Are French Bulldogs Aggressive? What Every Owner Needs to Know

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are french bulldogs aggressive
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When 5-year-old French Bulldog, Doby, got a brand new human sister, he accepted the child’s pokes and tugs. Especially when they came from food-covered hands!

In fact, Doby always gave the alpha seat to others, including dogs. He happily zoomed around with them at the dog park but backed off when another dog wanted to take control.

Until he met Topper.

The black lab was a happy-go-lucky, in-your-face, annoying pup. And when Doby had had enough of being sniffed, the snap was so fast, Topper had no chance to get out of the way.

Fortunately, no stitches were needed. Topper, however, merely played-bowed and went back for more. It was then that Doby’s owners sought me out as a professional trainer specializing in behavioral issues. Doby was extremely well-trained when I met him and a sweet, happy boy.

Are French Bulldogs aggressive? French Bulldogs are not known to be aggressive, however it appears as if they can suddenly change their attitude. It’s probably not as sudden as you think. In this article, we will take a look at some of the causes of aggression and ways to prevent it.

Let’s dive into French Bulldog aggression biting.

Reassuring Statistics on French Bulldog Bite Records in the US…and Secrets of Home Insurance Breed Bans

Statistic Breed Ban US

Many people are unaware that home insurance companies ban certain breeds. The good news is, French Bulldogs are not on the big insurance companies’ ban list in the United States. See the chart above. It contains the most common breeds that raise the hackles of insurance companies. They will often deny coverage if you own one of these breeds.

While French Bulldogs are not on this list, there can always be a rotten apple in the bunch. If you have a dog with a bite history, your insurance company can take several steps including these below.

  • Exclude your dog from coverage. This means that your insurance company will not cover any liability claims from your dog biting someone.
  • Charge you a higher premium. This is because your dog is considered to be a higher risk for biting someone. Depending on the insurance company, it can cost you more each year, which can add up over a dog’s lifetime!
  • Require you to take additional steps to manage your dog’s behavior. This could include muzzle training, obedience training, or always keeping your dog on a leash. Remember, just because your insurance company says these are the necessary steps to take, does not mean it is appropriate for your dog. Again, seek professional help.
  • Refuse to insure you altogether. This is the most serious outcome, and it means that you will not be able to get homeowners or renters insurance if you have a dog with a bite history.

Not telling your insurance company that you have a biter will not keep you out of trouble should another bite happen. Insurance companies often do complete investigations and can deny you coverage if you have not been upfront with them. It is best to tell them if you have a dog that has bitten someone, so you can find out if their policy will be affected. You can find a new company based on their response.

To ensure you do not end up with a biter, let’s look at aggression in a French Bulldog in this next section.

Are French Bulldogs Aggressive?

The personality of a French Bulldog is one of affection and tolerance. Any internet search will prove that. They rank high with family, children, and other dogs. 

In general, French Bulldogs are not an aggressive breed, but not every Frenchie has read the breed standards! It is essential owners know and understand their individual dog’s personality.

Recognise the 5 Common Types of Aggression in French Bulldogs

Territorial Aggression French bulldog
Credit 📸: Canva

Territorial aggression

Perhaps your dog is calm as a cucumber on your morning walks, greeting strangers with a wiggling butt. However, as soon as the postal carrier shows up, barking escalates to a frenzy, accompanied by lunging and snapping. This is your pooch protecting his territory.

Fear aggression

Fear heightens when there is not enough distance between your dog and its trigger. Perhaps your Frenchie doesn’t like another person or dog getting too close and tries to hide behind you, whining or growling. If the offending trigger continues to advance, the result can be aggression. Pay attention to your dog’s signals including

  • Panting
  • Lip licking
  • Raised hackles
  • Pinned ears
  • Tremors
  • Backing away

If you ignore these signals, there is a good chance you’ll end up with a snapping or biting Frenchie.

Pain-elicited aggression

Pain can bring out the worst even if you have a dog you trust entirely. Veterinarians know this all too well! In addition to sudden trauma (like a broken leg), Frenchies have common medical issues that can lead to pain, such as

  • Hip dysplasia (a painful condition causing pain and swelling in the hip joints)
  • Luxating patella (dislocated kneecap; common in small breeds)
  • Ear infections (left untreated, these can lead to severe disease and deafness)
  • Arthritis (often seen in older dogs; look for difficulty standing, moving, jumping)

Always seek help from a veterinarian to ease your pup’s pain, and use caution with your interactions.

Inter-dog aggression

The most common type of inter-dog aggression occurs with unneutered males but can happen with any dog. NEVER stick your hand in the middle of a dog fight! If your French Bulldog is on a leash, use it to remove him quickly from the situation until you can safely pick him up.

Human aggression

Aggression toward people is scary, and rightfully so. Pay attention to the triggers. Perhaps your dog is only aggressive to men, beards, or brightly colored clothing. 

Knowing what type of aggression affects your dog is essential to controlling the problem. The differences can be subtle. It is crucial to get both a veterinarian and a professional trainer involved. They can help you figure out the causes and reduce problems.

Let’s look at some of the causes.

