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Are French Bulldogs Aggressive? Understanding Frenchie’s Behavior

Are French Bulldogs Aggressive? Understanding Frenchie’s Behavior

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Aggressive behavior in dogs can be quite frustrating for dog owners. Your little buddy can be the most lovable pooch one minute and turn into a complete beast the next.

Maybe, they’re well-behaved when the two of you are alone, but they go completely off when there’s a different person or an animal in sight.

Are French Bulldogs aggressive?

french bulldog feeling boring

The French Bulldog breed is not generally considered to be prone to aggression with their adorable faces, floppy ears, and cute howl. However, any dog can become aggressive when the circumstances call for it. After all, their ancestors were great predators.

Each dog is an individual with its own unique character, so just because a certain breed is believed to have aggressive tendencies doesn’t mean that every dog that belongs to it will display them.

The same goes the other way around; a dog whose breed is seen as peaceful might still develop some behavior problems.

To deal with these problems, you first need to understand what’s causing them. There could be a number of reasons behind them, from fear to over-protective attitude or just plain boredom.

In this article, we’ll explain what prompts French Bulldogs to act out, and give you tips on what you can do about it.

Frenchie’s temperament

Two french bulldogs in park

The first litter of French Bulldogs was born in the 1880s as a result of different crossings done by enthusiastic French breeders.

The breed was officially recognized by the French Kennel Club in 1898, after which, the first standard for them was established.

Their particular appearance and character soon won the hearts of many, leading to a rapid rise in popularity. They could be seen hanging out in high society circles or alongside the creative minds of the day.

Today, they proudly stand among the top ten most popular dog breeds in many countries. The American Kennel Club reports that in 2020, French Bulldogs took over second place from German Shepherds in the USA.

This is not surprising considering that the fun-loving personality fit into a small body makes them great family members and companions to owners of various ages.

Frenchies, just like their physically more intimidating English cousins, are far more friendly and playful than they may look.

As possessive and keen companion dogs, they thrive when they’re in the center of attention, so leaving them alone for too long will probably lead to boredom or loneliness.

These little dogs tend to be very sociable animals that can get along great with children and other pets.

An adaptable, easy-going character, coupled with high intelligence, makes training easy for French Bulldog owners.

Since they’re not sporting dogs, Frenchies don’t require much outdoor exercise. A twenty-minute daily walk is usually enough for them. You’d be surprised at how much these small dogs love to lounge on the couch and cuddle with their humans. Furthermore, a Frenchie could even be described as a lazy dog breed.

What are the most common behavioral issues in French Bulldogs?

French Bulldog is barking

Despite all the good qualities we’ve listed above, a French Bulldog may, just like any other dog, develop some behavioral issues.

The role of a responsible dog owner is to get to the bottom of what’s causing them and do their best to combat their bad behavior.

The most common problems that Frenchie’s might exhibit are:

• Excessive barking

Due to their short noses, Frenchies are known to make all sorts of noises, from snoring to snorting. However, compared to other dog breeds, they don’t usually bark much.

Barking is a way to communicate for dogs, so occasional barking is no cause for concern. Excessive barking, on the other hand, can be quite problematic.

Apart from being extremely annoying, it indicates that there’s something wrong with the dog. It can be a sign of pain, anxiousness, or emotional distress. Excessive barking may also be caused by boredom, attention-seeking, or territorial behavior.

• Destructive biting and chewing

Biting and chewing objects are completely normal dog habits.

Puppies will chew through anything in order to ease the pain of teething, and chewing helps adult dogs keep their teeth clean and jaws strong. It can also be a way to fight boredom or relieve frustration.

Nevertheless, it can turn into a serious behavioral issue if it becomes destructive. By destroying stuff in your home, your dog might be trying to tell you there’s a problem.

Destructive chewing may be caused by separation anxiety, hunger, compulsive fabric-sucking, stress, or lack of exercise and mental stimulation.

If your Frenchie is displaying this behavior, in order to fix it, you’ll first need to figure out what exactly the motivation behind it is.

Depending on the extent of the problem and the reason for it, you might be able to resolve the problem on your own or you could need the help of a professional animal behaviorist.

• Chasing

All dogs can be chasers, though some breeds are more prone to it than others.

Owing to their long history as companion dogs, French Bulldogs do have less of a chase instinct. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t ever go running after a squirrel or a cat, especially if they haven’t been properly exposed to other animals during puppyhood.

Even though chasing is a natural dog behavior, it can be very dangerous for both the dog and the object of his chase.

