French Bulldog Walking Guide: How Far, How Long, How Much Time


french bulldog walking

We’ve owned our Frenchie Claude for nearly 4 years now. It’s transformed my life in terms of how much outdoor living I get. I am now a big walker so can happily advise new owners on how much walking French Bulldogs need, the distance you can walk them, how often, how long, and also the walking requirements for puppies – which is very different to adult Frenchies.

Before I get into too much detail on Frenchie walking distances and walk times, let’s start off with the basics of French Bulldog walking habits.

Do French Bulldogs need walking?

There are many misconceptions over the Frenchie breed. Many people don’t think they need lots of exercise. In fact, I recall when we were first considering getting a French Bulldog, we were told that they were lazy, sedentary, and required very little exercise.

Whilst Frenchies do sleep a lot (here’s how much), when they are awake they have lots of energy to burn, and walking is the best way you can handle this.

The bottom line is that all dogs need to be walked. It doesn’t matter what the breed is, and Frenchies are no different; French Bulldogs need walking. If they don’t get this daily exercise, it’s not just bad for them, but also for you.

frenchie in sea
Claude loves his walks in the forest and on our local beaches.

French Bulldogs need to be walked because…

  • Exercise and health: Overweight French Bulldogs will suffer with breathing problems, possible diabetes, and damage to their hips and joints. Frenchies are already prone to a wide range of medical problems, but walking them often can reduce their chances of an early death related to weight gain.
  • Mental stimulation: Frenchies that are left alone indoors and don’t get the exercise they need will suffer mentally. It’s not just related to separation anxiety, but also keeping them mentally active. If you don’t walk your Frenchie often, you might find he starts to exhibit destructive behavior in your home.
  • Natural instinct: Walking fulfils their natural instinct that harks back to their pack mentality of getting up in the morning and walking from their home to find food.
  • Socialization: Walking lets your Frenchie socialize with other dogs, other people and adapt to unique situations so they can grow up to be well adjusted dogs. This will make them far happier and less inclined to exhibit depression.
  • Training and behavior: Walking your Frenchie lets you train them, practice obedience skills, and reinforce your own relationship with him. When you’re out, he will be exposed to various different things which will provoke a reaction, letting you train him to be a well-behaved dog. Dogs behaviourists believe that dogs walked regularly will be far better behaved than dogs who aren’t.

I hope that convinces you; all Frenchies need to be walked. But exactly how often and how far should their walk lengths be?

How much walking do French Bulldogs need?

Your French Bulldog’s walk time will vary depending on their age, and also a little bit on their own personality and character. Our own Frenchie Claude would probably walk as often as he could (given the choice) – but it won’t be good for him.

French Bulldog walk time examples (personal experience)

Here’s a very basic overview of how much walk time French Bulldog need in one go, depending on their age – these times can be done twice a day in most cases.

  • 4 months old: 12 minutes.
  • 5 months old: 15 minutes.
  • 6 months old: 18 minutes.
  • 7 months old: 21 minutes.
  • 8 months old: 24 minutes.
  • 9 months old: 27 minutes.
  • Adult: 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Older Frenchies: Dependent on health.

Please Note: The above walking times do not mean my Frenchie is walking constantly for these minutes. This is just the amount of time we are out of the house so will include walking, stopping, playing, pooping, and sniffing around. He will not be constantly on the move. It’s just out “out of the house” time.

The times above are based on my own experience of owning this breed, and how much time Claude would need walking before he became an adult. I’ve based it on around 3 minutes of exercise for every month of his life, before he grew out of the puppy phase.

Your Frenchie might be different and may not be able cope with this amount of long walking time – alternatively he might demand more.

Despite what people say, most Frenchies I’ve met are very energetic and need to be walked at least twice a day. Be careful though; Frenchies are a brachycephalic breed so you should avoid walking them in hot weather or letting them run continuously for more than 5 minutes; they can quickly overheat and have breathing difficulties.

how long do you walk a french bulldog
Be careful walking your Frenchie in the sun as they can quickly overheat.