Causes of Aggression in French Bulldogs and How to Best Manage Them

French Bulldog Fighting
Credit 📸: @Lolas_Adventures

There is no denying aggression is a serious behavior problem in dogs and can be dangerous for the dog and the people around it.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to managing aggression in dogs, which is why it is important to seek professional help from a qualified trainer or behaviorist in person. Do not rely on advice from someone who has never met your dog.

Managing aggression in a dog can be challenging, but it is possible with patience and consistency. There are ways to prevent aggression issues in the first place. Let’s take a look at a few.

Genetics

When picking out your pup, meet the parents and meet the breeder. How was the dog raised? How did the pup’s parents greet you? Why did the breeder choose to mate the parents (hopefully, their easy-going, loving personalities are part of the answer)? Ask lots of questions. The breeder should happily answer your questions about the breed, the puppies, and their health. They should also be able to provide references from previous puppy owners.

Early Experiences

Did your dog have a negative experience with a large hairy dog or someone whose keys jingled? These could be triggers in the future. Slowly introduce your dog to these triggers in a safe, fun environment, or avoid them.

Lack of Socialization

If your Frenchie has not been exposed to many people and environments, he can be stressed by new stimuli. It is vital to get your dog into as many different, safe, enjoyable environments as possible. Make it fun!

Pain or Illness

This is the easiest form of aggression to understand since many of us are grumpy when in pain. For dogs, pain can come from a recent accident. Or, it can be long-term chronic pain that affects your Frenchie. Either way, you must work with a veterinarian to relieve your Frenchie as soon as possible.

Fear or Anxiety

Loud noises, thunderstorms, unfamiliar smells; many things can cause anxiety in a dog. These can make a dog pace or dive-bomb under a chair. Do not stick your hand under the chair to pull him out! An anxiety jacket may be very helpful for your French Bulldog in certain situations.

While it’s essential to tackle these aggression issues if they arise, a better strategy is to prevent them in the first place. Working with your French Bulldog is entertaining for both of you! In this next section, we’ll investigate preventing aggression in your Frenchie.

Tips and Tricks to Prevent Aggression from your French Bulldog

French Bulldog Fighting
Credit 📸: @Jellybean&Biscuit

Training

Whether you like to train on your own or sign up for a group class, dog training is a great way to build a strong relationship with your French Bulldog. Consistent interaction enforces positivity with your dogs. Teach them what is and what is not acceptable behavior. It is a great bonding activity, and Frenchies love to please!

Exercise

Make sure your dog has plenty of space to exercise and play. Although a small, compact breed, Frenchies can get the zoomies, covering a large swath in no time! Exercise is vital not only for physical health but mental health as well.

Manage the Environment

Avoid situations that you know are likely to trigger aggression in your dog. This includes crowded areas, noisy environments, or interactions with unfamiliar people or dogs.

Get Professional Help

It is imperative to get a professional involved if you are having aggression issues with your French Bulldog. Your veterinarian is a great place to start to eliminate any health causes. Your veterinarian might also recommend a certified dog trainer or behaviorist specializing in aggression. This is one problem that needs expert input.

The Bottom Line

French Bulldog with a child
Dobby and his little sister!

We’ve looked at types of aggression, causes, and prevention. Remember, French Bulldogs are not known for their aggression! But if you have an aggressive one, it is vital to get professional help immediately.

As for Doby, his owners had missed subtle physical clues he was giving around other active dogs. Together, we were able to work on those issues. Now Doby and Topper coexist peacefully on many summer weekends. Although I’m told, Topper is still in-your-face annoying!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are French Bulldogs aggressive?

 In general, French Bulldogs are not known to be aggressive. However, just like any other breed, they can display aggression under certain circumstances.

Do French Bulldogs get aggressive?

French Bulldogs can display aggression under certain circumstances, but they are not known to be an aggressive breed in general. It is important for owners to understand their individual dog’s personality and recognize the signs of aggression to prevent and manage it.

Is French Bulldog a friendly dog?

Yes, French Bulldogs are generally friendly and affectionate dogs. They rank high with families, children, and other dogs, and their personality is one of affection and tolerance. However, it is important for owners to understand their individual dog’s personality and provide proper socialization and training to prevent any potential aggression.

Are French Bulldogs bad tempered?

French Bulldogs are not known to be bad tempered. They have a friendly and affectionate personality and are generally well-behaved and easy-going. However, like any other breed, they can display aggression under certain circumstances, and it is important for owners to provide proper socialization, training, and management to prevent and manage any potential aggression.

Do home insurance companies ban French Bulldogs?

No, French Bulldogs are not on the list of breeds banned by most home insurance companies in the United States. However, if your French Bulldog has a bite history, your insurance company may take certain steps to manage the risk.

What should I do if my French Bulldog displays aggression?

 If your French Bulldog displays aggression, it is important to seek professional help from a qualified trainer or behaviorist. They can help identify the causes and provide appropriate training and management strategies.

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AUTHOR

Wendy is a freelance copywriter whose niche is the animal kingdom. She is a certified dog trainer and currently lives with her husband and a furloughed service dog. She considers them equally easy to live with...on most days.

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