French Bulldogs have a very distinct look to them and an underbite is part of their look. My French Bulldog Augie doesn’t have a very pronounced underbite but I have met Frenchies that do have very pronounced underbites. Is it a bad thing? Not necessarily.
Below, I will take you through my findings, including how to care for a Frenchie with an underbite.
Is It Normal For French Bulldogs To Have An Underbite?
Yes it is perfectly normal for your French Bulldog to have an underbite. It is part of the French Bulldog breed standard according to the AKC. The lower jaws of bulldogs tend to be more pronounced and it tends to show the lower teeth when the bulldog is at rest.
Your French Bulldog having an underbite is very common and is not usually anything to be concerned about. Let’s dive into more about the French Bulldog underbite.
What’s A French Bulldog Underbite?
French Bulldogs have a pushed-in face, commonly called a Brachycephalic skull. It’s a type of skull that causes a dog to have an underbite—the lower jaw is longer than the upper jaw.
Some French Bulldogs have more pronounced underbites than others. My Frenchie Augie has a mild underbite but I have seen others that have very pronounced underbites.
Why Do French Bulldogs Have an Underbite?
There can be several reasons why your Frenchie can have an underbite. In most cases it is purely genetic and part of it being bred into the breed.
Other causes include:
An underbite can, in some cases, occur due to acquired behaviors such as playing rough and acquired chewing habits. For example, a puppy can develop an underbite if it tugs or chews with its teeth when teething.
Such behaviors will cause the teeth to move from the intended position causing an underbite. If the puppies already have one, the underbite will likely begin to worsen.
I recommend trying to refrain from engaging in rough play with the puppy. Additionally, consider providing the puppy with special chew toys from a young age.
As we try to answer the question, “is it normal for French Bulldogs to have an underbite?” your French Bulldog inherits their genetics from their parents. Just like in humans.
An underbite, also known as Malocclusion, is a hereditary condition. Dog parents can pass it on to their puppies. It is not inherently a bad thing and is part of the breed standard as I mentioned above.
An underbite can also develop because of how the adult teeth begin to grow in as the puppy ages.
A misalignment will typically occur when adult teeth begin to appear when a puppy has completed teething. The misalignment will lead to the development of an underbite.
Considering that underbites are ingrained in their genetics, the Frenchie will develop an underbite regardless of what occurs during the teething phase.
As we mentioned, the primary reason for the French bulldog underbite is its Brachycephalic skull.
It generally means that the Frenchie has a short muzzle. The French bulldog has a genetic predisposition to develop a longer lower jaw and a short upper jaw from birth.
The muzzle leads to the emergence of an underbite due to the limited space left behind for teeth development.
Signs Your Frenchie May Have an Underbite
The following are common indications that your beloved Frenchie has developed this condition:
1. I have found that the most common and obvious sign of this condition is the development of a protruding lower jaw. Some dog owners call it a salmon jaw.
2. Mixed dentition (it occurs when puppy and adult teeth become connected. It’s common when adult teeth fail to grow in normally).
3. If the dog appears to have a slightly open mouth, commonly associated with fish. Your Frenchie may also have a hard time closing its mouth.
4. The presence of misaligned teeth that easily stick out of the mouth when it’s resting.
5. Food drops routinely from the mouth when the dog is eating.
Problems Commonly Linked to a French Bulldog Underbite
The French bulldog puppy underbite shouldn’t worry you as a pet owner if the Frenchie can eat, drink, or groom itself without bleeding or experiencing any pain. In most Frenchies the underbite is adorable and not an issue at all.
However, if your French Bulldog has a more pronounced underbite it can cause some issues. Common problems caused by a pronounced French bulldog underbite include:
Damage to Mouth Tissue and Gums
If you look at the causes we discussed earlier, the presence of an underbite in your French bulldog could indicate that it has developed misaligned adult teeth.
Misaligned teeth can easily cause damage to the soft tissues and gums present in the mouth. Both problems will cause pain and may lead to untold discomfort for the puppy.
They also increase its chances of developing an infection inside its mouth.
I recommend keeping a close eye on the pup to determine whether it’s experiencing any discomfort or pain. Common underbite signs to watch out for include:
• Trouble drinking or eating
• Wailing when you touch its mouth or when it’s eating
• The presence of unusual bad breath
• Blood oozing from its mouth
Gum Disease or Gingivitis
As we continue to explore the topic, “why do bulldogs have an underbite” you should note that the Frenchie can develop gum disease due to the presence of an underbite.
Bacteria buildup on the teeth causes the Frenchie to develop gum disease, especially when it makes its way under the gums.
If allowed to find its way into the gum, it will begin eating away the mouth tissue and the bone responsible for holding the teeth in the mouth.
It’s a scenario that can cause the bulldog to develop gum disease or gingivitis.
Luckily, you don’t have a reason to worry if the pup can eat and drink without experiencing any problem. A minor underbite doesn’t normally cause severe problems.
On the other hand, you will have a reason for concern if the pup has started experiencing pain and discomfort when chewing or swallowing.
Any experienced pet owner can easily notice when their pet has an issue. I recommend getting in touch with the vet as soon as possible to have the issue addressed.
Tartar and Plaque Buildup
A French bulldog underbite occurs because there isn’t enough space left in the mouth for teeth to fit in, making it easier for plaque and tartar to buildup.
