchie"
Breed group: Energy level: Activity Needs:
Non Sporting/Utility Average Daily walks and exercise is important to keep them at a healthy weight. Limit walks and active play to cooler temperatures during early mornings and evenings.
Life expectancy: Tendency to bark: Weight range:
10 - 12 years Low to Average 11 - 12.5kg
Height range: Coat length: Coat Colours:
28 to 33cm Short, soft and fine hair Brindle, cream, fawn, fawn brindle and or white. Markings include ticked, black mask, brindle markings, piebald and white markings.
Shedding factor: Drool factor: Overall grooming needs:
Low Medium Low

Do French Bulldogs shed?

French Bulldogs have a smooth, short single coat that requires minimal grooming. Permitted coat colours are Brindle, cream, fawn, fawn brindle and or white.

While Frenchies are classed as low shedders, they will shed some hair, particularly in the summer months. Regular grooming with a rubber brush or glove can help to remove loose hairs before they are shed.

How much are French Bulldogs?

Expect to pay between $3000 - 5000 for a French Bulldog puppy. On top of this, it's important to budget for veterinary bills, pet insurance, a good quality diet and regular flea and worming medication. Check out our New Puppy Shopping List for more information!

How long do French Bulldogs live for?

On average, French Bulldogs live between 10 - 12 years.

How big do French Bulldogs get?

French Bulldogs weigh between 11 - 12.5 kg, with the males typically weighing more than females. The typical height of a French Bulldog is between 28 - 33 cm at the shoulder. Your Frenchie will have completed the majority of their growth stage by one year of age.

Are French Bulldogs good pets?

French Bulldogs are affectionate and playful pets for all kinds of families. They get along well with kids and other dogs, with a muscular frame that makes them more robust than a typical small dog. Their small size and minimal barking habits means that the Frenchie is suitable for apartment living, though they will need moderate daily exercise to stay fit and happy.

French Bulldogs adore being with their families, so if you spend a lot of time away from home, they might not be the right choice for you.

Are French Bulldogs barkers?

Generally speaking, French Bulldogs are not big barkers. They will bark when excited, or when something needs your attention. This makes them a good choice for those who live in apartments.

How do I know which French Bulldog breeder to choose?

French Bulldogs are predisposed to health conditions, most notably Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome (BAS). Because of the poor welfare implications of this condition, vets recommend to avoid breeding from French Bulldogs that have shown any signs of BAS, or have had any surgical intervention for the condition.

For a full checklist of questions to ask when choosing a breeder, read our vet article How to Find a Good Breeder.

French Bulldog History

old images of french bulldogs

From left: 'Rico' circa 1890, 'Maurice' circa 1901, French Bulldogs circa 1907

Toy-sized Bulldogs were popular in some cities of England during the mid-1800's, and were exceedingly popular among lacemakers. During the height of the Industrial Revolution, lace workers sought new opportunities in neighbouring France and of course, took their toy Bulldogs with them for companionship and also for protection from vermin. The breed gained popularity and soon became the fashionable breed among the upper class and royalty, and were regularly seen on the streets of Paris. Breeding over a span of decades has resulted in their infamous 'bat ears' and the name Bouledogue Francais was coined. One individual French Bulldog was insured for $750, a huge amount of money during that time, and even travelled aboard the Titanic. The 'French Bulldog Club of America' became the first breed club in 1897 and their popularity skyrocketed after a show held in the deluxe ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria.

French Bulldog Personality

grey frenchie with owner

The French Bulldog is often described as 'a clown in the cloak of a philosopher', due to their mischievous attitude hidden behind their sometimes stern face. They are extremely affectionate and loyal dogs that thrive on human attention and love to be included in family activities. They will happily adapt to life with singles, couples or families and usually get on well with other animals.

French Bulldog Features

french bulldog raised bat ears

The most prominent distinguishing feature of the French Bulldog are of course those prominent, raised 'bat ears'. While they may at first appear similar to the Boston Terrier, the Frenchies have a more muscular build and heavy bone structure compared to the leggier Boston.

French Bulldog Health Problems

white french bulldog

Unfortunately there are a number of common health issues which affect French Bulldogs. Some of these conditions include:

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

French Bulldogs are a Brachycephalic ('flat faced') breed which can lead to obstructive airway syndrome in certain individuals. Affected animals can vary in severity from noisy or laboured breathing to complete collapse of the airway. This condition is worsened by heat and exercise therefore extreme caution is advised when exercising and playing in the heat.

Heat Stroke

Due to their brachycephalic anatomy, French Bulldogs may not pant effectively. Since panting is the main method by which dogs cool themselves, French Bulldogs are very susceptible to heat stroke. During summer, ensure to always have fresh cool water available and keep your Frenchie indoors. Limit walks to the early morning or late evening to avoid over-exerting them in the heat.


