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How Much Exercise Does My French Bulldog Need? Vet Approved Advice

Written by: Lindsey Lawson

Last Updated on April 18, 2024 by Dogster Team

black and white french bulldog at the beach

How Much Exercise Does My French Bulldog Need? Vet Approved Advice

VET APPROVED

Dr. Lorna Whittemore  Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

BVMS, MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

French Bulldogs are among the most popular and desirable dog breeds. They are lively, outgoing, affectionate, and have personalities that are hard to describe unless you have had the pleasure of being around one.

One thing about owning any dog is making sure they get the exercise they need. So, how much exercise does your French Bulldog need? The truth is, French Bulldogs have minimal exercise requirements; 30 minutes of light daily exercise will usually suffice, but nothing too intense. We’ll get further in-depth about your French Bulldog’s exercise needs below.

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Exercising Your French Bulldog

French Bulldogs fall within the non-sporting group within the AKC. They are a highly adaptable breed that does not have the same intense exercise requirements as dogs that fall within the sporting, working, hound, and herding groups. This makes the French Bulldog suitable for a variety of living situations, from apartments to open country living.

To live a healthy lifestyle, every dog should get a dose of daily exercise appropriate to its breed, physical structure, and individual needs. Even couch potatoes need time to fit in some physical activity. For French Bulldogs, it’s a good idea to provide them with about 30 minutes or so of leisurely exercise daily. Some are highly energetic and will appreciate up to an hour’s exercise divided during the day.

This breed does have limitations and certain health and safety concerns that need to be considered when choosing the right exercise for your pup. First, we’ll take a look at the best forms of exercise for Frenchies, and then we’ll go over some important health considerations.

close up of french bulldog standing on grass
Image By: Jochen_Schaft, Pixabay

Exercise Ideas for French Bulldogs

There are plenty of activities to choose from when you want to exercise your French Bulldog. Here are some great ideas you can fit into your daily schedule.

Walks

All dogs love a nice leisurely walk with their owner. While some breeds may like to start with a run or a jog, there’s no need for that when you have a French Bulldog. This breed is brachycephalic, which causes breathing difficulties that can range from mild to severe, so keep a slow to moderate pace during your walk and enjoy the sights. A nice, easygoing daily walk is a perfect idea for you and your Frenchie.


Backyard Play

If you have a secure backyard, you can head out there for some activities and playtime. If you have other dogs, you may not have to be involved in every session, as some housemates will entertain and exercise themselves. Try an enticing game of “fetch” or “find it.” You can even set them up with some agility pieces for added entertainment.

french bulldog playing a toy outdoor
Image Credit: christels, Pixabay

Learning Tricks

Dogs love learning new things and genuinely enjoy the excitement of seeing their owner so pleased with their efforts. Take some time during the day to teach your Frenchie some new tricks. This not only stimulates them mentally but physically as well. Tricks can range from your normal obedience training to more complex, fun ideas that you can explore. This makes for a great bonding experience for you and your dog, too.


Obstacle Courses

French Bulldogs may not be particularly athletic, but they have the potential to excel at agility and tend to enjoy it quite a bit. Frenchies are a bit more agile than you may think and they will certainly prove it when out on the obstacle course. You can choose either to set one up in your yard or travel to one nearby, but this does make for a great exercise activity for the breed.


Dog Park

Dog parks are a great way to provide exercise and socialization for your French Bulldog. This breed is very outgoing and tends to get along with other dogs and animals without any issues. Of course, French Bulldogs belong in the dog parks meant for smaller breeds for their safety.

Remember that dog parks can have their risks so be wary of other dogs when visiting. Also, never take a puppy or grown dog that is not up to date on vaccination and parasite prevention, as these places pose a significant risk for disease and parasites to be passed around.

2 french bulldogs running on a yard
Image By: GH Studio, Shutterstock

Indoor Playtime

Whether you are busy or the weather isn’t permitting, there’s no harm in participating in some indoor playtime. Toss the ball around the house, play some tug-o-war, or get out the dog toys to keep your French Bulldog active and entertained while indoors. This is an adaptable breed that will do fine staying indoors for the day.

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Health and Safety Concerns Surrounding Exercise for Frenchies

Something to keep in mind when it comes to exercising a French Bulldog is their physical limitations and potential health concerns that can result from certain exercises or over-exertion. French Bulldogs are prone to a wide variety of health conditions ranging from mild to severe.

This brachycephalic breed commonly suffers from brachycephalic syndrome, which can severely affect breathing. They are also prone to intervertebral disc disease, allergies, canine hip dysplasia, and some other concerns such as hemivertebrae and patellar luxation.

Don’t Exercise in Hot/Humid Weather

Considering that French Bulldogs are prone to breathing trouble, it should come as no surprise that they are particularly sensitive to hot, humid conditions. French Bulldogs need to avoid extreme heat and humidity at all costs. They can easily overheat and suffer from heat exhaustion, which is a potentially deadly medical emergency. This is very preventable and keeping exercise limited to the cool indoors is necessary during these kinds of conditions.

french bulldog standing outdoor
Image Credit: icsilviu, Pixabay

Avoid Swimming

French Bulldogs cannot swim well and should not be exercised in a pool. In addition to brachycephaly, and the related struggles of a flat face with small nostrils, they are very front-heavy and do not do well in water. This breed should never be left unsupervised near water, and this is one activity to avoid entirely for exercise.


No Overexertion

We do not recommend going for a run (or jog) with your French Bulldog. They do perfectly fine at a slower to moderate pace and overexertion should be avoided. Not only do you want to avoid overheating, but the heavy breathing associated with intense exercise is just not suitable for a breed that already struggles to breathe due to its physical makeup. Keep exercise light and easy.


Keep Exercise Easy on the Bones and Joints

In addition to avoiding overexertion, you also want to keep their bones and joints in mind. Don’t have them leaping from great heights or doing any activity that will put a lot of strain on them. Since they are prone to conditions like patellar luxation, hip dysplasia, and hemivertebrae, it is best to keep things mild and avoid stress on the body that worsens current conditions or results in health problems later on.

chocolate french bulldog sitting on the grass
Image credit: Piqsels

Avoid Long Periods Outdoors During Allergy Season

Frenchies are prone to allergies and depending on what type of allergies your dog suffers from and what area you live in, you may want to keep outdoor exercise to a minimum during intense allergy season or days when the allergens are high. Talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s allergies to get a better understanding of what could be affecting them and how to best treat the condition. Avoiding allergens is always beneficial and will minimize symptoms.

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Conclusion

French Bulldogs require minimal exercise and will do fine with a daily dose of light exercise of about 30 to 60 minutes a day. Due to the breed’s physical structure and predisposition to certain health conditions, it’s necessary to avoid hot, humid conditions and any exercise that could overexert them and make it more difficult to breathe. This breed is highly adaptable, makes wonderful companions, and would enjoy the many activities we’ve listed above to get in their daily dose of physical exercise.


Featured Image Credit: Gabriella Clare Marino, Unsplash

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