An Adopter’s Guide to Owning a French Bulldog

Before you adopt a dog, it’s good to know what you’re getting into in terms of what’s known about the individual animal and their breed characteristics. Adopting a dog is exciting, but it’s a serious commitment. You want to be prepared to be able to properly care for your new furry friend for the entire length of its life.

Especially if you’re adopting a puppy, you can expect that the pup you bring home is going to change and develop, making it important to learn more about their breed or combination of breeds. You’ll want to do your research regarding the typical height and weight of the type of dog you’re interested in, their grooming needs, longevity, shedding potential, health concerns, dietary needs, exercise needs, and more.

Photo: Unsplash/Mike Tinnion

If you’re considering adopting a French bulldog, you’re not alone. This cutie is currently the most popular dog breed in the United States and among the top 10 worldwide. But just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s the perfect choice for everyone, so it’s good to do your research before adopting and continue to learn more about your dog after adopting so that you can give them the best possible life.

If you’d like more information about this very popular dog breed, you’ve come to the right place. We have compiled all the pertinent information available about Frenchies so you can turn to us to learn all about your new little family member (or potential family member). We’re happy to be your one-stop shop for all questions related to French bulldogs!

Photo: Pixabay/GLady

A Quick Overview of the French Bulldog

  • Size: 16-28 lbs., 11-13 inches at the shoulder
  • Life span: 10-12 years
  • Energy Level: low to moderate
  • Temperament: friendly, spunky
  • Grooming needs: low
  • Health concerns: numerous
  • Preferred climate: mild
  • Cost to own: high

Size and Appearance

A typical adult French bulldog will weigh somewhere between 16 and 28 pounds and stand around 11 to 13 inches tall at the shoulder. They’re classified as a small-to-medium sized dog, and their bodies are muscular and dense.

Photo: Pexels/Damir Mijailovic

Frenchies are well-known for their short “smooshed” noses, tall pointy ears, and wrinkly faces. They are a short and stout breed with front feet that tend to point outward.

There are a few widely accepted breed colors for Frenchies, such as white, cream, fawn, and brindle or piebald, but there are also some rarer colorings, such as lilac and merle. When looking for a French bulldog, please remember to find a reputable breeder or consider adopting from a shelter. Unofficial breed colors may come with more health concerns due to poor breeding practices.

Photo: Pexels/Scott Spedding

Coat and Grooming

French bulldogs have a short coat and are typically very easy to groom and maintain. Like all dogs, however, they do still require some grooming and hygiene care. Brush your dog regularly and use a stripping comb to remove excess shedding fur in the spring and fall.

Baths should be given about once a month, and you should take care to clean and dry properly between all of your dog’s wrinkles to prevent infection and buildup. Clean your Frenchie’s ears with a damp cloth and carefully trim their nails.

Photo: Pexels/Tima Miroshnichenko


Of course, every dog has its own distinct personality, but there are also similarities between the members of a breed. Frenchies tend to be social and lively dogs with plenty of spunk. They’ve even been nicknamed “clown dogs” because of their eagerness to entertain and their goofy personalities. Some of them have a stubborn streak and like to be in charge, but they’re typically friendly and able to get along well with everyone, including kids and other pets.

Frenchies are curious and smart and love to investigate. They can be protective as well but usually do not bark a lot. They might grumble and growl more than bark or howl when confronted with something that makes them feel vulnerable or confused.

Photo: Unsplash/Brina Blum

Behavioral Concerns

Frenchies are amiable toward almost everyone, including children, cats, and other dogs. However, they are known to have a stubborn streak that can make them difficult to train. If you consider yourself a pushover, you may want to think twice about adopting a strong-willed Frenchie.

Photo: Pexels/Jens Mahnke

Dietary Needs

French bulldogs are best fed a meat-based diet high in protein and packed with vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids, similar to what most dog breeds need. Whether you choose dry or wet dog food, avoid high-carb fillers and preservatives. Feeding your dog a low-quality dog food may contribute to dry skin, a dull coat, and more concerning health issues.

