The French Bulldog is a popular dog breed that makes an excellent family addition and loyal companion. We adore Frenchies for their playful and fun character while still making plenty of time for snuggles on the sofa. They’re small but sturdy, and their bug eyes and larger-than-life ears are their sweet trademarks. And there are many more reasons why the French Bulldog is such a popular breed.
If you’re a French Bulldog owner or about to become one, you’re probably wondering how to keep them healthy and with you for as long as possible. Every Frenchie owner’s goal is to extend their lifespan as much as possible. Typically Frenchie’s live between 10 and 12 years, but some have lived for much longer than this. So, what’s the secret?
Unfortunately, there aren’t any secrets or tricks to indefinitely extend the lifespan of your Frenchie. Many different factors impact a dog’s life expectancy. Many factors are out of your control, and every dog is different. We look at some of the most influential factors, and thankfully, there are some things you can do to help your Frenchie live a healthier life and maybe live longer. Let’s take a closer look at the French Bulldog’s lifespan.
French Bulldog Breed
The French Bulldog is a very popular breed in America, and they’ve climbed to the second most popular dog breed in America (behind the Labrador) and remained there since 2020. They make fantastic family pets thanks to their small but sturdy size, fun-loving nature, and sweet character. They enjoy playing and sleeping equally, making them manageable for most families. Frenchies are surprisingly intelligent, although their stubbornness sometimes hides this, and very adaptable to their family and home life.
French Bulldogs are small-sized dogs that typically weigh under 28 pounds and measure between 11 and 13 inches tall from paw to shoulder. Their small size means it’s easy to take them wherever you go, and they are usually well-behaved and easygoing. We love Frenchies for their cute appearance, thanks to their big bug eyes, flat squishy faces, and larger-than-life bat ears. They have short coats that come in various colors and curly tails.
How Long Do French Bulldogs Live?
The expected lifespan of a French Bulldog is typically 10 to 12 years, although some can live much longer with proper care and attention. The oldest Frenchie on record was a male named Popeye. He was 18 years and 3 months old when he died from cancer in 2021. Boston Terriers are similar-looking breeds and typically live one year longer than the Frenchie. The French Bulldog’s lifespan is average, not the longest-living dog but thankfully not the shortest.
Like all dog breeds, Frenchies are predisposed to specific health concerns determined by their genetics. Genetic makeup is the most significant factor affecting their health and lifespan. Other factors include diet, exercise, and overall care. Please remember that every dog and their lifestyle is unique. This information refers to a typical Frenchie, and you cannot predict how long your Frenchie will live.
Health Factors That Impact French Bulldog Lifespan
French Bulldogs are prone to several health conditions. Some of these can impact their lifespan, and we look closely at these factors. It is important to consider pet insurance for your Frenchie as it can help to manage the cost of long-term and emergency care. Investing in pet insurance is not ideal for every family, but it has allowed many to take better care of their beloved French Bulldog.
Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome
Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) is one of Frenchies’ most impactful health conditions. Brachy means shortened, and cephalic means head. Although their flat face is adorable, it leads to many health problems that can dramatically reduce their health and lifespan. The shorter bones of the face and nose mean that the anatomy of the airways and other soft tissue structures are abnormal.
BOAS symptoms include stenotic nares, which are narrowed nostrils that restrict their airflow, and extended nasal ridges that also obstruct airflow. Flat-faced dogs can also have an elongated soft palate and hypoplastic trachea, limiting air entering the windpipe. They are also at a heightened risk of laryngeal collapse. These airflow issues impact the dog’s lungs, cardiac system, and gastrointestinal tract, causing further stress to the body.
If you’re Frenchie is diagnosed with BOAS, your vet might recommend surgery to alleviate their breathing difficulties. A reputable breeder should never breed Frenchies that have been diagnosed with BOAS or struggle with their breathing. Invest in a good quality harness for your Frenchie, which removes pressure from the neck and windpipe. And take extra care when exercising your pooch in hot weather as they tire much quicker.
Dental disease is a chronic issue in all canine breeds, which many dog owners do not take as seriously as they should. A dog’s life expectancy can be shortened by up to three years if they suffer from dental diseases. Proper dental hygiene freshens their breath and prevents bacteria and tartar building up.
