French Bulldog Smile: Can They Smile & How to Tell? + Photos

Do French Bulldogs smile

French Bulldogs are renowned as being one of the most friendly and sociable dog breeds on the planet. With the clown-like characteristics and boundless energy, what’s not to love? However, they do struggle to make facial expressions due to their breeding, but that doesn’t mean that French Bulldogs don’t smile. In fact, they do smile, and I am going to show you how! 

Do French Bulldogs smile? French Bulldogs have very wide mouths and can show a smile by opening wide with their lips curled up. When they do the Frenchie smile, it’s one way of knowing that they are very happy and pleased to see you.  When smiling, the French Bulldog’s eye will sometimes also slightly narrow.

Can my French Bulldog smile?

So, here’s the thing. Some Frenchies will have more expressions in their face than others. Some French Bulldogs can smile with a huge and obvious grin, others not so much. Our Claude smiles very occasionally, and most of the time has the classic “sad” face so common in this breed.

But other owners will have very smiling pups… it’s all down to their genetics and breeding. If you are going to buy a puppy, and really want a smiler, ask to look at photos of the mother (and father if possible).

Handy Hint: For first time buyers of Frenchies, read this guide to what you really need to know before taking the plunge and getting your pet. 

Photos of French Bulldogs smiling

I took a look on Pinterest to see if I could find some of the best examples of French Bulldog smiles so you can see exactly what their adorable grins look like. Check these winning smiles out below.

smile 01
Image copyright FrenchieLoveNz on Instagram (no longer a live account). This Frenchie has a beautiful grin and smiling eyes.
smile 02
Image copyright of Probably the most famous photo of a French Bulldog smile you will find anywhere on the Internet.
smile 03
Image copyright of (licensed and paid for). Who wouldn’t fall in love with this gorgeous happy face?
smile 04
This is our own French Bulldog smiling, his name is Claude! He doesn’t smile all that often, but when you tickle him he can’t help but grin.
smile 05
Image found via – source unknown. This looks like a Frenchie puppy younger than 8 weeks, so only a breeder could have taken this photo.
smile 06
Image copyright of – the classic French Bulldog smile with curled lip. When the tongue pokes out like this, it’s a sign of contentment.
fake smiling
And if all else fails, you can always get your Frenchie to fake a smile!

How can you tell if a Frenchie is happy if he is not smiling?

Your French Bulldog might not always smile to show happiness. Our own Frenchie Claude rarely has a wide mouthed smile (they don’t all do this all of the time) so has some other ways of showing pleasure.

You can read more about these signs of happiness in this guide to happy Frenchies, but here’s a snapshot of what to expect.

  1. He wiggles his bottom (he needs to with that lack of a tail).
  2. He gives you the classic puppy dog eyes look.
  3. His mouth is in a relaxed position.
  4. His ears are relaxed and not in a backwards position.
  5. His body is relaxed and not stiff.
  6. He wants to play and have fun with you.
  7. He is not exhibiting any destructive behaviour including eating his poop.
  8. He has a healthy appetite and is eating his food.
  9. He might stick his tongue out a little bit (see the 4th photo in my gallery above of Claude when he was a puppy).
  10. He has a healthy and clean coat of fur.
  11. He likes to be close and lean into his owner.

How you can keep your French Bulldog smiling

If you want to keep a happy and health pet there are a few things you can do to help keep your Frenchie smiling.

Why do French Bulldogs smile though?

Whilst Frenchies aren’t the most smiley of dogs, as we can see from the photos earlier, they still can smile a little. Other dog breeds have far more expressive faces, and experts believe the dogs learned to smile in response to humans.

Over the years of being domesticated, dogs have learned to smile in order to reflect happiness back to humans. They have also learned that they might even get a positive response such as a treat if they smile at us. To find out more, read this article on

Handy Hint: If you think your Frenchie is sad and depressed you might want to read this guide to Frenchie depression. It contains all the signs to look out for should you pup be unhappy.

Marc Aaron

I am one of Claude the French Bulldog's human parents. I write about all the things we've learned about owning a Frenchie, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips I've picked up along the way. Read more about Marc Aaron.

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