Does the French Bulldog Have a Tail?
Frenchies do have tails! In fact, their short tail capped rumps are among the cutest things about them. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) standards
, their tails can be corkscrew-shaped or regular. However, they’ll always be short and small.
Are French Bulldogs Tails Cut Off?
The short tail feature of the French Bulldog isn’t an old thing. In fact, they used to have longer tails in some parts of their history. At these times, breeders would dock these tails completely or partially for shows. Also, people used to cut the tail off during the puppy stage to reduce tail injuries. Since the practice is currently frowned upon, you’d most likely see a French Bulldog with tail, despite being short enough to be easily missed. However, since French Bulldogs are selectively bred to have naturally short and thick tails, you might mistakenly think that their tails are cut off or they don’t have tails at all.
French Bulldog Tail Types
One thing you should know is that since it’s just a breeding-related aspect, French Bulldogs’ tails vary in length, extending from 1 to 3 inches tall. According to AKC
, the standards for a French Bulldog tail should be long enough to cover their anus. Also, they shouldn’t be able to raise their tails above their horizontal level. Despite being remarkably short, French Bulldogs still have 3 different tail types. These types are:
- Screwcork-shaped with a stumpy look
- Straight down, short, and thick
- Start with a thick root and tapered towards the end
Common Issues With French Bulldog Tails
You might know that French Bulldogs are known for having some breathing problems as well as hip dysplasia. Although the small tails of bulldogs are one of their most adorable assets, they still have their drawbacks. While French bulldogs might have some variety in the style of their tails, they all share some common issues due to their small size and shape. The most common health concerns caused by a Frenchie’s tail are hemi-vertebrae, tail pocket infections, and sunburns. Let’s have a deeper look at them.
, also known as malformed vertebrae, is a common genetic issue among French Bulldogs that affect their spines. In order to create those cute little screw tails, the Frenchie’s vertebrae of the spine are often pressed together more tightly when compared to other dogs with regular tails. Hemi-vertebrae can be diagnosed in a variety of ways, including X-ray as the main method but MRI and CT Scans can also be used to detect the genetic defect. The pressure that hemi-vertebrae applies to the spine causes walking difficulties that can develop into limp paralysis. It can also cause excretory issues, such as urinary and fecal incontinence accompanied with some pain, especially for senior Frenchies.
Tail Pocket Infection
Similar to hemi-vertebrae, tail pocket infections are highly common among French Bulldogs
. However, unlike hemi-vertebrae, not all Frenchies are susceptible to these infections, simply because some Frenchie’s don’t have a tail pocket. As the name suggests, a tail pocket is a groove that’s shaped like a facial wrinkle and found below some French Bulldog’s tails and right above the rectum. Bacteria and dirt will accumulate in this skin dip, which is very difficult to clean, leading to severe infections. Symptoms of a tail pocket infections including itchy, swollen, and irritated skin with a foul smell due to pus formation
Since a French Bulldog tail is characterized by its short hair, the tail area is usually prone to sunburns. Similar to sunburns in humans, you’ll notice a slight tinge of pink on your Frenchie’s coat due to the inflamed skin. You’ll also find your dog extremely uncomfortable and very sensitive to touches. One thing you should know is that sunburns in dogs shouldn’t be taken lightly, as exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays can cause cancerous skin tumors
, which is actually the most commonly diagnosed type of tumor in all dogs.
How Do You Treat Health Issues Related To French Bulldog Tails
Now that you know more about the French Bulldogs’ tail health issues, it’s time to know how to manage them if your dog is diagnosed with these issues. First, you should know that in most cases, you should always rely on a veterinarian’s diagnosis before attempting to treat these issues. If the vet notices swelling and pus with a foul smell in the tail pocket, your Frenchie will most likely be diagnosed with a pocket tail infection. In that case, the vet might prescribe a specific antibiotic depending on the severity of the infection. They’ll also recommend that you get rid of excess fur to limit the spread of the infection. Cleaning the area with an antiseptic, especially for open wounds, then keeping the area dry afterward is usually enough to treat the infection within a couple of days. Keep in mind that early action is extremely critical in that case because infections will rapidly worsen and might require surgery in some cases. Similar to tail pocket infections but less avoidable is the hemi-vertebrae where treatments highly depend on the severity of the condition as seen due to imaging or scanning. In the most severe cases, where pain, paralysis, and incontinence are noticed, the vet will suggest a spinal decompressive operation to alleviate the symptoms. It’s a minimally invasive surgery, so you don’t have to worry. Lastly, tail sunburns are the easiest to diagnose on your own. If you suspect tail sunburns, you should provide your doggie with enough fluids to promote the healing process through proper hydration. Additionally, cooling the skin using cold compresses is also recommended to prevent tissue damage and alleviate some of the pain. However, if you’re unsure, you can always visit the vet to assess the coat type and skin pigmentation of your Frenchie. If the sunburn produces blisters or severe skin reactions (solar dermatitis
), you must consult a vet, as your pooch will mostly require antibiotic and antiinflammatory spray to help the area heal and prevent secondary bacterial infections in the compromised zone.
How To Prevent Tail Issues
As you could probably notice, most of these issues can easily develop into severe health concerns that might even call for surgery to help with the treatments. For that reason, it’s always easier to find alleviation through prevention rather than looking for a treatment. So here’s what you can do regarding each of these French Bulldog tail issues.
Tail Pocket Infections
Among other French Bulldogs’ tails related issues, tail pocket infections are the easiest to avoid with simple preventive measures. All you have to do to avoid the issue completely is to keep the tail pocket as clean and dry as possible. You can easily achieve this by regularly wiping the area with mild dog wipes
then drying the area well with a clean soft cloth. In addition to wiping, giving your dog a proper bath every now and then to remove hard to reach dirt from the area is also highly recommended.
The ease of prevention of sunburns highly depends on the level of activity of your little buddies. If you Frenchie, like mine, is a bit of a couch potato, you won’t have to be outside as much, which reduces the risk of sunburns significantly. However, if your dog is quite active and the UV index in your area is a bit high, you have to be more careful while taking your dog to a morning walk. In that case, you can solve the problem by applying some dog sun protector spray
. If you don’t have it, you may use baby-safe SPF 30 sunscreen. If your dog has a history of skin sensitivity, consult your vet regarding the ideal option for your dog.
As you know, hemi-vertebrae is a genetic issue, which means that it’s not preventable if your dog has it. The only thing you can do about it is to perform regular checkups on your Frenchie’s skeletal system and report any suspected symptoms to your vet as soon as you observe any of them.
With that said, you now have a better idea about a French Bulldog tail. As you can see, all Frenchies have very short hair that can be either straight or twisted. Although it’s one of their cutest features, French Bulldog tails can cause various health issues, especially if you don’t pay enough attention to the cleanliness of the area. Remember to consult a vet if you notice any of the suspected symptoms, so you can alleviate your dog’s pain and discomfort.