How Much Exercise Does A French Bulldog Need? A Guide and Tips

Ahhh…the French Bulldog. One of the most popular breeds in the US, they rank consistently in the top ten most popular breeds listed by the AKC each year. 

With an adorably wrinkly face and waddling gait, they are a small breed known for their playful, adaptable, and sociable nature. And who can resist those massive, bat-like ears!

While the diminutive French Bulldog is a small breed with modest exercise needs, they would still benefit greatly from a short walk amidst tons of play sessions throughout the day.

Like all dogs, regardless of breed, an under-stimulated Frenchie might exhibit unwanted behaviors like digging, chewing, excessive barking, and separation anxiety. 

If you’re wondering how much exercise a French Bulldog needs, read on! 

How Much Exercise Does A French Bulldog Need

The popularity of French Bulldogs is still on the rise, driven mainly by the adaptability and versatility of this little breed with modest exercise requirements. 

While they are suitable for most households, even those with sedentary owners or seniors, they will benefit from a 30 to 60-minute walk a day, depending on their age and physical condition.

Their flat, short snouts make them vulnerable to breathing problems, so quick, low-intensity walks are way better than prolonged periods of high-intensity activity.

In addition, instead of a 60-minute walk, you can break exercise up into two 30-minute walks or three 20-minute walks.

For puppies, go even slower and don’t risk over-exercising your pup like going on a long hike, or you’ll risk having to pick him up and carry him out of the forest! 

As a general rule of thumb, French Bully puppies will do well with a walk duration of 5 minutes for every month of their age. For example,a four-month-old pup can walk for 20 minutes a day, while a 12-month-old puppy can walk for an hour. 

This will help prevent them from overexerting themselves, potentially leading to long-term joint and mobility issues.

Instead of just walking, puppies should be encouraged to spend much of their time and energy exploring their environment. Smelling, socializing with other dogs and humans and getting into as many situations as possible to give them maximum exposure to potential stimulants.

Don’t forget tons of playtime! Frenchies love to play! 

Spare a few minutes several times a day to spend some quality bonding time with your Frenchie. Chucking a ball around and playing fetch, tug of war, or any other game that involves small amounts of physical exertion. 

How Active Are French Bulldogs? 

Despite their diminutive stature, Frenchies are an active breed that would do well with at least one hour of daily activity, especially for the active ones.

However, keep in mind that they are a brachycephalic breed, which means they have a short snout and flattened face. These breeds like Frenchies, Boxers, and Pugs should not be over-exercised in hot weather. They can be prone to breathing problems and can overheat easily.

Instead of one long one-hour walk a day, you might think about two or three shorter walks if your time and schedule allow it. 

Watch for dehydration

Especially in hot weather, always watch your French for signs of dehydration and overheating like:

  • Excessive panting and drooling
  • Red gums 
  • Dry eyes
  • Excessive thirst
  • Lethargy and weakness

Exercising French Bulldog Puppies

French Bulldogs may be pretty lively as puppies and even into maturity. To stop destructive behaviors, they’ll need heaps of stimulation and exercise. Remember, a tired pup is a happy one! 

Puppies sleep loads, but BOY, are they up when they are up. The world is one big adventure! They’ll want your attention to play, or to be taken out, so get ready! 

Puppies can be hyperactive, but their bouts of energy don’t last very long, and they’ll need to relax and sleep. Take them for loads of short walks of about 10 to 20 minutes each and have plenty of play sessions throughout the day, and your French puppy is likely to konk out at the end of each session. 

Like any pup, the first 12 months of its life are crucial in socializing and physical and mental development, so enjoy the puppyhood time, and as they mature, they are likely to calm right down. 

What Type Of Exercise Is Best For The French Bulldog? 

In addition to a daily walk, one of the best ways to ensure a tired and happy pooch is playtime or activity-based exercise. 

Not only is it valuable bonding and training time with your dog, but you’ll also have a well-balanced dog that is both mentally and physically stimulated.

Activities that your Frenchie might enjoy include:

  • Fetch and frisbee, of course! 
  • Hide and seek
  • Tug of war
  • Interactive dog balls that dispense treats
  • Obedience training 
  • Homemade agility course that is less physically intense than an actual course

Activities are a great way to keep your dog’s mind occupied. Like many dogs, the intelligent Frenchie needs to be stimulated, so use nose work and puzzles to keep them busy.

In addition, you may try jogging or biking with your French over short distances and if the weather isn’t too hot out. 

Go slow and avoid excessive twists and bends on your route. 

And of course, go for plenty of walks. Low impact and kind on the joints, a stroll is an excellent way for your dog to get out into the big wide world, sniff around, and read the canine news. 

Switch it up and change your route frequently to expose your Frenchie to as many situations and environments as possible. 

When Can I Start Taking My Frenchie For Walks 

You can expose your French to the fascinating world as soon as they are fully vaccinated.

Wait 10 to 14 days following your puppy’s final vaccination, which happens at about 14 to 16 weeks, before heading to the local dog park, beach, or walking trails.