There are also some foods that are dangerous or potentially toxic for Frenchies and other dogs to eat. These include but are not limited to onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, chives, leeks, cherries, chocolate, and spicy foods.

Photo: Pexels/Maria Rosenberg


French bulldogs need exercise just like all dogs do, but they need relatively little compared to other breeds. In fact, many Frenchies are prone to exercise intolerance, meaning their short muzzles and breathing difficulties contribute to a general lack of stamina and the inability to endure sustained periods of physical exertion.

Do take your French bulldog for regular short walks and encourage daily play, but take care not to overdo it, especially when it’s hot outside. Frenchies are also not strong swimmers and shouldn’t have access to pools or ponds while unsupervised.

Photo: Pexels/Megan (Markham) Bucknall

Health and Longevity

French bulldogs typically live about 10 to 12 years. This is a fairly short lifespan for this size dog, likely because of the plethora of health issues Frenchies are susceptible to.

Like many “flat-nosed” brachycephalic breeds with narrow nostrils, Frenchies can experience trouble with breathing, also known as Brachycephalic Syndrome. This syndrome can contribute to other respiratory issues, like allergies, elongated soft palate, and even airway collapse.

Photo: Unsplash/May Gauthier

French bulldogs are also liable to suffer from joint and bone issues such as chronodysplasia, an umbrella term for diseases and malformations affecting the spine. They can suffer from slipped discs or kneecaps, hip and elbow dysplasia, arthritis, and patellar luxation.

Other diseases Frenchies are predisposed to include clotting disorders like Von Willebrand’s Disease, obesity, heart conditions, skin infections, ear infections, eye disorders, neurological disorders, dental problems, birthing problems, gastrointestinal disorders, and bladder or kidney stones.

Photo: Unsplash/Jim Kalligas

A recent study from the Journal of Canine Medicine and Genetics demonstrated that “French Bulldogs have significantly higher odds of being diagnosed with 20 common disorders compared to other dog breeds.”

In short, you can expect to spend a pretty penny keeping your French bulldog healthy and happy over the course of its life. If you’re willing and able to, however, you’ll have a good-natured friend for a decade or more.

Photo: Pexels/Pixabay


Because of their friendly nature and low exercise needs, French bulldogs are great pets that can adapt well to a variety of lifestyles. They can live in houses with bug yards or apartments with very little space. They can be great companions for the elderly or for people with young children and other pets.

Because of their breathing problems and health concerns, French bulldogs may not thrive in particularly hot environments or with families who spend a lot of time hiking or participating in other strenuous activities. On the other end of the spectrum, they’re vulnerable to cold and frostbite and should be dressed appropriately for chilly weather. They may also be ill suited to being left home alone a lot, as many of them struggle with separation anxiety.

Photo: Pexels/Alina Vilchenko


Depending on where you look, you can expect to pay a hefty fee for a French bulldog because of their popularity. Over time, it’s also likely you’ll spend a lot on vet bills for this breed due to its myriad health struggles. If finances are a concern for you, adopting a Frenchie may not be the right move for you.

Is a Frenchie right for you?

There are so many things to consider when deciding what type of dog you might adopt. After reading this guide, you probably already have a good idea of whether a French bulldog or Frenchie mix might be the right match for you, but let’s summarize:

Frenchies do well with:

  • people of all ages
  • other dogs and animals
  • low- to medium-activity lifestyles
  • small spaces
  • mild climates
Photo: Pexels/Erik Mclean

Frenchies may not do well with:

  • very active and on-the-go families
  • homes in hot or cold climates
  • being left home alone a lot
  • insufficient veterinary care

We hope this helps you make the right decision for you and your future pet!

Is there anything we missed? Let us know what questions you’d like to have answered about French bulldogs and what it’s like to own one!

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