If you’re ready to add a four-legged member to your family, the French bulldog is a great choice. These small dogs are fun-loving, loyal, affectionate pets. And with their flat faces, stubby legs, and adorable skin folds, you would be hard-pressed to find a cuter companion.
One thing to consider when adopting any breed of dog, the French bulldog included, is average life expectancy. You’ll want to know the commitment you’re making when you adopt your Frenchie, and how you might extend their lifespan.
So, what is the French bulldog lifespan? About 10-12 years, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). This is similar to the average lifespan of other dogs of this size, like Boston terriers and pugs. Of course, many factors can shorten or lengthen this time frame — and it’s your responsibility as a pet owner to do everything you can to help your pet live a healthy, happy life.
Let’s take a look at some factors that contribute to the French bulldog’s lifespan and how you can keep your dog healthy for years to come.
The French Bulldog Lifespan: Contributing Factors
The kind of care and attention a French bulldog receives throughout their life has a direct impact on their lifespan.
Some of the major factors that can affect the average lifespan of a Frenchie include:
What your dog eats has a great effect on their overall health. When you feed a dog a wholesome, nutritious, well-balanced diet, they’ll tend to be much healthier. French bulldog owners can help their pets stay healthy by asking a veterinarian if they’re providing high-quality, nutritionally balanced dog food.
Don’t forget to ask about the proper portion size for your dog, too. Overfeeding is one of the leading causes of obesity, so make sure you feed your pet the right amount for their weight and activity level.
Some people make the mistake of thinking that because the French bulldog is a small dog, it doesn’t need much exercise. And while the Frenchie certainly won’t need as much physical activity as a high-energy working breed like the German shepherd or Belgian Malinois, this dog breed still needs regular exercise to stay healthy. Daily short walks and play sessions with favorite toys are great ways to get your French bulldog the activity they need.
Note that French bulldogs are brachycephalic dogs (those breeds with squashed, flat faces and bulging eyes like the pug and Boston terrier). This means the dog’s facial structure compromises the respiratory system — a French bulldog is at higher risk for breathing problems if they’re over-exercised or experience overheating. So, while exercise is essential, it’s important not to overdo it.
Regular check-ups and great veterinary care are other factors that affect the French bulldog’s lifespan. Whether you adopt a French bulldog puppy or an older Frenchie, high-quality, consistent care from a veterinary professional is a great way to keep them healthy throughout life. Most vets recommend they examine your adult dog at least once a year, and young puppies can benefit from visits every few weeks to ensure they’re getting life started on the right paw.
Part of good veterinary care is keeping up with essential vaccinations and flea and heartworm control. Your vet can also monitor your pooch’s dental health and physical fitness. Additionally, they can help spot any health problems early, allowing for faster treatment and a higher likelihood of a positive outcome.
Frenchie Health Issues
The French bulldog lifespan can also be affected by certain health conditions, which dog owners should be aware of.
Again, Frenchies are a brachycephalic breed. This means they’re more susceptible to brachycephalic airway syndrome — this refers to a number of abnormalities, including stenotic nares, an elongated soft palate, and laryngeal collapse that can affect your dog’s breathing. A French bulldog who gets overworked or overheated can struggle to breathe normally simply because of their unique facial structure.
Other common health problems seen in French bulldogs include eye issues like hereditary cataracts, corneal ulcers, and cherry eye. And as Frenchies advance into old age, issues like hip dysplasia and intervertebral disk disease (IVDD) are more likely. These issues are not immediately life-threatening, but if you don’t address them, they can get worse, affecting a dog's quality of life and even their lifespan. That’s why it’s your responsibility to do all you can to keep your French bulldog healthy.
How to Keep Your French Bulldog Healthy
We’ve seen how diet, exercise, veterinary care, and medical issues can impact your French bulldog’s health. So, how can you help maintain your dog’s health and potentially lengthen your French bulldog’s lifespan?
Again, feed your dog a wholesome, well-balanced diet (ask your veterinarian for a recommendation), and give your dog measured portion sizes to avoid overfeeding. You can also give your dog an added nutritional boost with the use of dietary supplements.
Native Pet’s Bone Broth Topper can provide your dog extra nutrients for joint strength, immune support, and heart health, while our Probiotic Powder promotes good gut health and can alleviate acute and chronic diarrhea. And our Omega Oil offers omega-3 fatty acids to improve skin health and address joint pain.
Exercise your Frenchie on a daily basis with walks and playtime, but remember not to over-exert your pet. As with any bulldog breed and other brachycephalic dogs, French bulldogs can have trouble breathing when they’re over-exercised or overheated.
Schedule regular check-ups to make sure your French bulldog leads a healthy life. At the vet’s office, you can update your dog’s vaccines and pest preventatives protocols and make sure your pet is in good health overall. Your veterinarian can check for signs of common health issues that affect French bulldogs, like IVDD or eye health problems.
A final tip: If you are adopting from a breeder, ask for health history for your new dog and their parents. Reputable breeders should have this health information on hand for your puppy and their parents, and possibly another generation back depending on how long the breeder has been operating. With this information, you can learn about your dog’s medical history, health patterns in the litter, and any health conditions in their bloodline. Understanding family history can help you choose a healthy pup and prepare for the future.
Lengthen Your French Bulldog’s Lifespan With Proper Care
It’s no wonder the French bulldog is such a popular dog breed. These little pooches make wonderful additions to any family. They’re sweet-natured, low-maintenance, and absolutely adorable. It’s safe to say the Frenchie will make a great companion dog.
How long do these dogs live? The average French bulldog lifespan is 10-12 years. A number of factors can impact that range, including diet, exercise, veterinary care, and breed-specific health conditions.
French bulldog owners can help keep their dogs happy and healthy by feeding their dogs a nutritional diet, exercising them daily (while being cautious of heat exposure), and taking them for regular vet check-ups.
It’s also important to be aware of common Frenchie health conditions so you know what to expect and what to ask your veterinarian about.
Want more insight into your dog’s health and wellness needs? Visit the Native Pet blog to learn more.