French Bulldogs frequently suffer from skin allergies. Environmental allergies will need to be mananged throughout your dog's lifetime, whether that's through medication or a special diet.

Skin fold dermatitis and Pyoderma

The characteristic folds around a French Bulldog's face (adorable as they are!) can cause problems by trapping moisture and heat, leading to an overgrowth of bacteria. It's recommended to gently clean your Frenchie's skin folds regularly to prevent bacterial infection (also known as pyoderma).

Ear infections

Unfortunately, skin allergies and ear infections often go hand in hand in French Bulldogs. The ear canal can become inflamed due to seasonal allergies and this warm, moist environment can breed yeast and bacteria. This requires topical antibiotics or antifungals to treat the infection, as well as managing the underlying cause.

Conjunctivitis and Corneal Ulcers

Conjunctivitis can also occur as a result of environmental allergies. Signs of conjunctivitis include a red appearance to the eye and discharge from the corners of the eyes. While bacterial conjunctivitis is treated with topical eyedrops, management of underlying allergic disease is important.

French Bulldogs have large eyelid openings which makes their eyes very prominent (part of their cute appeal!) This, coupled with their flat faces, makes their eyes susceptible to injury. A corneal ulcer can occur following a scratch or bump to the eye. Signs of a corneal ulcer include frequently blinking, squinting or rubbing at the eye.

It's important to get any eye condition checked out promptly, as they can be quite painful and can rapidly progress.

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

Intervertebral discs sit between the vertebral bones and act as cushioning for the spine. In certain breeds including the French Bulldog, the inner disc can slip out at high speed, causing bruising and swelling of the spinal cord.

Signs of IVDD affecting the neck include a low head posture, arched back and wobbliness in all four legs. Signs of IVDD affecting the back may include a tense posture, crying when picked up, and wobbliness or inability to walk with the rear legs. IVDD is typically diagnosed via MRI and treated with crate rest, anti-inflammatories or spinal surgery in severe cases.

French Bulldog Diet and Nutrition

French bulldog puppies with harness

French Bulldog Puppies

As small breed dogs, French Bulldogs puppies will finish the majority of their growth at 10 - 12 months of age. They will benefit from a premium diet that has undergone digestibility testing and is high in protein to support healthy muscle development.

Best food for French Bulldog Puppies

We have selected the following diets as they contain high quality protein sources and beneficial nutrients, such as omega fatty acids, to support your pup's skin health.

Royal Canin French Bulldog Puppy

With your Frenchies developing digestive system, this junior formula contains highly digestible protein to promote a balanced intestinal flora and optimal digestive tolerance.

Hill's Science Diet Puppy Small Paws

Very high quality diet tailored for the needs of smallbreed puppies. High in omega-3 fatty acids to support healthy skin, a shiny coat and optimal brain development.

Instinctive Bite Grain Free Puppy Chicken Sweet Potato

A complete and balanced puppy food free from grains and containing real meat as the first ingredient.

Ziwi Peak Wet Dog Food Mackerel And Lamb

This all life stages formula is high in omega 3 & 6 due to the inclusions of fish and seafood.

Best food for French Bulldogs

Although they have no specific nutritional requirements, ideally French Bulldogs should be fed diets formulated for small breed dogs. Ensure close attention is paid to daily calorie requirements to ensure they are kept at an ideal weight. Extra weight can exacerbate respiratory issues, particularly during exercise and in hot weather.

For more information, take a look at How much to feed your dog to help you calculate an appropriate feeding amount for your Frenchie, and Tips to help your Frenchie lose weight .

We have selected the following high quality diets as they contain beneficial nutrients to support your Frenchie's skin and coat. Unique protein sources can also help in elimination diet trials when a food allergy is suspected. For more information, check out What is the best food for my French Bulldog?

Royal Canin French Bulldog

Contains omega fatty acids DHA and EPA to support skin health and a kibble that is easy for French Bulldogs to pick up and chew.

Advance Small Adult

Australian-made, high quality diet formulated to meet the energy needs of small breed dogs.

Open Farm Whitefish

Based on sustainably sourced whitefish, this single-protein formula is high in omega 3s - perfect if your Frenchie suffers from skin issues. Open Farm employs humane conditions and sustainable fishing to promote a healthy dog and planet!

Ziwi Peak Venison

This venison recipe is a single and novel protein, which is very useful for dogs prone to allergies and those that require an elimination diet to find the source of their allergy trigger.

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Related Breeds

Boston Terrier

Small and compact, the Boston Terrier is a playful pet companion with a similar appearance to the French Bulldog.


Undoubtedly one of the most popular toy breeds, the Pug makes a great apartment or family pet.

Further Reading

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome in Dogs

How to Choose a Dog Breed That's Right For You

Premium Pet Food: Is It Worth It?

Best French Bulldog Food

New Puppy Guide

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