Owning a French Bulldog comes with a high level of commitment. If you’re not prepared for what’s to come it can be a huge shock. You are bound to have seen all of those funny videos online of French Bulldogs acting all hyper and destructive, especially as puppies. But what’s the reality really like?
Are French bulldogs hyper? French Bulldogs can be very hyperactive as puppies and sometimes into adulthood too. They require a lot of stimulation and exercise in order to curb destructive behavior. Whilst they do sleep a lot, when awake they will require a lot of attention from their owners.
Our own personal experience
We brought Claude home when he was around 9 weeks of age which is just around the right time to take a Frenchie puppy from his mother. Whilst we thought we knew what we were letting ourselves in for, nothing really prepared us for how high energy this breed can be.
We were told that French Bulldogs were lazy and didn’t need a lot of exercise. Whilst it’s certainly true that they do sleep a lot, when they are awake it’s party time.
In the rest of this guide I am going to explain how we got on, what we learned, when our Frenchie finally calmed down, and particularly how destructive French Bulldogs can be without the right care and attention.
How hyper are French Bulldogs?
French Bulldogs are a hyperactive breed and will run and run until they can run no more. They love to play and will act like clowns even until their adult life. In the first few months of owning Claude meant we were constantly on our toes and having to put things out of reach that he wanted to chew and destroy.
I would say that the puppy phase is without doubt the most hyperactive and destructive phase. Below you can see some examples of what we had to put up with and how we learned to cope with in the first few months of ownership.
Are French Bulldogs hyper as puppies?
Oh yes, French Bulldogs are hyper as puppies.
During the puppy phase expect to have to deal with a lot of high energy and destructive habits. I would say that the first 10 months of a Frenchie puppy’s life are going to be the most hectic for you.
Their senses are developing, the world is a great big adventure, and they will be testing their own limits… and yours!
Can French Bulldogs have ADHD?
French Bulldogs cannot have ADHD as a clinical disorder. However, there is such thing as hyperactivity in dogs which is medically known as hyperkinesis. To all intents and purposes though, this can be described as a canine form of ADHD (attention deficit hyper-activity disorder) but it’s not the same disorder that humans get.
Frenchies who display over hyper behavior, are frenetic, have short attention spans and act on impulse can be given medication.
Your Frenchie could be hyper due to a mix of their genes, training, and how well they were socialised.
But what would make you think your French Bulldog had a form of canine ADHD in the first place? After all, many Frenchies are extremely excitable.
Well that’s for a veterinary professional to decide but if you do have a Frenchie with a short attention span and an inability to focus, it could be time to visit the vets.
This is what to expect from the majority of Frenchies though – all of which is perfectly normal:
1. The zoomies: aka hyper running or Frenchie 500s
If you haven’t heard of the zoomies, this is when your French Bulldog will act all hyper and run up and down at high speed for no particular reason.
This is one of the habits that doesn’t fall into the destructive topic, it’s just plain hilarious – here’s a more in-depth explainer of the zoomies.
With Claude it would start by him running really fast down the corridor on the top floor in our house between rooms. He would also do it in out lounge by running around in circles, jumping up and down onto the couches at super speed. He actually hurt himself a few times doing this, so you need to puppy proof your environment where possible.
French Bulldog owners have their own name for this hyper behavior; the Frenchie 500s.
My son and I actually did a test using speed radar and GPS tracking to see how fast a French Bulldog can run. There’s a great video on there you can also watch to see why we think we might have a world record holder on our hands.
2. Jumping up with excitement
One of the hardest aspects of Claude’s hyper behavior we struggled to contain was his habit of jumping up. He would do it when anyone came into our house and also outdoors when being taken for a walk.
There was one walk I took him on when he jumped up at a toddler and pushed the kid down due to being too hyperactive. That incident led me to working on this habit with some intensive training.
You can see how I stopped him jumping up in this guide.
3. Pulling at the leash and recall issues
During the puppy phase we had so many problems with leash and recall (here’s how we trained him to come back). Claude knew that once he was on his leash it meant he was off to the the local park for some excitement.
That’s fine in itself; after all what dog doesn’t get excited when they know they are on their way to see other dogs and have a run about? However, having to walk with a Frenchie that would pull on his lead constantly did become very tiresome. We would also have problems where we could not get him to come back to us when it was time to go home.
We ended up taking Claude to puppy socialisation classes which let him learn how to behave when being walked, despite the presence of other hyperactive puppies and people.
I recommend that you take your hyperactive French Bulldog puppy to socialisation classes near you. This will help you to train them for not just leash walks, but also recall once they are off the lead.
Are French Bulldogs destructive?
As well as the hyperactive nature of a Frenchie puppy, you also need to be prepared for how destructive French Bulldogs can be. French Bulldogs are destructive when they are younger, and without training and care will continue these traits into later life.
