How to Raise a French Bulldog Puppy to be Healthy & Well-Adjusted


how to raise a french bulldog puppy

There are so many misconceptions about Frenchies, and I hope you find the real-life experiences I write about on the blog helpful in dispelling some of them. But there is an element of truth to one common opinion when people say Frenchies can be difficult to raise and train… so how hard can it be?

How hard is it to raise a French Bulldog?

French Bulldogs have a reputation for being stubborn dogs so you would think they would be hard to raise. As a Frenchie owner myself, I think generalizations like this are very misleading.

But I won’t lie… it was a challenge raising Claude up from a puppy.

We often look back and compare it to having a baby and toddler again. It was honestly that hectic at times with stuff getting chewed, pee and poop all over the kitchen floor, and him running away and not listening to us.

I asked my wife to comment on whether she found it difficult to raise our French Bulldog, and what her memories were:

“It was quite tricky but nothing out of the ordinary. It took a while to get him toilet trained, he was very bitey, and seemed to take longer than we expected to be trained. We worked very hard and I think that’s reflected in what a good dog he’s grown up to be.”

Our hard work paid off

However, once Claude the Frenchie reached about 18 months of age he suddenly changed into an obedient, loving, and faithful dog from the manic puppy he was before.

Looking back now I would not say that French Bulldogs are hard to raise particularly, and I am sure it’s just the same with any other small breed of dog.

raising a frenchie
It can be hard to raise a Frenchie puppy properly and the costs are high – but it’s so worth it!

However, I think much of it comes down to how hard you work, plus some other factors. For example, if you are a responsible owner and put the effort in early on, you won’t find it as difficult to raise a French Bulldog as other websites might say it is.

The factors for raising a happy Frenchie

Here are the main factors I think relate to raising a French Bulldog puppy to be happy and healthy:

  • Temperament: All dogs are different, and there’s every chance you will get a Frenchie that isn’t as balanced from a temperament perspective as others. This can be due to genetics and their treatment before you picked them up.
  • Socialization: It’s imperative that you take your Frenchie puppy for socialization classes so they can get used to people and other dogs. We took Claude to our local vets and it helped us raise him and train him to be very calm.
  • Puppy training: It’s impossible to raise a well behaved and obedient French Bulldog without sticking at training. You can find a list of my training guides lower down the page.
  • Exercise: Don’t believe what you might have heard about Frenchies being lazy. They are not and need exercise and walks to be happy.
  • Mental stimulation: Healthy and happy puppies need to have active brains, not just physical activity.
  • Health and care: Keep them clean, feed them a good diet, and keep up to date with their vet appointments and treatments.

In a moment, I will break those down a little further, with tips on how you can put these all into action with links into the guides for each one.

Is raising two French Bulldogs more difficult?

Whilst we only have one Frenchie, we will often look after another one. It’s actually no more work having two dogs than one, and if anything, it can be easier to raise two French Bulldogs.

The reason is, you can find that they will learn from each other, and mimic good (and bad) behaviors). That can make training a little easier.

Handy Hint: I wrote a long opinion piece on why I think it’s better to have two Frenchies than just the one. Read this if you are thinking about getting a puppy.

How to raise a healthy French Bulldog

Raising a healthy and happy French Bulldog isn’t hard if you put the work in. I’ve previously listed the signs of happiness your dog will display, and here how you can help get them there.

1. Establish a routine

Our French Bulldog is extremely adaptable to our lives, but that doesn’t mean we’ve not worked hard on a routine. He knows what time to wake up, when his food should be out, and when walk times are.

Yes, we won’t always stick to them, but a dog with a routine will be more settled, less anxious, and easier to train. Dogs like things to be predictable!

2. Have plenty of toys

Keep your Frenchie mentally active, and you will help to raise a happy and healthy dog. You can take them for walks twice a day, but they will also need indoor playtime.

You can buy toys that challenge them mentally and others which just rely on classic games such as tug of war… see the 18 best Frenchie toys I recommend.

do french bulldogs like to cuddle
Your Frenchie puppy will love to play with plenty of different toys.

3. Keep them clean

And I don’t just mean giving your Frenchie a good clean when he needs it. You should also keep your dog’s bedding clean and this can help to reduce their chances of allergies.

4. Include them in everything

Claude has become part of our family which means including him on everything that we do. When he gets left out of something, he looks really put out.

My adopting your Frenchie into your “pack”, he will feel part of the family and will be raised as a really good dog, particular if you are the pack leader.

5. Walk them twice a day

By walking your Frenchie twice a day, you don’t just keep them fit and healthy. Taking them out from a young age (post-vaccinations) exposes them to all the different elements early on that will help them to grow up as well adjusted dogs.

6. Keep their diet healthy

I work off the 90/10 rule when it comes to Claude’s diet. That means a snack or treat is only ever 10% of his daily calorie intake. The remainder is vet approved food that is packed full of all the nutrients he needs.

When he does have snacks, we make sure they are things like healthy fruit and vegetables. Below you can access lists of safe and dangerous foods for Frenchies to print off and keep.

7. Have regular check ups

You should be taking your dog to the vets at least once a year, plus keep flea and tick medicines up to date.

8. Don’t expect miracles and be patient

When raising and training your Frenchies, the behavior you want will not happen overnight. For example, Claude would not obey recall commands until he was about 15 months old… it can take time to train this breed!

It all boils down to you and how much work you are prepared to put in. Here are some of my most popular training guides to help you.

For more guides like this, please explore my Frenchie training archive.

9. Socialize them

I believe one of the biggest factors you can learn if you want to know how to raise a French Bulldog puppy is getting them socialized properly.

You can usually find local classes to do this, our vets put evenings on for puppies and owners. If you have nothing like that locally, it’s important to get them exposed to other dogs once they are ready to leave the house.

two frenchies
It could even be easier for you to raise two Frenchies!

And it’s not just dogs they need to okay around, you also need to see if you can do this with young children.

Getting this element cracked will mean you raise a health and well-behaved Frenchie.

How much does it cost to raise a French Bulldog?

As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into raising and training a French Bulldog, so don’t take it lightly. It’s a big commitment and will need your full attention.

But that’s not the whole picture, there’s also the cost elements, which people will often overlook too before rushing into getting their puppy.

I’ve estimated that it costs more than $2,000 dollars (£1,700) to raise a French Bulldog puppy in the first 12 months of ownership. Here’s how those costs break down individually:

  • Food and treats: £400 ($515).
  • Insurance: £300 ($390).
  • Vet visits: £120 ($155).
  • Annual health check: £40 ($52).
  • Flea treatment and tick collars: £180 ($232).
  • Toys and bedding: £70 ($90).
  • Dog walker and dog sitting: £590 ($760).

The figures above don’t include any costs you might shell out for training or socialization classes, as not all owners will do this.

Handy Hint: I’ve broken down the annual ownership costs for Frenchies into way more detail in this guide to how much they cost each year.

Conclusion 

The bottom line is, you need to persevere with training to raise a French Bulldog. They can have stubborn streaks, and depending on their individual personality, might be harder than your average dog.

It just depends on so many varied factors.

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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