Skip to Content

Are French Bulldogs Outside Dogs?

Are French Bulldogs Outside Dogs?

Are you wondering if your French Bulldog is suited for outdoor life but don’t know whether they should live outside?

French Bulldogs are not suited for living outdoors. They can easily become overheated or hypothermic if left to fend for themselves outside, and a lack of socialization can make them unhappy. It’s better to let them live inside.

Despite evidence that all dogs are better off living inside, many people make their French Bulldogs live outside. This article will explore why French Bulldogs aren’t as suited for the outdoors as people think.

Are French Bulldogs Outside Dogs?

French Bulldogs seem hardy by nature. Their alert-looking ears and their compact, muscular bodies might fool you into thinking French bulldogs are tough enough to be outside dogs, but this isn’t the case. 

People see their Frenchy racing around the home and assume they need to spend most of their time outside to burn off that energy. Their silly antics and hyperactivity inside lead people to believe they prefer to live outside.

French Bulldogs Are Happier Indoors

Spunky and full of character, these spirited dogs need a cool environment to run around and play. Even if it doesn’t seem that hot, the French Bulldog’s inability to regulate his temperature well puts him at higher risk of overheating. 

With their devoted and affectionate nature, French Bulldogs need to be able to express themselves around people, and the best way to improve your pooch’s quality of life is to let him spend time with the rest of his family. With this in mind, a Frenchy is best-suited spending most of its time indoors.

French Bulldogs Can Be Stolen If Left Outside

Unfortunately, theft is an all-too-common threat for dogs. Whether it’s an urban or rural environment, French Bulldogs are at constant risk of being stolen. People steal dogs to resell them and to earn a quick buck. Pet FBI estimates that two million dogs are stolen each year.

 Dognappers are much more likely to try and steal a dog that is left alone outside. Not only are French Bulldogs small and easy to carry, but they are also very friendly and don’t tend to bark as much as other dogs. 

Their friendly nature and even temper work against them when it comes to giving owners time to assess high-risk or threatening situations. 

Predators and Other Outside Animals Can Harm French Bulldogs

Small and slow, French Bulldogs can fall prey to predators such as coyotes and wolves. Fences are no impediment to such predators, and a dog that lives outside is much more likely to attract the attention of these animals. 

It’s not just hunters that pose a threat to your beloved Frenchy. Other animals that don’t prey on dogs can still be dangerous. In the American South, venomous snakes like the Cottonmouth or the Copperhead can seriously injure or kill a Frenchy who’s a bit too curious.

 Racoons can bite or scratch an inquisitive Bulldog, leading to a plethora of diseases such as salmonella or rabies. Porcupines can give dogs a nasty prick on the nose with their quills if they get too close. 

French Bulldogs are also quite headstrong, so they are less likely to back down when presented with something new.

French Bulldogs Can’t Handle the Heat Outside

Dogs pant to cool themselves, and short-nosed dogs like the French Bulldog have difficulty panting effectively and managing airflow through their narrow airways. As such, a French Bulldog is at higher risk of overheating during the afternoon when living outside.

 Unable to regulate their body temperatures, overheated dogs are at high risk of heatstroke, which can be fatal. Doghouses are not suitable for protecting a French Bulldog (or any dog for that matter) from hot weather.

French Bulldogs Suffer from Humidity Outside 

 It’s not just the temperature that’s an issue. Removing excess moisture from the body by panting becomes even more difficult in the hot, sticky air of a humid environment. Shade does nothing to protect a dog against humidity, so it doesn’t matter how protected a yard is from direct sunlight.

Without being able to cool down easily, a French Bulldog is particularly susceptible when it’s humid outside. A heat index of 75 poses is a concern for any dog, but for French Bulldogs and other at-risk breeds, a heat index of 72 or higher can cause breathing issues and overheating. 

Warning Signs Your French Bulldog Is Overheated from Being Outside

Left to live in hot or humid conditions, French Bulldogs will undoubtedly be suffering from overheating. Here are some alarm bells to look out for if you suspect your Frenchy is feeling the heat.

