Do French Bulldogs Have Tails? Dealing With The Big Question Behind Frenchies!

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Reviewed by Alexandre Beaumont
Do French Bulldogs have tails?

The tail of your furry friend plays a big part in their communication with you – but sometimes it’s difficult to understand what’s going on because Frenchies seem to have no tail at all.

So, do French Bulldogs have tails?

Every French Bulldog has a tail. Some are so short and small that it may seem that Frenchies are tailless – but that’s not the case. In some unfortunate scenarios, people choose to dock their dog’s tail, though that practice is often illegal or frowned upon.

My Frenchies have the same type of tail – but there’s more than one type out there. There’s also more than one way to wag it!

You’ll learn all about it below.

Are French Bulldogs Born With Tails?

French Bulldogs are born with tails! Some people believe Frenchies are tailless, but you’ll notice their tiny tails if you look closely enough.

Watch out, though. Don’t look too close – or you may face some trouble.

I understand why people may believe French Bulldogs are born with one part missing: a Frenchie’s tail is so small it may seem as if it’s not there.

Those who know French Bulldog history know breeders worked to reduce the size of these dogs’ tails.

I’ve read that Frenchies are tailless like Australian Shepherds, but that’s untrue. In fact, you can find French Bulldogs with different types of tails around.

What Types Of Tails Do French Bulldogs Have?

  • Screw or inverted. It has a shape that makes it look like a little screw. Unfortunately, this type of tail comes with the most problems (but nothing you can’t handle if your Frenchie has one).
  • Straight. The closest a French Bulldog can get to an average-looking tail. It still is short but looks straight and often moves around depending on your Frenchie’s mood.
French Bulldog long tailFrench Bulldog sstraight tail
Frenchie with a straight or long tail
  • Stumpy. It’s smaller than a screw or straight tail, making the Frenchie look tailless. I think it’s the cutest one for no reason, and on an unrelated note, both my Frenchies have this type of tail.
French bulldog with stumpy tail
French bulldog with stumpy tail

What Health Issues Are Associated With French Bulldog Tails?

Frenchies can suffer from a fair share of health concerns, though we often overlook tail-related issues when we talk about them. 

You should watch out for a few things when it comes to your French Bulldog‘s behind:

  • Sunburn. You, me, and our French Bulldogs can suffer from sunburn. Yes, that’s right: your dog can get into trouble for spending too much time under the sun during hot summer days. Ensure your Frenchie is resting under the shade: playing with a sunburnt tail is no fun!
  • Tail Pocket Trouble. You could be hearing about tail pockets for the first time. No, that’s not where your Frenchie puts their toys after playing (let’s face it, they leave them all over the place). It’s a spot between their tail and their anus – and it’s a hotspot for trouble. I’ll explain more thoroughly in the last part of this article.
  • Hemivertebrae. Deformed vertebrae can cause a lot of pain for your dog. Dogs with screw-shaped tails often suffer from this ailment the most. You can spot signs of hemivertebrae when one or more vertebrae have a triangular shape rather than their usual look. Talk to your vet if that’s the case.

Is It Normal For A French Bulldog To Have A Tail?

Absolutely! It’s normal for Frenchies to have a tail: all of them have one – and those who lack that small part do because of a genetic issue or a cosmetic choice (which shouldn’t be a thing).

Certain breeders and owners choose to cut the tail of their French Bulldogs for cosmetic reasons. It’s wrong and shouldn’t happen. Fortunately, some countries are fighting against this practice, legally banning it.

In extreme cases, vets will recommend cutting your dog’s tail for medical reasons – but I’ll talk more about it in the second part of this article.

It’s always better to let Frenchies have their tail because it helps them express themselves.

Can French Bulldogs Wag Their Tails?

That depends! Some Frenchies wag their tiny tails, others wag their behind, and a handful don’t wag at all.

Each Frenchie is unique (though they’re all equally goofy), so it all boils down to whether your dog can or wants to wag their tail.

For example, Luzy, my Piebald Frenchie, looks like she’s salsa dancing whenever she’s happy – because she wags half her body!

Frenchie with cute tail
Luzy’s cute little tail

In contrast, Manny, my Brindle, shows his happiness in other ways, mostly zooming around and kissing anyone he can find.

What about your French Bulldog? I’d love to know all about it in the comments!

Can French Bulldogs Have Long Tails?

French Bulldogs used to have longer tails than now, but breeders worked through generations to reduce their size. In rare cases, Frenchies may have a long tail.

French Bulldogs with a long tail come with an asterisk.

It’s extremely rare for purebred Frenchies to have a long tail. In theory, a genetic anomaly could make that happen: long-dormant genes acted out and made your pup have a long tail like their ancestors did. It’s highly unlikely for this to be the case.

More commonly, a long tail may signal a crossbred Frenchie (but that shouldn’t worry you because it causes no health concerns).

Why Do French Bulldogs Have No Tail?

Frenchies have tails! They’re so tiny you may think there’s nothing back there – but do a double-tack on their behind, and you’ll soon see there’s something that’ll soon wag and wiggle.

Dogs come in different shapes and sizes. They may be large or small, long or short, with a tail or tailless. Frenchies are short and stocky, and their tail is that way, too.

Take a walk around town and pay attention to every Frenchie you see. You may want to approach them and pet their pretty face, but your job is to take a look at their tail. Squint your eyes to see they all have one!

It’s important to note some Frenchies may have no tail – but that’s because someone docked it (not because they were born that way).

Are French Bulldogs Tails Docked Or Are They Naturally Short?

French Bulldogs have short tails. Some of these tails are shorter than others, but they all have one. When that’s not the case, it means someone docked their tail.

