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French Bulldogs can typically hear better than humans.
However, if a French Bulldog has health problems or birth defects it can cause hearing problems. Like any dog (or human, for that matter), French Bulldogs can develop hearing problems later in life.
If you are concerned about your French Bulldog’s hearing, there are some things you can do to help.
Do French Bulldogs Have hearing problems?
French Bulldogs have many muscles surrounding their ears the help them hear sounds without even turning their heads.
Their ears stand up straight, which means they have better hearing than many breeds of dogs with floppy ears.
French Bulldogs can even change the position of their eyes to focus on a specific sound.
You might notice your Frenchie perk their ears or turn them, which allows them to hear and magnify sounds much better than a human can.
However, some French Bulldogs may have a genetic defect that causes deafness, or they may develop hearing loss with illness or age.
It is also possible that your French Bulldog is simply stubborn and difficult to train.
It may seem like they have selective hearing! When in doubt, get them checked out.
Do All French Bulldogs Have Hearing Problems?
Certain types of French Bulldogs are more prone to deafness.
White French Bulldogs, for example, are more prone to hearing problems.
This genetic trait is specific to white and merle Frenchies, and it can appear as soon as six weeks after they are born.
Studies show that hearing problems in French Bulldogs are often genetically caused and typically occur in Frenchies with white fur, and these genetic hearing problems typically develop within a few weeks after birth.
However, not all white French Bulldogs will have hearing problems. Many have perfectly normal hearing.
They are just more likely to develop hearing loss than other types of French Bulldogs.
If you are purchasing a white French Bulldog, always ask the breeder for proof of a hearing test before you purchase.
If they have not performed the test, and it is a major concern to you, you can also ask for a written agreement that they will take the puppy back if you discover it is deaf.
Additionally, old age or illness can cause hearing problems in French Bulldogs. Look out for ear infections, trauma to the ear, exposure to loud noises, and allergic reactions to medications.
How Soon Should You Check if a French Bulldog Has Hearing Problems
If you notice anything out of the ordinary, for example if your Frenchie is not responding to verbal or auditory cues like they used to,
and it lasts for a week or longer you should get them checked out.
However, puppies are generally tested at seven weeks, but they can lose hearing at up to 16 weeks old.
Usually, breeders will check puppies for hearing loss before selling them, but not always.
So, if you have a French Bulldog puppy under 16 weeks old—especially a white French Bulldog—you should monitor them for hearing loss.
How to Tell if a French Bulldog is Deaf
If you are concerned that your French Bulldog is deaf, there are a few ways to test it.
You should take your puppy for a BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) hearing test which will give the most accurate indication if your dog is deaf.
You will need to see a specialty veterinarian to get this test done. The BAER hearing test is an electro-diagnostic test that will evaluate your Frenchies’ ear canal, middle cavities, cranial nerve, and areas of the brain.
It takes only a few minutes to perform the test and is not painful for your French Bulldog.
The test will also be able to tell how bad the hearing loss is, and if it is affecting both or just one ear.
Additionally, some common signs that your French Bulldog is deaf include:
- Sleeping through loud noises
- Startling easily (to touch, not sound)
- Needing eye contact to interpret commands
- Relying on hand signals more than sound
- Does not tilt head or move ears
- Scratches their ears more than usual
- Rarely barks
- Will not come when called
- Does not react to squeaky toys
If your French Bulldog has one or several of the signs above, schedule a BAER hearing test with a vet as soon as possible.
What is the frequency range of a french bulldog’s hearing?
Dogs can typically hear a frequency range of 40 to 60,000 Hz. This means they can hear extremely high frequencies, well past the highest note on a piano.
For comparison, an average adult human cannot hear sounds over 20,000 Hz.
However, as your French Bulldog ages, their frequency range may be affected by hearing loss. You can test their frequency range with the BAER hearing testing.
French Bulldog Hearing Loss
Unlike dogs that are born deaf and do not know anything else, if your French Bulldog has hearing loss it might be a harder adjustment for both you and your dog.
They might be frustrated or show anger knowing they could hear before and they probably do not understand why they cannot hear now.
That’s why you should always train your dog with verbal and hand signals.
Ear infections are a common cause of hearing loss in French Bulldogs.
Additionally, old age, illness, or ear trauma like exposure to loud noises can cause hearing loss.
There are three types of hearing loss in a French Bulldog .
- Bilateral Affected (both ears deaf)
- Unilateral Affected (deaf in one ear)
- Unaffected (some hearing in both ears)
You can also purchase a hearing aid for a deaf French Bulldog, but they are quite expensive and cost from $3,000 to $5,000 .