This instinctively-driven action can be so motivating and self-rewarding that the dog simply can’t control his prey drive, which might result in someone getting hurt.

If your Frenchie has a chasing problem, you’ll need to work on building their focus impulse control. That means you’ll need to teach them to remain calm even when there are exciting distractions around.

Practicing focus and the recall command will definitely be helpful in dealing with this issue as well.

• Leash-pulling

French Bulldogs are playful, lively dogs, which contributes to the potential development of leash discipline problems. Many things might catch their attention during a walk, making them pull the leash with excitement.

Leash-pulling is not always a harmless action. It can lead to injuries or even leave long-term consequences on a dog’s health when it’s done repeatedly over a long period of time.

A dog that doesn’t feel comfortable on a leash may turn to leash lunging, leash reactivity, or leash aggression.

When being on a leash forces a dog to face his fear source head-on, he might resort to aggression. In the same situation off-leash, the dog would have been able to simply walk away.

Therefore, proper leash training is extremely important. It’s best to get the puppy used to a leash at a young age by associating it with positive outcomes, like getting a treat, a toy, or a word of praise.

Are bulldogs considered an aggressive breed?

French bulldog outside

French Bulldogs are not an aggressive dog breed by nature, but this doesn’t mean they won’t become violent in the right circumstances.

Any behavior that shows a readiness to attack a person, another animal, or an object is considered aggressive. Signs of aggression include sudden rigidness of the dog’s body, raised fur, growling, snarling, baring teeth, lunging, nipping, and biting.

There are different types of dog aggression based on the underlying reasons for it.

Aggression can be a sign of pain, so it’s important to first rule out any medical problems before trying to fix this behavioral issue.

An aggressive reaction may be provoked by the dog’s need to protect its territory from those he sees as intruders. A dog can also become aggressive in order to protect its pack. This is particularly true for female dogs while raising puppies.

An overly possessive attitude is a very common reason behind hostile behavior. This type of dog aggression is often called resource guarding. A highly defensive attitude can cause violent reactions as well.

Fear is a frequent culprit behind aggressive outbursts in dogs. A fearful dog will attack when there’s no other way out of a scary situation.

When you notice that your Frenchie’s body language is showing signs of fear in front of an intimidating big dog, it’s better to avoid the encounter if possible.

Poorly socialized dogs can also react negatively to other dogs. That’s why proper training from a young age is extremely important.

Aggression can be sex-related, too, which is not uncommon for French Bulldogs. A dog may be unfriendly towards other dogs of the same sex as they try to assert their dominance and find favor with a potential mate. This is usually solved by spaying and neutering.

What is causing behavioral issues?

french bulldog dog stood in a woodland floor

To deal with behavioral issues, dog owners need to have a good understanding of what’s causing them. Severe problems call for the help of professional dog trainers while minor ones can be taken care of by the owners themselves.

Here are the most common reasons behind unwanted behavior in French Bulldogs:

• Separation anxiety

Thanks to the high level of attachment they feel towards their owners, Frenchies are often not strangers to separation anxiety. In a lot of cases, it’s the main cause of different behavioral problems for this breed.

Triggered by the separation from their guardians, dogs become extremely distressed when left alone.

This can have serious repercussions, like self-injury, due to escape attempts or household destruction.

Symptoms indicating that a dog might be suffering from this condition are destructive chewing, barking, howling, pacing, trying to escape, urinating and defecating or even eating their poop.

It’s more prevalent in French Bulldog puppies than in older dogs, but adult dogs are not safe from it either. Separation anxiety can be prevented through early socialization and training.

• Health issues

Behavioral problems can indicate that a dog may have certain health problems. If your dog has started to behave differently than usual, be sure to consult a vet about it.

Only when you’re sure that the reasons for it are not of medical nature should you go on trying to correct the negative behavior.

There’s a long list of diseases that occur in French Bulldogs. The most common are:

1. Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome.

2. different eye conditions.

3. patellar luxation.

4. Intervertebral Disc Disease.

5. hip dysplasia.

The pain they experience from a physical injury or a disease might make Frenchies act aggressively.

• Boredom

Problems regarding behavior are often the effect of boredom. Frenchies may not require a lot of exercise, but they definitely need their daily walks and a lot of engaging play to be content.

When you don’t make an effort to entertain them, they’ll do it themselves by chewing on your things. So, if you don’t want to find the house destroyed upon coming home, you better spend some quality time with your little buddy.

• Being spoiled

While trying to figure out why their Frenchies are behaving badly, owners usually don’t suspect that the culprit is hiding in the mirror.

