16 French Bulldog Health Problems to Consider Before You Adopt

All dogs are susceptible to health problems, many of which depend on their age, diet, and care. Some breeds, like the French Bulldog, are more prone to several health conditions than others. French bulldog health problems can be severe and worrisome, which is why it’s important to be aware of them before adopting a Frenchie.

Common French Bulldog Health Problems

  • Allergies
  • Brachycephalic respiratory syndrome
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Cataracts
  • Cherry eye
  • Cleft palate
  • Colitis and Chronic Diarrhea
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Deafness
  • Ear infections
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Heat sensitivity
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism
  • Patellar luxation
  • Spinal disorders

French Bulldogs are friendly, playful, and full of personality. They’re also utterly adorable, whether puppy or adult. Unfortunately, the French Bulldog and health problems often go hand in hand, as many Frenchies tend to suffer from one or more health conditions that commonly affect the breed.

If you’re considering adopting a French Bulldog, you should be aware of French Bulldog common health problems. These conditions can range from easy to treat to severe issues that may require continuing veterinary care, medications, surgery, and more. Breeding has led to genetic abnormalities that can cause health problems, like hip dysplasia, respiratory issues, and eye and ear infections.

Why Do French Bulldogs Have So Many Health Problems?

Whether you want to adopt a Micro French Bulldog or a standard Frenchie, you might run into some of the common health problems when it comes to French Bulldog puppies and adults. All variations of the breed are prone to allergies, breathing problems, and serious disease that affects the breed.

What causes French Bulldog known health problems? The most significant contributor is the breeding of the Frenchie. French Bulldogs have a smushed-in nose and short, stubby bodies that are characteristic of the breed. Breeders continue to breed them to have these traits to conform to the breed’s standards. Unfortunately, these traits are also what cause many of the common health problems that the Frenchie suffers from, including cleft palate, spinal cord deformities, and brachycephalic syndrome.

Over time, these traits end up in the canine genetics of the breed to make their short nose and bulky bodies continue to show through generations of breeding. This process can cause potential health that are already present to become more severe and prevalent. A study conducted on the Frenchie breed found that 72.4% of the observed French Bulldogs had at least one disorder that’s common in the breed.

French Bulldog Health Problems to Consider Before You Adopt

A Frenchie may have several health problems at once or none at all, but the following are some of the most common French Bulldog health problems you might come across:

1. Allergies

Frenchies are prone to both environmental and skin allergies. Sometimes, skin conditions are a result of severe itchiness, scratching, and licking due to environmental triggers. If left untreated, it can lead to a skin infection. Common triggers include dust mites, mold spores, and dander from other animals in the home.

French bulldogs may also suffer from food allergies, which can cause severe digestive problems and dietary issues. Frenchies can be allergic to a range of foods, including chicken, lamb, wheat, and dairy products, that can make feeding time a challenge.

2. Brachycephalic Respiratory Syndrome

Dogs with short noses are often prone to a disorder known as brachycephalic respiratory syndrome or brachycephalic airway syndrome. The French Bulldog is known as a brachycephalic breed that frequently suffers from this syndrome, which affects the dog’s respiratory system.

Brachycephalic syndrome can lead to several other issues within the respiratory system, like stenotic nares, which cause narrow nostrils that prevent ample airflow. Laryngeal collapse can also occur because of airflow restrictions placed on the larynx. This syndrome can affect other areas of the body as well, like the dog’s digestive system, because of the stress it puts on organs.

3. Cardiovascular Issues

Some of the scariest health problems with French Bulldog breeds have to do with the cardiovascular system. Heart murmurs, for example, are common in the breed, causing irregular beats or beat skips. Although some murmurs are innocent – meaning they are not thought to create any other problems – others can be severe if another condition or a heart abnormality causes them.

Dilated cardiomyopathy is another heart condition to watch for. This disorder is genetic, so it can pass through generations of French Bulldogs. Dilated cardiomyopathy causes enlarged heart chambers that struggle to contract correctly, which can cause irregular heartbeats and weakened heart muscle.

4. Cataracts

Cataracts are one of the most common eye problems to affect any dog, especially aging dogs. However, the problem is present in many Frenchies as well, especially if the dog comes from a line that suffers from cataracts. French Bulldogs tend to suffer from cataracts at an earlier age than other breeds.

Cataracts cause obstructed or blurred vision. A severe case of cataracts can cause blindness. The only way to treat cataracts in dogs is with surgical correction, which can become costly when you combine the costs of a veterinary visit, anesthesia, the procedure, and after-procedure medications.

5. Cherry Eye

Cherry eye affects several dog breeds, especially brachycephalic breeds like the French Bulldog. Dogs have a third eyelid that gives the eyes extra protection. But when the attachment area of this eyelid is weak, it can result in cherry eye, or the prolapse of that eyelid.

Cherry eye typically causes redness and irritation in the eye(s) it affects. Swelling and excessive tearing may also occur. You might also see a dog with cherry eye scratch at his face frequently or see parts of the third eyelid swollen around the dog’s cornea.

6. Cleft Palate

Cleft palate has become an unfortunately common condition in the Frenchie dog breed through breeding and genetics. This condition occurs when the mouth’s palate does not form correctly before birth, leaving its two halves separated.

Dogs with unresolved cleft palates or a soft palate are likely to experience eating challenges, breathing troubles, excessive mucus production, and runny noses. Cleft palate may also affect a dog’s teeth growth and health. Some cleft palates are not severe enough to warrant surgery, but serious cases do require surgical correction to allow the dog to eat correctly and avoid sinus problems. 

7. Colitis and Chronic Diarrhea

Frenchies have a genetic predisposition to food allergies, which can upset the stomach and cause more serious digestive problems, like colitis, chronic diarrhea, and Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD). French Bulldogs may not be able to digest their food as well as other dogs, which can lead to these digestive issues.

Colitis can be especially troublesome to deal with. It’s a painful condition that causes an inflamed bowel, which usually leads to severe stomach pain and diarrhea. It’s necessary to speak with a veterinarian to find a diet that works for a dog with colitis.

8. Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is more commonly referred to as “pink eye.” This condition is usually triggered by bacteria that causes an infection in the eye. It’s easily spottable because it causes extreme redness on the eyeball and a watery or gunky discharge.

Although conjunctivitis usually doesn’t affect anything but a dog’s eyes, it can be incredibly itchy, painful, and uncomfortable. It’s also contagious, so it may spread to other dogs in the home or pet owners. If left untreated, it may also lead to vision problems for a dog.

9. Deafness

Hearing loss and deafness are additional health problems French Bulldog breeds sometimes face. French Bulldogs can be born deaf or hard of hearing, or they may lose their hearing due to an illness, like a severe ear infection, or aging.

White Frenchies tend to suffer from hearing loss or deafness more than other Frenchies because of a genetic defect. You’ll usually notice signs of hearing problems within the first six weeks of the dog’s life. Common symptoms include sleeping through loud noises, not responding to you calling their name, and not tilting their head to respond to sounds.

10. Ear Infections

Ear infections are a common cause of hearing loss in Frenchies, but even less severe ones can cause a dog a lot of pain and discomfort. French Bulldogs are prone to ear infections because of their unique ear shape – sometimes referred to as bat ears – and narrow ear canals that don’t allow earwax to move and function properly within the ear. It’s crucial to take care of ear infections in a Frenchie as soon as possible to prevent severe damage to the ear.

11. Gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis is another digestive problem that frequently affects French Bulldogs. Although it’s not usually as severe as colitis or inflammatory bowel disease, it can still cause a lot of stomach upset and discomfort for a dog.

Gastroenteritis is common in brachycephalic dogs like the Frenchie. When these dogs eat, they aren’t able to breathe through their nose well, so they’ll breathe through their mouths instead. This process causes them to suck in a lot of air, leading to excess gas in the digestive system that causes bloating and stomach upset.

12. Heat Sensitivity

As a brachycephalic breed, the Frenchie’s narrow nostrils and short snout make it difficult for them to vent themselves in the heat. It’s not uncommon for a Frech Bulldog to suffer from heatstroke if they’re left in hot air for too long, even on a short walk if it’s a hot summer day.

It’s best to walk Frenchies in the shade when possible, with plenty of water breaks available. You should also monitor them carefully in the heat to watch for signs of overheating, such as heavy or noisy panting, vomiting, or disorientation.

13. Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is often genetic in French Bulldogs, caused by breeding tactics that favor the body shape of the Frenchie but continue to breed hip joints that don’t form correctly. Sometimes, Frenchies may also get hip dysplasia later in life if they’ve been injured or are overweight.

This inherited disease is degenerative, meaning that it will likely get worse as a dog ages. Current treatments focus on making the problem less severe and treating pain and inflammation associated with the condition. There are also surgeries to treat hip dysplasia, but physical therapy, joint supplements, and weight reduction are often more favorable non-invasive treatments.

14. Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism

Hypothyroidism happens when a dog doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone that regulates body temperature and metabolism. When this happens, your dog may gain weight, seem tired often, and get cold even in mild temperatures.

Hyperthyroidism affects the body differently, as it causes a dog to secrete too much thyroid hormone. Dogs with this condition might be overactive, want to drink and eat frequently, and will find it challenging to gain weight.

15. Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation is a condition that causes the patella, or kneecap, to slide out of place, causing pain and lameness in a dog. Frenchies and other breeds with stubby bodies tend to suffer from a luxating patella, which is usually a congenital condition. You may not notice symptoms of the problem until it becomes more severe as your dog ages.

Treatments for patellar luxation range from natural remedies like diet control, weight management, and massage therapies, to corrective surgery. Surgeries for patellar luxation are usually the most effective when they’re completed during the earliest stages of the condition.

16. Spinal Disorders

Perhaps some of the more serious health problems of French Bulldog breeds include those that affect the spine, causing pain, lameness, and low quality of life for the dogs. Frenchies can suffer from several spinal issues, including intervertebral disc disease, degenerative myelopathy and hemivertebrae.

Hemivertabrae is a condition in which the bones of the spine don’t form correctly, leading to pain and potentially dangerous problems affecting the spinal cord. Experts believe the French Bulldog is especially susceptible to the problem because of its screw-tail.

Adopt a Royal Frenchel

The Royal Frenchel is a unique breed of dog that exhibits many physical characteristics of the French Bulldog but without the typical French Bulldog breed health problems. Mostly, this breed is a combination of the Frenchie and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, but other breeds mixed in contribute to its incredible health, trainability, and personality.

The Royal Frenchel is an excellent alternative to the French Bulldog. The breed even comes in different sizes, with the Micro Mini Royal Frenchel being one of the most popular. These tiny dogs look very much like French Bulldog puppies and continue to remain small throughout their adulthood.

Royal Frenchels stand apart from other breeds in their traits and superior health:

Royal Frenchel Breed Traits: What Makes a Royal Frenchel?

The Royal Frenchel breed exudes personality, a willingness to learn, and intelligence that make it trainable and reliable as a family pet. Royal Frenchels also have the following traits:

  • Affectionate: You may never meet a dog as loving as a Royal Frenchel. Like the French Bulldog, these dogs adore people and are almost always ready for cuddles and praise.
  • Healthy: Royal Frenchels are bred with health in mind, which is why they typically live between 16 and 20 years!
  • Intuitive: Royals are incredibly intuitive, allowing them to sense when someone needs help or even a bit of affection. This is one trait that makes Royal Frenchels excellent service dogs.
  • Confident: Most Royal Frenchels are outgoing and confident, allowing them to meet new people and dogs easily.
  • People-Pleasing: Royal Frenchels have a strong desire to please the people they’re close with. They want you to be happy with them, which lends well to their service dog abilities and high trainability.

Families who adopt Royal Frenchels tend to exhibit many of the tell-tale Royal Frenchel Traits, too! Royal families enjoy being around others, are creative and intuitive, and appreciate the relationships that they build with others.

The Royal Frenchel Health and Breeding Transparency

Royal Frenchel health is one of the many things that make these dogs so amazing. That’s why we list health information of the breed transparently on our website. We want you to see that a Royal Frenchel that’s well taken care of can live a long, healthy life without many of the health problems of a French Bulldog.

Generally, a much lower percentage of Royal Frenchels have common French Bulldog health problems than the French Bulldog breed. In fact, the prevalence of health problems like spinal issues, allergies, and digestive issues, is about 10 times lower in Royals than in Frenchies. 

Consider a Royal Frenchel If You’re Not Ready to Care for French Bulldog Health Problems

We love French Bulldogs with or without their health problems, but not everyone is ready to take on the challenges they might face when caring for a Frenchie. If you love the look and personality of a French Bulldog, but want to lower your chances of adopting a dog with health conditions, the Royal Frenchel might be the breed for you.

The Royal Frenchel Bulldog is an incredibly smart, intuitive, and friendly breed that’s ready to become a part of your family. They’re easy to train, love to play, and adore getting your affection, just like the Frenchie.  If you’re ready to learn more about adopting a Royal Frenchel, you can contact us for a Skype or in-person visit.

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