In the meantime, enjoy having your puppy all to yourself at home and direct your pup’s developing energy towards early puppy training and socializing with all kinds of different indoor stimuli. This can begin as soon as you take your Frenchie home. 

Two weeks after their final immunization dose, Frenchie pups can go outside. If you take them out before this stage, you’ll put them at risk of contracting some serious diseases from other dogs like canine distemper or parvovirus. 

While many pups have their last shot at 12 weeks, it is advisable to wait another two weeks before exposing them. Better safe than sorry! 

While many pups are sold or rehomed at eight weeks old, some older puppies get to their forever homes between 12 and 16 weeks. 

If you’re taking home an older pup, thoroughly check their vaccination records and are confident that they are vaccinated before taking them out. 

Can You Go Hiking With A Frenchie? 

Sure! However, keep the hikes short, and go only in good weather. Try to avoid the hottest days of the year, as the short snout and flat face of a French make them vulnerable to overheating, especially in hot weather.

While Frenchies can be little balls of energy, prolonged periods of exertion are not recommended, so keep the hikes short and relatively physically undemanding. 

For example, a 60-minute walk in the shade over flat terrain may be okay for most Frenchies, but that same duration in the hot sun going uphill might be a tad much.

Always carry heaps of water, and be prepared to hike out with your Frenchie on your back if they show signs of exhaustion or the inability to carry on. 

Be warned, Frenchies are stubborn dogs and will push themselves way beyond their limits, so you’ll have to stay vigilant and save them from themselves! 

Preparing For Your Hike With Your Frenchie

Before taking your Frenchie for a longer-than-usual walk, here are some tips to keep your beloved pooch extra-super-safe! 

Check to see whether your French Bulldog has had a health check recently

Before going on a longer walk than usual, make sure your Frenchie has just been to the vet so you know he’s physically fit for a lengthier stroll.

Veterinarians routinely examine Frenchies for breathing abnormalities, such as stenotic nares (narrowed nostrils) and respiratory disorders. Also consider getting pet insurance to avoid some nasty vet bills further down the road! 

Get your French Bulldog ready for the hike

If your French Bulldog’s sole exercise has been leaving the sofa for the food bowl, hiking with them is not a good idea — it will be too much of a shock to their system, and they won’t make it very far.

If you intend to be active with your Frenchie, start by gradually increasing the duration of your daily walks. Intersperse it with short periods of more intensity like a quick game of fetch. 

Choose a simple hiking trail.

Frenchies can be strong dogs, but their short legs and broad body structure might struggle with steep incline gradients. In addition, they aren’t known for being powerful swimmers, so keep the creek and river crossings to a minimum.

Plan an easy hike over flat ground, avoiding rocky terrain, steep ascents, and deep water. 

What Are The Types of Leashes And Harnesses For French Bulldogs? 

Leashes and harnesses are not created equal! There is a vast range out there, and many are designed and built specifically for brachycephalic breeds (dogs with short muzzles and flat faces like Pugs, Frenchies, and Boxes).

Depending on your dog’s behavior and requirements, here are some of the standard leashes and harnesses you can think about for your Frenchie.

  • French Bulldogs are notorious for leash pulling! The front-clip harness or head halter is specifically designed to stop dogs who like to pull on leashes. Make sure to get a head halter that will fit a flat-faced breed! 
  • Flat collars are the most common and popular type of collar. Keep in mind a Frenchie’s throat is delicate, and a stubborn puller might hurt the trachea if constantly lunging against the collar. Always pick a collar with a soft, pliable material that will not damage the skin and throat. 
  • Fabric harnesses designed for short, stout breeds will have your Frenchie in the greatest comfort. While comfortable, breathable, and ideal for long days out, it will not suit dogs that like to lunge on leads or big pullers. Although small, the stout, sturdy Frenchie can pull you around if he wants to! 
  • You can use any leash, from the flat, fabric-type leash to a fancy leather leash. You don’t need one exceedingly thick; you’ll just need to be able to control your Frenchie comfortably. 

Tips For Choosing A Leash And Harness

Adjustable Harness

Frenchies have a stocky, stout body that might not fit a regular harness, so be sure about the measurements before you get one, and always try to get an adjustable harness to ensure the best fit.

  • Reflective Strips

Reflective harnesses boost visibility, especially at night. 

  • Waterproof 

If your Frenchie is a water-lovin’ dog, you’ll want something waterproof and built with maximum durability. Biothane is a waterproof, durable material that is an excellent choice for water-lovers. 

  • Leash Length

Use a six-foot leash for hikes and casual walks and a shorter four-foot leash when you want more control, like when training the “heel” command or when navigating your way around a crowded, big city. 


French Bulldogs are delightful, happy-go-lucky dogs that are incredibly easy to upkeep, making them one of the most popular breeds of dogs in the US.

However, like any dog, they need adequate mental and physical stimulation for a long, happy life. We hope this article gives you a clue of how much exercise a Frenchie needs! 

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