How Much Exercise Do French Bulldog Puppies Need?

French Bulldog running through a field with his tongue out panting

Few people realize this, but regular exercise is almost as important for a dog as food and water, and French Bulldogs are no exception to this rule. They might not be suited for dog sports or running miles with their owner, but they still need physical activity in their lives.

So, just how much exercise do French Bulldog puppies need? A good rule of thumb is 5 minutes for each month of his or her life. Frenchie puppies love getting in some playtime and exercise, but their exercise needs are much less than that of an adult. This rough guide will help you regulate exercise for your French Bulldog; making sure they get enough but aren’t overworked. Here is an example of the exercise needs for French Bulldog puppies based on age.

Age Exercise Time
8 Weeks 10 minutes, up to twice daily
3 Months 15 minutes, up to twice daily
4 Months 20 minutes, up to twice daily
6 Months 30 minutes, up to twice daily
9 Months 45 minutes, up to twice daily

Keep in mind, this is a rough guide to exercise. Some Frenchies may tire quicker than others and that’s ok. If they begin showing signs of fatigue and exhaustion, stop and allow them to rest and recoup.

My dog Chachi is 7 months old now, he’s a Frenchie Mix.  The biggest tip I can give on him at the puppy stage is finding something they can grip well with those little puppy teeth.   I found that the soft terrycloth sandals in this pack of chew toys (on Amazon) was PERFECT for him.  Puppy teeth are sharp, but not super long.  The harder material toys are tough for him to really grab on to for playing around.    The sandals will kind of pull apart and not keep their shape but they will last a long time.  He loves to chase it and play tug of war with it.  The Duck that comes with it is also a big favorite for downtime. laughing

What Type Of Exercise Is Best?

French Bulldogs may not need a lot of exercises, but they do need some. As puppies, it’s better to give it to them two or three times a day rather than once per day all at one time. They’ll benefit more from a few short walks per day. Doing it this way will give them the exercise and stimulation they need regularly without them becoming excessively tired. It will also allow their young joints and bones not to become injured from running and jumping as puppies tend to do.

French Bulldogs are one of several breeds of dogs that are brachycephalic. Brachycephalic dogs have shortened heads with flat faces and short noses. Because of this anatomical shape of their head, they often have trouble breathing and can overheat very easily in the hot summer months.

This is another reason why their exercise should be broken down into a few different sessions. They can also have breathing difficulties if they become stressed, so it’s important to not force the dog to do too much at one time. When the dog is ready to “call it a day” and quit, let him quit.

Many bulldog owners choose to take the dog out for a walk in the morning and evening when the temperatures are cooler. Despite Frenchies needing regular exercise, it’s important that the dog no overdo it. Each dog is different. While one might like the idea of exercise, another might prefer to become a couch potato.

French Bulldogs are intelligent dogs that are relatively easy to train, and playing with them is a good way to make sure they’re getting the required amount of exercise. However, they can also have a stubborn streak, so it can be beneficial if you turn the training into a game so it’s fun for the dog.

In addition, to play and exercise being important for their physical health, it’s also important because it keeps them at a healthy weight. French Bulldogs can become overweight without sufficient exercise. Some of the best types of exercise you can give your Frenchie other than walks are romping in the yard or playing ball.

As important as exercise is for your Frenchie, it’s equally important that you not over-exercise the dog. Because of its brachycephalic built, they are more susceptible to breathing problems when pushed too far. Pay attention to the dog and allow him to stop if he appears tired or excessively thirsty.

Perfect for Puppies Too much for the little ones
Casual walks with a leash around the block. Let him stroll with you. Jogging or cycling for long or even moderate distances.  Let the puppy set her pace, don’t make her keep up with you.
Free play in a back yard or park for a short while. Long stretches of running and strenuous play.
Walks around the house or apartment. Climbing stairs or hills. Long periods of play with kids.
A short, low-stress game of fetch. Long sessions of fetch or similarly high energy play.

What About Mental Stimulation?

Mental stimulation for your French Bulldog can begin on the day he is born or on the first day you bring him into your home. The more you touch him and speak to him, the more mental stimulation he’s receiving and the more human contact he’s getting. Touch his paws, ears, nose or any part of his body so he becomes accustomed to human touch.

Your vet will thank you for this when the dog has his wellness checks and knows how to behave. If you plan on having your bulldog’s nails clipped, start doing it to him at a very young age.

