Owning a French Bulldog definitely comes with some unique challenges – and one of the biggest is making sure they get enough exercise.
With their cute faces and bat ears, Frenchies are playful, fun-loving dogs; however, they are a brachycephalic breed, their short flat faces mean they have shorter nasal passageways. This means they have difficulty regulating their body temperature and can be prone to breathing problems.
Therefore your French Bulldog exercise routine is something that needs careful consideration; you must be careful not to overdo things and never attempt strenuous exercises in hot weather.
In this post, we’ll break down how much exercise your Frenchie needs each day, as well as some tips on how to make sure they stay active. Let’s get started!
How Much Exercise Does a French Bulldog Need?
On average, a French Bulldog should have up to an hour of exercise daily; this should be made up of short walks, training, free play and mental challenges. This breed can develop behavioral problems if not provided with enough mental stimulation.
Grown Frenchies – How Much Exercise Does an Adult French Bulldog Need?
This really depends on the individual dog; my Frenchie has no breathing difficulties and is happy to go on short hikes.
However, this isn’t the case with all. Exercising a French Bulldog needs serious consideration as some have difficulty breathing which can lead to exercise intolerance, which means you may have to come up with other inventive ways to get them moving to avoid weight gain.
Young Frenchies – How Much Exercise Does a French Bulldog Puppy Need?
Like all dogs, the first year in your Frenchie’s life is when they grow the quickest; at this point, their bones and joints are not fully formed, so care must be taken to avoid injuries. When you bring your new puppy home, he will receive sufficient activity just by exploring his new surroundings, playing and learning new things.
From 3 months of age, your pup should have received their vaccinations and you can start taking him outside. The general rule of thumb is 5 minutes walking per month of age, so walks should not be longer than 15 minutes at three months.
How Much Exercise Does a Senior French Bulldog Need?
As your Frenchie gets older, you will find that they will begin to slow down, zoomies will become less frequent and they may suffer from arthritis or joint and bone problems such as hip dysplasia or Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) due to their stocky build.
A French Bulldog’s lifespan is around 12 years and they are considered a senior at about 9-10 years of age.
Any breathing difficulties may worsen with age, and older Frenchies are prone to heatstroke. Therefore exercise should be in moderation and vigorous exercise should be avoided altogether.
A couple of short walks in the early morning or evening when it is cooler and some mentally stimulating games are sufficient for most Frenchies in their golden years.
Pay attention to your pooch for any signs of tiredness and fatigue and if you are unsure, consult with your vet.
French Bulldog Exercise ideas:
Sometimes it’s not always possible to go on walks with your French Bulldog. Below are six alternative activities that will give your pooch some extra exercise, strengthen their core and provide mental stimulation.
This is an excellent low impact activity ideal for older Frenchies. Simply lay some poles on the ground in a pattern and encourage your pooch to step over them.
Cavaletti is often used in rehabilitation as it increases rear end awareness, improves Fido’s Proprioception (body awareness) balance and range of motion, making it a fantastic exercise for French Bulldogs.
Mental stimulation is essential for this breed as they can suffer from anxiety and get bored easily, resulting in unwanted behaviors such as paw licking, excessive barking and destructive chewing,
Puzzle toys will keep your pup occupied for hours at the same time, developing their problem-solving capabilities. There are tons available online or in pet stores; you can even make your own, with household items such as plastic bottles with holes in them or rolling up a yoga mat or old towel with treats hidden inside.
You may have seen these for humans, but did you know that balancing discs and peanut stability balls can benefit dogs? Not only do they increase your canine companion’s core strength, but they also improve flexibility, balance and help maintain strong joints.
This makes them perfect for Frenchies, susceptible to spine and joint issues. Wobble boards and discs are available online, but you could use a couple of pillows or sofa cushions.
Hide and Seek
Anyone who owns a French Bulldog knows they want to be with you constantly, so hide and seek is a fantastic way to get your Frenchie active when indoors.
Start by hiding somewhere your Frenchie can see and rewarding him when he finds you. As he becomes more proficient, make the hiding places more complex, for example, in other rooms.
Our 14 year old and our 12 year old LOVE playing this game with Augie (and he loves it too because he gets rewarded with treats!).
You can even mix it up by hiding their favorite toys or devise a treasure hunt leaving a trail of healthy treats.