If your puppy is showcasing negative behavior only when you’re not giving in to his temper-tantrums, he might just be spoiled.

You’ll have to learn to resist those sad eyes and teach them that no means no.

• Fear

Before you blame your Frenchie for being a ”bad doggy”, consider that it might just be afraid.

It’s not uncommon for fear to be the cause of unwanted behavior. A scared dog sometimes sees aggression as the only way to defend himself in certain situations.

Punishing a dog when it’s stressed can only make things worse. Patience and understanding, alongside desensitization and counter-conditioning through positive reinforcement, produce much better results.

Fear-based reactions are usually the effect of negative past experiences, which is why rescue dogs are more prone to them. Bad experiences can happen even on your watch. Dogs perceive the world differently from we humans, so things we don’t even notice can traumatize them.

Many things can send a dog into panic mode, from strangers and vet visits to specific objects, car rides, or loud sounds.

Realizing what your dog is afraid of is the first step in helping them overcome it.

How do you train your French Bulldog?

French Bulldogs playing in park

The best way to prevent future behavior problems is to start with socialization and dog training early.

Exposing your puppy to different environments, animals, and people from an early age will prepare them for future experiences.

There are many benefits of early socialization.

It will make it easier for you to bring new pets into the family later on. They’ll also get along with children better. Going on road trips will be more enjoyable as they’ll get used to being in a car.

Letting them meet all kinds of people while they’re young will prevent them from developing aggression towards strangers when they grow up.

Frenchies need as much obedience training as any other dog.

Proper training will not only encourage good manners, but it will also be an excellent way to earn your pup’s trust and build its confidence.

French Bulldogs are believed to be easily trainable. All you’ll need for it is some patience, effort, and lots of treats.

Training a dog starts from teaching them basic commands like go potty, sit, down, come, stay, and leave it. Get your puppy to do the desired action, mark it with a word of praise or a clicker, and give them a treat.

The treat should always be given no longer than a few seconds after they perform an action, so they can make the connection between the two.

If you don’t let your training sessions get too boring or repetitive, they’ll master the basics quickly enough.

After they do, you can continue your dog-training journey by teaching them some more amusing commands like fetch, shake hands, roll over, or play dead.

Correcting negative behavior in adult dogs takes more effort, but it’s not impossible. Identifying the problem is the first step.

French Bulldog sitting outside

Photo from @gotfrenchiefamily

If your dog is expressing signs of aggression, you first need to work out what type of aggression it is.

For example, if the dog’s reaction is fear-based, then the best way to fix it is by slowly exposing it to their fears, which will make new positive experiences that will replace the old negative ones.

When aggression is caused by an overly dominant attitude, the owner needs to reestablish their role as the pack leader.

A good way to deal with possessive aggression is by offering the dog to exchange what they’re guarding with something new that they’ll see as valuable.

If your Frenchie uses violence as a defense method, inform the people around you as to what his boundaries are, so they won’t do something that triggers him. For example, if he hates being petted a certain way, then keep people from doing it.

The negative behaviors caused by separation anxiety can be corrected as well.

Depending on how intense this condition is for your dog, the task can vary from easy to quite difficult.

Mild anxiety can be helped by not making a big deal out of arrivals and departures. Coming home after a hard day’s work to find your dog waiting for you at the door can be very endearing, but it’s better to wait a few minutes before petting him.

More severe types of anxiety can require puppy-proofing the house to prevent the dog from getting hurt or being too destructive while you’re away.

On days when you have to leave your Frenchie home alone for very long, giving them clothes that smell like you might help keep them peaceful.

Leaving them a lot of chew toys is a good idea if they tend to relieve their frustration through biting and chewing.

Along with these calming techniques, your dog will need desensitization training to get to the root of the problem.

Finally, are french bulldogs aggressive or not?

boy and French bulldog in the village

To answer simply, they mostly aren’t, but each dog has a story of its own.

If you are looking into getting a French Bulldog puppy, but are concerned about them possibly being aggressive, then you can relax. Frenchies are generally known as easy-going dogs that can be great around children and other animals.

Your role in keeping them great is crucial. Well-trained pups that get enough attention, care, and exercise will be amazing companions to their owners. On the other hand, a mistreated, neglected, hurt, or afraid dog might express some behavior issues.

If your French Bulldog has already developed behavioral problems, don’t worry, it’s not too late to fix them. Correcting an undesired behavior means being able to understand the dog’s language first.

Once you know the reasons why a dog acts a certain way, you’ll be able to determine and utilize the proper training techniques needed to overcome any problems.

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