Are French Bulldogs good for first time owners? If you’re looking for your first dog, you’re in luck with a French Bulldog! This breed has the good things you’ll look for in a starter dog: affectionate, docile, friendly, and playful. However, Frenchies also come with some downsides that you have to weigh before deciding to get a pup.
Take note that getting the right breed is crucial for you as a pet owner and the dog itself. We don’t want another Frenchie ending up in cold shelter kennels.
In this post, I share my personal experiences of how I decided to get a French Bulldog as my first dog. I also included an honest take on the disadvantages of this breed.
Are French Bulldogs good for first time owners?
French Bulldogs are one of the most popular breeds among first-time dog owners. From being companions to lacemakers in France, they now make great family pets.
Of course, getting a dog is a big responsibility, but if this is your first time, you have to be sure that you’re ready to commit.
If you’re eyeing Frenchies as a pet, here are some of the reasons why they are a good choice:
🐶They are extremely friendly.
When socialized and trained, French Bulldogs are one of the friendliest breeds you can ever find. After all, they were bred to be companions, so you can expect them to have a laidback temperament.
This breed also embraces strangers, which makes them lousy guard dogs. They are also natural cuddlers and would prefer to snuggle with you than run around the house like other breeds.
Also, many pet owners love the goofy personality of French Bulldogs. They are unlikely to show aggressive tendencies, so they suit inexperienced dog owners.
🐶They adapt to apartment living.
French Bulldogs are also the quintessential apartment dogs. There’s no wonder why they are famous in New York City. As a laidback canine, Frenchies don’t need a yard to stay happy. They are content with indoor playtime sessions as well as the companionship of their owners.
Aside from that, Frenchies won’t mind the quiet and low-profile setup of an apartment. As long as they have a window to stare at, they will be more than happy to live with you. They also don’t mind being in a high-rise building, and your neighbors will surely like the polite disposition of a Frenchie.
🐶They are good with kids and other pets.
Do you have kids and other non-canine pets? If so, French Bulldogs will suit your family well. Frenchies are adaptive, and they acclimate to kids well. They are also quite tolerant, but it’s still best to teach your kids to respect the canine’s boundaries.
Moreover, French Bulldogs thrive well with other pets with similar personalities as they do. Frenchies are also great with cats, even small kittens.
🐶 They have manageable energy levels.
Many first-time owners look for dogs that aren’t too yappy but not couch potatoes, either. The French Bulldog breed fits the bill here. This canine has a playful personality, but they aren’t as rough as other dogs in terms of energy levels.
After all, Frenchies are brachycephalic dogs, and intense physical exertion doesn’t suit them well. This is why they are ideal for young families who are about to own a dog for the first time.
🐶 They are not fond of escaping.
French Bulldogs are far from escape artists. On the contrary, they are so clingy that they prefer staying beside their owners. Instead, they prefer exploring the outdoors with their hoomans.
Whether you live in an apartment or a house with a yard, Frenchies are unlikely to go to great lengths just to escape. However, this is the case as long as you address separation anxiety properly (more on this below).
🐶 They aren’t known barkers.
This breed isn’t known to be obsessive barkers. They are usually quiet and calm at home as long as they have company. However, when they get bored or anxious, Frenchies can be whiny canines. But with training and socialization, this problem can be easily corrected.
🐶 They have a low prey drive.
Frenchies suck as guard dogs because of one thing: they have a low prey drive. This means that a French Bulldog is less likely to pursue a stray animal compared to Pit Bulls or American Bulldogs. Such nature also makes them a safe choice around toddlers.
Why you shouldn’t get this breed
As much as French Bulldogs are an attractive choice for first-time owners, it’s important to address some downsides they usually come with. After all, pet ownership isn’t always a bed of roses. You have to prepare yourself for the following if you’re keen to get this breed:
🐾They don’t like being left alone.
French Bulldogs were bred as companion dogs. When you leave them alone at home, they will develop a serious case of separation anxiety. This can lead to other problems, which can cause trouble with your neighbors.
