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Are French Bulldogs Prone to Obesity?

Are French Bulldogs Prone to Obesity?

Frenchies are very sweet dogs and they are becoming increasingly popular pets. They often love to eat, enjoy being relaxed, and can be quite pudgy, so are French Bulldogs prone to obesity?

French Bulldogs can lack self-regulation when it comes to their diet, and overindulgence combined with a lack of exercise can easily lead to obesity. Because of the way that they look, the attitudes they often have towards food, and how cute they are, owners often fail to notice the signs that their dog is gaining too much weight.

Looking after any dog requires some research and a good understanding of their particular needs. This article will go into detail about the risks of obesity, how much French Bulldogs should weigh, how and why they might become overweight or obese, and what you can do as an owner to make sure your Frenchie stays happy and healthy.

What Can Happen if Your French Bulldog Becomes Obese?

Obesity is known to have a significant negative impact on the health of any breed of dog, but French Bulldogs, in particular, are quite vulnerable due to their small size and other known health complications. 

If your French Bulldog becomes obese, they may face any one of these health problems and more.

  • Respiratory disease. French Bulldogs are prone to struggling with respiratory problems which obesity can greatly exacerbate.
  • Bone, joint, and muscle injuries. Leg problems are also very common among Frenchies, and excess weight can make these issues much worse.
  • Heat stress. French Bulldogs are not very good at regulating their own body temperature and being overweight means they are much more likely to overheat and suffer from heat stroke.
  • Heart issues such as cardiovascular disease.
  • Greater joint stress.
  • Arthritis.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Diabetes.

At the end of the day, overweight French Bulldogs live an average of two years fewer than dogs that are at a healthy weight. If you want your Frenchie to be well and to have more time with you, watching their weight is very important.

Are French Bulldogs Supposed to Be Fat?

One of the biggest reasons why French Bulldogs fail to maintain the right weight is because it can be tricky for owners to tell what that looks like. Frenchies come in many different shapes and sizes, some looking much fatter than others, so knowing what is right for your dog can be tricky.

Despite their adorable rolls and chunky bodies, French Bulldogs are not supposed to be fat. Looking a little pudgy and actually being overweight are very different things and if you are not monitoring the size and weight of your dog it can lead to serious health problems.

You also need to be careful not to underfeed your dog. Frenchies can be quite chunky and still be at a healthy weight, depending on their natural shape. You need to be able to recognize whether your dog is at the right weight and know when they are at risk of becoming fat or even straying into obesity. 

Do French Bulldogs Overeat?

French Bulldogs are often highly motivated by food, and they can have a lot of trouble regulating their own diets. Many Frenchies will simply eat as much as they can fit in. They are also likely to eat very quickly, which means that it takes them longer to realize when they are becoming full.

It can be very hard to say no to such a cute face, and French Bulldogs are unlikely to turn down food when they’ve had enough. It will often to you as an owner to make sure that they are not eating too much.

What is the Average Weight for a French Bulldog?

Knowing the average weight of a French Bulldog is a good place to start. Because each animal is unique, however, it is also important to know that not all dogs will fit into this average. Size and gender both have a big impact on how much you can expect your dog to weigh, so a large male would seem considerably overweight if compared to a small female.

The average healthy weight for adult male French Bulldogs is between 20 and 28 pounds, whereas for a female that weight should be between 16 and 24 pounds.

If your dog is particularly tall or small, then their weight may be at either end of that scale, or even off it, and they could still be healthy. The amount of muscle mass your dog has can also greatly contribute to their weight without causing health problems.

What is Considered Overweight for a French Bulldog?

If your Frenchie weighs more than the average, it may be an indicator that they are overweight, but there is more to consider than just weight alone. You should pay attention to your dog’s behavior and physically examine them to find out whether or not they have put on more weight than is healthy.

There are a few important things that you can easily watch out for at home. 

How Tired Do They Get?

French Bulldogs tend to pant heavily after intense exercise, but they should be happily active dogs. If your Frenchie is struggling after just a few minutes, or they are unable or unwilling to do simple active things that they could in the past, they may be becoming overweight.

How Do They Groom?

If your Frenchie is unable to reach certain areas of their body (for example, they can no longer scratch their ears with their paws) then they may have put on too much weight. A lack of flexibility is often an indicator that your dog is carrying more weight than they should be.

How Do They Feel?

If you place your hands on either side of your French Bulldog’s ribcage and apply a bit of pressure, you should be able to feel their ribs beneath their skin. If you feel a layer of fat instead, this may mean that your dog is overweight. 

Moving your hands down your dog’s body, you will normally feel an inward curve at the waist when your dog is a healthy weight. Not all Frenchies will have the same shape, but most should have wider chests and hips and a smaller waistline.

How Do They Look?

You should be able to see your dog’s ribs when they move. If there is no indication of the bone structure under their skin, then the fat layer that is covering them may be too thick. In the same way, you should be able to see their spine when they are curled into a ball. 

Most Frenchies will have an hourglass shape when they are at a healthy weight, so looking at them from above you should be able to see a natural curve inwards at their waistline. Not all dogs look the same, but a waistline that is wider than their ribcage is often a sign that your French Bulldog has put on a few too many pounds.

If you are unsure, or you simply want some support, always consult with your vet. You should be taking your dog for regular check-ups at least twice a year, and much more often when they are little. Your vet will help you to understand if your dog is at a healthy weight and how well they are doing.

How to Prevent Obesity in French Bulldogs?

To make sure that your Frenchie is healthy and well, there are some simple but important things that you need to do as an owner. Maintaining a healthy weight essentially comes down to diet and exercise.


Your dog needs a diet that fulfills all of their nutritional needs without excess calories. Counting calories is as important for dogs as it is for humans, and vets suggest that your Frenchie should only be eating 25 calories for every pound that they weigh.

Natural, vet formulated dog food can be a good place to start, and there are many options out there specifically designed for dogs that are struggling with their weight. 

Portion sizes are equally important and you shouldn’t be feeding an adult Frenchie more than twice per day. Follow the portion suggestions that are right for your dog as well as the exact food that you are giving them.

You also need to be careful with treats, and any other food that your dog is eating outside of their regular meals. It can be all too easy to indulge a cute pup with more treats than they need.


Frenchies are much more active than many people think, and they need regular exercise to stay healthy. They should be going out for 2 or 3 walks a day, but you can also supplement outdoor walks with indoor playtime, training, and active toys that will help to keep your dog moving. 

It is particularly important that your French Bulldog keeps a regular exercise routine in the winter months when they are likely to spend less time outdoors.

Are French Bulldogs Prone to Obesity for Medical Reasons?

Overeating and under-exercising are the main causes of weight gain in Frenchies, but it is possible that there is another reason why your dog is looking a little chunky. Weight gain in French Bulldogs could also be caused by:

  • Pregnancy
  • Illness
  • Bloating
  • Intestinal Parasites
  • Some Canine Medications

If your dog is putting on weight despite all of your best efforts, take them to the vet to get to the root of the problem.

In Summary: Are French Bulldogs Prone to Obesity?

So, are French Bulldogs prone to obesity? The answer is yes, and any owner should pay close attention to the weight of their dog. Frenchies don’t often regulate how much they eat on their own, so you need to be doing that for them, and they can get into lazy habits if you are not giving them enough exercise.

Frenchies are so cute that it can be easy for owners to let them get away with anything, and forget about the risks that excess weight can have for their health. Make sure that they are eating the right amount, they aren’t having too many treats, and they are getting regular exercise.

Obesity can cause serious health problems for any pet, so watching out for it is important. Looking after your Frenchie’s needs will help to give them the happy, healthy life that they deserve.