Are Frenchies Smart?

Aaron Rice Expert Dog Trainer
Written: February 14, 2022

The “French Bulldogs,” popularly known as Frenchies, are known for their bat-shaped ears. They are a widely popular dog breed due to their cute and lovable figure. There is a look of clumsiness in them that makes them extra adorable. Apart from the physical features, are Frenchies intellectually superior?

Unlike their funny look, they are pretty smart dogs. Surprisingly, in many renowned dog intelligence tests, Frenchies have fared low. Their smartness can not be just measured by obedience training alone.

Frenchies are inherently a stubborn breed. That is the main reason why they may not obey your commands initially. (Not because they don’t understand what you say.) As a dog owner, you need to come to terms with the reality that they require time to respond to training and positive reinforcements.

Once they surpass the initial inertia, they are very loyal and highly reliable dog breeds. So, let’s dig into the aspects that make French bulldogs smart.

Factors That Determine Frenchie Intelligence

They were initially bred as companion dogs right from the Industrial Revolution in England and France. Giving their owners company was the sole task at hand for them. 

Unlike human IQ tests, there are still no generally accepted intelligence tests for canines. Apart from the genetic factor, there are a few other determinants that are directly linked to the general intelligence of a Frenchie.

Type of Lifestyle

You must engage your Frenchie in regular cognitive enhancement activities like puzzles and games to stimulate the mind. Lack of such activities will make them dull, bored, and intellectually sluggish.

In contrast, a Frenchie getting regular exercise and mentally stimulating activities will respond better to training and commands.

Talent can be Subjective

Not all french bulldogs respond equally well to training programs and dog sporting events. Like humans, dogs’ talents and areas of expertise can vary on a case-to-case basis.

For instance, a Frenchie with mediocre training ability may be a professional as therapy dogs.

Age of Dog

A dog’s memory is way faster and efficient at a young age. The response to commands and recollection of names/objects can slow down once they reach an elderly phase.

How Smart are French Bulldogs?

According to Dr. Stanley Coren’s Dog Intelligence statistics, Frenchies obey a given command in the first attempt 30% of the time. In general, it takes 40-80 repetitions to make them positively respond to an order.

We will try to analyze this breed’s intelligence through different parameters like attitudes, tendencies, characteristic traits, and real-life experiences.

  • Frenchies are highly adaptable and reliable after an initial stubborn phase. Peer socialization and obedience training from a young age is required to tone down their obstinate nature. Failure to do so can make things real harder at the adult age of the dog.
  • Frenchies respond well to training as long as the program is enjoyable and game-like for them. This condition means you have to customize the overall training experience to suit the Frenchie’s preferences. If not, they will barely listen to the commands. This trait of theirs is often the reason why they are termed as low on intelligence.

Getting the help of expert dog trainers can be a smart move to design their training circuit. As dog owners, never let emotion/frustration get in the way when your bulldog becomes hard to train. Be patient, and you will see the desired results. 

  • Frenchies generally showcase two kinds of learning attitudes.
  1. Proactive and do it right now type – this category of Frenchies are rare to find, and they exhibit an immediate positive response to training methods. They are adventurous and eager to explore new things that present before them.
  2. Laidback and observant type – the majority of the Frenchies fall under this category. They are lethargic and take their own time to respond to commands.
  • Puppy age is a critical factor, nonetheless. Younger Frenchies show more interest in learning, observing, and responding to new activities, commands, people, and environments. As they age into adulthood, they develop a “set in my way” mentality and become stubborn to mend their ways. This is why starting the training at an early age is critical when it comes to French bulldogs.
  • Due to their small size, Freincies are not ideally suited for service work. But the same feature makes them perfect human companions for travel. Their loving and affectionate nature makes it worthy of owning a Frenchie.
  • Although their miniature physical characteristics limit their fitment as a guard dog, they have a powerful bark. The presence of any unwanted human or animal within their territory can cause a bark so loud that they can give competition to alarm manufacturing companies. Sharp observation and alertness is a value addition that comes with a French bulldog.

These are some of the aspects to keep in mind for assessing the smartness of a French bulldog. Before you own one of them, performing a self-introspection on whether this breed is right for you or not. We will discuss this particular topic in the upcoming section.

Are French Bulldogs the Right Breed for You?

Based on our discussion so far, we realized that Frenchies are stubborn as rocks but are intelligent at the same time. The million-dollar question remains – “Are Frenchies the right breed for you?”

Behavioral Modelling

A typical French bulldog is adventurous, exploring, and curious at an early age. Positive reinforcements like tasty treats and comforting words work well during this phase. 

But with time, these behavioral modeling techniques prove to be less efficient for them. This is a point to consider as a dog owner. If you want the easiest adult dog to train, take a step back and explore a different dog breed.

In our dog training center, one of our client’s Frenchie, Julie, was completely shut-off to any forms of commands or training techniques. She was rather mischievous in stealing the other pets’ food from their bowls to top it off.

We opted to enroll her in a two months therapy session. Since she was still in a pre-adolescent phase, these sessions showed improvement in a few weeks. We also involved her in daily pet socialization activities that proved to be fruitful.

After a year of completing therapy, she is better at responding to obedience training and outdoor gaming programs for dogs. 


They were bred focusing on giving human company. French bulldogs have a loving and affectionate personality and an overall air of utmost adorability to them. They can be a terrific playmate for your children and other pets, provided the socialization is done from a young age.

Being small in size, you can even place them in your backpack and carry them around on your shoulders. Their cute looks are meant to gather some attention from the outside world.

Level of Physical Activity

If you belong to the category of fitness freaks and desire the ideal canine companion for your daily workout routine like a 20-mile jog, the Frenchie is not the one for you. They can get worn-out due to high cardio exercises.

Frenchies have their physical limitations and are suited more as indoor dogs. Due to their odd-shaped bodies, Frenchies often suffer from joint pains and hip dysplasia. Additionally, their characteristic screw tails make them vulnerable to spinal cord deformities.

The bottom line is: “Choose the breed that suits your needs best.” Creating a checklist on the expectations you have from your dog before owning it can be a good prerequisite step.

Wrapping It Up

Common sense dictates that a Frenchie’s smartness ultimately depends on the bulldog owners’ perception and requirements. If you believe smartness is related to the ease of the dog’s trainability, then Frenchies are not the breed of dogs you are looking for. In contrast, if you follow a systematic training technique from a young age, they can be decent companions for you and your family members.

Frenchies are susceptible to a few health conditions due to their trick physical structure. Ensure to never miss out on periodic health checkups with a registered vet or a professional dog trainer so that your dog remains in perfect shape. We recommend you to never involve in self-treatment, especially in the case of a breed like the Frenchie, as it could be fatal for them.
For a naturally intelligent dog breed like Frenchie, physical and mental stimulation from an early age is crucial. Regular outdoor walks and spending quality time in cognitive-enhancing puzzles and games can be game-changers for them. Pet socialization and optimum nutritional needs are equally significant for their overall wellbeing.

We hope you could gain some valuable insights from this article.