I read a blog post recently which said that Frenchies are like children that never grow up, and that’s a really accurate statement that any owner can testify to.
This breed needs a loving home to grow up. They don’t cope well with being neglected and are at their most happy when they are with humans.
If you do leave them alone for long periods of time, especially when puppies, then you will see destructive habits that can be hard to break.
1. Biting and chewing
French Bulldogs puppies are big chewers, make no mistake!
The puppies use their mouths to taste and test out everything they come across. It’s very similar to human babies in that way, they will want to put things in their mouth.
It’s entirely natural and is related to their teething stages (click that link for more details).
- 2 to 3 weeks – teeth start coming through.
- 12 weeks onwards – the teething starts, and adult teeth start to grow.
- 7 to 8 months – teething should now stop.
During this phase I recommend you invest in chewing and teething toys. I have put together a short list of the teething toys we used with Claude.
The good news is that your French Bulldog puppy should stop the chewing behavior at around 8 months of age. In the meantime, you should put anything you don’t want chewed well out of reach.
For more advice on how to curb biting and chewing which is the main complaint new owners have about French Bulldogs being destructive, please read these guides:
2. Digging up your yard or garden
French Bulldogs also love to dig. When we got Claude, I had only recently re-done our garden lawn and had to constantly chase him off the grass to stop him digging holes.
Of course, this turned into a massive game where he would run around the garden in a hyper manner until I could catch him – that’s not as easy as it sounds!
The reason Frenchies dig are wide ranging, including:
- They have an urge to escape and explore.
- They dig to find critters and interesting smells.
- They will occasionally dig when they are bored.
- They might even want to eat the dirt.
- They will also dig when they are anxious.
I ended up building a small fenced off area to prevent this destructive behavior. If you want to read more tips on why they dig and how to stop it, read my guide to Frenchie digging.
3. Peeing on the floor indoors
Another piece of destructive behavior you need to be prepared for is the toilet training aspect. French Bulldog puppies will pee and poop on the floor in your house for often as old as 8 months.
We developed a potty training guide which contains all the information you need to cope with this.
4. Crying when left alone
One of the harder aspects to cope with is how much attention Frenchie puppies need from you. They have been taken from their mothers and siblings, so of course, will want to get that reassurance and comfort from you. I can only compare it having a baby.
If left alone for even short periods of time, your French Bulldog with exhibit destructive behavior such as chewing and sometimes even eating their own poop.
French Bulldog separation anxiety is an actual thing (click that link for advice on how to manage it).
Are French Bulldogs high energy as adults?
The good news is that things will get better providing you have socialized and trained the puppy as best you can. We also found that once Claude had been neutered at 8 months of age, he got a lot better and the hyper high energy reduced dramatically.
Do French Bulldogs ever calm down? Yes, French Bulldogs do calm down eventually. The high energy behavior will reduce as they approach adulthood. Frenchies that are neutered or spayed between 4 and 9 months will also start to calm down and exbibit less high energy behavioural patterns.
However, don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security. Even though Claude is no longer as hyper and high energy as he was when a puppy, he’s still an active boy.
We learned that whilst French Bulldogs will sleep for 12 hours a day (you can see the sleeping schedule in the graphic below), when they are awake they need lot of activity.
The bottom line is this; French Bulldogs are renowned as a lazy breed but don’t take that at face value. You will need to commit to them as without regular exercise and stimulation, they will become bored, destructive, and exhibit hyperactive behavior that you won’t want to deal with.
We take Claude for two walks a day; one in the morning and one in the afternoon for around 25 to 30 minutes each time.
My son also has a laser pen and plays with Claude in the kitchen with that to further wear him out.
By doing so, our Frenchie is still hyper, but at the right moments and in the right way.
Handy Hint: It’s really important that you keep your Frenchie entertained and mentally stimulated. One way you can do that is to make sure they have plenty of toys and fun things to do. Check out this list of Frenchie play accessories for more information.
Want more advice on YouTube?
There is a huge amount of advice on the French Bulldog Owner website about how to care for your dog from puppy through to adulthood. I’ve linked to a lot of that in places where it makes sense in this article already.
But if you want to see actual real video footage, I would recommend subscribing to our YouTube channel as we release weekly updates and episodes.
To conclude, French Bulldogs are hyperactive. French Bulldogs are destructive. However, the majority of this behavior will be curbed as they grow older providing you train and exercise your dog as you should do. Our own Frenchie did calm down eventually as he grew older.
Owning a French Bulldog is a privilege, not a right. There are pros and cons to owning this breed so before you decide to buy, make sure a Frenchie is right for you: read the pros and cons to owning a Frenchie here.
A sad and unhappy Frenchie will be a destructive one. If you have any concerns that your Frenchie could be depressed, read this guide to the signs of depression.