The Challenge Of French Bulldog Breathing Issues

Last Updated on February 23, 2022 by Griselda M.

Thinking about owning a French bulldog should come with knowledge about French bulldog breathing issues, that can affect their health and wellbeing. The very typical characteristic of the French bulldog and other bully breeds is the flat short nose. 

Frenchies’ faces look quite human-like with their close eye set and small noses, which is known as a brachycephalic nose. This distinctive feature is not a natural one, but a result of many generations of deliberate breeding by humans. Because of this feature, health issues can arise that can impede breathing. 

French Bulldog Breathing Issues – Facial Structure

The facial bones of a French bulldog are far shorter and facial tissue is still the same as other dogs. What this means is that the facial tissue is cramped inside the bone structure with less space to accommodate it. 

The brachycephalic face is something breeders and bulldogs admirers have wanted as an aesthetic trait. But how the outside looks, is affecting the inside functionality and comfort of the dog. This aesthetic choice was not the healthiest for the French bulldog, but it added to their fierce look. 

French Bulldog Breathing Issues – General Overview

How can I help my French bulldog breathe better

As the face is predicated to have so much more tissues inside than it can comfortably hold, airways get blocked. In some cases, this blockage is so severe that it requires surgical intervention to help the dog breathe. 

Brachycephalic faces in French bulldogs also display narrow nostrils, which further aggravates breathing problems. Frenchie’s nostrils are barely visible and health concerns raise questions like how can I help my French bulldog breathe better?

The combination of their facial structure with small nostrils makes it hard for  Frenchies to properly oxygenate themselves. In turn, this inability to breathe in enough oxygen leads to an inability to effectively cool off, thus can overheat. 

Identifying French Bulldog Breathing Issues

Trying to answer the question how do I know if my French bulldog has breathing problems can lead to solutions. Having a firm knowledge of what can go wrong with a Frenchie’s breathing will prove useful in helping alleviate discomfort. 

French bulldog asthma

As breathing issues plague the Frenchie one may wonder can French Bulldogs have asthma, and it can look like a possibility. Normally, asthma is more often found in cats, but it can also occur in dogs in certain conditions. Slightly aged or smaller dogs, like the bulldog, are ones more susceptible to exhibiting asthma. 

French bulldogs with their unusual muzzle can be affected by outside stimuli that can produce an asthmatic reaction. Coming into contact with allergens like dust, pollen, air fresheners, and even cigarette smoke can be a cause of asthma attacks. 

Symptoms of an asthma attack can include excessive panting, difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, and mucus buildup. It’s common knowledge that bulldogs can suffer from allergies, and so this can very easily turn into breathing problems. 

French bulldog breathing attack

French bulldogs have a soft palate at the back of their throat that can collapse briefly closing off the windpipe. As a reaction the dog will instinctively draw air through the mouth, making a snorting sound. This is when a breathing attack happens, more commonly known as a reverse sneeze. 

The more common name of reverse sneezing really indicates that instead of pushing air out the Frenchie inhales. An occurrence like this is normal, but where it could be harmful is in accidentally inhaling foreign objects or water. This can cause them to choke and suffocate, which would require immediate care. 

French Bulldog Breathing Issues – What To Do?

There can sometimes be no avoiding French bulldog breathing issues, but there are other things that can protect a Frenchie. Milder cases of labored breathing can be managed with things like diet to keep them at a normal weight. Making sure a dog gets enough food is easy to calculate based on size and breed. 

Exercise is another aspect to keep in mind, as Frenchies could have a higher intolerance to more intense exercise. Hot weather is a particular period in which walking can become tiresome and make breathing difficult. It’s best to keep a French bulldog inside in the shade and cool air.

Warm months would most likely mean walking your French bulldog early in the morning or later at night. By doing this you will avoid the hotter hours of the day while still putting in the necessary exercise. It’s an easy solution to avoid more complicated issues down the road. 

Avoiding certain common household items can also prevent any potential allergic reaction, that could make breathing hard for a Frenchie. Scents from perfumes, air fresheners, candles, and incense could potentially affect a French bulldog and provoke a breathing attack. 


Taking care of French bulldog breathing issues is something that needs time, patience, and some base knowledge about the breed. Veterinary help will make dealing with such issues easier and will add to the dog’s quality of life

Considering the many factors of a French bulldog’s facial structure, it’s no wonder they have some health problems. Some mild issues can be more easily prevented with attention and care, while other more severe ones could require surgery.


How do I know if my French bulldog has breathing problems

Read more about French Bulldog Eye Allergies; Challenges And Treatment


How can I help my French bulldog breathe better?

Some preventative measures can help French bulldogs breathe better. For one, keeping a Frenchie away from powerful scents like cigarette smoke, perfume, or other household substances. Making sure to keep a French bulldog inside in the cool shade during hot months will greatly help with their breathing, and protect them from overheating.

How do I know if my French bulldog has breathing problems?

The most obvious signs of a French bulldog having breathing problems have to do with labored breathing. But that is not the only symptom, there can also be coughing, wheezing, snorting sounds, and even panicked behavior. Asthma attacks can include panting and mucus buildup as symptoms among the more common ones.

Can French Bulldogs have asthma?

French bulldogs, like many other bulldogs, can be predisposed to allergies, and in some cases contribute to asthma. Allergens such as pollen, dust, and air fresheners can cause asthma attacks. It’s important to keep them away from such potentially harmful substances and avoid the risk of other health complications in the process.

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