French bulldogs are wee yet robust pooches that are beloved not only for their humorous and pleasant dispositions, but also for their lovable, slightly wrinkled visages. As all dogs, certain medical issues affect French bulldogs -- or "Frenchies" -- more commonly than others.
French bulldogs appear in colors including white, pale yellowish-brown and brindle, the latter of which involves a blend of colors such as brownish-orange and gray. As adults, these dense, sturdy pooches typically reach between 11 and 13 inches tall. They usually weigh no more than 28 pounds. One of the most prominent physical characteristics of French bulldogs involves their ears, which point straight up and are similar to those of bats. This smart, amiable and funny dog keeps a close vigil on his home.
As with pugs and a handful of other doggie breeds, French bulldogs are brachycephalic, with skulls that are markedly wide and short. Their faces have a conspicuously flattened appearance to them. Although the look undeniably is cute, it also can trigger health issues that revolve around breathing, problems that can become life threatening. Some common indications of brachycephalic syndrome are excessively loud breathing, coughing, hacking and snoring. All of these signs are usually particularly noticeable during times of excessive heat. Inordinate discomfort in heat is typical of dogs with brachycephalic syndrome. Take your sweet Frenchie to the veterinarian immediately if he shows any signs of this condition.
Intervertebral Disk Disease
Intervertebral disk disease is relatively prevalent in the French bulldog breed. This orthopedic condition results from the deterioration of the spinal column's dense intervertebral disks. Some of the signs that are typical of this disorder are backache, rigidness of the body, scooting of the hind limbs during walking, difficulty standing up, general feebleness, crouching over, shivering and soreness of the stomach. Paralysis is a possibility for some dogs with the condition. If you have any reason to think that your precious pet might be dealing with intervertebral disk disease, schedule a veterinarian appointment as soon as possible.
Canine Hip Dysplasia
Canine hip dysplasia is another problem for many French bulldogs. The skeletal condition involves the atypical growth and progress of the hip joints. Signs of the condition pop up early in dogs, starting as early as at 4 months. Lack of body coordination is a common sign of the disorder. Other symptoms of canine hip dysplasia are rigidness, avoidance of physical activity and hobbling. Note, however, that many dogs with the condition barely display any hints at all. Regardless, veterinary attention is a must for any pooches with hip dysplasia.
Other medical issues that also sometimes affect French bulldogs are luxating patellas, cataracts and entropion. The latter entails the eyelids turning in an "inside" direction. If your dog shows any sign of abnormalities or malaise, a vet appointment should be your next step. Dogs don't always display obvious signs of illness, though, which is why it's so crucial to routinely bring your pet in for regular veterinary checkups. With the right love and care, French bulldogs can often survive healthily and contentedly for anywhere between 10 and 14 years, or perhaps longer.
By Naomi Millburn
DogChannel.com: French Bulldog Dog Breed Profile
The American Kennel Club: French Bulldog
The Westminster Kennel Club: French Bulldog
The American Kennel Club: French Bulldog - Did You Know
Animal Planet: French Bulldog
French Bulldogs; D. Caroline Coile
French Bulldog Club of America: Understanding Our Health Issues
American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation: Overview of Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD)
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Baker Institute for Animal Health: Canine Hip Dysplasia
The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health; Cynthia M. Kahn and Scott Line
About the Author
Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.