Recently my wife and I have been discussing whether to get Claude a companion by getting a second French Bulldog. We’ve recently had Lola the puppy stay with us for 10 days whilst her owners were away. Seeing how happy Claude was has really opened our eyes up to how French Bulldogs are better in pairs.
Are 2 French Bulldogs better than one and in pairs? French Bulldogs are instinctively social animals and love being in a pack. Frenchies will be happier when they have a companion dog; they keep each other company, exercise each other, and can be left alone for longer periods when in pairs.
The statement above is purely personal, but it is based on how we’ve seen Claude’s behaviour appear to change when Lola the puppy comes to stay with us. Having now seen how much happier he is with a companion; we are seriously considering getting a second French Bulldog.
Below I am going to explain exactly what we found, whether French Bulldogs get lonely, why a second Frenchie could transform your dog’s life, but also some potential drawbacks as well.
Why are two French Bulldogs better than one?
You can see photos and videos of Claude and Lola embedded throughout this guide as they play as a pair (you can also see them playing in the video below). It’s confirmed to me that French Bulldogs do need a companion if they are to be truly happy and not lonely. Here’s why.
1. Frenchies are social pack animals
Dogs are descendants of wolves, an animal known for their pack mentality. This ancestral trait still exists in dogs today, and they prefer the security and comfort of being in a group.
Dogs are social animals, and Frenchies especially so. French Bulldogs do get lonely and prefer to have a companion to spend time with.
2. Pairs offer companionship, socialisation, and health
I have heard some people say that dogs tend to live longer and are happier when they have a companion. I can see why this would be the case.
By being in a pair, French Bulldogs will always have company, stimulation, and will grow to be social dogs that will be well adjusted (in most cases).
3. Pairs can act as role models
There are some negative aspects to mimicked behaviour, and I will explain those later down the page, but having two Frenchies can mean they act as role models to each other. This is particularly true when you bring a puppy into your home with an older dog.
For example, the younger puppy will copy the older dog. If your older Frenchie has been well-trained, you might find it a lot easier to train the second younger pup.
This can also work well if you have one French Bulldog who is shy and afraid. The addition of a second playmate could start to bring the other dog out of his or her shell.
4. Pairs can exercise each other
Seeing how Claude and Lola play together during her stay showed me just how happier Frenchies are in pairs. They love each other’s company and really wear each other out.
During the 10 days that Lola stayed with us, I actually reduced the number of walks that I took Claude on. This was for 2 reasons, firstly Lola is still a puppy, so I wasn’t able to go on our longer walks, but in the main it’s due to the exercise they gave each other.
From the moment they woke up in the morning they would start to be active. They would play fight, chew at each other, chase, and run.
It’s not exaggeration to say that for 2 hours in the morning they were non-stop active, before they crashed and had to sleep to get their energy back.
For an owner, this is ideal as French Bulldogs are better in pairs if you don’t have as much time to exercise them.
They will keep each other occupied and active, meaning you might not have to spend as much time making sure your one dog gets the exercise he or she needs.
5. Pairs can help reduce separation anxiety
Some Frenchies can be prone to separation anxiety. It’s quite a common trait.
In this respect, two French Bulldogs better than one as they can keep each other company when you need to go out for a few hours, meaning you won’t have a lonely and depressed dog when you come back through the door. I wrote a long guide which helps you understand if you have a depressed Frenchie.
Handy Hint: If you are unable to get a pair of Frenchies then there are some other things you can do to help reduce the problems of separation anxiety. I’ve outlined the best methods to cope with this problem in this guide to leaving your dog home alone.
6. Pairs can be left alone longer
When Lola stayed with us, we felt a lot better knowing that we could leave them both together for periods of time when we had to leave the house.
For people with commitments, it can be a real wrench having to leave your Frenchie alone. With two dogs, this is not as big an issue.
I still don’t advise leaving them all day, but for a few hours, it’s far better that Frenchies have a companion as they won’t be as lonely.
7. Pairs can keep each other warm
It was so cute seeing Claude and Lola cuddled up and asleep together. They would bed down at the end of a long day’s play, and sleep through the night – both snoring of course!
As pack animals, dogs love to cuddle into each other and sleep. I imagine this is a trait that’s a result of their wolf genes, perhaps when wolves had to keep each other warm in a damp cave.
8. Pairs can benefit the human well-being
There have been countless scientific studies that show how dogs can be beneficial to human’s mental and physical health.
In my guide to Frenchies as therapy dogs, I’ve referenced various studies that show how dogs can:
- Reduce stress instantly.
- Reduce blood pressure better than drugs.
- Reduce stress in students.
- Reduce PTSD in disaster zones.
If one dog can have those type of effects, imagine how your well-being could increase by having two French Bulldogs instead of one!
Do French Bulldogs need another dog companion?
Based on having Lola stay with us, I can say with no doubt in my mind that French bulldogs do need a companion. We’ve now seen it first hand, and are now seriously considering getting a second dog to make a pair.
Frenchies are renowned as being companion dogs. They love human companionship, but also that of other dogs.
Unlike some dog breeds, you can’t leave them alone for hours on end. By having a second Frenchie this won’t be as big an issue.
If you live alone, have family and work commitments, and spend periods outside the home away from your dog then I recommend you have a pair to keep each other company.
Do French Bulldogs get lonely?
French Bulldogs do get lonely. Whilst it’s hard to read their facial expressions, you only have to leave a Frenchie alone for a few hours to see the sadness in his eyes when you get home.
When we’ve had to leave Claude for a couple of hours, we definitely see a marked difference in his behaviour when we first get back home. He will be excited at first, but then then for about an hour he will tend to mope about.