Dental diseases pose secondary health problems as they can harm the kidneys, liver, joints, and heart. And because a French Bulldog’s mouth is more compact, they are more likely to suffer from periodontal diseases than dogs with larger mouths. Brush your Frenchie’s teeth several times weekly to keep them in good condition.
French Bulldogs are prone to heart murmurs and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Heart murmurs are usually detected with regular health visits at the vets and don’t always lead to issues. However, murmurs can be a symptom of another cardiac concern, including DCM. DCM occurs when the heart muscle has thin and weak walls and chambers, leading to poor heart function.
Symptoms of DCM include coughing, difficulty breathing, fainting, lethargy, loss of appetite, and pale gums. Depending on the severity of the disease, you can treat DCM with medication or surgery. Keeping your pup fit and healthy helps to improve their cardiac system. Working with a breeder who screens their dogs for cardiac issues is crucial to your pup’s health.
The Frenchie is prone to a common condition known as hip dysplasia. It occurs when the hip joint develops abnormally, leading to increased wear and tear and overall pain. Hip dysplasia can lead to limping, lameness, and other mobility issues. Without treatment or surgery, having poor hips means less ability to exercise and relying too much on other limbs leading to additional wear and tear.
Not only that, but it also lessens the quality of your dog’s life. Feeding your Frenchie an age-appropriate diet during puppyhood can help your dog’s hips develop normally. A responsible breeder only breeds dogs with healthy hips and can provide you with their dog’s hip scores. This is another reason to work with a reputable breeder.
Obesity is a worry for any dog, particularly those who suffer from BOAS, heart concerns, and joint issues like the Frenchie. This increased pressure on other bodily functions causes long-term and often irreversible damage, considerably shortening their lifespan. Obesity can also lead to diabetes which leads to secondary health problems. Research shows that overweight dogs can lose up to two years compared to their healthier siblings.
If your Frenchie tips the scales over the typical 28 pounds, it’s time to visit your vet. Not only to explore whether any underlying health concerns are causing the weight gain. But also to get advice on how to keep your pooch healthy. Essentially, feeding them less and getting them to move more is the key to keeping your pooch lean and healthy.
Luxating patella occurs when the kneecap moves out of its usual location, usually popping out of the groove. It is more common in smaller dogs than in large breeds, and owners might notice their dogs skipping or kicking out. There are four grades of patella luxation, some can be popped back into place, and others require surgery.
The higher the grade, the more likely your dog might develop other long-term health problems. Some dogs can tolerate it, but others can’t. Some overcompensate on other limbs leading to arthritis and decreased mobility, further damaging their cardiac system. Surgery will likely be the best option if your Frenchie’s knees pop out regularly.
Other Factors That Impact French Bulldog Lifespan
In addition to the above health concerns, other factors impact your Frenchie’s lifespan. Some you can control, like diet, lifestyle, and overall care, whereas others you cannot, such as the genes that your dog inherited. Let’s take a closer look.
Care & Lifestyle
Your French Bulldog’s lifestyle impacts their life expectancy considerably, and this is almost entirely in your control. Frenchies are energetic dogs that need an active lifestyle, including physical exercise and mental stimulation. Just be careful not to overwork them when their bodies develop or during hot weather.
Leading a healthy lifestyle also includes living in a comfortable and safe space and respecting their need for alone time if they want it. Plus, being safety conscious in public to avoid accidents and injury. You also need to raise and train them correctly to ensure they are confident and happy, decreasing stress levels and improving their overall quality of life.
Genetics is one of the most influential factors when it comes to their lifespan, and this is something that you cannot control. But what you can control is only working with a reputable breeder who genetically screens their dogs for health problems. Talk to the breeder about health screening and ask to see health certificates before committing to a pup.
Avoid irresponsible breeders who are just looking to make a quick buck rather than focusing on the health of the pups. Puppies that come from unhealthy dogs are more likely to be ill themselves. Research the breeder online and look for independent reviews. A great place to start your breeder research is on the AKC’s French Bulldog breeder page.
Health & Vaccinations
Keeping your French Bulldog up-to-date with veterinary visits and vaccinations is another way to keep them as healthy as possible. Regular visits and health checks can identify any problems early, improving the chance of successful treatment. Keeping your dog up to date with their vaccinations is another way to avoid illnesses. Speak to your vet about any concerns or questions about your Frenchie.
