French Bulldogs are cute cuddly dogs that we do not generally associate with a lot of activity.
Most of the time they are either relaxing or sleeping.
However, Frenchies still need an adequate amount of exercise to keep them fit and healthy.
Many French Bulldog owners have the tendency to ask this common question; “How Much Exercise Does a French Bulldog Need?”.
Although there is no correct answer for this, we can definitely address this questions.
Dogs require different amounts of exercise depending on their breed and age.
The best approach to discuss how much exercise French Bulldogs need would be to focus on the particular dog in question.
In this article, we will discuss the key factors that will help you determine how much exercise you need to give to your Frenchie.
A dog’s age is one of the main key factors to determine the amount of exercise required.
The common pattern is that the older the dog, the less exercise required.
This idea is quite easy to understand because we can relate to it as human beings.
Generally, French Bulldogs are most active when they are puppies.
This is no surprise as we usually think of puppies of any breed as naturally having more energy.
However, it is extremely important to keep in mind that puppies would be still developing.
Therefore in light of this, one must not over exercise a puppy.
Excessive exercise during puppyhood may lead to problems in the joints and articulations.
As a guideline, you should allow from nine to twelve months for proper skeletal development.
If we were to compare this to us, humans, we would all agree that children are the most active and in many cases, adults cannot really keep up!
However, young children are still developing and we always try to keep them away from doing any strenuous physical activity that may hinder proper development.
Adult dogs would be fully developed and going through their prime phase of life.
During this phase of their life, dogs are able to withstand the most strenuous exercise and are the most active.
However, this becomes less so as time goes by when the dog gets older.
Similarly, as adults, we are able to carry out physically demanding tasks with ease.
And, as we grow older our physical ability starts diminishing and we will notice that we start to slow down.
This is also true in the dog world.
iii) SENIOR DOGS
As dogs grow older, they slow down progressively and require less physical exercise.
Health issues will start to come into play and put limitations on the dog.
Similarly, as people get older they start to become slower and less active.
As dogs grow older, physical limitations start kicking in as with us humans.
That dog that previously could run all day and had endless amounts of energy, will now spend more time sleeping and just lying around.
PHYSICAL CONDITIONS (EXTERNAL & INTERNAL)
A dog’s physical condition greatly influences the exercise required.
We have already discussed the effect that age has on a dog’s physical condition and exercise; however, age is not the only factor.
Dogs can have hereditary development abnormalities and other breeds specific physical conditions that may limit the required exercise.
• BRACHYCEPHALIC DOG
French Bulldogs and all other “flat faced” dogs are known as brachycephalic dogs.
Brachycephalic dogs tend to be less fit for exercise mainly due to an inability to breathe efficiently.
This, in turn, reduces their ability to radiate excess heat efficiently.
As a result of this, French Bulldogs are limited in activity and that is mainly why we do not associate this breed with a lot of exercises.
The degree of being brachycephalic varies from dog to dog and some French Bulldogs are better than others.
The environment also plays an important role in determining how much exercise your French Bulldog needs.
Due to their inability to radiate heat efficiently, it is always better to exercise your French Bulldog in the cooler hours of the day.
Summer can be hard for Frenchies as they would be constantly putting an effort to cool down.
If you exercise your Frenchie on a hot summer day, then you would only be putting extra unnecessary strain on the dog.
French Bulldogs can very easily suffer a heat stroke on hot days.
• OVERALL HEALTH
The dog’s overall health plays an important role when determining how much exercise your dog needs.
Muscular injuries, bone fractures, developmental abnormalities, and other physiological conditions will put limits on the exercise that the dog can take.
French Bulldogs tend to suffer from intervertebral disc ailments as well as hip dysplasia.
Both these conditions will significantly reduce a Frenchie’s ability to perform physical exercise.
Excess weight will have a negative effect on the overall health and will make it more difficult for your French Bulldog to exercise.
There is no one secret universal formula to determine how much exercise your French Bulldog needs but it all boils down to your judgments based on observation and health conditions.
TYPE OF EXERCISES
Frenchies are low energy dogs compared to other breeds.
But this does not mean that they do not need any exercise at all.
However, the type of exercise given must be in proportion to what the dog can take.
Generally, a twenty-minute daily walk in the park and some playtime at home should be enough to keep your Frenchie happy.
• ADEQUATE PHYSICAL EXERCISE
Dogs come in a multitude of shapes and sizes and every breed is designed for a specific purpose.
We all know what a French Bulldog looks like and we would definitely agree that the breed is not suited for strenuous physical activity.
You would never take a Frenchie for a long run because he just would not make it.
You would also avoid going for walks on rough terrain with a lot of obstacles such as stones and branches in the way.
However, a good walk in the park with some fetching and running around with other dogs would do the breed just fine.
• MOST FRENCHIES CAN’T SWIM
As a general rule, Frenchies cannot swim.
This is mainly due to their very compact bodies that offer very little buoyancy.
Their short chunky legs are not able to provide enough power to float.
Although the majority of Frenchies are unable to swim, there have been a few that manage to learn swimming successfully.
The majority of French Bulldogs can only swim if they wear a life vest and on top of that, swimming is a very effective way for dogs to cool on hot days.
This inability to swim is somewhat of a drawback for the breed.
• MENTAL STIMULATION
When we think of exercise we always think of it in physical terms.
However, mental stimulation is equally important!
As with all other breeds, puppies require the highest amount of mental stimulation.
During puppyhood, puppies will explore the world around them, sniffing different things, walking on different terrain, hearing different sounds and etc.
Dogs will grow smarter, be more confident and aware of their surroundings through mental stimulation.
It is very important that mental stimulation is incorporated in any exercise regime that you apply to your French Bulldog.
This will also help to reduce and remove any boredom or anxiety issues which could lead to having a destructive behavior.
HOW EASY IS IT TO OVER EXERCISE A FRENCH BULLDOG?
All dogs can reach a point of overexertion; however, Frenchies have a much lower threshold.
Their short, compact body, small ears, and flat face make them extremely prone to overexertion and heat exhaustion.
Having said that, dogs will just lie flat on the ground to cool when they overexerted or get too hot.
So, in reality, the dog will show you when he would have had enough.
It is very important to see and understand such behavior and you should definitely stop any exercise in such a case.
In reality, you just have to observe and get used to your dog’s limits.
It is very hard, practically impossible, to come up with a formula to know how much exercise your French Bulldog needs.
There are many factors in play and we can only suggest a set of guidelines.
The guideline is that the younger the dog the more active.
You have to take into account any breed specific physical limitations of a brachycephalic breed such as your Frenchies.
Environmental factors such as outside temperature will either facilitate exercise or else make it even harder.
The overall health and physical condition also affect the level of activity that a Frenchie can sustain.
You must not overlook the importance of mental stimulation.
Mental exercises coupled with adequate physical exercise will help your Frenchie flourish into a perfect happy pet and a faithful companion.
This breed can’t swim unless they have a life vest on them so cooling them off in summer could be harder than one might think.
At the end of it, the whole concept is to strike a balance that allows your Frenchie to exercise adequately and be happy without adding any unnecessary stress.