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French Bulldogs are very sweet dogs with bundles of energy, and they make a wonderful addition to almost any family. You might be wondering though, are French Bulldogs protective?
French Bulldogs can be protective and territorial, but it usually stems from jealousy and overattachment rather than a protective nature. They are not very physically intimidating, and they don’t have a strong instinct to protect others in the same way that some dog breeds do. While they can make noise and ward off threats, they are sweet, friendly animals and they aren’t natural guard dogs.
There is a lot to love about French Bulldogs, but they are not necessarily going to be a household defender – you actually want to discourage them from becoming too protective. This article will go into detail about the ways in which Frenchies can be protective animals, what that might mean for you as an owner and other important information about how these adorable little dogs can behave.
Are French Bulldogs Protective Animals?
The complete answer to this question is perhaps a little more complicated than it might seem. French Bulldogs can certainly be protective, but not necessarily in the ways that you might think. Frenchies can act aggressively towards others but it is usually out of jealousy rather than to keep you safe.
French Bulldogs have long been bred as companion dogs, and they don’t have a background in protective work like herding or guarding. This means that they develop strong relationships and love to be social. These dogs are lovers and not fighters and they generally don’t tend to try and scare off potential dangers.
Frenchies can be quite nervous and often develop anxieties because they become very attached to their owners. When it comes to being protective, they are generally only going to act out because they want your attention or they don’t like another person or dog getting too close to you.
Why Do French Bulldogs Get Jealous?
Many Frenchie owners do notice an aggressive or protective streak in their dogs, but it is rarely aimed at anything that actually poses a threat. Some French Bulldogs will lash out, growl, or otherwise show hostility to other people or animals that they feel are taking away attention from their owners.
This kind of protective behavior is your Frenchie trying to “protect” their relationship with you, rather than protect either of you from harm. Jealous behavior indicates that a French Bulldog is too dependent on one person in particular, and they have some anxiety based on this relationship.
You want to encourage your dog to be independent and relaxed around others, for their own well-being as well as to avoid any unfortunate incidents. Every dog owner has a responsibility to make sure that their canine companion is happy and well adjusted, and preventing jealousy or aggression is an important part of that.
What Does Protective Behaviour in French Bulldogs Look Like?
As with any dog, a Frenchie can certainly make their presence known and show some forms of aggression that are intended to ward off or intimidate others. You may only see this very rarely, when they are concerned about a potential intruder for example, or you may notice it in their regular interactions.
If your French Bulldog is exhibiting any of these protective behaviors frequently, they probably needs some help and support from you to feel less anxious and defensive.
- Growling. Perhaps the most common indication of aggression is a growl, but not all growls are automatically threatening behavior. Some dogs growl to show that they are in pain or discomfort, or even when they are content.
- Snarling. A snarl is often more directly aggressive than a growl and is generally an indication that your dog is acting defensively.
- Barking. Dogs bark for all sorts of reasons, but if your Frenchie is barking forcefully at someone or something in particular, they are probably trying to intimidate them.
- Stiff Body. Any dog owner will recognize the body language that shows when their pet is feeling threatened. A stiff body with raised hackles is a very clear sign that your dog does not feel safe.
- Biting. Obviously, lashing out or biting others is one of the most dangerous behaviors that any dog can exhibit. If your Frenchie is often using their teeth around other people or dogs, you need to address this immediately.
- Attention Seeking. Perhaps a more subtle clue that your dog is acting protective around you is when they become extra clingy and beg for your attention. This can show that your dog is feeling jealous and anxious, so they are not as confident and happy as they could be.
When your Frenchie is still a puppy, they will likely show more of these behaviors naturally as they start to figure out what healthy communication looks like. If these continue into adulthood, however, it is a cause for concern.
How Do You Manage Unwanted Protective Behaviour in French Bulldogs?
If you are noticing that your Frenchie is hostile towards guests in your home, lashes out at strangers while you’re on a walk, or otherwise shows signs that they are too jealous and aggressive, you need to intervene. This kind of behavior can be perfectly natural when a genuine perceived threat is present, but your dog should not be perceiving threats all of the time.
If you think about it, a dog that is acting aggressively is a dog that is scared and worried. If your Frenchie is often exhibiting protective behavior, then they are often feeling under threat or anxious. Socialization, developing independence, and good training are great ways to help your French Bulldog feel more secure and confident in their daily life.
From a young age, you should be introducing your dog to as many new experiences as possible, in a safe and controlled way. This will allow them to understand that they are safe in these environments and that new people, or new dogs, are not a constant threat.
This process can require a bit of management on your part, as you will need to make sure that your dog is interacting safely and having a positive experience. Socialisation is also a lot easier for puppies than it is for older dogs, so you want to start as early as possible.
One of the biggest issues that French Bulldog owners, in particular, can face is making sure that their dog is independent enough to be safe and happy. Frenchies are very loyal and loving, which is a wonderful thing, but it can lead to them becoming overly dependent and anxious.
Giving your Frenchie some space to themselves, and not smothering them or coddling them too much throughout the day, will help them to understand that they can be safe on their own. As difficult as it may seem, not responding to every cry for attention is important to allow your dog to feel confident and secure in themselves.
Good training should be part of your daily routine for all sorts of reasons, but it will also help your dog to understand your needs and feel safer in general. Through effective training, your dog should know that you are in charge, which means that they don’t need to feel worried about you and they shouldn’t be demanding of your attention.
Through the training process, you should also be showing your dog what good, safe behaviour looks like. If they are being rewarded for interacting and socialising well, and they are being shown how to behave in different situations, then they are less likely to act aggressively when it is unwarranted.
Can Bulldogs Be Guard Dogs?
French Bulldogs can certainly be territorial, and they are very loyal to their families, but they are not necessarily the breed that you would gravitate towards to protect your home. As with almost any dog, they are likely to make noise to ward off an intruder, and their presence alone may offer some amount of protection, but it should not be their job to keep you safe.
Frenchies are sweet, loving, and playful dogs by nature, so they are not born fighters. They are a pet that needs to be looked after and cared for with a lot of love. It is not the job of any dog to put themselves in danger.
If you are looking for a pet that may offer some kind of protection or defense for your home and family, always remember that they are going to be a member of the family first and foremost.
The Verdict: Are French Bulldogs Protective?
So, are French Bulldogs protective? They definitely can be but, usually, it is a jealous sort of protectiveness that you want to discourage. French Bulldogs are not naturally aggressive, and their instinct is not to fight off threats and dangers.
If you are noticing protective behavior in your Frenchie, it may be a sign that they are anxious and don’t feel secure in themselves or in their relationship with you. You want your dog to be calm and relaxed in their interactions, and you definitely don’t want them to behave in a way that poses a threat to themselves or others.
At the end of the day, French Bulldogs may need to be protected by you more than they should be doing any protecting. These are gentle, loveable animals that should be confident and happy, not defensive or frightened.