French Bulldog exercise needs guide

How much exercise does a French Bulldog need

The French Bulldog, also commonly known as “the Frenchie”, is a small breed of Bulldog originally developed in the 1800s. It was a companion dog and persists in the same role today.

Unfortunately, the French Bulldog is plagued by many potential health concerns. Despite common health concerns, the French Bulldog is very easy to keep. They do not require much exercise. However, this breed being developed for companionship requires a lot of human interaction. Otherwise, the French Bulldog may develop destructive habits.

french bulldog exercise

Besides sleeping all day the French Bulldogs’ favorite past time is keeping their owner’s lap warm or laying on the couch. To understand your French Bulldogs exercise needs and requirements it is important to know a little about them and their limitations.

French Bulldogs are not the most active dogs in the world. On a scale of 1 to 10, they would be a 1 where 1 is least active. This is one of the reasons why Frenchies are susceptible to obesity.

They have a hard time breathing because of their short nose and compromised air passages. Any exercise that increases the demand for oxygen should not be overdone since they will struggle to get sufficient air to meet the demands being placed on them.

They are also very susceptible to heat so avoid exercising when the temperature is too hot or humid. Any signs of exhaustion are a cue to stop the exercise and allow them to cool off.

Swimming is best avoided as they are not good swimmers and will have a hard time staying afloat.

French Bulldog exercise intolerance.

French Bulldogs would rather lay around with the occasional play with their owners. This is not because they are lazy, but rather because of their exercise intolerance due to the fact that they tire easily.

In addition, they have compromised air passages and are prone to overheating. It is crucial not to let them avoid activity as exercise is important for their fitness. This is for their overall health, to keep muscles strong so they can support the bones and tendons and maintain a healthy weight.

Exercise for French Bulldogs should be mild and not too physically exerting.

What are French Bulldogs daily requirements for exercise?

The daily exercise requirements for the French Bulldog can be summed up as not a lot but enough to keep them healthy. Younger dogs will be more active and as they get older they tend to want to do less.

French Bulldog walking distance

french bulldog exercise needs

Make sure exercise is fun and not stressful for your French Bulldog as they will be more eager to do it.

Take your French Bulldog for short relaxed paced walks on a daily basis. Ten to fifteen minutes or a casual stroll around the block should be more than enough.

Avoid strenuous activity when the weather is hot or humid. This can cause them to overheat or have labored breathing. Ideally, plan their daily walks at a time of the day when the temperature is coolest to avoid any complications.
Read “Over exercised dog symptoms” to learn about the signs and symptoms to be aware of to prevent overheating or even heat stroke or exhaustion.

It is best to exercise before meals. French Bulldogs tend to become drowsy and prefer to just lay around when they are full. Daily walks will also provide an opportunity for mental stimulation from absorbing the sights, sounds, and smells.

Free play and toys

The French Bulldog is a playful little dog. They enjoy a good game with people, other dogs and often by themselves. Provide an opportunity for them to play whenever possible. This will help burn energy, stimulate their mind and strengthen their bond with you. Some suggestions for free play include;


The French Bulldog is most cases is what we term a light or moderate chewer. This means they tend not to be overly destructive with their toys. Dogs like this quite often favor Plush Toys. For recommendations of the best toys for French Bulldogs see here.

Play with other dogs

Provide the opportunity for your French Bulldog to play with other dogs. This is not only great to burn energy and stimulate their mind, but teaches them important social skills.

Play games

There are countless fun games that you can play with your dog. Check out “47 Boredom Busters and games for dogs” for ideas.


Play a game of fetch with their favorite toys. An alternative to fetch if you find that your French Bulldog is reluctant to play is to attach a toy to a stick and run in front of your French Bulldog. The move will encourage them to run after you for a short while.

Make sure you allow your French Bulldog to catch the toy once every 10 to 20 seconds depending on their health. French Bulldogs are not very energetic and they cannot run for long periods of time. This is why it is important to perform such an exercise with breaks in between them.

