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French Bulldog Tail: Is it Docked, Cut Off, or Natural-born?

Have you ever wondered whether French Bulldog tails are docked, cut off, or natural-born? Maybe you think French Bulldogs have no tails at all. It’s confusing, right?

In this guide, we’ll cover the different types of French Bulldog tails, possible health issues, and what you can do about these issues.

You might also be interested in: Why do French Bulldogs sleep so much?

Types of French Bulldog Tails

French Bulldogs almost always have short tails due to selective breeding over hundreds of years. Over time, their tails got shorter and thicker.

According to modern breeding guidelines, a Frenchie’s tail should cover the anus but remain unable to rise above the horizontal. Their tails are usually thicker at the root and finer at the tip.

French Bulldog tail

French Bulldogs naturally have a few different types of tails. They are not docked or cut off, although their short length may look that way. Their tails may be screwed, but they are never curly (like Pugs and Boston Terriers).

There are three possible tail shapes that Frenchies may have:

  • Stumpy and straight down: The tail is straight and set low on the dog’s rear. It also points toward the ground when the Frenchie is calm.
  • Stumpy and screwed: These tails are stumpy, short, and thick. They are typically thicker at the root and fine at the tip. Screwed tails are not curly.
  • Thick root with a very fine tip: This type of tail is a variation of the stumpy and straight down tail, although the difference in thickness from the top to bottom may be more dramatic.

Some French Bulldogs also have a tail pocket (as long as they don’t have a straight tail). This “pocket” is a fold between the dog’s coat and where the tail sits. It can appear like a pocket, wrinkle, or fold and sits directly under the Bulldog’s tail.

Because their tails are so short, French Bulldogs cannot wag their tails. Instead, they wiggle their bottom to show that they’re happy.

Although wagging isn’t easy for this breed, some manage to wag their tails for short periods of time. However, the full-bottom wiggle is much more common.

You may also be interested in: Do French Bulldogs Shed (and How to Prevent It)

Although their short tails are adorable, there are some common health problems in short-tailed dog breeds. These include hemivertebrae, tail pocket infection, and sunburn.


Hemivertebrae is a condition that affects a French Bulldog’s spine, causing a number of problems.

The condition often causes the dog’s spine to be twisted, which can compress the Frenchie’s spinal cord.

Symptoms of this condition include pain, urinary or fecal incontinence, and weakness in the dog’s hind limbs.

Because it is a congenital condition, most Frenchies develop signs of hemivertebrae within the first nine months of life. During this period of development, their spine takes its final shape.

The condition is diagnosed after performing x-rays and conducting a physical examination. Some veterinarians may use a CT scan or MRI to diagnose the condition.

Treatment of the condition typically involves anti-inflammatory medication. If a dog has severe pain, it may need surgery to treat the hemivertebrae.

Tail Pocket Infection

Another common health problem related to the French Bulldog’s tail is an infection of their tail pocket. Early signs of a tail pocket infection include red, swollen, and itchy skin. Dogs with tail pocket infections may also have a bad odor under the tail.

These infections can be prevented by taking special care to clean under your Frenchie’s tail. A baby wipe or wet cloth should be used to gently clean the area under the tail.

If you’re unsure about how to effectively clean your Frenchie’s tail pocket, ask your dog’s veterinarian to show you.

If your French Bulldog gets a tail pocket infection, an antibiotic cream will be needed to clear up any bacterial infection. In the most severe cases, a tail pocket infection may require surgery.


French Bulldogs are especially prone to sunburn since their short fine hair and pink skin (on their bellies) leave them relatively unprotected from the sun’s rays. Since their tails have so little fur, that area is especially prone to sunburn.

Just like in humans, sunburn can be uncomfortable and even painful for dogs. Additionally, frequent sunburn may lead to skin cancer.

If your dog develops red spots, sore or peeling skin, or blisters, he may have a sunburn. Blisters and any other sign of severe sunburn are a sign that you should contact your dog’s veterinarian.

In some cases, a cortisone ointment or antibiotic may be ordered as treatment for your dog’s burns.

To prevent sunburn, make sure your Frenchie doesn’t spend too much time in direct sunlight. When possible, provide shade for your dog when you spend time outdoors. During the peak sunlight hours (such as midday), spend as little time outdoors as possible.

Letting your Frenchie out during the morning and evening will help prevent them from too much sun exposure.

Wrap-Up: French Bulldog Tail

French Bulldogs have naturally short, stubby tails. Although some people may think they are docked or cut off, this is almost never the case.

Unlike other small dog breeds (like Pugs and Boston Terriers), they do not have curly tails. Instead, their tails can be either straight or screwed.

Their short tails leave the breed susceptible to certain medical problems. Hemivertebrae, tail pocket infections, and sunburns are all problems common in French Bulldogs.

While hemivertebrae is a congenital condition (meaning it’s genetically inherited), both tail pocket infections and sunburns can be prevented with the proper care.

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Lisemaine is a dog lover. She currently owns two Frenchies and enjoys working with and training them. She'll share her best tips with you to keep your Frenchie happy, healthy, and active.

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