New owners will always have questions over neutering; I remember very clearly how much research I did before we had our own Frenchie Claude done. In this guide I will share with you what we learned about why French Bulldogs should be neutered, when you should do it, how much it costs, what the surgery and recovery involves, plus some pros and cons.
Disclaimer: The content in this guide is based on having spoken to my own vet, plus the knowledge of other Frenchie owners I know. There will always be differing opinions, so please consult with a vet that you trust and who knows your dog.
Neutering a French Bulldog
When it comes to neutering your Frenchie, it seems there’s a range of wildly different opinions, arguments, and even some horror stories passed down through a friend of a friend.
Handy Hint: Male French Bulldogs are neutered, females are spayed. I’ve also published the ultimate guide to spaying if you own a girl and not a boy.
This can make the question of when the best time to neuter your French Bulldog is (if you even decide to do it at all). When everyone has something different to say, who should you trust?
Before we go into the matter at hand, I’ll say this – you’ll know your dog better than anyone, and you should let your own intuition (alongside the advice of trained medical professionals, of course) take the lead on this matter.
Try and shut out the noise and consider what your vet says about neutering your Frenchie carefully… however, you came here for quick advice, so here’s my opinion on what we did.
When to Neuter your Frenchie?
When to neuter a French bulldog puppy? The best age to neuter a French Bulldog tends to be between 4 and 9 months whilst the puppy is still in the adolescent phase. Vets recommend that neutering before sexual maturity can have multiple health and behavioural benefits.
This is a rough guideline as it’s important that your Frenchie has matured and grown enough to handle the surgical procedure, whilst not being too grown so as to miss out on some of the benefits of being neutered.
At the very least, they should have completed their muscular and skeletal development.
Should I neuter my French Bulldog?
Although a lot of Frenchie owners opt to neuter their pets, a small minority do have concerns the risks involved and will opt to keep them un-neutered. You can read my personal view on this below…
Should I neuter my French Bulldog? I believe male Frenchies should be neutered unless you plan on breeding your dog. Neutering can reduce bad behaviours such as mounting, territorial urine marking and aggression, plus unwanted pregnancies. It can also reduce the risk of prostate cancers.
Pros and cons of neutering your French Bulldog
As with any surgical procedures, there are pros and cons no matter what you do – I will lay out some of the most common ones here for you to make a judgement for yourself.
- Behaviours: Neutering is said to stop (or at least dramatically reduce) problematic behaviour patterns in French Bulldogs including aggression, territorial marking (urinating), searching for partner and running away, sexual behaviour (humping your leg or other objects around the house.
- Aggression & guarding: A lot of owners are concerned that if they neuter their French Bulldog, they will no longer be able to effectively protect them – but this isn’t the case at all. Neutered French Bulldogs are still protective of their owners, albeit they aren’t the best of guard dogs.
- Health benefits: Neutering can prevent health issues such as testicular cancer or other prostate issues.
- Improved life expectancy: Research shows that on average, French Bulldogs who are neutered have a longer lifespan than those who don’t.
- Reduces unwanted pregnancies: Whilst Frenchies do find it hard to mate and reproduce naturally (find out why), it will stop the chances of your male impregnating female dogs and producing unexpected litters.
- Less of a target to thieves: Another plus side to having a Frenchie neutered is that he’ll be less of a target for dog thieves looking to make money from “breed-able” dogs as. It’s very easy to tell just by looking if they’ve been neutered or not.
- Might not change behaviours: Sometimes, problematic behaviour patterns in French Bulldogs aren’t solved even after neutering. It doesn’t always work, and some owners say this is particularly true if neutering occurs after unwanted behaviours have become habitual.
- The cost: Owning a French Bulldog is expensive (here’s how much it costs). If you cannot afford how much is costs to neuter your Frenchie, please discuss options with your vet.
- Can affect bone development: There are some studies that show early neutering can affect the joint development in larger dogs. Whilst there is no published study relating to the neutering of French Bulldogs, you should talk to your vet if you have any concerns.
- Reactions to anaesthetic: French Bulldogs don’t react well to certain types of general anaesthetic, so if an inexperienced vet operates on your dog there is a very slim chance something could go wrong.
Common myths dispelled
A lot of owners don’t think French Bulldogs should be neutered due to the belief there can be complications or ramifications leading to a poor quality of life.
However, a number of the myths surrounding the neutering of your French Bulldog are just that: myths.
To distinguish the old wife’s tales from the facts, I have ‘busted’ some of the most common misconceptions that French Bulldog owners have when it comes to neutering.
- Your French Bulldog won’t become lazy and overweight after the surgery: If they do, that is down to a lack of exercise and a poor diet, not the operation.
- The procedure is not painful: It is carried out under general anaesthetic, so your Frenchie shouldn’t feel a thing. However, there can be post-operative pain and infections.
- Neutering won’t stunt your dog’s growth: As mentioned, many vets won’t perform the procedure until they’re satisfied that they have completed their musculoskeletal development.
- Your Frenchie will die from the anaesthetic: Whilst it is true that your French Bulldog doesn’t react well to certain anaesthetics, your vet will be aware of this and won’t use types that might potentially harm your dog during the procedure. Remember, your vet has a duty of care!
Will neutering my French Bulldog calm him down?