Limited space means the teeth will grow too close together. It provides an ideal environment for plaque to build up as most areas inside the mouth will remain hard to reach during cleaning.
Failure to get rid of this plaque will lead to recurring gum irritation and tooth decay. Common symptoms of periodontal diseases in French bulldogs include:
• Ropey or bloody saliva
• Problems picking up their food
• Presence of lumps or bumps inside the mouth
• Red or bleeding gums
• Making noises also called “talking” when yawning or eating
• Loose teeth
• Bleeding into their chew toys or water bowl
• Bad breadth
Oronasal Fistula often leads to the development of chronic nasal infections. The Oronasal Fistula refers to an unusual opening between the nasal and oral cavities.
It typically causes saliva, water, and food to travel from the Frenchie’s mouth to its nose. Symptoms of this opening include bad breath, a runny nose, and excessive sneezing.
As I attempt to answer the question, “is it normal for French Bulldogs to have an underbite” I would like you to know that underbites aren’t usually problematic.
My research and the thirteen years spent caring for a Frenchie have proven that a minor underbite isn’t a cause for concern. But this doesn’t mean that you should ignore it altogether.
I strongly recommend that you keep an eye out for all the problems I have mentioned above.
What Should I Do if the Frenchie Has a Severe Underbite?
If you develop any concerns for your Frenchie, the first thing you should do is to schedule a visit with your vet. It doesn’t matter whether it’s suffering from a slight or more prominent underbite.
Consulting with a professional vet will help you to prevent the occurrence of major issues down the line. Additionally, the vet will check for infection signs and inform you whether the pet needs to undergo further tests.
A vet may give the Frenchie the all-clear signal if its underbite issues are minor. However, I suggest that you closely monitor any behavioral changes in your pet.
Please pay attention to its behavior when eating or when playing with its chew toys.
Changes that cause unusual mouth sensitivity, blood in the saliva, and pain/discomfort when eating will warrant another visit to the vet.
Is It Possible to Fix a French Bulldog Underbite?
Underbites look pretty in puppies and can help them to stand out from other Frenchies. But this is merely my opinion as you may have a different perspective on underbites.
The underbites occurring in French bulldogs often don’t require any attention as they aren’t severe in nature. Nonetheless, some require immediate correcting.
As a pet parent, there’s nothing you can do to assist in fixing a French bulldog puppy underbite. Furthermore, you should note that there are no quick corrections for this issue.
Luckily, you can consult with the vet on the existing medical procedures that can assist in correcting a bulldog underbite.
Most procedures assist in reducing the problems experienced by adult bulldogs that have an underbite. They include:
A vet may recommend teeth filing if the underbite becomes too severe, leading to jagged teeth. Filing assists in minimizing the chances of the bulldog injuring itself or developing other known dental problems. Vets rarely recommend filing.
Although French Bulldogs have small mouths, they tend to have the same teeth (forty-two) as other adult canines. The vet could recommend the extraction of one or several teeth. Extractions are a simple process and don’t take up much time to complete.
Believe it or not, but French bulldogs can also benefit from the support offered by braces. Unlike human braces, vets only use dog braces for medicinal purposes.
The vet begins by performing an oral examination to determine whether the pet requires braces. They will also decide whether it’s healthy enough to undergo this medical procedure.
Your Frenchie will undergo anesthesia during the x-ray process and the installation of these braces. After installation, it will have to learn to live without its chew toys and other rough games.
Professional Teeth Cleaning
Too much tartar buildup due to teeth overcrowding may necessitate a professional tooth cleaning exercise. Cleaning helps to prevent the emergence of other more severe issues.
I recommend investing in pet insurance for your Frenchie. A good insurance cover will help in paying for such procedures and in safeguarding its general health.
Ball therapy is a non-surgical procedure known to assist in correcting misaligned teeth. It’s a technique where the Frenchie gets encouraged to use its mouth to pick and carry a ball.
The smooth and appropriately sized ball should sit in the area behind its canine teeth. Ball therapy allows the application of suitable force to the misaligned teeth, which causes them to begin shifting to their correct positions.
Is There Anything I Can Do at Home to Help in Fixing the Underbite in my Frenchie?
Many of the solutions we have discussed above are medical and require a vet’s expertise to implement. However, you can perform several simple tricks at home to prevent the emergence of health issues commonly caused by French Bulldog underbites.
Some of the techniques I have tried with Augie, and which I would recommend you try include:
• Soft Food: Try to only provide it with soft food filled with carbs and proteins. Use water to mix all dry food.
• Soft Chew Toys: Chew toys help keep the Frenchie occupied, but they can also cause additional dental problems. Keep hard toys away from a puppy going through teething.
• Proper Teeth Cleaning at Home: I know from experience that bulldogs don’t like the idea of having their teeth cleaned. But you will need to clean their teeth to avoid tartar and plaque buildup.
Summary – French Bulldog Underbite
Is it normal for French Bulldogs to have an underbite? Yes, absolutely! Genetics, acquired behaviors, dental and skeletal makeup are some of the causes of French bulldog underbite. In most cases it shouldn’t be an issue for your Frenchie to have an underbite. Knowing what to do when your dog has an underbite can make all the difference.
Looking out for signs of pain and discomfort will ensure it gets help as soon as possible. Make sure to discuss the underbite treatment options available with your vet. Recommended options will depend on the severity of the underbite.