Are you planning on getting a French Bulldog but worried about how suitable this breed will be in small apartment? For example, can they get enough exercise, how will they cope with stairs, will they bark, do you have enough room?
My cousin lives in busy city apartment and he frequently looks after our Frenchie when we go on vacations. Last month he had Claude for 2 weeks with no problems whatsoever and gave me the low down on whether a French Bulldog is a good apartment dog.
Can French Bulldogs live in apartments? Yes, French Bulldogs can live in an apartment, and are a very good choice for people living in busy cities. They don’t require a lot of exercise, bark very little, and love to be in close quarters with their owners.
Frenchies are fascinating, affectionate, kind-hearted dogs that love to be around people. One of their most characteristic features is how they love companionship, will sleep for up to 12 to 14 hours a day, and only need short walks.
Why is a French Bulldog a good apartment dog?
In order to give you a more in-depth overview of what makes a French Bulldog a good apartment dog, I interviewed my cousin over the phone about his experiences looking after Claude recently.
The following points and notes on Frenchie apartment living are his compiled comments, and then an amalgamation of what other dog owners have told me.
Important: There are some downsides and negative points to a French Bulldog living in an apartment which I will come onto lower down the page. This is followed with some tips on how to make your accommodation Frenchie-safe.
1. Frenchies are great companions
French Bulldogs are well known for their warming and lively company. They are very good at making you feel loved and valued as they just want to be with their owner all the time.
Dogs in general are known to be loyal pets, but the loyalty of Frenchies is second to none in my opinion. No matter what Frenchies are doing or whosoever they are playing with they always come running to their owner whenever he or she is around.
With a Frenchie in your apartment you will never feel lonely. They love to feel the warmth of your body, they will chill out in your arms when you are watch TV, fall asleep on your lap and lie on the bed with you.
If you live alone in a big city, you will never get bored or feel lonely with a French Bulldog living with you in your apartment.
2. Frenchies don’t need much exercise and space to explore
Frenchies don’t need long walks or huge amounts of exercise each day. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to walk them – I recommend 2 walks a day with 15 minutes minimum each time – but it does make living in an apartment with them much easier.
They will sleep for a lot of the day, sometimes for as much as 14 hours. You can see a sleep chart I created for our own Frenchie below. It shows a typical day in his life.
You can read more about their sleeping patterns and schedule in my guide to how many hours a Frenchie sleeps.
They are still active though!
When they are awake, there’s every chance they will want to run around, play, have fun, and act the fool.
But even a small apartment will give them the space to do that. This breed enjoys playing indoors and so, no matter the size of your apartment, French Bulldogs should feel comfortable living in it, providing they have more than just the one room to explore.
3. French Bulldogs aren’t big barkers
One of the most common topics that springs up when people ask if a French Bulldog can live in an apartment is barking.
As a general rule, Frenchies are not big barkers. In fact, Claude only ever barks when our doorbell rings. Other than that, he’s as a quiet as a mouse – apart from the snoring and farting (more on that later).
Having said that, Frenchies can suffer from separation anxiety which I will cover in a moment, so you might want to re-consider this dog if you are going to be leaving them for long periods of time.
I spoke to one owner who left her Frenchie alone in her apartment for 4 hours and came back to angry neighbours complaining about the constant barking from the lonely pup.
As long as you are a responsible owner, it’s unlikely your Frenchie’s barking will cause disruption in the apartment block.
Handy Hint: If you live in an apartment and decide to own a Frenchie, it’s imperative that they have plenty of toys to play with. Distraction and entertainment will make a happy Frenchie. You can see which toys our Frenchie loves to play with in this toys and fun stuff guide.
4. French Bulldogs are great around children
Whilst this is a blanket statement, and each dog should be assessed individually, in the main, Frenchies are good with kids and aren’t aggressive.
If you have your own kids, or there are kids in your apartment block, your French Bulldog could soon become the local rock star.
Their playful, lively and hilarious behavior makes them great friends and play mates for children. My cousin was inundated with his friend’s children wanting to come to his apartment when Claude was there.
Why a Frenchie could be a bad choice for an apartment…
Overall, French Bulldogs can live in apartments, and are a good dog breed for inner city living. However, there will be some challenges, plus you need to carefully consider your own situation before buying a puppy.
Every pet comes with some challenge or another, and French Bulldogs are no exception.
What are the challenges you will face with a Frenchie in your apartment?
1. Destructive behaviour and chewing
Based on my experience of having Claude in our house, we know how destructive he can be, especially in the first 12 months of his life.
Boredom is the main reason a French Bulldog can exhibit destructive behaviour. Frenchies easily get bored and chewing is one of the things they do to get busy.
Generally, chewing is a puppy thing and they tend to grow out of it. But, put it this way, I wouldn’t leave any shoes on the floor if you are going to leave your Frenchie puppy unattended or let them anywhere near expensive furniture.
Frenchies can chew anything they can get their mouth around.
And how do you deal with this challenge?
I would ensure all my valuables and personal belongings are cleared and kept far beyond the reach of your puppy. You might even want to invest in a baby stair gate if there are rooms you don’t want them to gain access to.
You can also discourage chewing of your own gear by getting them a bone or chewing toy.
