Can French Bulldogs Live Outside in Hot Weather or Cold Environments?


Can French Bulldogs Live Outside

Are you wondering if you should let your French Bulldog live outside? Some breeds of dog are meant to stay indoors, and some are more susceptible to cold or heat-related health issues (see all Frenchie health problems here), so it is important to know if your pet should live outside.

Can French Bulldogs live outside? French Bulldogs should not live outside. They are bred to be inside dogs and should not stay outdoors in the heat (or cold) for long since they are susceptible to heat exhaustion. Do not leave them alone outside for very long. 

Below, I will go through some more details on why French Bulldogs are really meant to be inside dogs and should not be left outdoors for prolonged periods of time.

I will also answer some of the major questions regarding the raising of a French Bulldog and how this can relate to the heat and cold.

Why French Bulldogs should be indoors dogs

Most Frenchies handle bad weather conditions pretty well (aside from heat), providing they are not extreme. But they are definitely not a dog breed suited to outdoors living.

French Bulldogs are quite distinct and exceptional dogs bred for being indoor companions. They are great for people living in smaller apartments and in most cases require less exercise than many other breeds.

Frenchies enjoy outside fun though. They will play, run, sniff around, investigate, splash in a little pool, and more. In fact, here’s a photo of our Frenchie, Claude doing what we call “bog-trotting” in the local forest near to us.

Can french bulldogs live outdoors
French Bulldogs can’t live outdoors, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have a whole lot of fun outside.

In winter they even like rolling around in the snow, despite the colder temperatures. Frenchies are not delicate and are very robust little creatures (here’s how cold is too cold for a Frenchie).

However, they need to be in the house with their owner and the other family members. A Frenchie will adore their family, desire to be with you and with others all the time.

For those who work from home, Frenchies love to be with you constantly and will go with you everywhere.

They are a friendly breed and desire a social environment with lots of stimulation and social interaction.

In fact, I would go so far to say that if you did leave your Frenchie outdoors for hours at a time, and made him sleep outside, it could lead to depression.

French Bulldogs are indoor dogs, and I recommend that you walk yours for fifteen minutes (twice daily) to keep them in shape.

Can French Bulldogs live in hot weather?

French Bulldogs can live in hot weather places such as Florida, but you will need air conditioning and should limit their walks and outdoors time to early mornings and early evenings when it’s not as hot outside.

But there’s other reasons why your French Bulldog should not live outside too; heat and cold.

They can suffer from heat exhaustion if I direct sunlight for too long. As a brachycephalic breed, they have shortened snouts which leads to difficulty breathing.

Hot weather can be a killer for them, as they don’t have the airways designed to let them regulate their heat with deep breathing.

They simply cannot be left outdoors if it is too hot.

What temperature is too hot for a French Bulldog?

We’ve had times when it’s been too hot to take Claude outside, and I will give you an example in a moment.

In terms of what temperature is too hot for a French Bulldog, I would estimate it as being anything over 70º degrees outside. If the pavement is too hot to touch, that’s another sign.

In our personal experience though, if the sun doesn’t even have to be that hot for it too be too much for a Frenchie, so be very cautious as soon as they sun is out and the heat has risen.

Signs of a French Bulldog overheating

With the summer about to begin it can be a time where you need to regulate the outdoor time that your Frenchie gets.

Frenchies and excessive heat do not go well together.

Last summer I had to change the time of day I took Claude out for his morning and afternoon walks. We were finding that when the sun started to get hot at 9am it was too much for him. He would literally struggle after 10 minutes in the heat.

To combat this, I started to take him out at 7am before the temperatures rose, and in the afternoon would take him out after 6pm once the shade and sun had started to improve.

We also invested in a cooling mat. This is a mat that has some kind of magic liquid in it, that keeps the dog cool. We’d have that ready for him to lie on after a walk, and it worked really well – along with plenty of water of course (but don’t force him to drink!)

However, there was one day where we were really scared about his health. We went on a 30 minute walk when the sun was behind the clouds and set off to our local pub.

Despite the shade from the clouds, within 15 minutes Claude was over-heating, and when we got to the pub, it took an hour for his breathing to get back to normal.

We promised ourselves that would never happen again, as we genuinely thought we were going to lose him. It was horrible.

It is critical to know the signs of an overheating French Bulldog if you live in an area that gets warmer than 85 degrees on a regular basis.

In fact, it is advised by many veterinarians to keep Bulldogs inside when it is 85 degrees or warmer outside. Many other brachycephalic breeds have the same tendency to overheat.

They are not capable of efficiently panting and are not capable of cooling as easily as other dog breeds.

Here are the signs of an overheating French Bulldog:

  • Strange noises coming from the throat
  • Panting excessively
  • Heaving while panting
  • Very loose, floppy, and discoloured Tongue
  • Possible foaming from the mouth
  • Exhaustion

Your French Bulldog is probably overheating if you see any of these signs.

Tips on how to prevent a Frenchie from overheating

Overheating can be a scary situation for a French Bulldog owner, and I speak from experience as detailed further up the page.

