We had Lola the Frenchie puppy stay with us again this week. There’s something very pronounced about her appearance; an underbite. Unlike our own French Bulldog Claude, Lola’s is far more obvious as you can see from the photos in this blog post. I wanted to find out a little bit more about French Bulldog underbites, whether they were normal, and what problems they could be a sign of. Here’s what I discovered.
Is it normal for French Bulldogs to have an underbite? Yes, it is normal for French Bulldogs to have an underbite, but some are more obvious than others. The breed standard for Frenchies states that “the under jaw is deep, square, broad, undershot, well turned up.” Lower jaws of short-faced breed are more pronounced, poking out of the bottom teeth when at rest.
A French Bulldog underbite is normal and inevitable due to the nature and structure of their skulls. In fact, top breeding competitions consider it a disqualification if you have a Frenchie that is over five months old with no discernible underbite.
Why do French Bulldogs have underbites?
There are a few medical and genetic causes as to why French Bulldogs have underbites.
Their heritage is the major reason for an underbite in Frenchies. It’s a genetic trait which passes down through the generations as a by-product of their breeding.
However, as I’ve mentioned, you will notice it more in certain Frenchies, and Lola, bless her, looks like she’s going to have quite an obvious one as she grows older compared to our own dog Claude.
French Bulldog underbite problems
There are other causes of underbites in French Bulldogs that fall into two distinct categories; skeletal or dental.
- Dental cause: An underbite problem can happen in a French Bulldog where the dog has a normal facial skeletal structure but there is an abnormality in the arrangement or position of one or more teeth.
- Skeletal cause: Another French Bulldog underbite problem can be caused by the abnormality of the dog’s facial structure. This leads to their upper and lower rows of teeth not aligning properly together.
An underbite won’t be a problem if your Frenchie is able to groom itself, drink and eat without any pain or bleeding.
However, there are some health problems that may arise which you need to keep a close eye on if you think there is a problem that doesn’t appear to be normal.
Those health problems caused by an underbite can include:
- Teeth and tissue damage: Because their teeth don’t align, which is called malocclusion (view source), Frenchies teeth can wear out and the soft tissue can become infected and damaged due to the collision of the upper teeth with the inside jaw of the lower teeth.
- Exposure to infections and diseases: Due to the injuries and wounds that French Bulldog can get due to their underbite, there is possibility of the dog being more prone to have infections and diseases in the mouth.
- Difficulty eating: This is one of the major French Bulldog underbite problems if they have a severe case. They will have difficulty chewing and grasping of food due to the pains and sores in the mouth. This can lead to serious ilnness as your dog will lack necessary nourishment to keep him healthy.
I just want to be clear though; it’s not very common for underbites to become problematic in Frenchies. A small underbite is perfectly normal but do keep an eye out for any problems like the ones listed above.
Want to know more about health problems? I’ve listed over 30 possible health issues your Frenchie could be suffering from. Read this master list so you know what to look out for.
My French Bulldog has a severe underbite what should I do?
If you do have any concerns at all, stop reading my blog post and take your dog to the vet. Even if it’s a small underbite, it is still worth getting a professional opinion as to whether it could lead to a problem in the future.
Your vet will be able to check for signs of pain and infection and also let you know whether the underbite is a severe enough to warrant further investigation.
Even if your vet does give your Frenchie the all clear, make notes of any obvious behavioural changes, particularly ones where they have obvious pain when eating.
If you see anything like them having trouble eating, observe blood in the saliva, or they have unusual sensitivity around their nose and mouth, that’s the time to take it seriously.
Can you fix the underbite on a dog?
An underbite can be one of your Frenchies most appealing features. I think it looks cute in Lola… you might not agree!
Most underbites in Frenchies are very mild and require little or no action at all.
However, in very rare cases underbites can be so severe that they will need correcting.
There’s nothing you can do as an owner to fix it, and there really is no quick fix. But there are some medical procedures that can help to reduce any problems if addressed in adult dogs.
- Teeth extractions.
- Filing of teeth.
- Canine braces.
- Non-surgical ball therapy (see what DentalVets.co.uk say).
How you can help your Frenchie with an underbite problem
Surgery should really be the last resort, so if you are concerned that your own dog’s underbite isn’t normal and needs a little relief, there are some things you can do.
I chatted to another Frenchie owner to get these ideas:
- No chewable toys: What Frenchie doesn’t love chewing? But for the sake of their health, it might be an idea to keep them away from yours if there’s an underbite problem. Chewable toys can make it a lot worse
- Pay closer attention: If your vet thinks there is a problem, you need to closely monitor your pup. Look out for changes in behaviour and give them plenty of love, care and affection if they are in pain.
- Give them special food to chew: If they have sores in their mouth, they won’t be able to eat normal food. Look for special food that he can easily chew and swallow more easily. This should help any wounds heal a lot quicker.
Which dog breeds have underbites?
I mentioned earlier that the dogs most prone to underbites are ones that have certain genetic qualities. Short-faced breeds are particularly at risk of this peculiar quirk.
Breeds most susceptible include:
- Boston Terrier (see the difference between Bosties and Frenchies)
- English Bulldog
- French Bulldog
- King Charles Spaniel
- Lhasa Apso
- Shih Tzu
I don’t want to alarm you. It is normal for French Bulldogs to have an underbite, and I hope I’ve explained as best I can why they have.
Just be aware of it though, as in very rare cases they can cause complications.
Let’s face it, dog underbites can be very cute and make our pups look very adorable like Lola who visits us for play days is. It certainly adds to their funny character.