How often you should walk a French Bulldog

The example French Bulldog walk times I’ve listed above have always been done twice daily; for example, I walk Claude in the morning and in the early evening where possible.

However, how often you walk your French Bulldog will boil down a number of factors;

  • Age: The older they get, the less they will need or be able to walk.
  • Health: Frenchies are prone to health problems, some of which limit walking.
  • Character: All dogs are different, and some could be less active than others.

French Bulldog walking distance / walk length

But what about walking distances and how long can you walk them for? Again, this is all down to my own personal experiences of walking our own Frenchie…

How far should you walk a French Bulldog? An adult French Bulldog walk length can be as far as 3 miles. I walk my own Frenchie this far and this long many mornings through our local forest (providing its not too hot). He then demands a further afternoon walk of around 1.5 miles. At the very least, our Frenchie is getting 3 miles a day in walks. 

Can French Bulldogs go for long walks?

This depends on how you define a long walk. Our Frenchie can walk up to 3 miles quite easily, as long as it’s not a hot day.

However, how long can you walk a French Bulldog should be treated with caution. Whilst my Frenchie loves to go on long forest walks, I time the walk carefully so it’s in the morning when the sun isn’t as bright.

Can you walk a French Bulldog too much?

Yes, you can walk a French Bulldog too much, and it can be dangerous.

I have got personal experience of why this is so important due to an incident when Claude was younger. My family I went for a walk in our local forest when the sun was behind clouds. As we turned back to walk the 1.5 miles back to our car, the sun came out really strong.

french bulldog walking distance
It was cloudy at first but then the sun came out and Claude got very overheated on his walk.

Within 10 minutes Claude was totally exhausted due to the heat. I had to leave him with my wife and run back to the car, and then drive back to get them. Never will we make this mistake again, it actually very scary.

The morale of the story is you need to keep an eye on the weather. Frenchies can easily overheat, and when they do, you need to take steps to cool them down. I’ve published 15 ways you can cool down a Frenchie which gives some tips.

Signs of over-exertion

Here are the signs that you have over-exerted your Frenchie with too much walking, either distance and time related, or to do with the heat:

  • Heavy, continuous panting.
  • Glazed eyes.
  • Weakness and/or collapse.
  • Increased pulse.
  • Vomiting.
  • Dark red tongue or gums.
  • Excessive drooling.
  • Seizures.

As well as over-averting your Frenchie due to walks being too long or regular, you can also cause damage to their joints, paw pads, and muscles.

Do French Bulldogs like to walk?

I can only talk about our own Frenchie Claude and the dogs of our friends. In my experience, French Bulldogs love to walk – it gives them the opportunity to make new friends, sniff around, and explore.

When you think about it, if we humans go on the same walk every day, we can get bored by it. I don’t think it’s the same for dogs. I think that every time they go out there are so many new smells that have been left since last time, that it’s a completely different walk to them!

With Claude, he would honestly walk all day if he could. He loves going on walks, and it can be to his detriment unless I rein him in. This is why Frenchies are not good running partners.

If I didn’t bring him home from a long walk, he would run himself into the ground with other dogs, balls, and sticks – you can see how much he loves to play in this video and blog post.

French Bulldog puppy walking

Growing puppies don’t need to be walked as much as adults. You might find that hard to believe given the amount of energy Frenchie pups have, but you do need to take it easy with them.

Frenchie puppies are still growing. Their bones are still developing, and they will also have low immune systems. Because of this, you should not walk a French Bulldog puppy outside of your own yard of garden until two weeks after their final vaccinations – read more here.

kid walking dog
Our son learned how to walk our Frenchie from a young age. Great responsibility I am sure you will agree!

How long should you walk a French Bulldog puppy?

My own rule of thumb is to use 3 minutes of walking for every month of your Frenchie puppy’s life. Earlier I referenced these walk times, but here they are again:

  • 4 month old puppy: 12 minute walk time.
  • 5 month old puppy: 15 minute walk time.
  • 6 month old puppy: 18 minute walk time.
  • 7 month old puppy: 21 minute walk time.
  • 8 month old puppy: 24 minute walk time.
  • 9 month old puppy: 27 minute walk time.