  • Mucous on the gums
  • Dizziness
  • Constant Panting
  • Lethargy

If unattended, a dog may vomit, suffer from seizures, or even collapse.

French Bulldogs Are Susceptible to the Cold

According to thedogvisitor, French Bulldogs have a very low cold tolerance, with 40 degrees being the lowest temperature they can tolerate, although not for long periods of time. The presence of rain or snow can further increase the risk of hypothermia (it’s not fun to walk in the pouring rain anyway).

Small, short-nosed dogs like the French Bulldog cannot manage cold weather for very long. Their thin coat offers little protection against icy winds. Letting them outside to frolic in the snow is a good way of exercising them, but they shouldn’t spend more than 30 minutes out in very cold weather. 

Hypothermia is no joke. Below are three warning signs that your Frenchy is suffering from the cold:

  • Shivering
  • Lethargy
  • Shallow breathing

A quick check to test whether your Frenchy is too cold is to feel his ears. If they are cold to the touch, then your Frenchy is too cold. 

In severe cases of overexposure, a dog’s eyes will dilate, and there may be visible signs of frostbite. Always monitor your Frenchy’s behavior when outdoors and never leave them unattended. 

Little booties, silly as they may look, can help protect your Frenchy’s delicate little paws from the snow. Dry and cracked skin are all too common for unprotected paws. 

Another effective safeguard against the cold is a doggy sweater, which can help preserve some body heat and stave off hypothermia. These measures are good for walks and romps in the backyard, but they are not suitable to protect a bulldog living outside.

Allergies Hit French Bulldogs Hard

The dangers of living outside for a French Bulldog aren’t always visible. There are germs everywhere. That cute little nose that makes a Frenchy so endearing to doggy parents becomes a massive liability when pollen season rolls around.

Their short, thin nostrils cause them to suffer terribly from respiratory illnesses that target the nose and trachea. Of course, any time spent outside in the springtime brings some level of danger but living outside only furthers the risk of developing a respiratory condition.

Common symptoms of respiratory infection in French Bulldogs include difficulty breathing, persistent sneezing, rashes, and bald patches. Such infections can be very harmful to brachycephalic dogs, and if you suspect your French Bulldog has developed an allergy, he should be taken to the vet.

French Bulldogs Can Develop Separation Anxiety and Behavioral Issues

The Frenchy’s proclivity for indoor life allows him to thrive in urban environments, making him a popular choice for condos and high-rises. French Bulldogs cannot thrive outside where they lack socialization with their owner.

An extremely sociable breed, French Bulldogs are much more susceptible to separation anxiety. Forcing a Frenchy to live outside only ostracizes it from socializing with its humans and can lead to destructive behavior.

 Outside dogs can bark incessantly out of boredom. With nothing to do and no way to interact with the pack, dogs will become frustrated and lonely, resorting to digging holes and chewing outdoor furniture or greenery. 

Unsocialized dogs are less likely to follow instructions and more likely to resist training. If a Frenchy is deprived of companionship by being left outside, behavioral issues such as destructive behavior and separation anxiety will only be exacerbated.

How Much Time Outside Is Best?

French Bulldogs are clowns by nature; they love to prance and dance around, but they aren’t as athletic as other active dogs. Unlike Poodles and Retrievers, who may need up to an hour of active play every day, French Bulldogs only need 15-30 minutes of dedicated exercise daily. 

This can be playing fetch in the backyard or a brisk walk through the neighborhood. Avoid spending too much time outdoors in hot or humid weather and always make sure your French Bulldog has plenty of water and a cool place to lie down after exercising. 


French Bulldogs are extremely energetic powerhouses that love to spend time outdoors; however, their vulnerability to overheating and their susceptibility to the cold due to their small frame make French Bulldogs ill-equipped to deal with outside conditions for long. 

Letting your French Bulldog live indoors is not only protecting them from the dangers outside, but also allowing them to get the companionship and love they need.