The French Bulldog is that neat, dapper little dog that you were probably admiring long before you even though you might own one someday.
They are compact, lovable, social, and sweet and they make excellent watchdogs. Frenchies, as their fans call this breed, are also huge fans of sitting in laps. They like nothing better than to curl up on a nice warm lap.
However, there are some considerations to keep in mind as you begin the process of training your little lapdog in the art of being a companion canine.
The tips you will find in this article cover aspects such as sleeping arrangements, back health, coping with visitors, and other issues that your lap-loving French Bulldog may need your help to navigate.
Are French Bulldogs Lap Dogs?
French Bulldogs are definitely lap dogs. They not only want to be with “their” people all the time, but they usually want to be actually on their people as well.
So if your idea of a perfect pet dog is a dog that wants more than anything to sit up on your lap all the time, the French Bulldog is definitely the breed for you.
Watch a French Bulldog Puppy Get Cuddles
There is a reason that French Bulldogs as a breed are the fourth most popular companion canine (out of nearly 200 options) in the United States.
As this YouTube video clearly demonstrates, French Bulldogs seem born for life in the lap of luxury – literally.
And as you may notice, not only do they typically adore cuddling, but the average adult Frenchie is also perfectly sized for the average adult lap.
Why Do French Bulldogs Enjoy Sitting in Laps So Much?
As the French Bulldog Club of America explains, the French Bulldog actually isn’t even from France!
These dogs actually originated in England, where they were bred down from standard size English Bulldogs specifically to be lap dogs.
Many cottage industry lacemakers enjoyed keeping these new smaller size bulldogs as companions and shop watchdogs and ratters.
But then the Industrial Revolution came along and the majority of the lace-making industry moved over to France. When they moved, their toy English Bulldogs went with them, of course.
Soon, lots of other local artisans and shop keepers wanted their own small English Bulldogs as well. The French renamed these dogs Bouledogues Français, the French Bulldog. Eventually, the French Bulldog made its way to America and was an instant hit.
Today, after a series of ups and downs caused by world wars and breeder wars, the French Bulldog’s popularity as a loving and loyal lapdog has spread all over the world.
What All Owners Need to Know About Your French Bulldog Lap Dog
While it is an amazing experience to have a dog that wants nothing more than to be with you all the time, it can also present some challenges from time to time.
In this section, we outline some things you may want to think about if you are still trying to decide whether the French Bulldog is the right breed of dog for you.
French Bulldogs also love to sleep with their people
Adorable, right? Not only does your dog want to sit on your lap all day, but they also want to sleep with you at night.
But in the case of a French Bulldog, this means you had better be a sound sleeper. Because if you are not, you are likely to be the only one not sleeping at night!
French Bulldogs have a muzzle shape that is known as “brachycephalic,” which means “short muzzle.” This means they can have breathing troubles and also tend to snore quite loudly, as the American Kennel Club (AKC) reports.
If you don’t want your Frenchie sleeping in your bed at night or you do but you simply can’t fall asleep with so much snuffling going on in your ear, then you face the challenge of training your dog to sleep in a different room in their own bed.
This is not easy and it is a decision best made the very same day your dog comes home with you. It is a lot easier to train your dog from the start to sleep apart from you than to retrain your dog later after they are used to sleeping with you.
Frenchies are prone to back problems that can be caused by jumping
As Carson Animal Hospital explains, the way French Bulldogs are built can contribute to lifelong back issues.
These dogs are top-heavy and can also inherit disc and spine deformities that make back issues even more likely.
So while it is incredibly cute to see your eager French Bulldog literally jumping up into your lap, for your dog’s safety you really want to discourage this behavior.
Whether you choose to purchase a dog ramp and train your dog to come up to where you are sitting that way or you train your dog to wait to be lifted up, this is much safer than letting your dog get into the dangerous habit of jumping onto your lap.
Most Frenchies have never met a stranger
While there is always the exception, in most cases Frenchies are always eager to make new friends.
And once a Frenchie makes a new friend, guess where your dog will want to sit? Your French Bulldog will be keen to sit on that new friend’s lap!
Not all people want to have a dog sitting in their lap, however.
So when you have guests or visitors over to your house, or if you like to take your dog with you to public spaces such as restaurants, you will definitely need to make sure your dog understands that this is not appropriate social behavior with other people.
French Bulldogs can get quite heavy!
According to the official American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standard, the French Bulldog typically weighs in at 28 pounds or less.
But even though this doesn’t sound like a lot if you compare a Frenchie to, say, a Great Dane, it is still equivalent to sitting around with at least two large watermelons in your lap.
In the winter, having that extra weight and warmth might feel just lovely. But in the summer when the temperatures heat up, you may get understandably eager for a little less warmth from your lap-loving French Bulldog.
French Bulldogs are known to fart – a lot
As SheKnows explains, most first-time French Bulldog owners find out in short order that their dog passes a lot of gas.
The truth is, many French Bulldogs suffer from issues with sensitive digestion. This despite the fact that most Frenchies live to eat. They simply have more delicate gastrointestinal systems and that can translate to more (and smellier) farts.
If you don’t fancy getting up close and personal with your dog’s frequent farts, you may need to limit lap time, which could be stressful for your dog.
How to Train Your French Bulldog Not to Jump Onto Your Lap
If you don’t want to find yourself facing a potentially expensive back or disc surgery, you will want to start training your Frenchie not to jump up and down from your lap right away – ideally from day one.
As the Animal Welfare League of Arlington points out, it is a better strategy to teach your dog to do something than to not do something. It is also often easier!
Use the “off” or “down” command
You can start by refusing to reinforce the jumping behavior. Ignore your Frenchie until the jumping stops. You can try turning around so your back is facing your dog, then saying “off!” or “down!” very firmly.
Reward anything that is not jumping
Once your French Bulldog learns that the treats and attention stop coming when the jumping starts, you will have an easier time training the desired behavior.
Designate a specific area where your dog must go to sit
Designating a certain area where your Frenchie must go whenever you first come home – or when a visitor comes over – will help you manage your dog’s excitement and keep your dog from jumping up on visitors.
You can use the “sit” or “stay” command to tell your dog what you expect of them.
If you find you are still having trouble training your French Bulldog not to jump up or down from your lap or onto visitors, you may want to enlist the help of a professional K-9 trainer.
Not only will this allow you to learn from a professional, but it will ease any tension between you and your dog and prevent potentially devastating spine and back problems.
A well-trained and socialized French Bulldog is one of life’s true delights and joys. But it will be up to you to teach your dog well.