Do French Bulldogs Have Tails? Let’s Crack the Myth!

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Adorably squished-up faces, snuffly nose, big droopy puppy-dog eyes, and constant snuffles. Yes, you guessed it right! We are talking about French Bulldogs. These quirky little dogs have fun and upbeat personalities that are a class apart, making them one of the best dog breeds to own. 

If you already have or are planning on adopting a French Bulldog, you might have wondered about some of the distinct physical characteristics of this specific breed. 

Do French Bulldogs Have Tails?

It is common for people to ask questions like “do French Bulldogs have tails?” or “are their tails docked off later in life due to health issues?” or “does having smaller tails throw off their balance and restrict them from activities?”.

When I adopted my first Frenchie (Scrappy), I couldn’t help but stare at his cute butt, wondering if something resembling a tail would ever come out. 

Can’t help but wonder the same? We’ll tell you everything you need to know about French Bulldogs and their tails.

Are French Bulldogs Born With Tails? 

First of all, to cut to the chase, French Bulldogs are indeed born with tails. French Bulldog tails are smaller than most dog breeds, which is a draw to many pet owners. On average, most dogs have 18 to 23 tail bones, whereas French Bulldogs have as few as 9.

The curled-up or stout appearance of their tails is not a result of any cosmetic or medical procedure. Instead, these short tails are a genetic mutation. This might come as a relief to many if you agree that docking off animal tails is a cruel practice that serves no real purpose other than aesthetics. 

According to the American Kennel Club, French Bulldogs have short tails that are thicker towards the body then thin out towards the tip of the tail. Unlike similar breeds of dogs, such as Pugs and Boston Terriers, French Bulldogs have tails that are either straight or screwed, not curly. And for the majority of these adorable pups, the tail hangs low. 

Crossbreeding and Docking French Bulldog Tails

Around a hundred years ago, French Bulldogs used to have longer tails than the adorably stumpy ones we see today. When dog fights and bull-baiting became popular entertainment for people, many breeders started to crossbreed French Bulldogs with other dogs that naturally have smaller tails. The shorter tail was intended to prevent injuries.

As a result, Frenchie tails became shorter and thicker over time. Unfortunately, some breeders (with little knowledge of crossbreeding) ended up docking tails of French Bulldogs to ensure that they appeared more attractive to the buyers. 

However, the practice of docking tails was never instituted as with other dogs (like Rottweilers). Now, with strict laws finally surfacing against animal abuse, docking tails is a tradition long forgotten. 

In the present day, with safe, selective breeding becoming a norm, it is rare, if not impossible, to see a French Bulldog with a long tail.

The Unique French Bulldog Tail Types 

The best thing about a French Bulldog is that each and every one is unique, with physical characteristics that often surprise its owners! Amongst these characteristics are their tail types. 

It is common for Frenchies to have two different types of tails: short and straight, or screwed and stout.

Straight and Short Tail 

Set low on their rear, many Frenchies are born with straight tails. Stumpy and straight, these tails point towards the ground when your dog is idle and calm. However, compared to the screwed tail, the straight and short tail appears to be longer. 

If your Frenchie has this type of tail, they will most likely wag their tail as a sign of happiness or excitement.

Screwed and Stout Tail

The majority of the French Bulldogs with tails are born with stumpy tails that are short and thick. These are often categorized as screwed and stout, especially as they are thick towards the body and thin towards the tip. 

Most dogs with this type of tail cannot wag their tails due to their shape. Instead, they opt for wiggling their bottoms as a sign of happiness and excitement. 

French Bulldog Tail Pockets 

While short tails can be adorable, they aren’t without their issues. Unfortunately, there are consequences to the years of crossbreeding spent to achieve these tiny tails.

Often, French Bulldogs are born with health problems involving their tails, especially their tail pockets. For those unfamiliar with the term, French Bulldog tail pockets are the little dips right below French Bulldogs’ tails and above their rectums. 

Many Frenchies are born with tail pockets, whereas some develop them by six months of age. Since the tail pockets are not easy to identify, many owners don’t spot them until their beloved pet faces health issues. 