Dog toys that move on their own

There is a range of dog toys that shake, rattle, roll and move on their own. These are ideal for a French Bulldog as it will encourage them to get moving and be active. Read “Dog toys that move on their own” for more information.

Self Playing Dog Toys

There are a variety of dog toys that your dog can use to play by themselves. These are great for times when your dog is home alone, you don’t have the time or you are otherwise occupied. This way your dog can still get some physical activity and mental stimulation without your direct involvement. See “Self Playing Dog Toys” for some ideas.

Mental Stimulation

Your French Bulldog will get some mental stimulation and enrichment from their daily walk and time spent with free play. However, it is a good idea to provide other activities that stimulate the mind. Mental exercise can burn as much energy as physical exercise.

Many dog behavior problems are a direct result of boredom. Read “Mental enrichment and mind stimulation for dogs” to learn about the six categories of enrichment for dogs.

Some ideas to provide mental stimulation include;

Puzzle Toys

Puzzle toys are a great way to test your dog’s intelligence and improve their problem-solving skills. Check out “Top 7 puzzle toys for dogs” for my top picks.
Kong toys which you stuff with food and treats work in much the same way. Read “How to use a Kong for dogs”.

Puzzle toys are great for times when your dog is home alone. If your dog is home alone while you are at work or out you may find some helpful information at “Leaving a dog alone while at work”


Teaching new commands and tricks is also excellent to provide mental enrichment. A popular game that involves learning is to teach them the names of their toys. Dogs can learn hundreds of words and names.

How to exercise your French Bulldog puppy

The exercise suggestion above relates to a healthy adult French Bulldog. The exercise needs of a puppy are quite different. With puppies, their bones, muscle, and joints are still growing and developing.

Overly strenuous walks are not necessary and in fact, could possibly cause harm. The best exercise for a young puppy is free play with age-appropriate toys. Socializing with other puppies or friendly adult dogs is a great way to burn some of that puppy energy along with teaching them the social skills they need.

As your French Bulldog puppy gets older you can take them for short informal walks allowing them to sniff and explore and get used to being on a leash.

Puppies under three months probably haven’t had all their vaccinations so shouldn’t be walked in public. Check with your vet when it is alright to venture out to the park or street.

The general rule of thumb for walking a French Bulldog puppy is around 2 minutes for every month of age. So, for example for a 4-month-old puppy, a walk of 8 minutes is enough. Monitor your French Bulldog puppy on the walk for signs such as lagging behind, lying down or panting. End the walk if they seem too tired.

For more on puppy exercise read “How to exercise a puppy

How much exercise does an older French Bulldog need

As a dog gets older they become less active and have lower energy levels. However, it is still important that they remain reasonably active to keep their joints and muscles mobile and to manage their weight. Read “ Dog exercise for a senior dog” to learn more.

Many dogs develop arthritis as they age. Exercise for them becomes a balancing act. It is important to keep their joints mobile and manage weight, but too much can make them sore. Read “How to exercise an arthritic dog” to learn more.

French Bulldogs are also very prone to hip dysplasia so also read “How to exercise a dog with hip dysplasia” for suggestions.

In Summary

The French Bulldog does not require a large amount of exercise due to their compromised breathing and the fact that they can overheat easily it is best not to over-exercise them. However, it is also important to provide a mild amount of exercise to manage their weight. Exercise also helps keep their muscles strong to support their joints and tendons. Providing mental stimulation will prevent boredom leading to destructive behavior.


  • Joseph Coleman

    A lifelong writer and proud dog dad. Joseph started this blog dedicated to helping other dog owners find accurate information on how to keep their pets at their healthiest through exercise and nutrition. His passion for all things canine shines through in his writing, and he believes that every dog deserves the best possible care. If you're a dog owner looking for reliable advice on how to keep your pup healthy and happy, be sure to check out Joseph's work.