Health Issues in French Bulldogs, IVDD and More

Health Issues in French Bulldogs, IVDD and More

Originally bred in France as companion dogs, French Bulldogs, or "Frenchie’s", as they are affectionately referred to, currently rank among the most popular dog breeds worldwide. 

Unfortunately, popularity is not always a good thing.

Due to years of selective and irresponsible breeding to physically alter the features of the breed, French Bulldogs now face many serious and inherent health issues due to their flat faces, short legs, and large heads.

It has become such a serious issue, that breeding these dogs naturally is no longer possible, and requires artificial insemination. And due to their narrow hips and large heads, the females are unable to give birth naturally, and must undergo C-sections.

So, considering this information, why are French Bulldogs still so popular? The answer is, most people have no idea about the reality of the breed.

What Makes French Bulldogs So Appealing?


Being on the small side, French Bulldogs are typically around 15 to 20 lbs., making them a very manageable size.

Activity Level

Because French Bulldogs are not typically high-energy dogs, exercising them requires regular walks and interaction, but not at a very high level of activity.


This breed is known for their friendly and affectionate disposition. They tend to be very sociable in nature, and enjoy the company of other animals, as well as people of any age, making them an ideal pet for any family. 


When it comes to day-to-day maintenance, French Bulldogs are one of the easiest dogs to care for. They do not shed much, they are easy going, and adapt quickly and easily to their environment.

Now that we’ve covered the positive and endearing qualities of French Bulldogs, let’s look at what makes them one of the most expensive breeds to own, and what you should consider before adding one to your family!

The Serious Inherent Health Issues in French Bulldogs

Along with dermatological and allergy issues, French bulldogs are also prone to eye and ear infections, as well as hip dysplasia and arthritis.

But the two most serious issues facing this breed are a direct result of the unnatural physical changes that humans have created by overbreeding these dogs. 

Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) 

French Bulldogs and other breeds with unnaturally flat faces and short snouts, also have smaller nostril openings, a condition that can cause significant breathing issues. 

If your French Bulldog suffers from BOAS, it’s extremely important to prevent their exposure to high heat and over-exertion, as both can quickly lead to an emergency situation that can potentially be fatal.

Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD)

French Bulldogs commonly suffer from joint pain, hip dysplasia, and arthritis, but aside from breathing problems, the most serious health issue they face is a painful and debilitating spinal condition known as, Intervertebral Disc Disease.

Unfortunately, due to their body type, Frenchie’s are prone to developing IVDD, a condition that leads to the discs in the spine to degenerate and herniate, causing extreme pain, loss of mobility, and even total paralysis.

Preventing IVDD in French Bulldogs


Never allow your dog to jump on or off furniture. Either restrict all access to furniture, or provide ramps and/or pet stairs. 

While jumping up may not cause a problem, jumping down is very different. 

Whether it’s the bed, the couch, or the car, the physical act of jumping down causes a dog’s spine to compress. And in dogs with short legs, because they have a further distance, their front legs absorb the pressure, causing the discs within the spine to compress, a motion which over time can easily lead to a herniated disc.

Weight Maintenance

Along with many other health related issues, excess weight is the number one cause of back injuries and joint pain in dogs. 

Regular Exercise

In addition to keeping dogs at a healthy weight, regular exercise reduces joint pain and stiffness, and helps to prevent injury due to normal daily activities.


Promote mobility with specially formulated supplements that contain beneficial vitamins and minerals that support Disc and Spine health.

Due to the unprecedented numbers of dogs being euthanized EVERY DAY in the US, we always recommend adoption over buying. But if you do choose to buy a purebred dog, be responsible in doing so by following the suggestions below.

  1. Seek out a reputable breeder. Due to progressively worsening health issues among French Bulldogs, reputable breeders are now working towards reversing the physical attributes that have led to this dire situation within the breed.
  2. Be diligence in vetting any breeder you're considering purchasing a dog from. 
  3. Make sure to visit the breeder, and ask to meet the dogs that are being bred.
  4. Ask for a list of references and contact them.

Due to their body type, Frenchie’s are prone to developing IVDD. This condition can cause discs along the spine to degenerate, and even herniate, leading to severe pain, loss of mobility, and even potential paralysis.

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If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.

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