The bottom line is; if you are going to be out for long periods of time, don’t get a French Bulldog. And if you have a puppy, be prepared – I’ve often said it’s almost much work as having a baby!
2. Heat intolerance
Frenchies find it very difficult to regulate their body temperature due to their flat faces and shortened snouts. It takes them longer time to cool down after running and they will not cope with living in a hot apartment.
Handy Hint: Read this guide to keeping French Bulldog cool and how to stop them overheating in the first place.
This is due to the brachycephalic syndrome of the breed, so it’s advisable you only own a dog like this if you have decent air conditioning in your apartment.
You can read more about hope Frenchies cope with heat and what to do if yours does get too hot. Click here to read the warning signs.
3. Separation anxiety
Are French Bulldogs ok to be left alone? No, they aren’t. The maximum amount of time I would leave a Frenchie alone in an apartment is for 4 hours, and only once they are fully grown.
If you are going to be working all day, please don’t get a French Bulldog living in your apartment. These dogs have been bred to be human companions, and hate being left alone for long periods of time by themselves.
If you do leave yours at home when you go out to work, don’t be surprised to come home to angry neighbours, a stressed dog, and possibly destructive behaviour.
Because of the affectionate and loving nature of Frenchies, they get very attached to their owner and always want to have that person around. You are a member of their pack after all.
Some of the symptoms of separation anxiety will be barking, pacing, destroying, escaping, digging, and chewing.
You can read more about the symptoms of separation anxiety and what you can do to solve it in this blog post.
4. Hair shedding
Despite being a short-haired breed, French Bulldogs do shed a lot. They will malt hair throughout the year, and the more heavily during the fall and spring.
If you have allergies, you might not cope well if living at close quarters in a small apartment with a hair-shedding Frenchie.
However, Frenchies have a smooth, short and fine undercoat which makes it easier to comb through and keep a handle on things.
Handy Hint: Read this guide which tells you just how much a French Bulldog sheds. It’s a lot as you will see from the video we also produced in the winter and summer months.
5. Farting and snoring
Whilst this might sound funny, don’t underestimate how much of an issue farting and snoring can be, particularly in a small apartment with just a couple of rooms.
Frenchies are renowned for letting off really bad and smelly farts which will travel from room to room. It can be strong enough to make you want to gag if you have a particularly weak constitution.
You can counteract the farts by having your Frenchie on a strict diet (here’s a feeding guide for puppies).
There’s not too much you can do about the snoring though, so be prepared! However, there are many ways in which you can reduce snoring (find out how).
6. Issues with stair climbing
If you have to access your apartment by climbing multiple flights of stairs, a Frenchie won’t be a good choice. Whilst French Bulldogs can climb up stairs easily, they find it harder coming back down – you can see this in the video I took below.
In summary though, as Frenchies get older they will find stairs harder to climb, and it could leave to health problems. You can read my guide to French Bulldogs and stairs here for more information and tips.
7. Potty training and toilet matters
Your Frenchie won’t have easy access to an outside area, and you might not be able to get them quickly outdoors when they need to poop.
As your dog gets old enough to have control, you should find that they won’t mess in the apartment, only going when you take them outside. There’s no guarantee of course, but a well-trained adult dog should be disciplined enough to wait.
Handy Hint: Read this guide to French Bulldog puppy potty training for more tips on getting your dog toilet-trained in an apartment.
I would advise that your take your Frenchie out as often as you can, especially after eating, sleeping or playing. Take your dog out right after he or she wakes up which means you have to have your shoes and jacket ready!
Your adult dog should let you know when it’s time for them to go.
Frenchie puppies are very different though and will mess all over the place until properly toilet-trained.
Here’s are some comments I read on Facebook from owners who live in apartments which will give you some idea on what to expect.
“I set up at potty box with fresh sod on my balcony and my Frenchie loves it. I replace the sod every week, and you can get fresh grass from home depot. It has worked very well for us.”
“We have also set up a small area on our apartment balcony for emergencies but are aiming to teach her to wait till she is taken to the grass or to inform me when she needs to go!”
“More than one potty area can cause confusion and prolongs toilet training so either take them outside or use an indoor pad. Take them out every hour. Puppy training pads cause confusion to going outside and going outside causes confusion to pads. Pick one way and commit. It works! I promise.”
“We put puppy pads right near his cage and gave him a treat every time he used it. If he squatted anywhere else we’d pick him up and put him on his pad, then slowly moved his pads closer to the back door. When we see him toddling off to his pad, we just open back door and make him go outside instead, he waits now until we open the door.”
“Limit the amount of space your puppy has. Watch them when the try to leave your sight as most likely they need to go potty. If they don’t go when you let them out, crate them until your ready try again. My puppy did take 8 months. These were the final things I did, and it worked.”
I hope you’ve enjoyed these pros and cons to having a French Bulldog apartment living.
It’s a big commitment, but now you know that a French Bulldog can live in apartment and what to expect, at least you’re going to be prepared for it!
If you are contemplating taking on these goofy, playful and lively dogs into your apartment space, it’s going to be a fun journey… I promise you!
The biggest consideration you need to take is how your lifestyle can work for a Frenchie. French Bulldogs are good apartment dogs, but only if you can guarantee them company, attention, and care – without leaving them alone for long periods of time.