Can French Bulldogs Climb Stairs Well? Learn How to Train Them

french bulldog on stairs

French Bulldogs are cute, glamorous, and fun-loving canines. They are compact and muscular dogs with short bowed legs and an extremely short nose. Frenchies are toy-sized versions of Bulldog and thrive on human companionship.

Due to the tiny legs and heavy bodies of French Bulldogs, climbing up and down the stairs is a challenging task for them. This doesn’t mean that they are not capable of climbing stairs.

They just do it with a little struggle as compared to other breeds. The good news is that you can help him learn how to climb stairs well.

Why it’s Difficult for French Bulldogs to Climb Stairs?

The French Bulldog is a popular small-dog breed that is bred to be companion dogs. This brachycephalic breed is short-headed, flat-faced with pinched or narrow nostrils. These dogs are compactly built with heavy bone and short and stout legs.

Frenchies have curious and alert expressions. Most of them learn to climb upstairs but find it difficult to go downstairs. These dogs are lower to the ground and this affects their ability to easily climb up and down stairs.

You must observe your dog when he’s climbing stairs. French Bulldogs can suffer stair-related injuries like bruises, muscle strains, joint pain, or fractures. 

What Stops French Bulldogs From Using Stairs?

Multiple conditions make it difficult for French Bulldogs to climb stairs. Let’s have a look at these situations and conditions:

  • Fear

French Bulldogs fear that they may fall while climbing stairs. They sense the danger that their paws possibly won’t reach the next step and they might fall. If you feel your French Bulldog is afraid of stairs, don’t force them to climb.

This fear may have developed due to some past trauma or injury. Slowly train them for climbing stairs by offering treats and using positive reinforcement methods.

  • Lazy and easy-going nature

French Bulldogs have low energy levels and prefer an easy-going lifestyle. Adult Frenchie may try to avoid stairs if they feel climbing is tough for them. 

  • Health

French Bulldogs are prone to many health problems. These health issues include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, arthritis, brachycephalic syndrome, multiple allergies, patellar luxation (slipped stifles), intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), and multiple eye problems.

Your Frenchie may seem reluctant to climb up and down stairs due to any of these underlying health problems.

If your French Bulldog limps or suffers from muscular or joint pain, don’t make him climb stairs as this will cause further damage. If they are suffering from hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia, they may find it tough to climb. 

  • Age 

Older French Bulldogs often develop joint pains, hearing problems, or eyesight issues and climbing stairs may put an extra strain on their bodies. At that stage, it’s better to carry your pooch up and downstairs.

French Bulldog pups usually find it difficult to move up and down the stairs during their growing stage. Mature French Bulldogs find it easier to climb stairs as compared to pups and senior dogs.  

  • Injuries

If your Frenchie is experiencing an injury, he won’t be able to climb up and downstairs. Climbing may add more pain to their already stressed body and may cause further damage.

Stairs for French Bulldog Puppies

You can enjoy fun activities with your French Bulldog puppy but stairs can be an issue during their growing period. The Frenchie pup should not be given hard exercises during puppyhood as it can affect their joints and may cause injuries. 

It is recommended to wait until the puppy gets older. Gradually introduce your puppy to climbing stairs. The best age to train your puppy to use stairs is 12 weeks old. Always supervise your  French Bulldog puppy when he is trying to climb stairs.

How to Train Them to Climb Stairs?

The best time to train your French Bulldog to climb stairs is during puppyhood as this will make their life easy onwards. If you own a French Bulldog puppy, here is what you can do to train him:

  • Clear the steps of any obstacles

It is important to ensure that the stairs are clean, non-slippery, and free of all obstacles that may cause injuries to your French Bulldog.

  • Distract your pup with playful actions

Puppies stay focused and learn quickly in a less distracting environment. Remove all distractions when you begin training your Frenchie for using stairs. 

  • Start with a small flight of stairs

When you begin training, it is recommended to use a small flight of stairs. This will reduce the chances of injuries and fear.

  • Keep the sessions short

Keep the training sessions short and focused until your dog becomes perfect in it. Short training sessions will save your dog from getting tired and bored.

Keep adding one or two stairs in your practice session until your Frenchie is trained enough to climb effortlessly. Follow a training schedule for your pooch rather than cherry-picking different sessions on different timings.

  • Use treats as a reward

Have lots of treats on hand during the training sessions as a reward. Place a delicious treat on the first step and encourage your Frenchie to eat it.

Repeat the same with the next steps so that your pooch climb and grab the treat. Treats act as a reward for your French Bulldog’s efforts and a source of motivation.

  • Use positive reinforcement

Your French Bulldog needs to know when he learns something. These dogs respond well to positive reinforcement training. When they climb a stair, praise them enthusiastically to motivate them and boost their confidence.

If your puppy falls at some point, praise him and offer a treat so that he doesn’t become afraid of the stairs. If the training experience is pleasant, your Frenchie puppy will love it. Be playful with your dog and make the training enjoyable to keep your French Bulldog engaged.

  • Practice a few times a week

You will need a few practice sessions until your French Bulldog is fully trained for climbing stairs. Try to be patient and consistent with your puppy as they are learning something new.

Your French Bulldog needs to be taught to place their legs correctly on stairs. Teach them to climb at an angle as it helps to maintain balance and decreases the chances of falling.

French Bulldogs are more scared to climb down the stairs and may need more time to learn how to go downstairs.

Eventually, your French Bulldog will gain confidence in climbing stairs and won’t need treats as a reward or motivation. Stair climbing engages various muscles and can be a good workout for French Bulldogs if trained at the right age. 

Keep training fun and dynamic to capture your French Bulldog’s interest. Training your French Bulldog should not be a burden for you or your furry friend. 

How Can You Make Your Stairs Safe For French Bulldogs?

It is essential to ensure that your stairs are free of hazards and in good condition. This will prevent your French Bulldog from injuries. If the stairs are outside, they should be regularly cleaned to remove dust, debris, and leaves.

You must ensure that the stairs are completely dry before your French Bulldog climbs them.

Let’s have a look at some points that must be considered to make your stairs safer for your Frenchie:

  • Install Dog Ramps

Dog ramps make life much easier for French Bulldogs as they have short legs and heavy body.

Senior Frenchies find dog ramps very convenient as ramps help to minimize the stress of jumps on their joints and help them easily roam in the house. Dog ramps also reduce the risk of slipping and falling.

  • Avoid Slippery Staircases

Frenchies do not feel comfortable on a slippery staircase and many injuries occur if your French Bulldog slips on the stairs. Sleek tiles and marble stairs are also dangerous for your dog. 

  • Put Grip Surfaces on Stairs

Carpets and rubberized runners can give your Frenchie the much-needed traction on a slippery staircase. The runners or stair covers will reduce the risk of slipping and prevent joint and muscle injuries.

  • Use a Harness

Dog harnesses can be used to help your French Bulldog in climbing stairs. This is especially useful during training them to climb stairs and also for senior French Bulldogs.


If your French Bulldog is healthy and young, they can easily go up and down stairs without any problem. A little encouragement and training are all that is required to help your French Bulldog climb stairs.

Having stairs in your house shouldn’t stop you from buying or keeping a Frenchie. However, if you live in an apartment that requires multiple flights of stairs and there is no elevator, a French Bulldog won’t be a suitable choice in that case.

Do you own a Frenchie who is capable of climbing up and down stairs easily? Share your experience with us!

John Kilmerstone

I love dogs and believe that in particular, the bulldog breeds make great family pets and companions. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of bulldogs. Discover how to care for and look after this faithful pet and make the most of your valuable time together.

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