Everything You Need to Know About the French Bulldog Lifespan

French bulldogs are a popular dog breed that makes delightful companions. Their size makes them ideal for living in urban areas, but they thrive in any environment. Unfortunately, the breed is prone to a shorter lifespan due to the fact it’s a brachycephalic breed, or short-muzzled. The average French bulldog lifespan is anywhere between 5 to 12 years due to the health problems inherent to the breed. 

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to increase the French bulldog lifespan while giving them a long and happy life. They include a healthy diet, regular veterinary care, exercise, and buying your puppy from a reputable breeder. All of these can help a French bulldog live longer than average and provide both of you with as many years of joy and companionship as possible. 

What is the French bulldog lifespan?

The average life expectancy of the French bulldog is shorter than that of other breeds in the size category. You might think that the French bulldog should have the same life expectancy as other dogs, but the physical characteristics of the breed put it at a disadvantage. The French bulldog is one of the most popular dog breeds, and for good reason. The French bulldog temperament is easy-going, they have a happy demeanor, are easily trained, and are very loyal to their humans. 

Unfortunately, the fact that the French bulldog is a popular dog breed results in unethical breeders putting together parents with genetic issues that are then passed on to their offspring. This results in an increased risk of breathing issues, skin conditions, hip dysplasia, conjunctivitis (pink eye), and tracheal collapse among other health problems. 

All of these issues contribute to a shorter French bulldog lifespan and drive home the fact that you should look for a responsible breeder when seeking out a French bulldog puppy. A breeder who engages in ethical and responsible breeding practices is one that helps reduce the effects of genetic issues on subsequent generations. 

Old and young french bulldog

How does it compare to other similar breeds?

Brachycephalic breeds all have similar issues with breathing and skin conditions. They’re more inclined towards developing dental issues and have chronic skin conditions due to their skin folds and eye problems. Similar breeds to the French bulldog include:

  • American bulldog
  • English bulldog
  • Pug
  • Boston terrier
  • Boxer
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Shi Tzu
  • Cavalier King Charles

These dog breeds are the result of mating individuals that feature a specific genetic mutation of the skull. This mutation results in a dog with a larger cranium and a short muzzle that gives it an appealing appearance. Unfortunately, this also decreases the dog’s lifespan due to the alterations it causes in its eye sockets and oral and nasal cavities. 

5 Factors That contribute to a French bulldog lifespan

In order to have a healthy French bulldog and increase French bulldog lifespan, you have to pay attention to its daily care. You’ll have to pay closer attention to your French bulldog’s health than you would with other dogs due to the health issues inherent to the breed. The following factors will help your French bulldog live longer, maintain their quality of life, and help them be their delightful, happy-go-lucky self as they age. 

1. Health Conditions

The most common health conditions that affect a French bulldog’s lifespan include:

  • Plaque and tartar buildup
  • Poor dental alignment
  • Eye injuries and/or infections
  • Hereditary cataracts
  • Skin infections
  • Short soft palates 
  • Less nasal cartilage

All of these issues make it difficult for the breed to enjoy an active and healthy life in the same way as dogs who are non-brachycephalic. Short-faced breeds also tend to have skin folds that trap dirt, debris, and water. They need to have a weekly brushing at the very least to keep their skin from developing sores and fungal infections. 

Regular dental care is also important to the breed, as well as eye exams. You’ll find that regular veterinary care is important to the health and longevity of your French bulldog.

2. Diet

French bulldogs have no special dietary requirements apart from feeding them a small breed kibble that’s high in protein, or wet food. An individual may have food allergies, but the breed as a whole isn’t susceptible to food sensitivities. You can safely feed freshly cooked dog food or bone and raw food (BARF) diet to a French bulldog. 

Feeding high protein is an appropriate diet for the breed as it helps keep their weight down and gives them the nutrition they need to support their bone and muscle. As a general rule, small breeds need to stay lean and fit in order to maintain healthy joints and stay active without struggling.

The flat face of a French bulldog makes it harder for them to run off their calories and stay fit. Feeding a low-carb diet helps them maintain a healthy weight, reduces stress on their joints, and lets them stay fit through other means such as walking.

3. Exposure to heat

The French bulldog can live in any climate, but hot weather can be especially hard on them. The breed is thick and muscular, which makes it difficult for them to exhaust heat from their body. Add to this the fact they have a shorter nasal cavity that causes them to have breathing difficulties and you get a situation where the heart has to work harder than it normally does.

Constant cardiovascular strain weakens the heart of a French bulldog and can reduce its life expectancy. Keeping your dog inside during hot temps and letting them rest will go a long way towards maintaining their health and life expectancy. 

4. Regular health check-ups

Routine health maintenance is key to helping your dog reach its full lifespan. Regular veterinary care allows you to keep on top of your dog’s health, watch for breathing issues, track allergies, and monitor for signs of heart failure.

5. Lifestyle

The French bulldog is a great companion dog that’s energetic, but not overly so. The average French bulldog temperament is sweet, naturally curious, somewhat energetic, but always happy to take time out and relax. They’re similar to other breeds in their group in that they’re physically slow, yet powerful. They need mental stimulation just like any other dog, and they don’t hesitate to let you know when they’re bored.

Your French bulldog is happy to run and go after a ball or Frisbee just like any other dog, but they may not want to play as often or as long. They’re bred for stamina and strength, which makes them ideal for going on long walks and playing tug of war.

happy french bulldog playing

How to improve your French bulldog lifespan

A French bulldog tends to be higher maintenance than other breeds due to its physical conformation. The issues inherent to the breed also contribute to a shorter lifespan, but they can be overcome by taking care of their overall health needs throughout their lifespan.

Feed them an appropriate diet

A balanced diet is important for keeping your French bulldog healthy and comfortable. Short-faced breeds tend to be gassier than other breeds due to the amount of air they suck in and their diet. Feeding a food formulated for the breed will help reduce the amount of flatulence and make it easier to maintain the proper weight. 

Make regular vet visits

Bringing your dog to the vet regularly helps you keep on top of any changes in your dog’s physical condition that can affect its overall lifespan. The vet can take note of any changes, help you counteract or treat an existing problem, identify a skin condition, and detect a cardiovascular issue such as heart failure before it progresses too far. 

Keep up with the vaccination schedule

It’s important to keep up with vaccination for all breeds of dogs, and the French bulldog is no exception. Vaccinations prevent serious and sometimes fatal infections from taking hold in your dog. They also give you peace of mind for those times the two of you go to the dog park or interact with other dogs throughout the day. 

french bulldog high five

Final thoughts

The French bulldog is a wonderful breed for someone who wants a companion that’s low-energy, adorable in size and features, and doesn’t require a lot of daily maintenance. The trade-off comes in the form of higher vigilance for health issues that are hallmarks of the breed. Start your search for your French bulldog puppy with a reputable breeder that focuses on breeding parents with good genetics and seeks to reduce the impact of genetic defects with each generation. 

Ask the breeder and veterinarian about their recommendations regarding keeping your French bulldog healthy, and ensure they get the best out of their lifespan. Their advice helps you enjoy your dog for longer, as well as enables your dog to live a great life. 

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