Health Issues, Remedies, and Prevention

Want to make sure that your best bud is safe from health issues? Be sure to carefully review the following few common health problems, along with possible remedies for French Bulldogs’ tail pockets. 

Tail Pocket Infections, Remedies, and Prevention 

Since tail pockets have hidden skin thanks to a deep wrinkle, many owners don’t properly clean and maintain their French Bulldog’s tail pocket. As a result, it is susceptible to infections.

Simply put, the tail pocket skin folds into the base of the tail, which accumulates dirt and germs. Over time, it becomes a breeding ground for the growth of dangerous bacteria. 

Symptoms

  • Redness in the area
  • Constant itching and scratching the rump
  • Dead, patchy skin in the area 
  • Pus and leaky substances.
  • Bad odor

Treatment

While you might consider tail pocket infections a minor inconvenience, you must remember that they can quickly turn potentially life-threatening if left untreated. With that in mind, these infections require immediate attention and the help of a specialized vet.

If you think that your Frenchie’s tail might be starting to show signs of an infection, take it to the vet. There, a vet tech will do a thorough scraping of the infected area, followed by an antibiotics course. In some extreme cases, your dog might require surgery. 

Treatment

  • A vet will prescribe an antibiotics course, typically lasting between five to ten days.
  • It is essential to keep their diet healthy and skin clean during the antibiotic course. 
  • Wash the infected area with warm water and antiseptic soap. 
  • Keep the area clean with antiseptic spray or wipes. 
  • A soothing cream or coconut oil can be applied to assist in healing. 

Prevention

  • Tail pockets need regular cleaning and drying to ensure good hygiene. 
  • Incorporate the use of antiseptic sprays and wipes in daily or weekly baths. 
  • Properly dry off your dog after baths to prevent the growth of bacteria. 
  • Trim the hair around the tail regularly to avoid irritation. 
  • Apply soothing cream or coconut oil every week to prevent dryness. 

Hemivertebrae Tail Deformities, Remedies, and Prevention

Most dogs have vertebrae that are shaped like cylinders. These create flexible bony tubes through which the spinal cord passes; however, this does not hold true for French Bulldogs. 

Instead, a typical Frenchie tail and vertebrae are shaped like wedges and, in some cases, butterflies. This anomaly can result in an incorrectly aligned spinal cord and tail, known as Hemivertebrae. This deformity crushes the spinal column and nerves due to misshapen and stumped bones. 

Symptoms

  • Pain in the tail. Wobbliness when walking. 
  • Bad and curvy posture.
  • Loss of hind leg function. 
  • Lose control of bladder and bowels. 

The  Course of Action

Unlike infections and minor medical conditions that French Bulldogs’ tails are prone to, Hemivertebrae Tail Deformities are problems that cannot be easily fixed through prevention or natural methods. 

Instead, surgery is the only way to get lasting help for this serious condition. However, to manage symptoms, your vet might prescribe anti-inflammatory painkillers and suggest lots of rest for your dog. 

The good news is that many Frenchies live a healthy and happy life without ever facing any of the painful symptoms of Hemivertebrae Tail Deformities.

Treatment

  • Anti-inflammatory painkillers to manage symptoms. 
  • Hemilaminectomy–  surgical procedure to relieve bone pressure on the spinal cord. 

Prevention

  • Avoid irresponsible breeders. 
  • Do not further crossbreed your Frenchie. 
  • Discourage breeding without proper experience. 

The Key Takeaway 

We have discussed all that you need to know about French Bulldogs and their tails, from answering frequently asked questions to reviewing their health issues. 

You may feel overwhelmed by the amount of information regarding Frenchie tails, or worry about your new Frenchie pup’s well being. Never fear! Even if your dog does develop Hemivertebrae tail issues, you have access to treatment that will correct the problem.

Take care of your dog and its tail, and you and your new friend will have a long and happy life together.

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Jennifer Grucci | Content Editor
Jennifer Grucci | Content Editor
Our talented copy editor Jennifer ensures all doggie info published on our site is accurate, clear, and perfectly suited for pet parents of all experience levels. When not reading and writing about dogs, Jennifer enjoys playing with her own pets at home.