Here are my four tips to keep your French Bulldog from overheating:

  • If your Frenchy is overheated, get them back indoors and then place it by a fan.
  • You could also consider a cooling gel mat which I described earlier on.
  • Spread a French Bulldogs fur with your fingers to open up the coat. This will ensure better air flow through the body. Attempt to do this after you have put a French Bulldog in a tub of cool water.
  • The fur is an effective insulator to cold weather and spreading a French Bulldog’s fur open reduces insulation.
  • Have plenty of water on hand for them to drink.

Handy Hint: For more information on keeping your Frenchie’s temperature down, read this guide to keeping them cool in the summer.

Don’t trust your Frenchie… they can be a bit stupid

I’ve seen other blogs who say you should let your Frenchie decide whether it’s too hot outdoors or not. In fact, I saw this posted on a French Bulldog Facebook page by another owner:

“If your French Bulldog is eager to go on a walk or it simply desires to go outside, then it is sometimes best for a Frenchie to feel for themselves how hot it truly is. This is because it is unlikely that a French Bulldog will want to go outdoors after it experiences the heat.”

Our experience with Claude is that this is complete and utter nonsense.

Perhaps our Frenchie is not as clever as others? If my son is playing outdoors in the sun (as you can see in this video of him outside on a hot day with our dog), then Claude will keep running and running until exhaustion.

We let him run around like this for 5 minutes, then brought him back indoors, despite him not wanting to stop playing. Otherwise he would have run himself into the ground and suffered heat exhaustion.

Cool a French Bulldog down with water

One of the best ways you can stop overheating is to use some cool water.

Take your Frenchie indoors and let him sit in some cool water if you notice any signs of overheating. Make sure to pour a little cool water over his head too – this has worked really well for us in the past.

If you cannot place a French Bulldog in a tub or bath area, then hose him down gently. Make sure that water soaks its paws. Always make sure it has plenty of cold water to drink.

Here’s how we bath our French Bulldog, and we’d follow the same process with cool water if he’d overheated.

Don’t leave them in your car

Never leave your French Bulldog alone in days of hot weather or in a vehicle.

If you do leave your Frenchie alone in the heat or a car, then it is possible that they will overheat which could easily lead to death.

Do not leave your French Bulldog unattended if you have a pool on a hot day because they may be more likely to jump in too.

Test the pavement for heat

And one last tip; hot pavements can burn their paws.

If you are unsure, simply place your palm down on the pavement. If it’s too hot on your own palm, then it’s going to be too hot for their paws and you should wait until the sun goes in.

Are French Bulldogs sensitive to cold?

Here’s a photo of our Frenchie, Claude enjoying snow for the first time!

French Bulldog in Swow
This is Claude the Frenchie experiencing snow outdoors for the first time.

But are Frenchies sensitive to cold?

The advice of owner clubs is that French Bulldogs are best in moderate temperatures, with careful attention being paid when it’s too cold or too hot.

Whilst cold weather isn’t as harmful to a French Bulldog as heat, you should still not let them get exposed to any extreme cold weathers.

However, as you can see in the photos, there’s nothing wrong with letting them have a little play in the snow!

What temperature is too cold for a French Bulldog?

Frenchies can be cold-averse, and the general rule of thumb is that the temperature too cold for a French Bulldog is anything below 32°F, but it will depend on your dog.

You can buy little jackets for Frenchies, but the simple rule is, think about how warm you need to wrap up in the cold. If you’ve got hats and scarves on, then a small breed dog is going to need something similar – just like those jackets I spoke of.

What breed of French Bulldog is good for warm climates?

There is no specific breed or off-shoot of Frenchies that are good for warm climates. All Frenchies are genetically predisposed to suffer in warmer climates. You won’t find any particular part of this breed that copes that well in very hot country at all.

Handy Hint: For more information on Frenchies and cold weather read the complete guide. It includes tips on winter walking, keeping them warm at night, and how to treat the common cold symptoms.

How much exercise do French Bulldogs need?

Now that we’ve established that French Bulldogs should not live outdoors and outside, how do we regulate their exercise?

No two French Bulldogs are the same in terms of temperament, owner’s lifestyle, weight, and size. This is why we can only make generalizations about how much exercise Frenchies should get each day.

A daily walk around the block will usually be enough for most French Bulldogs and we tend to go for 2 walks a day, around 15 minutes each time.

However, younger French Bulldogs usually have bigger energy levels and a need for exercise.

Younger French Bulldogs should run around a fenced-in yard or dog park frequently. As French Bulldogs get older, they become less energetic. However, you should not pass up opportunities to bring them outside for a walk around the park.

The most significant factors that contribute to a French Bulldog’s health are weight, diet, genetics, and exercise.

Conclusion

Based on my own experience, and what I’ve read online from vet websites, French Bulldogs cannot live outdoors, and should be considered an indoors dog, with no exceptions.

French Bulldogs should live inside with an owner or an entire family. They should not be exposed to the heat for a long time since they are susceptible to heat exhaustion.

Marc Aaron

We are the proud parents of Claude the French Bulldog. This is our website where we share everything we've learned about Frenchies and the adventures we've had.

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