Cute but complicated: French Bulldog Facts

Pet Health Pet Care Posted Apr 13, 2021
As part of an RSPCA Inspectorate case, we have been caring for 28 French Bulldogs for over 250 days, all with a range of medical issues, most requiring surgery.

The increased popularity of the French Bulldog breed has meant the breeding market is booming for French Bulldogs. But do you really know what dog you’re buying?

Let’s delve into just some of the breed issues to be aware of, before you take that leap!

They may look cute, but the medical conditions that can come with “Frenchies” is something that may surprise you. Because of the way they’ve been bred to look a certain way over time, the French Bulldog can be quite a complex breed of dog.  

I’m sure you’ve seen one of the many viral videos online of French Bulldogs and other brachycephalic dog breeds (dogs with shortened muzzles) snoring and breathing strange. Pet owners film it thinking this is ‘funny’ and looking at the footage, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s cute and funny too… but this snoring and snuffling can actually mean underlying health problems. Did you know that their snoring might mean your dog is in respiratory distress just sitting around doing nothing – let alone when they exercise! Your dog may be struggling to breathe, and that’s no fun for anyone.


For helpful advice before you purchase a dog or puppy from a breeder, read our Smart Puppy Buyers Guide here. The same goes for cats and kittens too! This will help you avoid dodgy breeders that are putting profit before the health of their animals.

What you need to know about French Bulldogs

Before you rush out and buy a dog from a breeder that’s just ‘cute’ and popular, do your research first. It could end up costing you many more thousands beyond your already high purchase price for these designer breeds when you need to fix medical issues you weren’t aware of!

For more information on brachycephalic pets, visit our Love is Blind website for an in-depth look.

You might gawk at what it has cost RSPCA Queensland to fix the medical issues of the French Bulldogs we’ve been caring for… but these costs have helped save their lives. These dogs that have had expensive corrective surgery, can now breathe like normal dogs - no longer struggling and suffering – all because they were bred to look a certain way.

The amazing team at Veterinary Specialist Services in Brisbane have assisted with these dogs’ surgery to rectify their Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS). Their quality of life vastly improves after having airway surgery and the French Bulldogs can breathe properly for the first time!

The average cost of specialist surgery alone has been $3,000 per dog, and that's just scraping the surface of what has been required to help these pets live a normal life before being able to be adopted into loving, new homes. This also doesn’t spell the end of their ongoing veterinary needs either.

Please, do your due diligence before you purchase a dog from any breeder, and know that a ‘cute snore’ might mean so much more.

If you’re looking to adopt a dog, visit our website to see all of the dogs currently looking for new homes. 

What is Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS)?

It is a breed related disorder that significantly compromises the welfare of affected animals who are unable to breathe normally. It is a result of certain physical attributes of shortened noses and skulls of brachycephalic dogs. They have three major airway abnormalities: narrowed nostrils, long soft palate, and a small windpipe. You can read more detail about BOAS here.

Brachycephalic dog breeds

  • French Bulldogs
  • Bulldogs
  • Pugs
  • Boxers
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
  • Shih Tzus
  • Boston Terriers
  • Mastiffs
  • Affenpinscher
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • Japanese Chin
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Brasileiro
  • Pekingese

How do you know if your dog has BOAS?

Many (although not all) brachycephalic animals have Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome. BOAS is a lifelong, and often progressive, disorder that affects an animal’s ability to exercise, eat, play, sleep, engage in normal behaviours and live comfortably. Extreme brachycephalic dogs have been shown to have a shorter life span on average compared to dogs with less extreme brachycephaly or non-brachycepahlic dog.

If you think your dog is suffering from BOAS, contact your veterinarian for advice.

Emma Lagoon
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