Docking, in this case, refers to cutting off a dog’s tail. You could do that for one of three reasons, looks, health, or work:

  • Owners and breeders think it’s a good idea to dock their Frenchie’s tail for cosmetic reasons. It’s wrong. Don’t do it. Don’t do business with breeders doing that, and if you sense you’re about to buy a French Bulldog with a docked tail, it’s time to find a better breeder.
  • Certain tails may cause severe health issues. Your vet may recommend removing Frenchie’s tail. Doing so is okay in this scenario.
  • Owners may dock certain working dogs for safety reasons. Frenchies were workers way back, too (they all decided to retire and become couch potatoes now). Some people dock the tail of their working dogs. I’m not an expert on the subject, so I can’t give an opinion.

Do They Cut French Bulldogs Tails?

French Bulldogs have a short tail, which may look like a cut tail (but isn’t). However, certain owners and breeders do cut their dogs’ tails.

Docking was a widespread practice centuries ago – but it’s dying down. In certain places like the United Kingdom, docking is illegal; in other countries, it’s usually frowned upon.

You shouldn’t jump the gun when you see a dog without a tail. A tailless dog means someone docked them, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the current owner did: you may be looking at a person who adopted an abused dog or similar.

Do French Bulldogs Have Tail Pockets?

Most French Bulldogs have a tail pocket. It’s the excess or wrinkled skin between your dog’s tail and anus.

You can probably guess it’s a tricky area because of its location: humidity and waste make it prone to infections, so you must clean it whenever necessary.

However, your pup may not have a tail pocket yet. It usually appears after a dog is six months old. And some Frenchies don’t have one at all!

So, don’t worry if you can’t find it – because your dog may not have one.

Odds are your Frenchie has a tail pocket, so you need to know how to clean it.

How Do You Clean And Maintain A French Bulldog‘s Tail Pocket?

Dr Kraemer vet4bulldog | bulldog tail pocket cleaning demo

You must clean your Frenchie’s tail pocket whenever you spot dirt down there. To do so, grab dog-friendly wipes or a damp cloth and gently clean the area.

Here’s a more thorough guide to tail pocket cleaning:

  1. Spot The Tail Pocket. Remember, some Frenchies don’t have a tail pocket, so you must ensure there’s something to clean. This part is simple: lift your Frenchie’s tail and check if there’s a pocket (it looks like a big wrinkle).
  2. Grab Your Dog Wipes. Talk to your vet to get the best dog-friendly wipes possible. You can also use warm water, mild soap, and a clean cloth. Talk to your vet if you don’t know what type of soap to use.
  3. Clean The Pocket. Deal with the area around the tail first, then move into the pocket. Do so gently – this area is sensitive! You don’t have to scrub like you’re doing the dishes: tap and move around the area slowly.
  4. Dry The Area. A big part of preventing tail pocket trouble is never leaving it wet or moist – because that leads to infections. After using wipes or a damp cloth, rinse and dry the pocket. Blotting is the safest choice when it comes to removing excess water.
  5. Watch For Signs Of Trouble. You should clean the tail pocket once per week. However, pay attention to see if there’s any sign of dirt, debris, or trouble occasionally. I’ll tell you the most significant signs of tail pocket trouble in the last part of this article.

In rare cases, a tail pocket removal surgery may be necessary to deal with this issue. It’s only an option when the excess skin is too challenging to clean and continues to cause problems.

I recommend you talk to your vet to see what you can do if you need help cleaning it.

What Causes Tail Pocket Trouble?

A French Bulldog‘s tail pocket is between a dog’s anus and tail. It’s a small pocket of skin that can accumulate dirt, moisture, and waste, making it the perfect place for an infection.

You probably already know your Frenchie’s folds are problematic. You need to pay attention to them and clean them regularly. In a way, tail pockets are folds but on your dog’s behind.

So, a tail pocket is like a fold your French Bulldog sits on. It can accumulate dirt and debris from the park, the street, and anywhere else your dog has been.

That’s why it’s essential to clean it – and to watch out for any signs of trouble!

Signs Of Tail Pocket Trouble

  • Bad Smell. Infections tend to smell terrible, so it’s no surprise that a pocket tail infection giveaway is a bad smell. This issue arises when your Frenchie’s anal glands get blocked. French Bulldogs tend to have stomach trouble, but this issue has a different odor, so it’s easy to tell these smells apart.
  • Discharge. Frenchies suffering from pocket tail trouble may have colored discharge around their tail, which could be white, yellow, and even green. This type of discharge is a clear-cut sign of a problem, so waiting to visit the vet is no longer an option.
  • Discomfort. Is your dog acting out? Are they trying to scratch or bite their behind? That could be a sign of discomfort caused by tail pocket trouble. Luzy, for example, loves to get scratched around the hip area, so I would know something is up if she starts moving away when someone tries to do that.
  • Irritation. Infections usually change the color of the skin. Red skin on your Frenchie is a clear sign something is wrong. If it happens around the tail pocket area, it means you’re probably dealing with tail pocket trouble. Thick fur may prevent you from spotting redness, so don’t wait for this sign to check with the vet.

What You Should Know

French Bulldogs have tails that could be screw-shaped, straight, or stumpy. The biggest issue you could face there is tail pocket trouble, though it’s nothing you can’t handle if you clean it every week (and look for trouble signs every once in a while). Some breeders and owners like to dock the tail of their dogs – but it’s a terrible practice that’s either illegal or frowned upon in most places. A healthy, happy pup doesn’t need to lose its tail!

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AUTHOR

JM is a freelance writer who focuses on all things interesting. He works part-time as a toy judge whenever Manny and Luzy, his two Frenchies, fight over the same squeaky bone.

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