If you’re working extra hours or if your family is always out of the house, this breed may not be a good choice. Frenchies thrive in companionship, so make sure that you’re ready to give it before you bring them home.
🐾They are not easy to train.
Another truth bomb about Frenchies is that they aren’t the smartest of their kind. They are far from Golden Retrievers, let alone a German Shepherd. Frenchies can be a pain to housetrain, and their stubborn behavior always gets in the way.
Of course, food rewards will go a long way here. However, you have to practice consistency and a lot of patience to see results. Also, French Bulldogs take more time than other dogs to learn commands. This is something you should be ready to deal with as a first-time dog owner.
🐾They fart a lot.
True to their Bulldog blood, Frenchies are loud and smelly farters. They are gassy dogs, no matter what food you feed them.
This happens because brachycephalic breeds like French Bulldogs take in more air while eating or drinking. And if you don’t use a slow-feeding bowl, they run the risk of experiencing gastric torsion. This condition is deadly and can kill a dog in a matter of hours.
So if you’re getting a Frenchie, it’s best to give them their own sleeping quarters. You wouldn’t want to be awakened by their ripping farts in the middle of the night. Especially on the face (trust me on this one).
🐾They are prone to a lot of health problems.
Here’s my honest advice: never get a French Bulldog if you’re poor. Unfortunately, this dog is mired with a slew of health problems that require expensive treatments.
This is the painful truth I learned in the third year of owning a French Bulldog. Cherry eye, overheating, and a myriad of allergies – these are just some of the health problems Frenchies are known for. And since they are deep-chested, they are also at a higher risk of developing orthopedic issues.
Still, French Bulldogs aren’t a lost cause. As long as you get the pup from a legitimate breeder, these health risks would be very low. Still, as the dog ages, its risk of developing such problems increases.
🐾They are expensive.
My first French Bulldog set me back for US$5,000. It’s a purebred French Bulldog with AKC registration. And if you think that’s already too steep, some breeders would set the price tag at US$6,500 up to US$10,000. And for Frenchies with rare coat colors, the cost could reach up to $10,000+.
Take note that this upfront cost is just the tip of the iceberg. You’ll spend on food, vet care, grooming, and other things your Frenchie needs. Unless your pocket can easily shoulder these expenses, I suggest you consider more affordable canines.
How to get your first Frenchie puppy
If you’re sure that a French Bulldog is a right choice for you, the next step is finding a legitimate breeder. You have to be very careful with this part, as many puppy mills pose as actual breeders.
Here are my tried and tested process of verifying if a Frenchie breeder is legitimate:
✔️Ask for an AKC affiliation.
Responsible French Bulldog breeders will be affiliated with the American Kennel Club (AKC) or any local clubs for that matter. This is proof that they practice and follow breeding standards set by the organization. Also, AKC-affiliated breeders will secure registration for their puppies to prove that they are purebred.
Make sure that the breeder is in the official registries of the kennel clubs they claim to be part of. You should also ask to see the breeder’s license.
If a breeder you’re talking to doesn’t have any official affiliations, you should look elsewhere. However, the only exception is if you don’t mind getting a low-quality puppy.
✔️Ask for the puppy’s health certificate
Since French Bulldogs are prone to various health problems, you have to ensure that the pup you’re getting has a clean health certificate. Legitimate breeders get every pup examined and tested for a list of conditions. They will never sell a puppy with health defects.
If the breeder refuses and tries to talk their way out of issuing a health certificate, don’t think twice. Leave and look for another option who can give you this certificate.
✔️Demand for an in-person meeting
Legitimate French Bulldog breeders will not hesitate to book you for an appointment. They will show you the pups personally, including the parent canines. This is to prove that they aren’t hiding anything.
If the breeder says that the parent dogs are in the vet or somewhere else, insist on seeing them on another occasion. But if the breeder tries to make excuses, consider it as a red flag. The parents of the Frenchie pups might be suffering from serious health problems.