Dog Training Sessions
Focused dog training sessions are mentally-stimulating for a French Bulldog. When Augie was a puppy, we enrolled him in a puppy dog training class and he left those classes exhausted and came home to take a nice long nap. During the class the dog instructor had him practice stay, come, and other essentials skills. These types of classes are great for exercise, mental stimulation, and can help develop a well-trained Frenchie.
French Bulldogs love to chew, so provide them with age-appropriate toys to satisfy this natural instinct.
Chew toys can relieve anxiety and boredom as well as improve their oral hygiene. Not all dog’s like hard rubber toys, so introduce some plush squeaky toys too.
Kong does an excellent range of chew toys that you can use with treats and natural treats like antlers and Yakers make an excellent alternative.
“Doga” – Dog Yoga
This may sound like a fad, but doggy yoga is becoming increasingly popular with dog owners due to its many benefits, especially for older dogs.
Obviously, your dog can’t do many traditional yoga exercises, but they will enjoy the stretching and massage aspects, which relieve stress and alleviate boredom.
Doga is excellent to calm down hyperactive dogs and is a great low impact activity for senior Frenchies to soothe arthritis pain and prevent ACL injuries.
French Bulldog Exercise FAQs
Here are some frequently asked questions we have heard from French Bulldog owners regarding exercising their pups.
Can French Bulldogs go on long walks?
Long walks are not recommended for this breed, primarily due to their flat faces and constricted airways, which cause breathing problems in many dogs. Beyond that, mostly Frenchies won’t put up with the idea of a long walk. The number of times I have seen pictures in French Bulldog Facebook groups posting photos of themselves having to carry their stubborn Frenchie who refused to walk any longer.
That being said, if your Frenchie doesn’t have serious breathing problems and is generally healthy, you can up the ante a bit; mine can happily walk for 2 miles. Just be sure not to walk in extreme temperatures.
Keep checking your pup for signs of fatigue and take plenty of water. Your vet will be able to give you advice if you are unsure!
Can I jog with my french bulldog?
Probably not, whilst some Frenchies may be able to keep up without issue, their little legs and heavy bodies mean they tire easily after about 10 minutes. As mentioned, many of this breed have breathing difficulties, so running and jogging are not recommended.
My Frenchie does like to do short sprints but prolonged jogging with my Frenchie has never been an option.
Do French Bulldogs like to hike?
They may like it for short distances, but sadly they are not ideal hiking buddies for the reasons we have covered above.
I live in New Hampshire and we have a lot of 4,000 Foot mountains that many avid hikers like to hike with their dogs. I have never seen a Frenchie on one of these hikes and have never considered bringing my Frenchie Augie on a long hike.
However, as we’ve already mentioned, some Frenchies are healthier than others and if you have a fit and active adult French Bulldog, you may be able to go on short hikes if you take certain precautions.
- Never hit the trail in extreme temperatures – heatstroke can be fatal for Frenchies and they don’t do too well in the cold either as they find it hard to regulate their body temperature.
- Always use a harness – A harness is much safer for a French Bulldog as it distributes pulling pressure across the body rather than the throat area.
- Take plenty of water – Make sure you have plenty of water with you and stop for regular drinks.
- Rest often – Stop and give your pooch time to rest; hiking for short periods will help build up your dog’s stamina, don’t rush it.
- Choose the right trail – Frenchies are not equipped for rugged terrain; choose soft ground so as not to damage their joints. Forest trails or coastal hikes are best, wooded areas are shadier and if there’s water nearby, it means you can cool Fido down quickly.
- Pack the right gear – It’s essential to pack the right equipment when hiking and it applies to dogs too. Take plenty of water, a collapsable bowl and some high protein snacks, a first aid kit is crucial and you may find bootees helpful to protect paws. I always take a light waterproof coat as my girl isn’t keen on the rain and don’t forget your pet insurance details should your pooch need medical attention.
Final Thoughts – French Bulldog Exercise Requirements
French Bulldogs need a moderate amount of exercise of around an hour a day, including a couple of walks, free play, mentally stimulating activities and training.
The health issues that affect French Bulldogs can impact their exercise routine, so always check with your vet before starting any new physical workouts.
Puppies don’t require as much exercise as adult dogs; just be sure to give them plenty of training and appropriate toys that can be an outlet for frustration and prevent destructive behaviors.
Older dogs also need less exercise; however, this breed is susceptible to weight issues, so remember to reduce their calories along with their physical activity.
We hope this post has helped you learn more about how to keep your Frenchie healthy and happy. Remember, exercise is essential for all breeds of dogs!
PS – For more health information about Frenchies visit here.