With origins in England, the French bulldog has delighted in an extended history of being a companion pooch. Also known as Frenchies, they gained the nickname after traveling alongside English lacemakers to France. They are reputable for their bat-eared look and odd beauty.
Today, these gorgeous small but largely-built dogs make excellent family companions, thanks to their personality. French bulldogs are smart, energetic, and playful with a short easy-care coat which makes grooming them easy. But how long do French bulldogs live? Most people adore their companionship but do not like to think about this fate.
I do not like it either but anyway…
How long do French Bulldogs live?
The life expectancy of French bulldogs depends on the type you have. Miniature French bulldogs have a lifespan of 10 to 12 years while the Standard French bulldog is approx. 12 to 14 years. We want to keep our canine buddies longer so we tend to dodge the inevitable before it happens.
However, it is what it is – inescapable! And though scary knowing your French bulldog’s life expectancy makes you cherish every moment and avoid what might hasten premature deaths.
Quick Statistics about the French bulldog
Did you know that many French bulldogs are born through artificial insemination? Frenchies are also sensitive to criticism and their squat frame plus bulbous head makes them awful swimmers.
- Size: Small dog breed
- Breed Group: Non-Sporting
- Type: Purebred
- Coat: Short & smooth coat
- Height: 11 inches to 12 inches
- Weight: 20 lbs. to 28 lbs. (male); 16 lbs. to 24 lbs. (female)
- Litter Size: 3 pups (7 pups too but rare)
- Colors: Brindle, White, Brindle & White, Tan, and Fawn
- Life Expectancy: 10 to 14 years
- Other names: Frenchie(s), Clown dog, or frog dog
- Temperament: Alert, Smart, Calm, Patient, Affectionate, Active, and Sociable
- Average puppy price (USD): $1,500 to $3,000
Today, we focus on the life expectancy of a French bulldog, factors affecting their lifespan, major death causes, and how to extend Frenchie’s life expectancy.
Which Factors Affect French Bulldogs Life Expectancy?
As it is with any dog breed out there, French bulldogs are susceptible to several health issues as compared to other dog breeds. In general, both miniature and standard Frenchies probability of health problems are above what is usual than most pooch breeds.
From upper tract disorders resulting from their flat-faced facial structure to overheating during hot weather workouts, stress, and anxiety, these issues can cut a Frenchie’s lifespan significantly. We shall discuss this in detail below.
Just remember that Frenchies are prone to hereditary diseases that shorten their lives and there is nothing you can do about it because they are uncontrollable. You can only give a healthy living.
What Do French bulldogs Usually Die From?
Generally, French bulldogs are a healthy dog breed with a good lifespan but are prone to some disorders that tend to shorten their life expectancy. Unfortunately, most of these conditions cannot be cured, but they tend to be life-threatening if not taken care of.
So, we have divided this section of the diseases that French bulldogs die from into two ages: puppies and adults. As such, you will know how to manage your Frenchie’s health based on their age.
5+ Main Causes of Death in French bulldog Pups
French bulldog pups suffer from a condition called Fading Puppy Syndrome where pups mysteriously start to fail and die within a few days of birth. This disorder is poorly understood though breeders try to save as many pups as possible.
However, being born with an incomplete immune system has been noted as the culprit for pups dying some days after birth. So, which are the other main causes of death in French bulldog puppies?
- Parvovirus – French bulldog pups (6 months) can transmit this infection from an infected pooch or coming into contact with the feces of an infected animal. Symptoms include severe diarrhea, inflamed eye and mouth tissue, weight loss, vomiting, pain, and dehydration.
- Leptospirosis – The disease is caused by the spirochete bacteria found in damp regions with still mud or water. French bulldog pups can be infected via drinking contaminated water or coming into contact with infected animal’s urine. Make sure your pup is vaccinated for this disease.
- Hypoglycemia – Common in French bulldog puppies aged less than 5 months, this results from significant drops in the pup’s blood sugar levels which leads to anxiety. If ignored, it can become fatal.
- Distress – As seen above (#3), hypoglycemia leads to anxiety or distress which can be life-threatening if overlooked. If you have kids, monitor how they play with your Frenchie puppy so they do not injure him by being too coarse.
- IVDH – Also known as Hansen Type 1 Intervertebral Disc Herniation, this spinal disorder is said to affect Frenchies at a young age than thought earlier. This study revealed that thoracolumbar & cervical IVDH medium ages were 4 years & 4 ½ years, respectively.
Puppies, in general, can also die from accidents such as falling while playing (especially with kids), being hit by cars, falling down the stairs, or in case of collisions while being transported in vehicles.
6 Main Causes of Death in French bulldog Adults
Unlike their puppies, French bulldog adults are susceptible to some diseases that are associated with old age. Here are the main causes of death in French bulldog adults:
- Heat Stress – A non-fever hyperthermia, this is a life-threatening condition in French bulldogs that results from excessive play under hot weather. Compared to other pooches, Frenchies have poor heat-dissipation mechanisms which make their dense bodies preserve lots of heat and cannot cool it.
Signs of hyperthermia include inflamed gums, ataxia, extreme panting, unconsciousness, and irregular rate. So, make sure there is enough air circulation, a kiddie pool, plenty of cool water, and areas with shades.
- Cancer – French bulldogs are susceptible to mast cell cancer and other brachycephalic dogs. The cells are useful in pooches as they release histamines and enzymes that attack and destroy parasites.
