Breed-related disease: French bulldog

The “bouldogge Francais,” as he is known in his adopted home country of France, actually originated in England, in the city of Nottingham. Small bulldogs were popular pets with the local lace workers, keeping them company and ridding their workrooms of rats. After the industrial revolution, lacemaking became mechanized and many of the lace workers lost their jobs. Some of them moved to France, where their skills were in demand, and of course they took their beloved dogs with them. The dogs were equally popular with French shopkeepers and eventually took on the name of their new country.

The little dogs became popular in the French countryside where lace makers settled. Over a span of decades, the toy Bulldogs were crossed with other breeds, perhaps terriers and Pugs, and, along the way, developed their now-famous bat ears. They were given the name Bouledogue Français.

French bulldogs (Frenchies) are known for their quiet attentiveness. They follow their people around from room to room without making a nuisance of themselves. When they want your attention, they’ll tap you with a paw.

This is a highly alert breed that barks judiciously. If a Frenchie barks, you should check it out.

What’s not to like? Frenchies can be stubborn about any kind of training. Motivate them with gentle, positive techniques. When you find the right reward, they can learn quickly, although you will find that they like to put their own spin on tricks or commands, especially when they have an audience.

All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease, The French Bulldog is prone to certain health problems. Here’s a brief rundown on what you should know.

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 overproduction of ear tissue, making the canal ever narrower, and inflamed. In severe cases the eardrum 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 caused 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.

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.


Skin Problems – Pyoderma (bacterial skin infection)

Another common skin problem is 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.


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.


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.


Mobility Issues in French Bulldogs

There is a range of conditions that can affect the Frenchie’s mobility. Ranging from congenital conditions, injuries, and degenerative disease. Conditions such as hip dysplasia and luxating patellas can be caused by genetic or caused by old injuries. Other conditions affecting Frenchies include IVDD, spinal disc issues, and degenerative myelopathy (DM).



Photo credit:
American kennel Club