The lifespan of the French Bulldog is between nine and 14 years. Although smaller dogs have longer lifespans on average, and French Bulldogs are seldom more than a foot tall, the breed has a number of hereditary problems due to issues with the skull and spine.
Brachycephalic syndrome has a number of symptoms associated with dogs whose skulls are too short to allow for unobstructed breathing. The French Bulldog is one of the breeds most susceptible to developing this syndrome. Dogs with the syndrome cannot tolerate exercise or heat, and in extreme cases can suffocate. The large size of the skull of this breed also makes birthing difficult, so many puppies are born via Caeserean section. French Bulldogs are also prone to slipped discs and malformed spinal bones, leading to pain or even paralysis. The spinal issues are due to breeding for shorter backs and tails.