The symptom for mast cell cancer includes a lump or bump on your Frenchie’s skin, anywhere including the penis. If the tumor is not removed, the condition is fatal so you need to regularly check your dog’s skin.
- Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome – This is a respiratory disorder, a collective term for the deformities in the upper airway of the soft palate or nose. Due to their flattened face, they can develop trouble breathing or pass little or insufficient air. The syndrome leads to irritation of the airway or strains of the heart due to increased struggle to breathe well.
- Trauma – Just like their pups, adult French bulldogs are predisposed to trauma due to lifestyle factors. From jumping on & off sofas in the house to dropping down the stairs and interacting with kids, they can get injured leading to trauma and slow death.
- Brain Disorder – This is a brain tumor disease in Frenchies is caused by glioma that begins in the brain’s supporting cells. It comprises gliobastomamultiforme, astrocytomas, and oligodendrogliomas. Its inability to remain unnoticed even with numerous tests makes the disorder perilous.
- Spinal Disorder – Like herniated disks, French bulldogs are distinctively prone to back problems. This is, especially, due to their short hind legs and coiled tails which leads to defects during birth. The birth defects, in return, can lead to spine injury in your Frenchie.
While French bulldogs are susceptible to many health problems but these tend to be ranked among the life-threatening ones. Others also have an effect on your Frenchie’s lifespan, but not as much as the featured ones in our list.
Despite their popularity as home pets, I personally would not advise you to take a French bulldog as a family pet. Why so, you may ask? That is because they are susceptible to many health disorders that can significantly shorten their lifespan. In addition, they are expensive to buy and even take care of nutritionally and medically.
How to Extend the Lifespan of a French bulldog
If you feel that you must adopt or purchase a French bulldog as a family pet regardless of the health disorders mentioned above, then I have no objection. And while they are predisposed to factors that tend to shorten their life expectancy, there are things you can do to extend it.
What you are asking yourself right now is how to make your French bulldog longer, right? Well, here is how you can help your Frenchie live longer and happier:
- Buy from a responsible breeder
French bulldogs are a popular breed which means the chances of finding unscrupulous breeders on the market are quite high. As such, do your homework and find a responsible breeder and you can tell that if he refuses you to take home a pup less than 8 months old.
He also should provide info on:
- Health history of the pup and its parents
- AKC certification
- Work health standards
- Feed them a high-quality diet
You Frenchie’s health depends on the nutrition he gets. Make sure your pooch eats high-quality dog foods that contain animal-based protein, vitamins & minerals, carbs, and probiotics. Of course, high quality comes with a high price tag, but your Frenchie’s health should come first.
- Give them ample space
Naturally, French bulldogs are curious animals who want to explore. As such, you should not lock them in a crate or kennel for long. It is recommended that you give your Frenchie ample space where they can play and have fun to prevent distress.
- Learn common threats
Frenchies are prone to heat stress which means they should not be out on a hot day for too long. Ensure there are shades, kiddie pools, and give them cold, filtered drinking water after exercise. You should also maintain good hygiene and keep them away from large water bodies as he does not know how to swim.
Another concern is their breathing which must also be checked as they are in the brachycephalic group of dogs. Make sure they have no trouble breathing. Learning common threats helps you know what to do in case of emergencies.
Due to being predisposed to many health problems, your French bulldog should have regular vet visits for checkups. Make sure he sees the vet at least after every 3 months (or what your vet recommends) for treatments and diagnostic tests.
A blood panel checkup is especially vital so you can give the endorsed vitamins and supplements.
- Training & Exercise
Training comes in handy in extending your French bulldog’s life expectancy. How? With correct training, your Frenchie is prevented from occasional runaways which might lead to being lost, or even worse, car accidents. Begin with common commands from the pup stage and he will obey.
Frenchies are active dogs which means you have to keep them mentally and physically engaged. While they are susceptible to breathing problems, it does not mean they should not exercise. Just make sure it approx. 40 minutes thrice a day.
Additional methods of extending your French bulldog’s life expectancy
Although there are lots of debates around this practice, spaying or neutering your French bulldog reduces the risk of infections that shorten your Frenchie’s life expectancy and add 2 years. Sterilizing your female Frenchie avoids mammary and uterine cancer. Frenchie males, on the other hand, are safe from testicular cancer, roaming, prostate disorders, and reduce aggression.
Another method is monitoring your French bulldog’s activities to prevent common accidents that lead to trauma. These two measures are quite beneficial.
Why are French bulldog pups so expensive?
Purebred French bulldogs are so expensive because of the expenses incurred when breeding a Frenchie. As we mentioned, most of them are born via artificial insemination and C-section which we all know how costly ($1,000 to $3,000) it is even for humans (C-S). Add that to maintenance cost and training.
What is the oldest living French bulldog?
Last I checked some French bulldogs have lived up to 18 years of age, healthy and sound! Do not have naive prospects of your Frenchie’s lifespan. Instead, do everything you can to extend his life expectancy.
A healthy French bulldog should have an average of 10 years as a confidant companion. Their adorable traits make them incredible family pets but they are prone to certain health issues that tend to shorten their life expectancy. From factors such as lifestyle, genetics, exercise, and diet, affect your Frenchie’s potential lifespan.
To make sure that your French bulldog lives longer, consider his genetics, buy from a reputable and responsible breeder, exercise him regularly, and feed him with a high-quality nutritious diet. You also protect them from falls to avoid trauma, give cool water and avoid extended plays under hot weather, plus have him checked regularly for cancer symptoms like lumps on the skin.