French Bulldog

Lifestyle Needs

French Bulldog

The French Bulldog is a medium sized dog with a short, easy to manage coat.  Typically he is a dog with a great personality who is up for any kind of fun but is not noisy or boisterous.  He will adapt to most lifestyles, but obviously would prefer to have his own garden if possible.  He needs daily exercise and opportunities to play.

‘Please do  not buy a flat-faced dog’

Genetic Diversity
(Known as Coefficient of Inbreeding: 'COI'. It should be as low as possible.)

The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 4.8% - See 'A Beginners Guide to COI'

Gene Pool Size
(Known as Effective Population Size: 'EPS')


EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.

Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)

The potential health problems of this breed are numerous and severe

  • The French Bulldog has a short (brachycephalic) nose and corresponding head shape abnormalities.  This may result in Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) (breathing difficulties and sometimes collapse of the larynx)
  • This head shape can also produce an elongated soft palate which is a further cause of breathing problems, particularly during exercise.
  • Narrowed nostrils also restrict oxygen intake.
  • Difficulties with panting causing overheating.
  • Cleft lips and palates can occur.
  • There are birthing difficulties due to the large head of the puppies and small pelvis of the mother.
  • Cherry eye (rolling out of third eyelid and eversion of tear gland – due to prominent eyes)

BVA/KC Health Schemes:

  • Hip dysplasia: breed 5 year mean score 13 (parents should be lower)
  • Eye disease: Hereditary cataract (early onset) (HC) (annual testing)
  • Eye testing in brachycephalic dogs should be routine as a foreshortened head/face can cause substantial welfare problems throughout a dog’s life.

Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) : No EBVs are currently available for this breed

DNA Tests Available
DogWellNet and IPFD Harmonisation of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD)

  • Hereditary Cataract (HC-HSF4)

Availability of a DNA test does not mean that it is always necessary or even desirable for breeders to use this test.

Other Breed-Specific Health Screening Schemes


  • Patella test
  • Cardiologist heart test
  • Spine X-ray and evaluation

The Kennel Club and University of Cambridge Respiratory Function Grading Scheme:

Breeders must use this Scheme and the accompanying breeding advice to reduce the chances of puppies developing respiratory difficulties as a result of their brachycephalic conformation.

Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.

Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)

  • Skin inflammation and allergies
  • Dystocia
  • Skinfold dermatitis
  • Spinal deformities
  • Screw tail
  • Cherry eye
  • Hemivertebrae
  • Predisposition to elbow fractures
  • Congenital deafness in white coat coloured dogs
  • Corneal ulceration
  • Cleft lips and palates can occur
  • Heart disease: Pulmonary stenosis

Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.

Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions.

You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP):

The breeder should also be familiar with the CFSG/DBRG Code of Practice for Dog Breeding

Or the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders Scheme Standard and Guidance:
Standard PDF | Guidance PDF

Breed Health Information