Why Do French Bulldogs Rub Themselves?


Understanding Frenchies: Why do they rub and how do they clean?

No, not the country folk but rather the adorable, clown-faced squeakers known as French Bulldogs. French Bulldogs are adored worldwide for a variety of reasons, some being their small stature; squished faces; bat-like ears and energized personalities. Known for their vocal nature and attention-seeking ways, French Bulldogs do require more monitoring and laughing than other breeds. Today we will be covering why your Frenchie does what it does; what to watch out for and how to help them. 

Why do French Bulldogs rub themselves?

Frenchies rub themselves for a variety of reasons, some more confirmed than others, but all are possibilities to watch out for. French Bulldogs are a brachycephalic breed, referring to ‘short-head’ in Latin, so there are expected problems and behaviors to come from their breeding history. They are known for being quite talkative and attentive with their human companions, finding unique and humorous ways to get your love. Aside from the variety of vocal stylings they offer, Frenchies also love to be cuddled and want to feel wanted, they will do anything for attention. So before you start worrying about why your Frenchie is rubbing themselves, there may be a few reasons. French Bulldogs rub themselves in a variety of ways, for different reasons, there are some of the places and reasons Frenchies rub themselves:


Frenchies are known for exercising their faces, with weird looks and loud noises, as they strive for your attention, often rubbing up against you for kisses. If your Frenchie is rubbing their face after a sneeze or cough, they may just be assisting in clearing their airways, but if the rubbing persists then it may be an issue. Continuous rubbing of the face could be a sign of allergies, a blocked airway or a skin condition. Mention the face-rubbing to their vet to assess and assist your pup. 

Lower half:

You may notice your pup doing the classic bum drag more than other breeds, this isn’t for attention or to be funny or because they ate something spicy, it’s actually quite common among brachycephalic dogs. Because their faces are so flat, their snouts so short and their bodies so small, they are extremely limited in licking movement. Brachycephalic breeds are not able to clean their bums and private bits as they are not flexible enough and their faces are too flat to reach. 


Another movement quite common among Frenchie pups is the army crawl, as they waddle their little body and big clown head closer to you. This is a common trait pups pick up from their first moment of life, as the only option of movement available for food. This trick can translate into adulthood and even be taught, as it is an adored characteristic of the breed. But if your Frenchie has never pulled their body against the flood before, it may be the sign of a skin allergy forming, give them an examination and take them to the vet is an issue persists. 

These are some of the ways and reasons Frenchies rub themselves. As seen, most do not pose an immediate threat but can rather be attributed to the traits of this brachycephalic breed, with some even being rewardable with treats. So don’t stress too much if you see your Frenchie dragging their bum or body across the floor, it can be a completely normal behavior for this weird and wonderful breed. 

Can French Bulldogs clean themselves?

As discussed above, the Brachycephalic breed known as Frenchies come with their fair share of breeding issues and companionship needs, this will be emphasized in the arena of grooming too. Their small stature leaves them a little stiff and limited on flexibility, which makes general self-maintenance a struggle. It is to be expected that you will need to groom any dog, but Frenchies can be cared for in the comfort of your own home. You may need to manage them more frequently than some breeds, but French Bulldogs are generally low maintenance dogs. So while it may be an easy job, French Bulldogs need your help cleaning them. Some of the grooming recommendations are more needed than others, but it can’t hurt to ensure your pet gets the full pedigree treatment while you’re at it. It is to be noted that any use of water, with any dog breed, should be accompanied by thorough drying to avoid bacterial growth and sickness. Below is a list of some of the places your Frenchie might struggle to clean, as well as what is recommended to helping them: 


Although Frenchies do not have a lot of or thick fur, they still require a good brushing weekly. Brushing your Frenchie not only lets them know you love them, but it greatly helps avoid shedding and overheating, as displaced hairs do not get trapped and cluster. A bath will also greatly benefit your French Bulldog in removing any sweat or allergens out of their fur, acting as an advantage to their temperature adjustments and breathing issues. Be sure to not over wash your pup and rinse thoroughly, to help maintain their natural body oil. 


Another problem Frenchies are prone to is dental health. Their brachycephalic nature limits their mouth spacing and leaves their teeth vulnerable to breakage or infections, this is why it is important to keep a keen eye on your pup’s teeth as to avoid any future issues. Brushing your dog’s teeth with a species-specific toothpaste, and some training will greatly benefit their oral hygiene and health. Chew toys and dental snacks are also useful, and fun, ways of cleaning and strengthening your dog’s mouth. 


Those beautiful, big, and bat-like ears are bound to come with some maintenance. Their large and open position leaves them vulnerable to collecting dirt, which can lead to ear infections and early deafness. It is recommended to clean out your Frenchies ears at least bi-weekly, with either a canine ear cleaning solution or a cloth with some baby oil. Do not poke and prod the ear canal, stay clear, and rather gently massage and dab the ear to loosen dirt. It is very important to clean the ears after with normal water, as to not trap any oils or solutions in your pup’s ear. Your Frenchie may not love it at first, but it’s nothing a few treats and tummy scratches can’t soothe. 


Because French Bulldogs are so small, their short legs carry them close to the ground, this leaves them incredibly susceptible to allergens. It would be great to think that removing the dog from the allergen infected area would help, but germs, dirt and dust particles become trapped in the wrinkles of your Frenchies. Skinfold care is very important for Frenchies as to avoid hotspots, skin issues, and allergies. Focus of your Frenchies flaps and be sure to clean in between their wrinkles with a cloth. 

Bottom bits-

As already discussed about this brachycephalic breed, their small bodies and short snouts make it near impossible for them to reach and clean their bottom bits. Some Frenchies may even be more prone to build-up due to their tail position, as some drop below the bum and others stay short and high. And while this doesn’t sound great for either party, it really isn’t that common. You may have to help your pup when they have an upset stomach, but other than that, they adapt their position to their pooping needs. Just keep an eye on your French Bulldogs bum, which won’t be hard with those cute stubby tails, and wipe it when necessary. 

While these are some of the more frequent grooming needs to be met, the list is not limited. Every dog breed should have their nails clipped, to avoid the nails pushing back into the bed or even breaking. Every dog should be brushed and washed. And while every dog does need to be groomed, Frenchies do require a more thoughtful process due to the breeding history and issues. It’s important for you to keep an eye on your French Bulldog’s eyes and nose, keeping them clean and moist, as they are prone to drying which only leads to more issues. While grooming these dogs is generally low maintenance and can be done at home, it’s still important to do your due diligence.

Have fun

Frenchies are among the friendliest and most well temperament breeds on Earth, making them a great companion and easy to clean. Their small size allows you to pop them in the sink and give them a quick soak, while their loving nature might even lead them to enjoy it. Frenchies love their humans and have great ways of showing it, provided you show them the love back. Keeping some dental treats around for when you clean their ears, as well as some good tummy scratches, may have them jumping for joy when it’s time for the next sit down session. Making grooming manageable, and almost enjoyable, will make Frenchies low maintenance cleaning even less of a mission. Have fun with your Frenchie, let them know everything you do is out of love, even oiling their ears.