When it comes to figuring out what the average lifespan of a dog is going to be, many factors come into play including pedigree and breeding, lifestyle, health problems, and nutrition.
For most dogs, the average lifespan is around 14 years.
For owners of French Bulldogs, however, it is a well-known fact that they are not particularly long-lived dogs.
A typical French Bulldog’s lifespan can be anywhere between 9 and 12 years.
But even if French Bulldogs don’t live as long as some other breeds, these cute, spirited and intelligent dogs will pack an awful lot of life into those years.
So let's consider the question: “what’s the average lifespan of a French Bulldog?” And then, find out some of the ways that you can not only maximize your time with your Frenchie, but also make sure that their quality of life remains perfectly good.
A Brachycephalic Breed
One of the key health problems faced by French Bulldogs is difficulty breathing, and problems associated with their breathing mechanisms.
The reason for this is that French Bulldogs are regarded as a brachycephalic breed. The word brachycephalic means “short-headed” and the term refers to dog breeds that have shortened snouts.
Brachycephalic breeds include pugs and shih tzus, bull mastiffs, boxers, and both English and French Bulldogs.
Brachycephalic dogs have extremely short snouts. This makes them appear like they almost have an almost flat face and gives them a somewhat human appearance.
This is one of the features that make them so endearing to people.
Just because they are a brachycephalic breed, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that Fernchies have any more health problems than other breeds.
But the shape of their nose and head can make them at risk from a condition known as brachycephalic airway syndrome.
This breeding abnormality presents itself in several different ways.
- Everted laryngeal saccules. These small sacs are located just inside a dog’s larynx (voicebox). When a dog has breathing difficulties due to a narrow windpipe or small nostrils, the sacs can become everted (turned inside out) and cause additional obstruction to the airways.
- Stenotic nares. These are small or narrow nostril openings that can restrict airflow when the dog breathes through its nose.
- Elongated soft palate. The soft tissue on the roof of a dog’s mouth (known as the soft palate) extends into the back of the throat which may cause a blockage of the windpipe (trachea).
Hypoplastic trachea. The trachea has a narrower diametre than normal.
Dogs that are prone to brachycephalic airway abnormalities are typically intolerant of extended periods of exercise, and have difficulty cooling themselves in the heat.
They may also snore when they are asleep and can be noisy breathers.
Main Health Concerns for French Bulldogs
Apart from the problems associated from being brachycephalic, French Bulldogs are prone to a number of other ailments including:
Conjunctivitis, also known as “pink ear.”
Overly long nails on their feet.
But despite what might, at first glance, seem to be worrying list of potential ailments, French Bulldogs, like all dogs, will live great lives if you maintain a healthy care regime for them.
Keep Your Frenchie Healthy
For French Bulldog owners, there are a few things that they can do to keep their dogs healthy. These include:
- Parental Testing. Reputable breeders for French Bulldogs should maintain a very accurate recording system for documenting any health problems a dog’s ancestors may have had.
Even though not all potential health problems are genetic, and not all can be tested for, by choosing a breeder that has recorded the genetic traits of your dog’s forebears, you will minimize the risk of choosing a dog with inherent health problems.
- Eye Tests. In addition to general health, a French Bulldog puppy should be checked for eye health concerns such as cataracts.
- Hip Tests. A technique known as “hip scoring” is available to test for such breeding abnormalities as hip dysplasia.
Good breeders should have on record the hip scores of every puppy’s recent ancestors, and these can also be invaluable in choosing a dog that will not suffer from mobility issues later in life.
- A Healthy Diet. It goes without saying that eating healthy means a healthy body. You need to ensure that your Frenchie gets a balanced diet, tailored to their specific needs. Your veterinarian can help you with this.
It is also vital to make sure that your dog does not become obese due to having access to too much food, or to those tempting little snacks that us humans just can’t resist giving to cute little mooching mutts!
- Regular Checkups. Being a breed with potential life-shortening conditions, French Bulldogs need regular checkups at a vet clinic.
You can make this much less stressful for your dog by enrolling it for puppy training classes at your local veterinary clinic. That way, when your Frenchie grows up, they will associate the vet with fun and learning, and they will just love their regular return visits.
- Exercise. Along with a balanced and healthy diet, exercise is vital for a long life. Your Frenchie may struggle with extended bouts of exercise due to its breathing and temperature control issues (which may stem from the conditions associated with brachycephaly), but you should nevertheless ensure that it gets as much exercise as possible.
- Pampering. We all love a good pampering and French Bulldogs are no exception. Indeed, your Frenchie may well come to consider its regular spar treatments as theirs by right!
But by trimming their nails and cleaning their teeth, along with regular bathing, you will ensure that your dog stays in tip top condition.
Boys Vs Girls
Well...it may seem a little odd to ask the question “how long do female French Bulldogs live?” But it is a reasonably well-documented fact that male Frenchies will generally live shorter lives than females.
A study conducted in 2013 by an organisation called Canine Medicine and Genetics, concluded that male Frenchies are more likely than females to be diagnosed with certain disorders.
But although health problems or genetic disorders may result in a shorter lifespan for male dogs, the study found that, on average, the lifespan of both male and female French Bulldogs remained roughly the same.
An Elder States-dog!
There have been anecdotal reports that some French Bulldogs may live for up to 15 years.That being said, there are no accurate records about whether or not this is true.
One documented case of a reasonably long-lived French Bulldog was that of a dog called Hank, a French bulldog owned by the actor Denise Richards.
Hank apparently lived to the ripe old age of 13. No doubt he was treated to the same superstar lifestyle that his owner indulged in!
Make Every Day Count
On average, you can expect a healthy Frenchy to live for between nine to twelve years.
Various factors will come into play that may alter this, such as diet, lifestyle, exercise, and genetics.
So even though a life span of nine to twelve years may seem short, you have to remember that your cute little French buddy will pack an awful lot of living into those years.
So make the most of your time together, and enjoy every moment. Your Frenchie certainly will!