Neutering can calm your Frenchie down, but not always. There is no cut and dry answer to this question. Neutering will only calm a French Bulldog down if the behaviour is down to hormones; neutering will stop that.
Here’s what the Hill Crest Animal Hospital vets say (view source):
“The most reliable effects of castration relate to its effect on libido. A neutered dog will have a much, much lower sex drive than when he was entire. Yes, there are some very highly sexed neutered dogs out there but imagine what they’d be like if they hadn’t been castrated! So, humping, mounting, masturbation and roaming will almost certainly be significantly, and possibly dramatically, reduced.”
What the surgery involves
The operation doesn’t take long and is fairly simple. When vets neuter your French Bulldog, they perform a procedure known as orchiectomy. This is the surgical removal of the testicles, but it is a largely non-invasive procedure.
Here’s how it should work:
- First, your dog is put under general anaesthetic.
- Then, a small incision is made in front of the scrotal sac, and both testicles are removed – leaving just the sac.
- Often the incision is so small that stitches aren’t even needed, but your vet will dress/stitch the wound and then send your dog home.
- The entire surgery and operation should take no longer than 20 minutes, with recovery from the anaesthetic taking around 30 minutes.
- In most cases, your Frenchie will be able to come home the same day of the surgery.
Possible (but rare) complications
It is important that your vet is familiar and experienced with the nuances of the French Bulldog breed. This is because Frenchies need milder anaesthetic types like sevoflurane rather than the usual ones they give dogs – it’s due to brachycephalic syndrome.
Due to the generations of breeding, French Bulldogs have a flat face and this can (in rare cases) lead to breathing complications during surgery.
What to expect after neutering your Frenchie?
Your vet will advise you on what to do and should provide a post-operative care plan. Don’t worry though, it’s really simple stuff and here’s what to expect:
- To avoid infection, your dog might wear a cone round their neck, which is otherwise known as the ‘cone of shame’ if he can reach the wound (most Frenchies can’t).
- Your Frenchie might lose his appetite after neutering but should be back to normal after a couple of days.
- Eventually his scrotal area will flatten, looking more like a flap of skin than the two testicles you used to see.
- You should restrict physical activity for a couple of days so the wound and stitches don’t open – here’s how long you need to wait and how to monitor exercise.
- Keep an eye out for infection.
How much does it cost to neuter a French Bulldog?
Neutering costs will vary wildly depending on the vet, your location, and whether or not your Frenchie’s testicles are descended into the normal position.
Although costs vary based on your specific vets, the average UK and US prices for a French Bulldog to be neutered is as follows:
- Average neutering cost in the UK: £150 to £200 pounds.
- Average neutering cost in the US: $125 to $175 dollars.
If you are in the UK and receive benefits such as Universal Credit, you are entitled to free or largely subsidised healthcare under organisations like PDSA (check to see if you are eligible).
If you reside in the United States and cannot afford the cost to neuter your Frenchie, then take a look at the Humane Society’s website. There’s a list of possible options including charities and shelters who can help.
What other owners say…
I never like to just give you my opinion, but also a round-up of what other owners say. Here’s a selection of comments I found on social media about neutering Frenchies.
“My sister’s Frenchie was 9 months old when she got him. She had him neutered just a couple of days later as his attempted mounting was making her spayed female dogs freak out!”
“I had my boy done at 6 months best thing I did. He’s now such a chilled-out boy and it seemed to calm him down. He’s got a lovely temperament.”
“Getting a dog neutered before he is fully grown can be detrimental to his health and doesn’t always solve behavioural problems. He’s growing up and his hormones are kicking in hence the humping. It may be a bit annoying or embarrassing but it’s kind of what they do!”
“In my opinion getting your Frenchie neutered is best and could help to calm. It can also prevent some cancers best to speak with your vet or vet nurse they will advise you on the best route.”
“As dog owns for decades we also say get him neutered. It makes a massive difference and your Frenchie will be more settled and less preoccupied with humping other dog or items.”
“My boy loved being neutered. Not at first, he hated me for a couple days. But after that he finally started to play fetch with the other dogs and loves running around which he didn’t before.”
“Getting him neutered will not help behaviour, training helps behaviour. Dogs hump for lots of reasons. Do some research. Solid structured training is a big help.”
“My vet said it’s best not to neuter because neutered dogs have way more health issues. I however, did neuter my boy because he humped everything non-stop. The humping stopped, but it did not call him down one bit. “
“Mine is neutered. He’s no more or less aggressive, though. He does consider anything within his reach his. I’m going to try the trade method when he grabs socks or underwear off the floor and won’t let go.”
The general consensus from vets and owners is that the best time to neuter your French Bulldog is when they are still in their adolescent stage – from 4 to 9 months old.
Neutering your Frenchie is said to numerous health and behavioural benefits, so it is a decision that every dog owner should take seriously.
If you choose to neuter your French Bulldog, it is important to strike the right balance between too soon and too late.
But the bottom line is this; talk to your vet and get professional advice. All dogs are different!
You Might Also Like: I have recently found different advice on when you should neuter your Frenchie. I recommend you read this too as they say the opposite. It’s on the Dogs Naturally Magazine (read here), and states that early neutering can affect canine bone growth negatively.