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Are French Bulldogs Good Guard Dogs?

Are French Bulldogs Good Guard Dogs?

Does your French Bulldog have what it takes to be a guard dog for your home?

Based on its physique and personality, the French Bulldog is not a good breed of a guard dog.  Frenchies are small, energetic, and get along with just about everybody.  By nature, they are unlikely to enjoy or excel in, the guard dog life.

This article will take a more detailed look at the French Bulldog’s natural features and temperament to understand why it is not the best guard dog of choice.

Can Your French Bulldog Be a Guard Dog?

It’s no insult to French Bulldogs in saying that they are not great guard dogs.  The poor fit is not due to a shortcoming, such as a lack of intelligence.  There are always natural factors at play through no fault of the dog itself, such as its body type or particular traits in its breeding.  The breed’s specific preferences for activity and lifestyle may also conflict with proposed guard dog responsibilities.

When adopting a French Bulldog, many aspects are of course considered in the decision.  Its ability to be a guard dog would likely come behind a long line of other wonderful selling points, such as its friendly nature and convenient size.  Tacking on guard dog training and responsibilities for this breed might detract from its other positive traits rather than adding to them.

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Are French Bulldogs good guard dogs?  The possibility of training alone does not answer this question.  A responsible owner should consider the comfortability and practicality of the arrangement before forcing their dog into any set role.  Eager and bright though it may be, as a functional guard dog the small, friendly French Bulldog may be a greater risk to itself and its owner.

If you are considering adopting a French Bulldog as a guard dog, or already own one that you want to train, here are a few things to consider first.

Do You Know Your French Bulldog Well?

Before considering your pet, newly adopted or long-time family member, for a guard dogging role, it is important to understand its individual quirks and needs separate from expectations.  If you haven’t had your French Bulldog for very long, or if it hasn’t been exposed to many different settings and situations, it would be even more difficult to predict its responses as a guard dog.

French Bulldogs, like all dog breeds, share similarities from one to the next that you can almost always count on.  However, your own dog’s personality, upbringing, and level of socializing can all affect its guard dog potential in ways only you, the owner, can take into account.  Are French Bulldogs good guard dogs?  What about yours?

Ideally, you would have enough familiarity with your French Bulldog’s reactions to specific cues or stimulus so that you are always working together for each other’s benefit, not playing a guessing game over a potential hazard.  If your French Bulldog’s behavior seems inconsistent and unpredictable, relying on it as a guard dog would be almost impossible.

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Time and effort can answer a lot of questions about your dog’s habits and abilities.  It may be that you discover your French Bulldog is exceptional at looking out for you in a certain way, because of its own sensitivities.  It is equally possible that its truest nature, even after years together, remains uncooperative for a guard dog role.  That may just be who your Frenchie is.

Is Your French Bulldog Attentive?

Possibly the most important traits in any service or protection dog is its ability to pay attention, to notice things, and to stay on task.  Most dogs can recognize a crisis as it’s taking place, but an efficient guard dog needs to identify and announce potential threats well before the situation gets to that point.

It is also important for a guard dog to be at least somewhat energized.  Certain breeds of dog are naturally low-energy and unlikely to respond quickly to stimulus.  By the same token, an excessively high-energy breed may be too distractible or erratic to be fully attentive as a guard dog.  

French Bulldogs are one of the more active and engaged dog breeds, likely to take interest, and investigate if something new enters their perception.  Being energetic and observant also means they will take notice of things, and not simply go back to sleep.  

There is something useful in a French Bulldog’s ability to watch out for its owner and bark when something seems off.  However, this alone does not make for a good guard dog.  The full job is more nuanced and situational than just sounding an alarm, which is not naturally included in a French Bulldog’s judgment.

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Can Your French Bulldog Be Trained?

It’s true that certain abilities and behaviors can be introduced to dogs through consistent training.  French Bulldogs are clever and curious, and with enough repetition and positive reinforcement, they could respond to commands however they are taught.  However, the most important thing for a trained guard dog is to be obedient and reliable in any situation.

This may be where the French Bulldog meets with difficulty due to a famously stubborn and willful nature.  Even fully trained for certain cues and actions, there is always the risky possibility that in the moment it will opt for a fun alternative to the duties of its trained role.

More than anything, training your French Bulldog to be a guard dog would take a lot of effort, patience, and persistence.  Skills learned in training would require constant practice and repetition to keep it from going back to acting according to its nature.  That much resistance strongly indicates that being a disciplined guard dog would not suit your French Bulldog well.

Is Your French Bulldog Physically Fit?

We must also consider the unique physicality of the French Bulldog compared to other breeds typically preferred for guard dog roles.  Being large and intimidating is not a requirement, though it may help, but a guard dog protecting a home should at least be able to put up a show of force if worst comes to worst.

French Bulldogs are sturdily built and have strong jaws like their bigger relatives.  However, at an average size of about 12″ tall and roughly 20 lbs, French Bulldogs are just a little bigger than an ideal lap dog.  As a guard dog, this breed would run the risk of being easily outmatched and causing greater risk to themselves and their charges.

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The physical risk for French Bulldogs doesn’t only come from their small size, however.  As a member of the bulldog family, they have distinct snub noses and compact snouts that may cause difficulty breathing in more extreme climates or after getting a lot of exercise. In fact this difficulty breathing can manifest itself after something as benign as barking too.

Being a short-nosed dog or being prone to some health issues does not automatically make the French Bulldog a bad choice of guard dog.  It is the combination of this feature with other physical limitations that make the French Bulldog less of a candidate for guard dog than other snub-nosed breeds. 

Overall, the guard dogging life may be too strenuous or risky for your French Bulldog, period.  With all things taken into account–the dog’s slight weight, short legs, hindered breathing, and limited stamina–the demands of guard dog duty would be more likely to put the Frenchie at unnecessary risk for harm.

Would Your French Bulldog Be Loyal?

In tandem with their individual natures and quirks, certain breeds of dog share traits that make them more (or less) suited for different roles.  Dogs who are completely trusting or overly friendly to strangers are not reliable for protection because their loyalty can be swayed, and they may be less alert to potential dangers.

The eager, fun-loving personality that French Bulldogs seem to share makes them great companions and family dogs, but unfortunately, selectiveness is not part of the package.  While a disciplined guard dog would ideally be cautious and wary in the face of a potential threat, the French Bulldog may be more concerned with simply making friends.

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Excessive friendliness in a sociable lap dog like the French Bulldog is generally one of its most appealing traits, except in the case of guard dogging.  Not only does a lack of guardedness put its owner at risk, but it can also create dangerous situations for the French Bulldog.  Without knowing friend from foe, it cannot be prepared for whatever might come next. They generally associate positively with every person in their environment, including strangers.

Conclusion

All things in consideration, a French Bulldog is not a good guard dog.  Fortunately, there are plenty of other dog breeds much better suited to the task, allowing the French Bulldogs to live their best lives as the carefree little fun-seekers they are. Most bulldog breeds don’t make good guard dogs in general – those kind of working environments are best suited to dogs like the German Shepherd or the Doberman.