✔️Ask for two references
As a first-time dog owner, you’re hot in the eyes of scammers and puppy mills. This is why you should ask for referrals from your friends and family. In addition, I recommend getting feedback from actual owners who got their pup from a specific breeder. This firsthand information will give you an idea of the dog’s health and the breeder’s legitimacy.
✔️Observe the puppies’ living condition
During your visit to the breeder’s place, you should observe where the puppies are being raised. It should be spacious, and the Frenchies shouldn’t be locked up in cages. Most of all, the place shouldn’t be crowded or dirty.
The breeder to where I got my Frenchie raises their puppies in their home like their own pets. This way, the pups get proper socialization and training at an early age.
✔️Responsible breeders only produce a few litters per year.
Generally, licensed breeders will only produce one to two litters a year. This is the humane number of puppies a mother dog can carry. Also, by limiting the number of puppies per batch, the breeder can focus on every dog’s health.
So if the breeder of your choice claims to have dozens of puppies available, you should back out of a transaction. You’re dealing with a potential puppy mill where French Bulldog puppies are suffering from various health problems. Worse, they force female dogs to get pregnant more times than what’s considered safe.
✔️The breeder is open to questions.
French Bulldogs with nothing to hide will not hesitate to answer your question. They will also be the ones to demand that you visit their place. Aside from that, they will impose specific conditions in the contract to ensure the safety of the puppy.
Moreover, the breeder where I got my puppy allowed me to contact them if I had questions. They were so accommodating, and they even sent me online resources on how to take care of my new Frenchie.
✔️The breeder wants to know you.
Responsible breeders don’t just produce healthy puppies. They also want to ensure that their pups will be in the right hands.
With this, legitimate breeders will interview you about why you decided to get a Frenchie. They will also ask about your lifestyle to ensure that a Frenchie is a perfect match for you.
Aside from that, some breeders will include a clause in their contract obligating you to secure pet insurance for the purchased pup.
Is it a good idea to adopt a French Bulldog?
Adopting would be a smart choice if you’re on a budget but eager to get a Frenchie. I always say that there’s a special place in heaven for those who adopt shelter dogs. However, you should also know the realities of adopting a Frenchie.
To be fair, I’ve met many French Bulldogs in shelters with excellent temperaments. However, staying in a kennel for a long time can be quite stressful for dogs. This will lead to the development of various behavioral issues. With this, you should be willing to train.
Also, you won’t fully know the history of a rescued French Bulldog. Some of them came from negligent owners, others were surrendered, while others were picked up from the streets. Beyond that, you won’t fully know what the dog went through.
Still, adopting can be one of the best decisions you could ever make as an aspiring Frenchie owner.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are French Bulldogs high-maintenance?
A: Frenchies are on a moderate scale in terms of maintenance. They aren’t tough to keep, but they aren’t the easiest either. You have to factor in the dog’s health, temperament, and overall structure. But, overall, they are still suitable for first-time owners.
Q: Is it worth getting a French Bulldog?
A: If you want a dog who will shower you with love and affection, French Bulldogs are truly worth it. This breed is also friendly and won’t mind entertaining your guests. However, you should know that they have a fair share of health problems.
Q: Which is better, male or female French Bulldog?
A: I don’t consider a dog’s gender as the sole basis when choosing a pet. But generally, Frenchie owners report that males are more energetic and mischievous while females are more laidback. However, this personality is highly dependent on the level of training and socialization.
Q: Do French Bulldogs get attached to one person?
A: French Bulldogs can run favorites, especially if there’s one person that shows them more affection than the rest of the family. However, with proper socialization, Frenchies will shower everyone with love.
Q: How much do French Bulldog puppies cost?
A: French Bulldog puppies can be as cheap as $2,000 or as expensive as $6,500. This pricing varies per breeder and breeder location. Overall, this breed is quite costly to get and raise. You should be financially ready to deal with the expenses.
Are French Bulldogs good for first time owners? This breed is actually popular with newbie pet owners because of its excellent temperament and laidback attitude. However, you should know that Frenchies aren’t for everyone. Matching the breed to your lifestyle is crucial to ensure that you’re ready to raise the canine.