The French Bulldog is one of a number of dog breeds that share certain structural similarities.
In particular, the French Bulldog is often mistaken for the Boston Terrier because of their small size and stature and their short, flat faces.
This facial structure is the reason why French Bulldogs are so prone to overheating. But one question that is equally important is do French Bulldogs get cold easily?
We will take a closer look at this question and find out how well Frenchies tolerate cold weather. You will also learn how to make sure your French Bulldog stays comfortable, safe, and healthy in all types of weather.
Do French Bulldogs Get Cold Easily?
French Bulldogs get cold easily. They also get hot easily. In fact, the French Bulldog doesn’t do well in either temperature extreme – hot or cold. This is an important fact you need to know to help your French Bulldog stay healthy and happy in all seasons.
Learn About the French Bulldog Breed from an Expert
While the French Bulldog is wildly popular today, they do have some special health and lifestyle issues that owners need to be aware of.
In this YouTube video, you can learn five key facts about the Frenchie, including one reason why these dogs tend to tolerate cold poorly.
About the French Bulldog Coat
As Arlees French Bulldogs breeder points out, the French Bulldog is a single-coated dog breed.
What does this mean exactly?
It means that the French Bulldog has only one coat layer – the topcoat. Some dog breeds, most notably those dogs that have been bred to do hard daily work, have double layer coats, with the outer layer being protective and the inner layer insulating.
French Bulldogs are missing that inner insulating layer of the coat – the exact layer that is designed to function as a thick winter coat in inclement or winter weather.
However, since French Bulldogs are more prone to overheating due to their facial anatomy, this missing coat layer isn’t usually a big deal until winter rolls around or in the case that their owner likes to keep the house very cold.
Why Would a French Bulldog Get Cold Easily?
There are two reasons why a French Bulldog might get cold more easily than many other dog breeds.
The first reason you are already acquainted with. But the second reason might come as more of a surprise.
That single layer coat
The first reason a French Bulldog might get cold easily has to do with that single-layer coat you just learned about in the previous section here.
After all, when you only have a windbreaker instead of a winter coat, cold will affect you more deeply!
Difficulty self-regulating body temperature
One of the hallmarks of warm-blooded species such as people and dogs is that we are known to be able to self-regulate our own internal thermostat.
In other words, unlike so-called cold-blooded species like reptiles, we don’t have to move into the sun to get warm and hide in the shade to get cool.
But not all warm-blooded species are equally equipped to self-regulate their internal body temperature. This has to do with differences in anatomy and different types of self-cooling and self-warming techniques.
Dogs, unlike people, can’t just sweat out their extra internal heat through their skin.
As Live Science explains, sweating is a type of evaporative cooling. In other words, when we let out water that evaporates, we cool down.
But dogs don’t let out their water the same way people do. Instead, a dog lets out water by panting and by sweating through their paws.
If this is the case with all dog breeds, then why would a French Bulldog be less well able to cool down than other dog breeds? We will look at that question in the next section here.
Why French Bulldogs Have Extra Difficulty with Self Cooling
As the American Kennel Club (AKC) points out, the French Bulldog is a flat-faced dog breed.
The technical term for this facial structure is “brachycephalic.” This term translates to mean “short muzzle.” As Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists explains, a short muzzle dog breed is also more likely to have respiratory problems.
This is because a dog breed that has a short muzzle is going to also have shortened respiratory passages, a shorter jaw, and a more crowded mouth.
Not all French Bulldogs have the same degree of respiratory problems.
Genetic testing and careful breeding can ease the worst of these problems and avoid a dog that has a full-blown case of the severe genetic respiratory disorder known as Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome.
But all dogs with short muzzles are going to have a harder time breathing than most dogs with medium to long muzzle shapes where there is more room for everything that needs to be inside the head, mouth, and respiratory passages to fit properly.
When a dog can’t breathe as well, this can cause problems with self-cooling. They have to pant more and more rapidly to keep themselves cool in hot conditions.
What this means for your French Bulldog is that your dog will need your help to manage their internal thermostat.
How to Keep Your French Bulldog Warm Enough
Your French Bulldog may need different things from you during different seasons of the year to stay adequately warm.
As Elite Bulldogs breeder explains, to a shivering French Bulldog, a warm winter sweater or coat is not a luxury item. Being warm is good!
If this will be your first time buying dog clothing for a pet dog, keep in mind that you want to look for non-itch fabrics with easy-on, easy-off construction.
Your dog may need to get used to the process of getting dressed in a sweater, vest, or jacket just like you will. Just because it feels good doesn’t mean your dog will immediately grasp the concept and jump into it.
You will want to take it slowly, using treats and pats and praise to help your Frenchie understand what you want them to do and adjust to how the jacket or sweater feels on their body.
Bundle up when walking outdoors
Not only will French Bulldogs have a greater tendency to get too cold outside in the winter, but it isn’t just their body that is likely to be affected.
Dog booties can look like a silly invention to people who live in warm, dry climates. But in the cold, wet, and snow, and especially where salt or chemicals are used as de-icers, dog booties can be a safety and health necessity.
Turn up the heat
While it is true that French Bulldogs have a tendency to overheat in the warm season or when exercising or playing too vigorously, if your dog is just sitting on the couch or on their dog bed, the cold can come on quickly in winter.
Be sure to protect your dog from cold drafts that may come in near windows and doors. You may consider investing in a small self-heating dog bed that uses your dog’s own body to add back heat to their sleeping area.
If you choose to add a small electric heater, be sure it has an auto-shutoff feature and temperature control. Alternately, you could just turn up the heat inside your home.
Be sure your dog is warm enough at night
There are too many reasons to even name them all as to why French Bulldogs typically prefer to sleep with their people. Body heat is definitely one of them!
If your Frenchie does not sleep with you, then be aware that night time is prime time for your dog to get too cold. You can try any of the ideas listed in this section to add extra warmth to their sleeping area at night.
Also, be sure to cover their crate or kennel as needed to keep out drafts while still allowing for adequate airflow and ventilation.
Coping with Hypothermia in French Bulldogs
As PetMD explains, hypothermia is the medical term for what occurs when your dog gets too cold and their body temperature drops too low.
Left untreated, hypothermia can be serious or even deadly. Shallow or slow breathing, irregular heart rate, weakness, shivering and shaking, low blood pressure, stiff muscles, pupil dilation, confusion, and even coma are all possible symptoms.
French Bulldog puppies are more vulnerable to hypothermia than are adult dogs, but all Frenchies can be vulnerable.
If you suspect that your dog may be suffering from hypothermia, the best thing to do is rush your dog to the nearest veterinary emergency room. They can determine how severe the situation is and administer the appropriate treatment to stabilize your dog.
Of course, the best approach is to be sure your dog is never exposed to cold temperatures to the point where hypothermia or even too-cold temperature is possible.