If you’re thinking about bringing home a new puppy (or you’re just concerned about visiting a friend with a French Bulldog) and have allergies you may be wondering “are French Bulldogs hypoallergenic?”
The short answer is no: no dog is actually technically hypoallergenic. But there’s a lot more to the story.
While no dog is hypoallergenic, the reactions people have to dogs can be complicated.
For that reason, we asked our veterinary advisor Dr. Jamie Whittenburg to offer advice on pet care and how think about allergic reactions to your dog. We’ll go into great detail in this post on:
- Whether people have allergic reactions to French Bulldogs
- What you need to know if you’re thinking about bringing home a French Bulldog
- What to do if you think you or a loved one may be allergic
Let’s dive in!
In This Article
Are French Bulldogs Hypoallergenic?
French bulldogs are toy dogs purchased for their friendly, boisterous nature and cute, bat-like ears. French bulldogs are a popular breed, but are they hypoallergenic? What about their dander? Is it manageable? These are questions to ask if you’re a first-time dog owner. Learn more about how French bulldogs affect allergies below.
Are French Bulldogs a Hypoallergenic Breed?
Are French bulldogs allergy friendly? No, French bulldogs are not hypoallergenic. Despite their deceivingly short coats, French bulldogs do have dander and can trigger allergies. Some breeders produce litters with a higher likelihood of being allergy friendly, but even these pups cause stuffy noses and runny eyes in sensitive populations.
If a breeder promises you a hypoallergenic pup, run. No dog is 100% hypoallergenic.
Can You Be Allergic to French Bulldogs?
Yes, you can be allergic to French bulldogs. French bulldogs have dander like any other dog breed. Dog dander causes allergic reactions in about 10% of the population. This irritation occurs because animal dander irritates the sensitive membranes inside the throat and nose and around the mouth and eyes.
How Do I Know if I’m Allergic to French Bulldogs?
The only definitive way to know if you’re allergic to French bulldogs is to visit an allergist. But, visiting an allergist isn’t feasible for everyone. To determine your tolerance for dog dander, spend some time at the local dog park or the house of a friend who owns a dog.
Do French Bulldogs Shed?
Yes, French bulldogs shed. While Frenchies shed less than large dogs with long hair, they do produce a respectable amount of fur, especially in the summer months when they shed their winter undercoat.
Does Brushing Prevent Allergies?
Regular brushing may reduce the severity of allergies but cannot prevent them. French bulldogs require twice-weekly brushing at a minimum—daily is preferable. Luckily, Frenchies are small, so brushing only takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Regular brushing can also regulate the dander polluting your home, making the time investment well worth it.
Do I Need To Take My Frenchie to the Groomer?
Yes, you will need to take your Frenchie to the groomer on rare occasions. French bulldogs don’t require haircuts but will infrequently require specialty grooming services like nail trimming or tick removal.
French Bulldog Grooming Tips
While nothing you can do will keep allergies away 100 percent, keeping up with your Frenchie’s grooming can help reduce exposure to the things that trigger allergies. Here are some simple Frenchie grooming tips:
- Start with a good brushing session. This will help to remove any loose hair, dirt and debris from your dog’s coat. It will also help to reduce shedding.
- Be sure to use a dog-specific brush when brushing your French Bulldog. A good quality bristle brush or a rubber curry comb work well.
- Bathe your French Bulldog as needed using a mild dog shampoo. Avoid getting water in their face and ears.
- After bathing, be sure to thoroughly dry your dog’s coat and skin. A blow dryer set on low heat can help speed up the process.
- Check your dog’s nails regularly and trim them as needed. Untrimmed nails can cause your dog discomfort and may lead to problems walking or standing.
- Brush your dog’s teeth regularly with a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste. This will help to prevent gum disease and keep their breath smelling fresh.
This is a great video overview of how to groom a French Bulldog if you’re looking for a visual:
French Bulldog Coat & Fur
Understanding more about your Bulldog’s fur and coat can help both with your grooming efforts and your efforts to avoid allergies from your Frenchie. Here are some key things to keep in mind:
- The French Bulldog has a short, smooth coat that is easy to groom.
- The most common coat color is brindle, but they can also be black, fawn, or pied.
- French Bulldogs are not heavy shedders, but they do shed some hair.
- A good brushing once a week will help to remove loose hair and keep their coat healthy.
- French Bulldogs are prone to skin allergies, so it is important to choose a hypoallergenic shampoo if your dog has this condition.
- Your French Bulldog’s coat should be brushed regularly to remove dirt and debris. You may also want to use a detangling spray or conditioner to help prevent matting.
I Have Allergies, But I Want a French Bulldog
French bulldogs are a lovable breed. If you have your heart set on a French bulldog, try to sit for one first to gauge your sensitivity to pet dander. Try sitting the dog during the summer months when he’ll be shedding the most to get the most accurate read on your allergies.
Additional Tips for Dealing with Allergies
If you’re allergic to dogs but love them anyway, don’t worry. There are ways to manage your allergies so you can still enjoy spending time with your furry friends. Here are some tips on dealing with allergies to dogs:
- Avoid contact with dogs as much as possible. If you must be around a dog, wash your hands afterwards and try not to pet the animal.