Honestly, one of the best thing to start out with Mental Stimulation, along with play time, is just get your pup a Kong Toy, I like the size Medium Kong Toy (Amazon) the best for Chachi.  It’s those red snowman shape rubber toys.  Medium is a good size for him at 10-15 lbs.  I fill it with half dry dog food, half treats, and put a seal of peanut butter on top.  He loves it!  And he has to work a bit to get the food and treats out.

Despite French Bulldogs being lively dogs, they’re not really high-energy dogs. As is the case with most dog breeds, your Frenchie does need to get exercise and mental stimulation to prevent him from getting bored. A bored dog often becomes a mischievous and destructive dog. Many dog owners who fail to give their dogs the exercise and mental stimulation they need and label the dog as naughty when the dog chews on things in the house or jumps on people.

At the end of the day, a tired dog is usually a happy dog. French Bulldogs are very affectionate dogs and enjoy spending time with their owner. They’re not the type of dog that will do well with owners who work long hours and leave the dog home alone. They make such friendly companion dogs, but they don’t like being on their own. They get a lot of their mental stimulation just from being around their owner.

Because Frenchies are intelligent dogs, they enjoy challenges and solving dilemmas. Toys with hidden treats inside provide the dog with mental stimulation as they try to figure out how to get to the treat. Playing fetch for limited amounts of time also provides them with mental stimulation. French Bulldogs love almost any kind of attention from their owner whether it’s petting, holding, brushing or walking.

What Type of Leash and Collar Should Be Used for Frenchies?

Leash & Collar

One of the first things you’ll be getting for your Frenchie is leashes and collars. You can’t take him for a walk without a collar and leash. With so many different varieties on the market today, choosing the right leash and collar or combination can prove to be a daunting task. Even if you choose to use a harness, as many Frenchie owners do, you should still have a collar around his neck to clip on the dog tag.

The dog should always have a dog tag as well as a rabies tag. If the worse scenario happened and the dog ran away or got lost, the tag would provide identification. Frenchies seem to like thinner collars because they don’t feel so much pressure on their necks. When choosing a collar for your Frenchie, look for one with these qualities.

  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Thin so it’s not obtrusive
  • Plastic hoops so it’s not loud when walking
  • Water repellent
  • Soft material

Choosing a leash is not near as difficult as choosing the collar. In many cases, owners find the collar they want and just buy a matching leash. You do want a leash that’s durable and strong enough to do the job. If you’re lucky enough to get a water repellent collar, try to get the same kind of leash. You don’t want one that’s going to smell or harden if it does happen to get wet.

Harness

Harnesses are necessary for French Bulldogs. They’re ideal when the Frenchie is a pup and learning how to go for walks, but they’re even more important when the dog is older. Harnesses provide more control when the dog is older and going on walks. Frenchies can be stubborn dogs when they don’t want to do something.

A harness gives you more control without being restrictive to the dog’s breathing. You don’t really want to connect a leash to the collar because of the Frenchie’s respiratory issues. You will want a leash for your Frenchie, but you’ll want it to connect it to the harness, not the collar. If the dog starts pulling on the leash, it can cause choking or undue stress, which can bring on breathing difficulties.

When shopping for the collar and the harness, feel the underside of both items. Rub your fingers over them. Do they feel rough or smooth? How it feels on your fingers is how it’s going to feel on the dog’s neck and stomach. Try to get a harness made of breathable material so the dog isn’t sweating excessively. The less constrictive and more breathable the harness, the less your Frenchie is going to fight having it on his body.

Related Questions

How long do French Bulldogs live?

French Bulldogs generally have a lifespan of 10 to 14 years.

When are French Bulldogs fully grown?

French Bulldogs usually reach their adult height at the withers and length from head to tail by the time they’re one year old. Between one and two years of age, the dog’s body fills out, and the dog is fully grown by the age of two.

When can I take my French Bulldog puppy out for a walk?

It’s important you start taking your French Bulldog for walks as young as possible. However, because of the high rate of dog diseases like parvo, do not take your dog to the park or any place where there may be other dogs until your dog has completed his series of puppy shots. This is usually anywhere between 12 and 16 weeks of age.

Concluding notes…

Giving your French Bulldog sufficient exercise is important for the dog’s physical and emotional health. It also gives the two of you an opportunity to bond on a regular basis. Contact with and attention from you is great for the dog’s mental stimulation. Providing all these things for your dog will help him grow up to be a sound, healthy and happy companion and member of your family.