French Bulldog Limping – Back Leg Problems Explained

Last Updated on September 7, 2021 by Marco C.

We may adore the comical bendy legs and waddling gait of our French Bulldogs, but sadly they can suffer from lameness due to their body structure. It is important to know what to do when your Frenchie appears lame. Here is our guide to French Bulldog limping back leg problems to help you out!

Are French Bulldog Back Leg Problems Common?

At some stage in most dog’s lives, they will become lame for one reason or another. Normally this is caused by something which will resolve in a few days. For example, they might get a thorn in the pad of the foot, or slightly strain the muscles or tendons of a leg.

However, some French Bulldog back leg problems do not go away so quickly. These are normally long-term, degenerative conditions that need medical or surgical treatment. Many of these are hereditary – this means they are passed down from generation to generation.

Reputable French Bulldog breeders try to avoid these problems by carefully selecting which dogs to breed from. This involves getting the parents tested to see if they are at risk of passing on hereditary lameness problems.

What Hind Leg Problems Do French Bulldogs Have?

So, we can break down hind leg problems in French Bulldogs into two categories – minor and major. Minor problems are those which will resolve quickly, either by themselves or with simple veterinary treatment. Major problems can often be difficult to treat and may require extensive veterinary medical or surgical treatment.

French Bulldog with paralyzed hind legs

Learn more about: Common French Bulldog Medical Issues And What To Do About Them

Minor Hind Leg Problems Of French Bulldogs

  • Cuts And Scratches

Your little Frenchie is very low to the ground and can easily cut their little legs on sharp objects! Cuts and scratches are painful at the time but normally don’t cause any long-term problems. If the cut has broken the surface of the skin, then veterinary treatment may be required.

  • Thorns And Splinters

Like any dog, thorns and splinters can make their way into the sensitive pads of the feet. These are normally easy to find, although rare cases might need minor surgery to locate the problem. Once the thorn or splinter is removed the dog should make a quick recovery.

  • Minor Strains And Sprains

Often referred to as a soft tissue injury, minor strains and sprains occur when the dog overexerts itself. This can cause a small tear or bruising to the soft tissues of the back leg – muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It can be difficult to locate the problem in these cases, but your veterinary surgeon will normally advise a period of rest and anti-inflammatory medication.

Major Hind Leg Problems Of French Bulldogs

  • Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition which causes the hip joints to form improperly. This leads to arthritis of the hips, causing weakness of the hindquarters and hindlimb lameness. Hip dysplasia is a painful condition which can require long-term medication or expensive surgical treatment.

This condition is very common in French Bulldogs, with over 31% of the breed diagnosed as having abnormal hips in health screening tests. If you are purchasing a French Bulldog puppy, it is essential to check with the breeder that the parents have been screened for hip dysplasia.

  • Patella Luxation

The patella is a tiny bone in a dog’s hind leg, sometimes also referred to as the kneecap. Patella luxation occurs when this little bone slips out of position, causing your Frenchie to suddenly become very lame. Dogs with patella luxation will often refuse to even put their foot on the ground, preferring to skip on three legs.

Patella luxation requires immediate veterinary treatment to give the dog the best chance of making a full recovery. This condition is also hereditary, which is why reputable French Bulldog breeders will screen the parents for patella deformities.

  • Fractures & Dislocations

We all know how much our Frenchies love to bustle around – these are busy little dogs who want to get into everything! Unfortunately, this means that they may sometimes get into dangerous situations, resulting in fractures or dislocations.

As a dog owner, it may be difficult to tell if your dog has a fracture or dislocation. Severe fractures will cause the dog to become very lame, and they may even stop eating and appear dull and depressed. A minor hairline fracture could be more subtle, with just mild lameness.

Lameness In French Bulldog Back Legs – What To Do

If your French Bulldog is lame on a back leg, you can take some simple steps to see if you can find the problem.

With your dog lying down, very gently feel around the leg and have a look for scratches, grazes, splinters, or thorns. It is very important not to pull the leg in any way, as if there is a fracture you could make it worse.

If you find a minor injury, then you need to decide if you can treat this at home. Grazes and scratches can be gently cleaned, but if the skin surface is broken, they may need stitches. Splinters and thorns can be removed with tweezers, however, if it does not pull out easily then book an appointment at the vet clinic.

If you can’t feel a minor injury, then you will need to take your dog to the veterinary clinic. While you are waiting for your appointment it is vital to keep your dog as still as possible. Any running or bouncing around may make the lameness even worse, so use a dog crate or keep your dog on your knee to reduce movement as much as possible.


As we have learned, there are many reasons why French Bulldogs might have lameness in their back legs. If you are not sure why is your French Bulldog limping back leg, you need to seek veterinary advice as soon as possible. Lameness is sign of pain and discomfort, and if you can’t find a simple reason for it then further investigation might be needed.

We’d love to hear about your experiences – does your French Bulldog suffer from hind limb lameness? Or maybe you have come across another reason why a French Bulldog is limping on a back leg? Add a comment below this post and we’ll get back to you!

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