Do French Bulldogs Have Tails?

Do all French Bulldogs have a tail? What kinds of tails do they have? How long is the average French Bulldog’s tail?

Have you ever heard that French Bulldogs can’t wag their tails because of the shape of their backs and it makes them feel uncomfortable or anxious?

As a dog expert, I get asked these kinds of questions about Frenchies all the time. You are not alone in wondering!

Read on to find out more about this uniquely short-tailed dog breed!

do french bulldogs have tails
Do French Bulldogs have tails? Are they docked?

Does a French Bulldog Have a Tail?

All French Bulldogs DO have a tail. They will universally be short and stumpy. The tail length varies depending on which of the two types of tail your Frenchie has.

People wonder all the time whether French Bulldogs are born with tails that are then cut off (docked) for cosmetic reasons. Fortunately, the answer is no – Frenchie tails are not docked or cut off.

Frenchies are simply born with a short stumpy tail.

There are two shapes of French Bulldog tails commonly, screw-shaped (bends not curls) or straight. How the shape is referred to depends on the thick base with a fine taper.

straight tail vs screw tail frenchie
Straight Tail vs Screw Tail Frenchies. When the tails are so short – it can be tricky to know the difference.

So Are French Bulldogs born with tails?

Yes, all French Bulldogs are born with tails. Some of them have very small tails that make it appear as though they have been docked when in fact it is due to breeding.

Decades of breeding have resulted in French Bulldogs having very short tails.

What Types of Tails Do French Bulldogs Have?

There are two main shapes of French Bulldog tails. Straight, and screw. Both should have a thick root with a fine tip.

All tail types are very short tails.

A long time ago, French Bulldogs did have longer tails. However, due to breeding over the years, their tails have become much shorter. This is not a bad thing, as French Bulldogs still look just as adorable with their short tails!

Oddly enough – it was not just aesthetic breeding that led to a stumpy tail. The tails were short when a version of the Frenchie was used as a fighting dog. Luckily, this practice has been outlawed in most of the world for decades.

A frenchie with a screw tail
This Frenchie on a park bench has a super short tail.

The French Bulldog Breed Standard Tail

If you followed the American AKC breed standards, French Bulldogs “have a short tail that is thick at its root and fine at the tip”.

The tail may be straight or screwed but NOT curly. Therefore you would never expect a pure French Bulldog to have a curly tail like a Boston Terrier, or a Pug.

The breed standard expects a tail that is long enough to cover their butt, but cannot raise above horizontal. (Their tails will point to the ground).

A straight Tail Frenchie

  • Is low (points to the ground)
  • Is longer than a screw-type tail
  • Typically a thick base with the fine taper

A screw Tail Frenchie

  • Is NOT a curly tail like a Pug
  • Still should have a thick base and fine taper
  • Usually a bit shorter than the straight tail
straight tail vs screw tail french bulldog
Did you know that Frenchies still *can* wag their short tails (Well kinda)

Can French Bulldogs Wag Their Tail?

Some people believe that French Bulldogs can’t wag their tails because of the shape of their back and tail length. This is not true – French Bulldogs can and do Wag their tails! Their tails are just so short that sometimes they struggle to do it.

So a wagging Frenchie might not look quite as obvious as other happy dogs. When my Labradoodle Max wags his tail – the whole world knows as the fluffy tail makes quite the scene.

The super-short tails of Frenchies are less obvious when wagging.

Instead, look for a wagging BUTT of the dog. Many Frenchies will wag their entire rear end when they are excited or happy.

A straight tail Frenchie can usually wag better than a screw tail Frenchie.

screw tailed french bulldog
A French Bulldog with a “Screw” tail

What is a Tail Pocket on a French Bulldog?

No, a tail pocket is not a great place to put a French Bulldog’s tail when it is not needed – it is a sometimes serious health issue that some Frenchies face.

A tail pocket is the skin fold or wrinkles just beneath the tail. Not all Frenchies will have a tail pocket – but many will. Frenchies can develop a tail pocket even up to six-seven months of age.

Why do tail pockets matter for Frenchies?

A tail pocket is a skin fold that does not get cleaned often. This fold can attract bacteria. If not cleaned or looked after – this pocket can get infected. This can be either a stinky problem for the Frenchie owner, or an uncomfortable or even painful issue for the dog.

As a Frenchie owner, you will need to embrace your role of checking and occasionally cleaning the tail pocket if your dog has one. You do not want a bacterial infection.

If there is a pronounced tail pocket you need to clean it frequently with neutral wipes and dry it with a soft, clean cloth. What fun!

french bulldog panda
A French Bulldog with some imagination can be Panda-like (See our list of dogs that look like Pandas)

The Other Tail Problem for Frenchies is Pretty Bad

The other common tail problem for Frenchies comes from breeding. The quest for a short tail has resulted in a risk of a tail/back problem.

Hemivertebrae deformity is a spine problem that comes from selective breeding for a shorter tail. It results in compression of some fairly important nerves and anatomy. It can be both disabling and painful. (Learn more in this somewhat upsetting study)

As an owner of a French Bulldog, you need to factor in regular Vet checks to identify this kind of serious issue early. If present it will require monitoring and sometimes surgical intervention.

  • If you suspect such a condition – you need Vet advice. Full stop.
  • A Vet can diagnose using either physical examination or more likely X-ray (or CT or even MRI)
  • The treatment ranges from monitoring to symptomatic anti-inflammatories, and even surgery

If you have curly tail mania – check out these 15 dog breeds that have super curly tails.