Are French Bulldogs Good Family Dogs?


With their compact size and adorable face, the French bulldog is a breed that commands attention, so you may have wondered at some point, are French bulldogs good family dogs?

The truth is that they are like most other dog breeds in that they can be good family dogs for some households and not so good for others.

Let’s take a look at the French bulldog in more detail.

History of the French Bulldog

In the early 1800s, lace workers from England went to France to find work, and they took along bulldogs as companions and as a way to chase away rats. The hardy, even-tempered dog quickly became a very popular breed, and soon breeders in England began selling these adorable dogs to the French.

French bulldogs today are still kept by people who are known to appreciate the finer things in life. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, fashionable upper-class households, as well as royalty, kept French bulldogs as pets. 

In fact, there was even a French bulldog that traveled on the ill-fated Titanic, and its owner insured it for the unbelievable sum of $750, which was a lot of money for the early 1900s!

Of course, it’s possible that some version of these bulldogs has been around since before the 1800s, but once those breeders in England started selling the dogs to the French, a whole new type of bulldog came upon the scene. And their popularity has only grown since that time.

The French Bulldog Temperament: What it’s Like

The first thing that you’ll notice about the French bulldog is its love of attention. Indeed, this dog breed not only craves attention; it demands it! If you’re a single person or have a small family, these dogs are perfect because they won’t have to compete with so many others for your attention.

French bulldogs also don’t bark a lot, which many people love. The only time that it does bark is when there’s a legitimate reason for the excitement. It does, however, make some noise because snorting and snoring are a big part of this dog’s personality!

As far as their environment goes, French bulldogs are happy in just about any type of housing. They don’t need a ton of exercise and therefore don’t require a large yard. Their favorite activity is staying inside and receiving all the attention you can give them!

And if you’re asking yourself, are French bulldogs good with kids, the answer is a resounding “yes.” French bulldogs — or Frenchies, as many people call them — have big hearts, are easy-going and have great temperaments.

This, plus the fact that they are small dogs in size, makes them the perfect dog companion for kids of all ages, even toddlers.

Stats and Numbers About French Bulldogs

Before you adopt a French bulldog, you’ll want to know a little about them, and here is some information to help you get started:

  • Weight: 25 to 27 pounds for males and females.
  • Height at withers: 12 inches for males; 11 inches for females
  • Lifespan: 9 to 11 years
  • Exercise requirements: <20 minutes per day
  • Energy level: average
  • Tendency to drool: high
  • Tendency to snore: high
  • Tendency to bark: moderate
  • Tendency to dig: low
  • Social needs: high

The French bulldog was bred to be a lapdog and has naturally upright ears, a squashed face that is nothing short of adorable, and short bowed legs. They have short, flat coats that can be white, fawn, or black either with or without white in them.

The Frenchie’s grooming needs are considered moderate because while you should brush their coat, they do not shed excessively.

The American Kennel Club classifies the French bulldog as a Non-Sporting Dog, while the UKC classifies it as a Companion dog.

As far as their diet goes, Frenchies do not require a lot of food. Their coat is easy to keep clean because it is so short. That being said, they do have a lot of facial wrinkles and those wrinkles have to be cleaned regularly in order to prevent infections due to dirt and debris.

Similarities to Other Dogs

The French bulldog is a member of the non-sporting group and is considered a mid-sized dog, just as the Boston terrier and the bulldog are. In fact, Frenchies are often confused for these two breeds, but they are anything but the same.

In fact, the French bulldog is far more than a miniature bulldog. For one thing, Frenchies have “bat” ears that occur naturally and are never altered or cropped in any way. They also have unique skulls that are flat between the ears.

French bulldogs are also shorter and weigh much less than regular bulldogs, or English bulldogs as they are often called. But of course, their bat-like ears are what you should look for when you specifically want a French bulldog.

Unique Characteristics

The French bulldog may have a “sad” expression on its face, but it is actually a very amiable and entertaining pet. As puppies, they are very frisky and love chasing balls around the house. An adult French Bulldog, on the other hand, is a great couch potato, but he’ll enjoy daily walks as long as the weather isn’t too hot or humid.

And if you’re curious about how they are with other animals, they tend to do well with them, with two exceptions: first, they may hurt gerbils or hamsters if you have them; and second, male Frenchies might well fight with other male Frenchies.

As far as training goes, keep in mind that the French bulldog breed can be stubborn and therefore might be a challenge to train. But they are also sensitive and respond well to patient and persistent training, especially if you use positive reinforcement and you start early enough.

House-training should be done using the crate method, and you should expect it to take up to six months to be successful. If you own a swimming pool, please note that Frenchies cannot swim and have a build that makes them drown immediately should they accidentally fall into the pool.

Who Should Own a French Bulldog?

If you’re curious about being the owner of a Frenchie, you should only consider this possibility if you want a dog breed that:

  • Is small but very sturdy and stocky
  • Has a coat that comes in various colors and is easy to care for
  • Doesn’t need a lot of exercise
  • Gets along well with both people and other pets
  • Doesn’t bark much
  • Loves games such as chasing balls and others

Having said all of this, Frenchies (unfortunately) are known to have several health problems, mostly due to improper breeding. For one thing, heatstroke is always a possibility because French bulldogs tend to have breathing problems. This means that your home should definitely be air-conditioned.

Other health issues suffered by Frenchies include:

  • Eye diseases
  • Heart disease
  • Spinal disorders
  • Joint diseases
  • Ear infections
  • Conjunctivitis (eye infections)
  • Diarrhea
  • Mobility issues
  • Skin problems such as pyoderma (bacterial skin infection) and skin fold dermatitis

In fact, potential skin problems are a big reason why cleaning out their skin folds is so important, and these folds are not just found around the facial area. Regular cleaning of their skin folds with a wet wipe of some type is highly recommended.

How to Choose the Perfect French Bulldog

Choosing a French bulldog is easy once you decide whether you want to adopt one from a shelter or purchase one from a breeder. The breeder should be researched beforehand to make sure that it is a reputable company that cares about the dogs it breeds.

You can look at the dog and observe certain traits to make sure that they don’t have any existing health problems. If you pay close attention to the eyes, the way they breathe, and their movement, you can tell a lot. Look for the following traits:

  • Look at their eyes to make sure that there is no squinting, watery eyes, or eyes that look glazed over
  • Make sure that French Bulldog puppies are not limping
  • If you notice that a dog’s leg movement seems “off,” listen for a clicking noise, which could indicate hip problems as they age
  • Any breathing difficulty could indicate a possibility for BOAS (brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome) later in life.
  • A low-pitched noise when breathing or a gasping sound could mean breathing problems

And while French bulldogs do tend to snore, if they snore especially loudly at some point after you get them home, you might want to mention this to your veterinarian. This loud snoring could mean that they are experiencing BOAS.

Naturally, you cannot be absolutely certain that nothing is wrong with the Frenchie before you take it home, but these are a few things to look for that can reduce the odds of health problems later on in their lives.

Final Thoughts

French bulldogs are lovable creatures and make great family dogs even if you have small children or other pets in the house. Other than potential health problems, Frenchies are great to have around the house, and you’ll find yourself falling in love with them quickly.

Just make sure that you give them a lot of attention and take their stubbornness into account when training them, and the rest should be easy for you.