- Keep your home clean and free of dog hair. Vacuum regularly and dust often. Consider using an air purifier as well.
- If you have severe allergies, consider taking medication such as antihistamines or steroids before being around a dog. Consult with your doctor first to see if this is right for you.
- Be sure to tell your friends and family members that you have allergies to dogs. This way, they can be aware of your condition and take steps to help you avoid an allergic reaction.
Dr. Stephen Dreskin MD, PHD from UC Health has a great overview of dealing with pet allergies as well if you’re having issues there:
French Bulldog Fast Facts
If you’re researching whether French Bulldogs are good dogs for people with allergies, you’re likely interested in the breed. To help you learn a bit more about the breed, some interesting facts about Frenchies are below:
- The French Bulldog, or “Frenchie” is a popular breed of dog that has its origins in France.
- These lovable pups are known for their big ears, comical expressions, and loving nature.
- Although they may be small in size, French Bulldogs pack a lot of personality into their little bodies.
- French Bulldogs were originally bred in England as companions for upper-class ladies.
- These dogs get their name from the city of Paris, where they were popularized by American and British tourists in the 1800s.
- French Bulldogs are part of the “non-sporting” group of dogs recognized by the American Kennel Club.
- The average lifespan of a French Bulldog is 10-12 years.
- These dogs typically weigh between 16-28 pounds and stand 12-13 inches tall at the shoulder.
- French Bulldogs come in a variety of colors, including brindle, fawn, white, and black.
- Despite their name, French Bulldogs actually originate from England.
- French Bulldogs are known for being great companion dogs thanks to their loving and affectionate nature.
There is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog (or cat). Hypoallergenic implies that the dog will not cause a human to have an allergic reaction. Many mistakenly believe that humans’ allergies to cats and dogs are caused by hair shedding.
Though hairs that fall off of the dogs and cats may increase the risk of allergies, humans are allergic to proteins that dogs and cats shed in their saliva, urine, and dander.
Allergic reactions in humans to dogs and cats vary widely from human to human, and some dogs will trigger allergies in a human while others will not.
In my experience as a veterinarian, dogs and cats that children grow up with when they are young, and dogs that are brought into the household as puppies tend to cause the fewest allergy issues. It is likely that constant exposure to your personal dog desensitizes your immune system to that dog’s specific proteins.
If you have a dog or cat allergy and a dog or cat, there are some things you can do to help decrease your allergic reaction.
Keep in mind that it is the proteins the dog produces that cause the allergy. However specific actions like controlling loose hair, or obtaining a non-shedding breed, can decrease the protein-containing dander that causes your allergies in your home.
Dog Breeds with Hair & Not Fur
A number of breeds have hair, as opposed to fur, and therefore do not shed. These include:
- Shih Tzus
- Scottish, Yorkshire, and Bedlington terriers
Cat Breeds with Hair & Not Fur
Similarly there are a number of cat breeds with hair and no fur:
- Devon Rex
- Cornish Rex
- Russian Blue
Strategies to Reduce Pet Allergies
- Non-Shedding Breed – As mentioned above, some humans with allergies find that they tolerate non-shedding breeds better than those with fur, as this reduces the amount of dander in the air.
- Brushing, Bathing, and Grooming – Regardless of hair coat, frequent brushing, bathing, and grooming will decrease the dander present in your environment. For home brushing, the procedure should be done outside to avoid aerosolizing the dander into your home. Baths should be administered no more often than every other week to decrease the likelihood of drying out the dog or cat’s skin. Professional grooming frequency will depend on the cat or dog’s coat, but to reduce allergies will likely need to be done at least monthly.
- Clean Home – If you or a family member suffers from dog or cat allergies, it is essential to clean your home often. Frequent vacuuming, dusting, as well as cleaning fabric furniture, will keep the cat or dog dander in your home under control.
- Vacuuming – You should vacuum with a high-quality vacuum that has a HEPA filter installed.
- Moist Cleaning – Sweeping with a dry broom is not recommended. This method tends to stir up the dust and dander into the air. Swiffers and wet mopping are preferred for floors. Moist cloths are preferred to feather dusters for dusting.
- Air filters – Replace the filters in your furnace and air conditioning units. Always buy high-quality, preferably HEPA rated, filters. It may also be helpful to purchase individual room air purifiers/filters.
- Flooring – Carpeting will hold on to dander and other allergens. If you or a family member suffers from dog allergies, it may help to replace carpeting with hardwood, linoleum, or tile flooring. These types of flooring are easier to clean and will reduce the allergen load in your home.
- Accessories – Your dog or cat will deposit allergenic proteins where they sleep and also on toys and other objects that they get saliva on. Ensure you regularly wash all beds, pillows, and toys frequently.
Final Thoughts: Is There Such a Thing as a Hypoallergenic French Bulldog?
There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic French bulldog. However, if you’re still considering the purchase of a Frenchie, you should keep these three things in mind:
- Frenchies shed more in the summer
- Frenchies are no more or less hypoallergenic than the average dog
- Frenchies need twice-weekly brushing at a minimum
Frequently Asked Questions
Sources & Additional Resources
If you’re looking for even more information about pets being hypoallergenic this is just one in a series of guides: