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Why do French Bulldogs make such weird sounds?

French Bulldog in the grass advice
© Unsplash

French Bulldogs recently overtook Labradors as the UK’s most popular dog breed. These adorable pups are thought to be loyal, bold and pleasingly chilled out but there is one characteristic that you can’t overlook if you’re thinking of bringing a French Bulldog into your home and that’s the truly strange noises they make!

By Natasha James

Published on the 18/07/2020, 14:00

Yes, as well as being lovable little rogues, French Bulldogs are known for the strange and, occasionally, slightly alarming noises they make! From crying, to whimpering, snoring to snorting, Frenchies are not the breed for you if you’re in the market for a silent dog! Read on for all you need to know about these little snuffle pigs.

Find out more about the French Bulldog

Why does my Frenchie make weird noises?

French Bulldogs are what’s known as a brachycephalic breed which means they can be prone to issues with their breathing. Not every brachycephalic breed will have problems with their airways but with their flat faces, shortened snouts and narrower sinus passages, they’re more susceptible to them than their longer-snouted canine chums. Frenchies aren’t the only breed prone to this condition, it can also affect Shih Tzus, Pugs, Pekingese and Boxers amongst others.

My French Bulldog is making weird breathing sounds

Sometimes Frenchies will be louder than others. If your dog is having a particularly noisy day/night, look out for the following:

  • The position in which they’re lying – certain positions, especially when sleeping, can lead your pup to snort and snore their heart out. Gently move them if they’re keeping you awake!
  • Allergies – Like us humans, dogs can have allergies and sensitivities to things. For Frenchies and other brachycephalic breeds, this can be even more common. If you notice any patterns to when your French Bulldog is snuffliest then it could be an allergy. Pay your vet a visit or limit exposure to anything you think could be causing an allergic reaction.
  • Something in their nasal passage – French Bulldogs like to snuffle around and this can mean they get things trapped in their nasal passages. You’ll usually notice this straight away and your dog will probably snort it out by themselves but if you’re worried, you can always see your local vet.
  • Medicines – Some medicines such as antihistamines and pain killers can cause the muscles to relax around your Frenchie’s sinus passages, be sure to only use medication that has been approved by your vet.

Is it normal for my French Bulldog to snort?

In a word, yes! Because of their breed characteristics, French Bulldogs not only snort and snore when they’re asleep but they regularly do it when they’re awake too. In short, if you’re looking for a silent dog who won’t make a peep then the Frenchie probably isn’t for you!

Do all French Bulldogs make weird noises?

The amount of noises that French Bulldogs make will vary from dog to dog but it’s likely that every Frenchie will make at least some of the following:

  • Grunting
  • Snoring
  • Purring
  • Wheezing
  • Slow, laboured breathing
  • Snorting
  • Burping
  • Crying
  • Whining
  • Reverse Sneezing (or repeatedly snorting/grunting like a pig)

Should I worry about the noises that my French Bulldog makes?

Snorts, snores, grunts, cries, barks and whines are all very common in Frenchies and on the whole, are harmless. Keep an eye on what is common for your dog as some dogs are especially verbose while others may be a little more reserved! If your dog’s noises suddenly escalate dramatically or you notice a marked difference in the sounds that they’re making then this could be a sign that something’s up so it’s worth paying your vet a visit.

What does it mean when my dog snorts repeatedly?

If your Frenchie is suddenly grunting repeatedly then he or she may be reverse sneezing. The first time you witness the condition, it can appear rather alarming but reverse sneezing is actually common in dogs, especially in smaller and brachycephalic breeds. It may seem like your dog is hyperventilating but it’s actually a muscle spasm that occurs when the airways are irritated.

How will I recognise reverse sneezing in my French Bulldog?

Your dog will breathe in air rapidly and repeatedly through their nose and may stretch out the neck to lengthen their airways. This respiratory event may be due to allergens in the sinus passages and your role is simply to comfort your dog. Take a look at videos on YouTube so you know what to expect.

How do I quieten down my French Bulldog?

If you’re looking to quieten down your Frenchie then consider some of the following:

  1. Keep them at a healthy weight – breathing problems are exacerbated by excess weight
  2. Make sure they have gentle exercise regularly
  3. Don’t smoke near your dog – smoke inhalation can be especially harmful to dogs of brachycephalic breeds
  4. Give them a pillow – if your pup raises their head a little when sleeping then they’re likely to snore less
  5. Use a humidifier – if all else fails and you’re still hoping to quieten down your pooch then a humidifier will add some moisture to the air and limit snoring

Whether you love or hate the sounds that Frenchies make, these characteristics are part of what makes this adorable breed so unique. Chances are, as a French Bulldog owner, their squishy faces, funny sounds and cheeky personality are all part of why you love them so much, just keep an eye on their breathing and consult a professional if you notice anything out of the ordinary.