The French Bulldog, with their playful and cuddly disposition, is fast becoming one of the most popular small dog breeds in the world. If you’ve ever owned a Frenchie, you know why! They are affectionate, cute little dogs with plenty of funny quirks, adaptable to most environments, and they get along well with other animals and children. They also don’t need as many walks as bigger dogs!
However, Frenchies as a breed have a lot of health problems. In fact, most French Bulldogs will suffer from one or more of the most common health problems associated with the breed. These health problems usually emerge as early as 2 or 3 years and can lead to unexpected veterinary expenses. As well as, significantly impact a pet’s quality of life.
Are French Bulldogs the Right Breed for Me?
As the breed grows in popularity, it’s worth knowing what these problems are and how common they are – whether you are looking into buying a French Bulldog or have already adopted one into your home.
Before you bring your new Frenchie pal home, you should know that these health problems are purely caused by their genetic make-up. Unfortunately, humans have bred them to have more ‘desirable’ features like smaller snouts and ears. That’s right – the most lovable features of Frenchies is also the cause of their chronic health problems.
Most Common French Bulldog Health Problems
To summarize, 72.4% of French Bulldogs studied had at least one of the health problems listed below. These include skin problems (17.9%), ear infections (14%), diarrhea (7.5%) and conjunctivitis (3.2%). These figures are taken from the study conducted by the Royal Veterinary College (UK, 2018) who examined 2,228 French Bulldogs.
1. Ear Infections
French Bulldogs have very narrow ear canals, and for this reason are very vulnerable to ear infections. They are also susceptible to allergies which can give them these infections. Ear glands swell up to resist infections and produce more wax than normal. This leads to an over production of ear tissue, making the canal ever narrower, and inflamed. In severe cases the ear drum can rupture, causing your pooch a lot of pain!
Look out for excessive ear scratching and redness inside the ear as warnings of this problem
Stomach upsets are very common in Frenchies, so monitoring their diet is a must. Consistent bouts of diarrhea can be causes by parasites, viruses or e. coli, all of which Frenchies are very sensitive to.
Take note of their stools if they are wet, runny or tarry, smell foul, or if you see blood in the stools. These are all signs of a serious digestion problem. Other tell-tale signs are your dog losing weight, losing their appetite, vomiting or having a fever.
Again, due to the genetic makeup of French Bulldogs, they are at a high risk of suffering from conjunctivitis. This is because they are a short-nosed (brachycephalic) breed. It’s usually caused by bacterial and viral infections or allergic reactions to substances. Watch out for your Frenchie having pink or red eyes, if they start blinking more than usual, or have mucus, pus or discharge leaking from their eyes.
4. Skin Problems – Skin Fold Dermatitis
Due to French Bulldogs folded facial skin around their muzzle and nose, this can lead to dermatitis. It can also occur in other areas of their bodies that are folded, like armpits, necks and crotches. Signs of this problem include itching, biting and scratching of the area, and redness and sores on the affected skin. Keeping skin folds dry and clean can prevent dermatitis from occurring.
5. Skin Problems – Pyoderma (bacterial skin infection)
Another common skin problem are bacterial skin infections. This occurs when your dog has a cut or scratch that becomes infected. Again, look out for itching, red skin, pus, and loss of hair around the cut. It’s another health problem that comes from having skin folds.
6. Breathing Problems – URT Infection
As a short-nosed breed, French Bulldogs are very at-risk of upper respiratory tract infections. These will usually happen to every bulldog at least once in their lives, and are infectious, so will occur if your dog spends more time with other canines. Symptoms are a lot like human colds: nasal congestion, coughing, and lethargy.
7. Breathing Problems – Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)
Sadly, many French Bulldogs are also at a high risk of BOAS due to their squashed faces and short snouts.
This can lead to shortness of breath, trouble breathing, sleeping difficulties and heat intolerance. You’ll notice this problem occurring during exercise and in warmer temperatures.
8. Mobility Issues in French Bulldogs
There are a range of conditions that can affect Frenchie mobility.Ranging from congenital conditions, injuries, and degenerative disease. Conditions such as hip dysplasia and luxating patellas can be caused be genetic or caused by old injuries. Other conditions affecting Frenchies include: IVDD, spinal disc issues, and Degenerative Myelopathy (DM).
Thank you to guest author, Beatrix Potter for sharing this article. Beatrix works as a dog expert and proof-reader at Academized.com writing services. Beatrix is a proud owner of French bulldog named Ponch.