Do-French-Bulldogs-Have-Tails

Do French Bulldogs Have Tails?

Many people wonder whether French Bulldogs have tails and the answer is yes, they do

French Bulldog tails are very short and ‘stumpy’. It can either be straight or corkscrew shaped. Since their tail is so short, people tend to wonder if it’s there at all! 

The American Kennel Club breed standard describes the Frenchies’ tail as short, hung low, with a thick root and fine tip.

french-bulldog-tails

Health Issues Related to the French Bulldog’s Tail

Due to the structure of the tail, French Bulldogs can be prone to some health issues. Many of these are due to the way Frenchies have been bred. 

As we mentioned earlier, some French Bulldogs’ tails are a corkscrew shape. Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Catherine Barnette explains that a corkscrew tail is a vertebral malformation. This means that the bones in the spine are abnormally structured or fused together, leading to an abnormally shaped tail. 

This abnormal structure is also known as hemivertebrae. Hemivertebrae is a health condition that can lead to pressure and damage on the dog’s spine and the nerves surrounding the spine. 

This can cause a range of unpleasant health problems for your dog including:

  • Pain: Pain can vary in severity and is often progressive. Severe pain is hard to manage. Even in mild cases, it can be painful for the dog.
  • Ataxia: A condition causing loss of coordination and balance, in particular affecting a French Bulldog’s back legs. 
  • Loss of hind leg function: In some cases, Frenchies can lose the function in their back legs causing limb paralysis. 
  • Incontinence: Some Frenchies lose the ability to control their bladder or bowels. 

As a result of the formation of their spine and tail, some Frenchies’ tails have tail pockets at the base of the tail. Whether they have a corkscrew or straight tail, they can still have a tail pocket. 

A Frenchie’s tail pocket is a little indentation or fold of skin surrounding or underneath the tail and above the anus.

A French Bulldog’s tail pocket can be prone to getting very dirty. In severe cases the abnormal anatomy prevents the dog from going to the toilet properly, leading to feces collecting in the tail pocket

Tail pockets aren’t as easily cleaned by your dog as the rest of their body. As a result, it puts them at risk of infection, including bacterial infections.

French Bulldog tail pocket infections are often recurrent and are very uncomfortable for the dog. If your Frenchie has a tail fold infection you might notice them biting at their back end, dragging their bum along the floor, and a foul odor

french-bulldog-tail

How to Care for the Tail to Avoid Health Issues

This all sounds really worrying but the good news is there are things you can do to try to avoid health issues as a Frenchie owner. 

If your Frenchie has a tail pocket, a regular cleaning routine can help to keep it clean and reduce the risk of infections. You’ll need to use antibacterial wipes or dog-friendly antiseptic solutions to clean your dog’s tail pocket daily. Antibacterial shampoos can also be useful.

If your dog’s skin fold tends to gather feces when they go to the toilet, you’ll need to clean their fold after every bowel movement. You can use simple baby wipes or wet wipes to do this, and then antibacterial wipes once a day. 

Even with proper care, dogs with a tail pocket will likely still get occasional infections. If you notice the signs of infection we mentioned earlier, it’s time to see the vet as soon as possible. They will be able to prescribe antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication to treat the infection and give you further advice. 

Hemivertebrae is a genetic condition, so unfortunately you can’t avoid it. However, ensuring you get a French Bulldog from a responsible breeder can reduce the risk of your dog developing severe symptoms. 

Reputable breeders can take steps to reduce the risk. For example, they can have medical testing done on the mother and father they intend to breed to ensure they don’t have abnormal vertebrae. Selective breeding plays a big part in reducing the risk of the condition being passed on to the litter of puppies. 

While you can’t prevent issues caused by the bone formation, you can keep your eye out for early signs of pain, a wobbly gait, or issues with toilet training. That way you can check in with the vet and get treatment as soon as possible..

Your vet may recommend surgery to make your dog more comfortable. Alternatively, they may recommend low-impact exercise, rest, and painkillers to help your dog cope. 

Remember it’s a dog owner’s responsibility to ensure their dog is as healthy and happy as possible. 

French Bulldog Tail FAQs

Do French Bulldogs get their tails cut?

Thankfully, French Bulldogs do not typically get their tails cut or ‘docked’. They are born with their characteristic short, stumpy tail. 

There are some breeders or people who show Frenchies who have been reported to dock their dog’s tail for cosmetic purposes to make it ‘cuter’. However, tail docking is fairly rare and not a standard practice

Do all Frenchies have a tail pocket?

No, not all Frenchies have a tail pocket. Many do, but this depends on genetics and breeding. You usually won’t be able to tell whether they have one until they reach around six months of age. 

If you’ve checked your Frenchie but are still unsure whether they have a tail pocket, your vet can confirm this for you with a physical examination

Are French Bulldogs born without tails?

No, French Bulldogs are not born without tails. They are born with very short tails that can either be straight and stubby or a corkscrew shape. Many people think they are born without tails simply because their cute tail is so short and not as visible as the long tail in many other breeds of dogs. 

Do French Bulldogs tails wag?

Some Frenchies do wag their small tails, but this depends on the shape and length of their tail.

Some have longer tails than others and will wag their stump. Those with shorter tails may not wag their tail at all.

When it comes to Frenchies who don’t wag their tiny tail at all, they may wiggle their bum and use other body language instead when they’re happy or excited. 

References

  • American Kennel Club, (1991), Official Standard of the French Bulldog.
  • Catherine Barnette, DVM, (2022), Corkscrew tails.
  • The International Animal Welfare Science Society, (2011), Genetic Welfare Problems of Companion Animals. 

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