I wonder if he thinks we won’t be coming back when we leave? Perhaps. But the bottom line is, Frenchies are social companion dogs, and do get very lonely.
Just another reason why French bulldog need a companion in the form a second dog.
Negatives to getting a second French Bulldog
Having Lola the puppy stay with us for 10 days has been great fun for Claude and us, but it’s hasn’t been without some stress.
Owning a pair of French Bulldogs won’t all be plain sailing and happy days. There are a lot of factors you need to consider before buying a second dog.
1. Compatibility issues
We’ve been lucky with Lola coming into our home. Her and Claude get on like a house on fire for the majority of the time (apart from when around food which I will come onto in a moment). But it might not always be that way.
When you introduce a second French Bulldog into your home, you need to make sure that you initially take things very slow. Here’s a very short guide on how to introduce the pair to make it as seamless as possible.
- Have the first meeting outside of your home: don’t bring the second Frenchie into your home at first, as this could unleash havoc and territorial behaviour. Make sure that the first meeting between the two takes place on neutral ground on a long walk away from the home.
- Bring the second dog into the home: once the two dogs have met outside the home and appear to get on well and know each other’s smell, you can bring them together indoors. However, do keep the second dog on a leash initially until you’re sure they are ok together.
- Giving both dogs more space: if you do see any signs of potential trouble, don’t leave them alone. You might have to give them both their own space if you feel there is the potential for aggressive behaviour.
- Resource guarding: this can apply to their bed, their owners, and almost always the food. Frenchies can be very protective of these aspects so all are a potential flashpoint. Look out for raised hackles, teeth-baring, and ears back.
- Continue to take it slow: above all, continue to take things slow. Some dogs will become stressed when a new rival turns up in the home so continue to take the introduction slow over the first 7 days.
2. Clashing with other pets
We don’t just have Claude, we also have our cat, Poopie. Now she’s old and isn’t as quick as she used to be so we were naturally worried about having a new French Bulldog puppy come into our home and how they would react.
Naturally Lola was inquisitive towards our cat, but a few hisses and swipes later, Lola knew her place. I’ve previously written a guide on how to introduce Frenchies and cats which you might find helpful.
We made sure to keep our cats food and bed up high so she had her own space to get away from the excitable pair of French Bulldogs.
3. Occasional aggression
Whilst most of the time the play between the pair of Frenchies was good-natured, there did come certain points where Claude had had enough. He’s older and doesn’t have the energy of a puppy, so he did growl at her when he wanted to take a break and she wouldn’t let him.
The main flashpoint we found though was around food. If one of the Frenchies finished their food first, they would try to get to the other’s food bowl. This led to teeth showing, growling, and aggression. We had to closely monitor this, and as Lola was a puppy and still being fed three times a day (see feeding schedule) we kept feeding areas separate sometimes.
Be prepared to have the occasional aggression between the two, particularly in the first couple of weeks as they start to learn the boundaries between each other.
One of the funniest aspects we found when having 2 French Bulldogs in our home was jealousy. Lola the puppy was very needy as you would expect and spent a lot of time jumping up onto my wife’s lap.
We found that Claude would get jealous and try to squeeze his way between my wife and Lola.
Thankfully this jealous behaviour didn’t end up in any biting or barking, but having spoken with other dog owners, I know this won’t always be the case.
It’s something to keep an eye on when you get a second French Bulldog.
5. Food, insurance, and vet bills
We were able to give Lola back at the end of her 10 day stay, but if we did decide to own a pair of Frenchies, the food and vet bills will of course, double.
It’s not cheap to keep a Frenchie, as they can be prone to a number of health issues (over 31 in fact) so you need to be prepared.
The bottom line is, both will need to be insured (here’s details on how much it costs), both will need trips to the vet, and both will need feeding. So take your current Frenchie maintenance costs, double them, and decide if it’s affordable to you.
6. Poop and pee
Talking of doubling-up… the dreaded poop and pee scenario.
When Lola stayed with us, she still hadn’t been toilet trained (here’s how to potty train a Frenchie) so we were constantly having to clear up her mess from the kitchen floor.
And that was on top of the poop that Claude was leaving in his fenced off garden area.
I think this is the worst part about getting a second French Bulldog. I can cope well with pretty much the rest, but the double amount of poop did start to get quite frustrating.
7. Copying negative traits
We like to think we have Claude quite well trained. But once Lola was in our house, they teamed up to become monsters! I am being a little tongue in cheek here, but genuinely, they wrecked our garden.
Claude is usually just an occasional digger. I thought I’d managed to stop him from digging up the garden (see how I did it), but once Lola was with us, the bad behaviour came back.
I had to stop them digging holes in the lawn countless times.
My thoughts are that he was teaching her “how to dog”. After all, he’s 3 years old versus her 6 months.
I can only assume that whilst French bulldogs are good in pairs in the main, they will act as tag team to possibly do more naughty things.
Maybe it’s because they think they can share the responsibility of the behaviour. Perhaps it’s excitement, or maybe it was just Claude teaching the puppy how to do “dog things”. Either way, it was quite annoying!
When Lola finally left us to go back to her owners, Claude did act a little lonely and sad looking for about 2 days. My wife and I were wracked with guilt, so spent lots of time giving him attention to try and take his mind off things.
We are now seriously considering getting a second Frenchie to act as a companion for Claude.
It’s a big decision though, both financially and from a “management” perspective.
If and when we make that decision to get a companion dog for Claude, you will be the first to know and see about it so keep coming back to the blog!