Please Note: The above walking times do not mean my Frenchie is walking constantly for these minutes. This is just the amount of time we are out of the house so will include walking, stopping, playing, pooping, and sniffing around. He will not be constantly on the move. It’s just out “out of the house” time.

The American Kennel Club say this (view source):

“Your puppy’s exercise needs will change as she grows. When your puppy is very young, veterinarians recommend keeping exercise limited to short walks and multiple play sessions throughout the day, with plenty of time for naps.”

If you find your Frenchie is still hyper after walking, you should play indoor games and try some activities that require mental challenges. You can see some of those in my Frenchie Toys guide.

How often should you walk a French Bulldog puppy?

All of the walk times above can be done twice daily. How far you should walk your French Bulldog puppy depends on the distance you travel in those time frames.

With Claude we didn’t take him too far from our house at first, with short walks where he was kept on the lead.

For more tips on walking a French Bulldog puppy, please read my leash training guides:

What other owners say

I took a look on social media to see what other owners say about Frenchie puppy walking. Here’s a selection of the best comments which aligns closely with my own recommendations:

“In my opinion walking a Frenchie puppy for 60 minutes in one walk is way too much. It could damage the puppy’s cruciate ligaments in the long term. I say this from bitter experience as by 14 months my Frenchie had surgery for 3 cruciate operations!”

“Walking your Frenchie puppy for too long can be really bad for their joints. Frenchies are very prone to spinal and joint problems. Please stick to 5 minutes for every month in age each day. You don’t want your dog crippled in later life.”

“Their growth plates don’t mature until they are nearer to 12 months old. Too much walking on loose wobbly joints can potentially cause premature wear and tear that will become problematic in a few years time. If you’re in a part of the country where it’s suddenly become summer, be very careful of them overheating. Puppies don’t have the sense to know when to stop so it’s up to us as guardians to make the best decisions.”

Tips for walking older Frenchies

As your French Bulldog gets older, how long and how far he can walk for will dramatically reduce. It’s not just the walk lengths, but also the environmental factors too.

Here are a few tips you can use:

  1. Prepare for the weather and don’t even think about walking when it’s sunny or when it will be cold and wet: both can result in health problems.
  2. Take them on shorter and more frequent walks to ensure they don’t over-exert themselves.
  3. Pay attention to what time it is and keep their routine regular to keep their anxiety levels down.
  4. Walk on easy surfaces which aren’t hot, uneven, or hard. This will keep the impact levels and stress placed in their joints to a minimum.
  5. Take regular breaks and bring plenty of water with you.
  6. Make sure they eat right and are healthy, with special attention given to diet and regimes helping with arthritis.
  7. Pay attention to the signs your older French Bulldog gives you, and don’t walk him long distances or for too long if he’s showing signs of distress.
French bulldog walk length
We have regular breaks when taking Claude the Frenchie for a longer walk length.

General dog walking tips

Before wrapping things up, here are some additional dog walking tips that apply to all walks, whether with a Frenchie puppy, adult, or another breed.

  1. Always remember to take poop bags and pick it up.
  2. Don’t rush them when they pee or poop.
  3. If a longer walk and possible sun, take water with you.
  4. Check that the pavement is not hot to the touch before walking.
  5. Buy reflective gear or an LED clip for the collar in the dark.
  6. Let them stop to sniff and explore.

Conclusion

If there’s one thing I’ve learned down the years, it’s that all Frenchies are different. This means there really is no set rule on how long your French Bulldog’s walks should be. Whilst my dog Claude loves his walks, we know other Frenchies who are more chilled out.

Ultimately you don’t want an overweight Frenchie, so providing yours is happy and healthy, and you aren’t over-exerting him, you’ve probably got your walk schedule spot on.

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New Frenchie owners might also find the following guides interesting in relation to walking:

Disclaimer: I am not a vet and everything in this guide is based on personal experience of owning a Frenchie, what I have learned, and feedback from other owners. Always ask your vet for any advice on your dog’s health.

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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