Nutrition is one of the simplest ways to improve their health by feeding them a high-quality diet. Once puppies come off their mother’s milk, they rely on us to provide them with a nutritionally balanced diet. Choose a high-quality brand that meets the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines. Frenchies need age-appropriate food, especially during puppyhood, when their skeletal development is crucial to their health.
Frenchies are highly motivated by food, so control their portion sizes according to the food instructions. Limiting their food intake helps to keep unnecessary weight gain at bay. Buy the best quality food you can afford, and ensure that meat protein is the first ingredient on the list. Consider different options for your Frenchie, such as dry, freeze-dried, wet, raw, or fresh diets such as Nom Nom.
Spay & Neuter
Spaying and neutering dogs are not just to control breeding. It is also about health and prolonging their lifespan. The University of Georgia found that these procedures could increase the canine life expectancy of males by 14% and females by 26%. Intact dogs have a lower lifespan of approximately two years, and many have an increased likelihood of experiencing infections and developing cancer.
How To Help Your French Bulldog Live A Long Life
There are a few things that you can do to improve their chances of living longer.
- Work With A Reputable Breeder. Working with a responsible breeder is one of the most important things you can do to ensure you buy a healthy French Bulldog puppy. Healthy dogs are more likely to produce healthy puppies. And although they are more expensive than puppies from irresponsible breeders, you are likely to spend less on them in the long run by avoiding costly vet bills.
- Visit The Vet Regularly. Undergoing regular checks and giving your dog vaccinations is crucial to maintaining their health. It also helps to identify and treat things that could become a problem before they become a problem.
- Spay Or Neuter At The Right Time. Unless breeding your Frenchie is very important, spaying or neutering your pooch can decrease cancer development. Doing it at the right time is crucial, so be sure to check with your vet when to book them in.
- Physical Exercise Is Key. All dogs need daily physical exercise to keep them happy and healthy. It gets their heart pumping, lungs working, nose sniffing, and tail wagging. Without it, your pup could become obese, generally ill, and unhappy.
- Mental Stimulation Is Also Important. In addition to physical exercise, you must keep your Frenchie entertained throughout the day with toys to chew and interactive game playing. Frenchies are intelligent, so make them work for their treats.
- Feed Them A High-Quality Diet. Picking a high-quality diet that meets their nutritional needs is a simple way to keep their mind and body in top condition. Look for a diet that contains high-quality meat, healthy fats, and vitamins and minerals.
- Dental Health Is Crucial. Keep your Frenchie’s teeth pearly white with weekly brushing. Not only does it freshen their breath, but it also prevents periodontal diseases from developing.
- Think About Safety. Your curious Frenchie is bound to sniff out trouble, but keeping them safe is down to you. Conduct a yard perimeter check to ensure they cannot escape and ensure things like wires and toxic foods are kept out of paws’ reach.
- Proper Training. Providing your French Bulldog with the best start to life also includes proper training and socialization. Training makes them happier, more confident, and safer, working towards a longer lifespan.
- Lots Of Love And Affection. Last but not least is showering your Frenchie with all the love and affection they deserve. Ultimately, a happy dog is a healthy dog.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions regarding the French Bulldog’s lifespan.
Is The French Bulldog An Unhealthy Breed?
Although many French Bulldogs go on to live a healthy life, the French Bulldog breed is not a particularly healthy breed. This is mainly due to BOAS and the secondary health problems it can lead to. Unfortunately, being a Frenchie owner means you should expect more health problems and trips to the vet than most dog owners.
How Many Years Can A French Bulldog Live?
Most French Bulldogs are expected to live between 10 and 12 years old. However, some, like Popeye, can live to 18 years. Although you cannot predict how long your Frenchie might live, there are several things you can do to keep them happy and healthy and hopefully extend their lifespan.
When Is A French Bulldog Considered Old?
A French Bulldog is considered a senior citizen around 7 or 8. It’s different for every dog, but they usually begin slowing down and becoming less active. At this point, you want to consider feeding them an age-appropriate senior diet to prevent age-related weight gain.
French Bulldogs make brilliant family pets and faithful companions, which is why they are an extremely popular dog breed in America. They have an expected lifespan of 10 to 12 years. And although you cannot predict their future, there are certain things you can do to improve their quality of life and health.
You can influence diet, exercise, environment, training, and care. Plus, working with a responsible breeder who screens for common health issues is one of the best ways to increase your chances of getting a healthy Frenchie. Follow the tips in this guide, and you might keep your Frenchie with you for a little longer.