Can French Bulldogs Go Up and Down Stairs?

Frenchies are wonderful animals that are truly a joy to raise, but it’s no secret that they can have some health and mobility issues. You might be wondering: can French Bulldogs do up and down stairs?

Most French Bulldogs can go up and down stairs, but some find it very challenging. Smaller Frenchies and older dogs often have a harder time climbing stairs than those that are younger and more agile. French Bulldogs are also prone to issues like hip dysplasia, arthritis, and luxating patellas which can seriously affect their ability to handle a staircase.

If you are wondering how a French Bulldog might get around in your house, then read ahead in this article. I will give you all of the details you need to know so that you can be sure of what your little Frenchie can handle, and when they might need some extra help.

Do French Bulldogs Have Trouble Climbing Stairs?

On the whole, French Bulldogs are certainly not the most mobile and agile breed. They are known to develop mobility problems, particularly in old age, and even the most energetic and active Frenchies have short legs and stocky little bodies.

With that being said, most young adult French Bulldogs are able to climb stairs without any real problems. As long as your dog is a healthy weight and is not suffering from any birth defects or other health issues then they should be just fine getting up and down the stairs by themselves.

All dogs are different, though, and some Frenchies will find it very challenging to climb steps, while others might not be able to use a staircase at all.

French Bulldogs are more likely to have problems going up or down stairs if they are:

  • Very young
  • Small
  • Elderly
  • Overweight
  • Less mobile

To know whether your dog could struggle, you need to understand what makes the stairs difficult for some animals, and what common problems affect mobility in French Bulldogs in particular.

Why Do Some Dogs Struggle With Going Up and Down Stairs?

There are a few reasons why stairs can be an intimidating obstacle for any dog. Partly, it’s to do with the physical mechanics involved, but partly it’s about what’s going on in their heads.

1.  It’s Not A Natural Movement

Stairs are actually very different to a sloping hill, or even a natural ledge. To tackle them, your Frenchie needs to make some pretty unique movements that aren’t exactly ordinary. They can’t take a big jump or move too fast, because the steps aren’t very wide, but they need to push off quite strongly to make the height each time.

2.  Going Downstairs Is Harder Than Going Upstairs

You might notice a difference between your Frenchie trying to go down the stairs as opposed to climbing up them. Although you might think of climbing as harder, most dogs actually find it much more difficult to go down the stairs.

When they’re going up, they can push off with their back legs and do a series of little “jumps”. On the way down though, they practically have to fall forwards and catch themselves with every step. For Frenchies, this is even more tricky, because of their tiny little legs!

If you want to get a bit of an idea of what that’s like, try climbing down your staircase on all fours (taking great care to be safe). It’s scarier than you think!

3.  It Can Be Scary

Instinctively, dogs sometimes view a staircase as if it were a cliff. If your dog looks nervous when they’re at the top of the stairs it may be that they’re a little frightened and are naturally avoiding the edge out of instinct.

If anxiety is the problem, you can help your dog to overcome it by giving them a bit of guidance and taking things slowly (one step at a time!). Start with a smaller set of steps and show your dog it is safe by going down yourself first. Then, you need to reassure your Frenchie, but let them have a go at their own pace.

When they do make it, give them lots of praise and affection for being so brave.

4.  They May Have Had Bad Experiences

Unfortunately, some dogs will have made mistakes on the stairs or had an unfortunate fall of some kind in the past. This can really add to their anxieties, and will certainly make it more intimidating to try again.

5.  It Takes a Lot of Effort

One of the biggest reasons why French Bulldogs struggle, in particular, is that they are pretty small dogs, and they are not often very agile. It takes a lot of energy and flexibility to climb a bunch of stairs, which is pretty off-putting. How often do you choose the elevator when you have the chance?

Climbing stairs puts a lot of strain on a French Bulldog’s joints, even when they are at their healthiest. Of course, any mobility problems can make the whole ordeal significantly harder, if not impossible for some Frenchies.

What Mobility Problems Can Stop a Frenchie From Using The Stairs?

Health issues are, unfortunately, very common among French Bulldogs and some of them can really affect how easily they might be able to climb up or down a set of stairs. Some of the most common problems that a French Bulldog might face are Hip Dysplasia, Luxating Patellas, Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD), and Osteoarthritis.

can french bulldogs go up and down stairs

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is a pretty common issue for Frenchies, and it can be very painful. Essentially, this condition is when the top of their leg bone doesn’t fit properly inside of its socket, which causes them to wear down over time. This leads to arthritis, pain, and a lack of mobility in their legs.

Frenchies with hip dysplasia often get to a point where they don’t have enough range of movement in their legs to take on the stairs, particularly when they get older.

Luxating Patellas

Medial patella luxation is another common leg problem for Frenchies, and it’s to do with their kneecaps – you might have heard it referred to as a “trick knee”. It basically occurs when there are malformations of the structure inside the leg which means that the patella (a bone inside the knee joint) pops in and out of place.

Luxating patellas can wear down the ligaments over time and it often leads to a bow-legged stance, making it difficult for a Frenchie to perform complex movements like climbing the stairs.

Intervertebral Disc Disease

IVDD is a disease that usually affects Frenchies that are getting a bit more senior. It causes the discs in the spine to slowly harden and reduces the amount of natural cushioning that they should have. It can cause a lot of pain and reduces flexibility and mobility.


Arthritis affects the cartilage in a Frenchie’s joints, causing the bones to rub against each other. It causes pain and lessens mobility, and it is often worsened by strenuous exercise or additional stress (like climbing stairs!).

How Can You Help A French Bulldog with the Stairs?

If your Frenchie seems to be struggling with their mobility, then you should consult with a vet as soon as possible. There may be medications, physical therapies, or surgeries that could help them to get moving more easily again.

In the meantime, you can install a ramp for stairs that aren’t too steep or move your dog’s things downstairs so they can happily stay on the ground floor. Of course, you could do the heavy lifting yourself and carry your Frenchie up and down the stairs, but that can be a bit dangerous!

Recap: Can French Bulldogs Go Up and Down Stairs?

So, can French Bulldogs go up and down stairs? Mostly yes, Frenchies are generally able to handle a staircase while they are still young and fit. It does take a lot of effort, though, and they can be hesitant to use them for all kinds of reasons.

Smaller Frenchies, senior dogs, or those with mobility issues may not be able to tackle stairs at all. Unfortunately, French Bulldogs are prone to a lot of health problems, and you should always get in touch with a vet if you’re worried about your dog’s comfort or movements.

Latest post’s



Dan James

Dan James is the founder and editor of FrenchBulldogio, a canine enthusiast who writes about what he's learned on the way of being a French Bulldog owner and sharing his advice, tips, and research.

Recent Posts