French Bulldog Limping On It’s Back Leg? 11 Possible Causes

Has your Frenchie just started limping on one of its back legs? ¹

In a previous article, I tried to answer the question why do French Bulldogs sit funny and a concern that came out of that was about French Bulldogs limping on their back legs- which is the focus of today’s post.

All Frenchies are adorable, and they hardly ever sit still, even when they’re dog tired. They also love to play rough and follow their human parents everywhere. These enthusiastic pups easily exert themselves and often end up limping the next day because of it. It’s like us when we try to keep up with the athletic abilities of teenage athletes. You know, when you’re no longer a teenager but you won’t admit your real age?

Unfortunately, other, more severe conditions could also cause your French Bulldog to limp on his back legs. Today, we look at common causes of French Bulldogs limping in their back legs, from the mundane to the severe.


Like most dogs, Frenchies sometimes play a bit rough. These lovable pooches aren’t always as agile as their more athletic counterparts, though. Hence, they sometimes overdo the roughhousing a bit. That’s when they end up with a sprain or some soft tissue damage. They could even pull a tendon or ligament when they overdo the jumping and running. In this case, you’ll notice your Chester developing a limp quite suddenly.

Usually, this type of injury clears up in a few days. All your pup needs is some rest, a good dose of TLC, and possibly some painkillers. Just like us humans, when we forget that we no longer have our teenage counterparts’ athletic ability.

If you notice a sudden limp in your pup, and you know that he played quite rough the previous day, let him rest for a day or two. Change your plans if needed, to help him relax and not run around so much in that time. Giving your pup ample time to recuperate will help him recover fully and prevent further injuries. We all know that compounded injuries are typically more severe and could cause serious harm.

Cuts, Bruises & Broken Toenails

Pups love running around, and sometimes, they end up running in some dodgy areas. You know, that spot in the park that has thorns or sharp twigs. Or maybe they were unlucky and found that one piece of glass on the pavement. All these could cause cuts and bruises on their tiny paws, making them limp. After all, these could be pretty painful injuries.

Another related cause is broken toenails. Sometimes, your Chester’s toenails could break pretty badly, tearing into the skin or poking into his other toes. Toenails could even break and split into the nerve endings, which is excruciating. All of these are somewhat painful, or, at the very least, uncomfortable.

Insect bites on your pup’s feet could also cause a limp since some of these critters pack quite a punch. In this case, you’ll see some swelling, and your pup is likely to lick and bite the affected area.

So, if you see your pup limping, check his trotters for scabs, bruises, or bleeding. Also, check for splinters, thorns, or other foreign objects stuck in between the cushions. These are usually easy to treat, and recovery could be quick, but it’s always best to check in with the vet first. They know their stuff and will pick up any related issues.

Behavioral Changes

If something serious is wrong, you might notice that your beloved Frenchie is suddenly lethargic, instead of his boisterous self. He might also have a decreased appetite or downright refuse his favorite treats. These in themselves are enough to prompt to call the vet. If this goes along with visible signs of swelling or limping, you should definitely have him checked out ASAP. It generally points to more severe conditions. We cover these in the next few sections.

Fractures & Dislocations

Fractures and dislocations can be very scary for both you and your pup. While Frenchies are generally very busy dogs, they’re genetically prone to dislocations. That’s a bummer because we all know that it’s nearly impossible to get your Frenchie to sit still long. If you notice your Milo limping and licking his back leg, take him to the vet, since he’s probably in pain.

Hip Dysplasia

Unfortunately, hip dysplasia is incredibly common in French Bulldogs. This condition is harrowing, and treatment typically involves surgery. Here, the entire hip must be replaced, which is horrible for both you and your fur kid. A related condition is elbow dysplasia, which affects your pup’s front legs and paws. In both cases, recovery could take months due to the surgical procedures involved. Many dogs make a full recovery and enjoy a healthy, active life afterward. Unfortunately, some dogs don’t make a full recovery and carry the condition’s effects for the remainder of their lives.

Dislocated Kneecap

Dislocated kneecaps are another common injury for Frenchies. Shame, can these guys not get a break? Also known as luxating patella, this affects the kneecaps in your pup’s hind legs. You’ll notice your pooch limping or skipping because it’s super painful to tread on that back leg. Your Milo will need medical intervention, so it’s good to take him to the vet ASAP. Luckily, they usually make a full recovery.

Inflammatory Disease

This condition is also known as panosteitis and is caused by inflammation in the long bones of your pup’s hind legs. You’ll notice that your pooch shifts his weight from one leg to the other, limping on either side. It’s quite painful, but the vet will be able to treat it.

Bone Cancer

Lucky for us, Frenchies are less prone to developing bone cancer than their large-breed counterparts. If your Chester does have bone cancer, the vet will diagnose it with a blood test.


As our pups get older, they develop all sorts of aches and pains, just like their human parents. Arthritis is common in most older dogs, and Frenchies are no exception. Unfortunately, arthritis isn’t curable, but it is manageable. If your pup develops arthritis, you can make some lifestyle changes, help him along with pain medication and anti-inflammatories, and generally shower him in love and care to help him cope.

Lyme Disease

Yup, it affects dogs too, not just humans. Lyme disease sneaks up on pups, and symptoms only show up months after they’ve contracted it. This means that your pooch will only start limping way down the line. Luckily, Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics – just ask your vet.

Valley Fever

Valley fever is specific to the US and affects dogs of all ages and sizes. This one causes your pup to limp.

Neurological Disorders

Due to their genetic make-up, French Bulldogs are prone to spinal injuries. These could cause your pup to limp, or even develop lameness in their back legs. It’s terrifying and usually not curable. There are medical interventions that your vet could recommend, depending on the scope of the problem. Treatment is likely to take lots of time and surgery, so brace yourself for a long journey and the possibility that your pup might not recover fully.

Degenerative Myelopathy

A spinal nerve disease, degenerative myelopathy, causes lameness in the back legs over time. It’s a scary condition, where your pup loses control over their bowels and their hind legs. You could even see the muscles in their hind legs waste away as they become progressively weaker. Unfortunately, this is a common issue in Frenchies, especially those bred to have extremely short tails. 

While there’s no cure for this condition, it can be managed. Some lifestyle changes to accommodate your ailing pooch will make it easier for him to get on and off the couch or up and down the stairs. Your Milo will also need a very comfy bed and regular grooming. If he lies in bed for too long, he might develop bedsores, so grooming serves a dual purpose: it forces him out of bed. It also offers you the opportunity to inspect his body for sores. Another bonus is bonding time with your pup – Frenchies are social creatures, so they love being touched and cuddled. 

Management of degenerative myelopathy includes using kinesiology tape since this could restore some feeling and blood circulation to the affected regions. If your pup is in bad shape, a wheelchair might help him get around more easily.

In Closing

Frenchies are adorable and super busy, often leading to them overdoing the roughhousing. The rough play could cause your Frenchie to limp to the next day, but this usually clears up quickly. Unfortunately, Frenchies are genetically prone to severe medical conditions that could cause limping and even lameness in their back legs. If you see your pup limping and it doesn’t improve within a day or two, you should ask the vet to look. It could indicate a severe condition, such as hip dysplasia, arthritis, or a neurological disorder.

Photo Credits

¹ Photo by FLOUFFY on Unsplash