One of the first things many people want to know before they choose a breed, is how noisy that breed tends to be - basically are they “barky” dogs. Never more so the case when choosing a smaller breed like the French Bulldog - which often are chosen due to living in apartments or smaller houses in built up suburbs.
So what about Frenchies…are they likely to have the local ranger knocking on your door due to noise complaints?
Do French Bulldogs have barking problems?
The short answer is: NO. Whilst ALL dogs naturally bark and some have been selectively bred for certain traits such as barking to alert to strangers near their home, it is highly uncommon for French Bulldogs to cause barking problems although they can and do occasionally bark, it is much less than many other breeds. In fact my Frenchie, Whisky, now 11 months old, rarely makes a sound at all!
How much do French Bulldogs bark?
All dogs are individuals so it really depends on the specific dog, but as a breed generally, Frenchies are much less “barky" than many other small breeds. Whilst they might not bark much, the breed is well known for the other weird noises they can make - snuffles, “talking” by growling at you, howling and yelping. Although not considered a “yappy” dog they do have a higher-pitch to their voice than an English Bulldog, but a deeper, gruffier voice than many small dog breeds.
What causes a Frenchie to bark?
Basic canine instinct to alert and protect their pack - when someone is at the door, at people or animals they can see outside their homes or just to have fun! They are the clowns of the dog world!
Depending on the individual dog, it’s nature and temperament, the tone of their bark can be friendly and excited, assertive and warning or scared and seeking protection from their alpha - YOU!
Do Frenchies bark if left alone?
They were bred as companion dogs, so they adore and need company and can be prone to separation anxiety if left for long periods on their own. Some people keep them in pairs, or with another breed of dog to help alleviate this. In our case Whisky has his big bro Cebar (English Cocker X).
Although not a common occurrence, some Frenchies can learn to bark or howl as a self-comfort or intrinsic reward to relieve anxiety, stress or boredom, which can become problematic. They can also develop destructive behaviours.
That said most Frenchies are absolutely fine to be left on their won for short periods, and Whisky is happy to curl up next to Cebar, have a little nap and wait for us to come home - so excessive barking isn’t an issue.
How to stop a French Bulldog barking?
The solution depends on the cause - if it is a natural instinct respond much as alerting the pack to a potential intruder or danger (your idea of danger and your dogs idea of danger can be very different) it’s probably not something you want to totally discourage. So acknowledge the situation, praise your dog for alerting you and then give them the “quite”, “enough” or “stop”command. When they stop reward them with more praise, a pat or a treat/special toy. If they don’t stop, remove them from the situation that is stimulating them and put them into another place that is boring for a minute or so. If it is due to your dog looking out the widow at everyone passing by try closing the curtains or blinds or restricting their access to that area of the house - you need to remove that stimulation to stop the barking.
If the excessive barking is due to boredom, your solution may mean investing in some toys that provide mental stimulation and reward the can keep them occupied. You need to try to exercise the a bit more either yourself or you could organise a dog walker or doggy daycare.
It can be helpful if you can teach your dog to be quiet on command: choose a time when they are barking a bit but are to so excited they can’t pay attention to you.
Move close to your do, call it’s name and then say the trigger command you want to use eg “quite”, “enough” or “stop”.
Your dog will probably look up at you, a bit confused about what is going on.
Give them a reward (praise, pat or treat/special toy) for being quiet, even if it is only for a fleeting moment.
If your dog doesn’t stop barking, wave the treat/toy under their nose to get their attention, when they stop barking praise and reward them.
Practice this over and over and your dog will learn to immediately stop barking on command.
Once they understand and obey the command, you can start to extend the distance you are away from them when you give the command and wait for longer periods of quite before you give the the reward.
When you are able to give the command from across the room and they can wait longer before being rewarded you can start to intermittently phase out the treats/ special toy rewards with just some verbal praise eg “Good Dog”, “Well Done” or “Thank You”.
All dogs naturally bark to some extent, so if you want to own a dog that’s life! However, some breeds do bark less than others an Frenchies certain fit this general category being on the quieter side. That said individual dogs within a breed vary and you could end up with a Frenchie who does bark a lot! On the whole this is unlikely but possible!