Plus, it is difficult to get your dog accumulated to a hearing aid.
It will take a lot of training to help them learn how to use a hearing aid.
Plus, it cannot give them a perfect hearing. They still will not be able to hear everything, even with a hearing aid.
How can I protect my french bulldog’s hearing?
You should protect your French Bulldog’s hearing similarly to how you would protect your own.
Keep them safe from loud noises, trauma to the ears, and monitor ear infections closely.
Here are a few tips to help protect your French Bulldog’s hearing:
- Keep them away from loud, unexpected noises
- Shield their ears from fireworks, explosives, sirens, hammering, race car engines, airplane engines, gunfire, etc.
- Regularly get your French Bulldog’s ears checked out and cleaned
- Monitor their exposure to children or other dogs that may grab or touch their ears
- Feed them balanced, nutritious meals for overall health
Risks of Raising a Deaf French Bulldog
First, deaf French Bulldogs can startle easily. If you have small children, it can be risky to keep them around a deaf bulldog as they can startle easily, and may accidentally strike a child who surprises them.
Others may also want to pet your dog. Do not let them startle your French Bulldog, however, you can let others pet your deaf dog.
Simply let them know your dog is deaf and tell them to put their hands in front of the dog for them to smell before they pet your Frenchie.
Deaf dogs also cannot hear warning sounds to know if there is danger nearby.
They cannot hear another dog growling and you may need to jump in to protect them if you notice a potentially dangerous situation.
And, if you do not have a fence and live near a busy road you must monitor them outside to keep them safe from traffic.
Finally, a deaf French Bulldog may not always listen because they can’t.
Even if you are doing your best to give them commands with eye contact and hand signals, your Frenchie may still struggle to understand you.
That is perfectly normal. Just be patient and understand that your French Bulldog is just confused.
Keep working with them until you find ways to communicate that they understand.
In sum, the risks of raising a deaf French Bulldog include:
- They can startle easily and accidentally harm people/other dogs
- They cannot be left alone for too long
- They are hard to wake up
- They may bark, breathe, and play louder than other dogs
- They cannot hear danger around them like other barking dogs or cars
- They do not always listen or understand commands
Tips for Raising a Deaf French Bulldog
You can still raise and love a deaf French Bulldog. Deaf dogs tend to be very attached to their owners.
Because they cannot hear, they rely on their owners as a guide and will want to be near constantly.
So, it’s important that you are available to be a support to your deaf dog, essentially acting as their ears.
And, make up for love and attention with touch rather than sound. They will love extra petting to feel loved.
Also, since they may struggle to wake up being called, it’s a good idea to tap on the floor or next to them as they can still feel vibrations.
You can also try getting their attention with a laser pointer or flashlight instead of sound.
And, you may want to give your deaf dog a special collar and tags that identify their condition if they ever get lost.
Also note that your French Bulldog may be louder because they cannot hear themselves.
They may breathe louder, eat louder, and play louder than other dogs because they have no way of knowing how loud they are.
This is totally normal, and you may have to explain it to guests and others.
On the bright side, your deaf dog will never get scared by fireworks, loud sirens, shooting or other startling sounds like most dogs do.
And, they will not hear someone knocking on the door, so they are less likely to bark at guests.
In sum, tips for raising a deaf French Bulldog include:
- Give them extra physical touch and love
- Tap the floor to wake them up; they still feel vibrations
- Use a flashlight or laser pointer to get their attention
- Get a special collar that identifies them as deaf
- Attach a bell to their collar so you can hear them
- Keep them on a leash at all times when near a road or public place
Is Owning a Deaf French Bulldog Worth it?
In the end, it may be more difficult to raise a deaf French Bulldog because they can startle easily, are in danger of moving cars and other growling dogs and cannot always listen.
However, typically owners develop a closer relationship with their deaf dog because they are the owner, protector, and ears for their dog.
It’s up to you whether or not the extra work to raise a deaf French Bulldog is worth it or not.
However, you will likely build an extremely strong bond as you learn to raise a deaf French Bulldog.
Resources for Those with a Deaf Dog
Raising a deaf dog is difficult, but you are not alone. There is no one manual with all the answers to raising a deaf dog, but there are many people who have successfully raised deaf dogs. Here are some resources which may help:
- Living with a Deaf Dog by Susan C. Becker
- Dogs with Disabilities
- Deaf Dogs Forever blog
- Adopt a deaf dog from Deaf Dogs Rock
- Spirit of Deaf Dogs blog
- A Tail of Two Dogs blog
- Deaf Canines
- Nothing In Life Is Free (NILIF) – Teaching Your Dog To Say Please by Thomas Wipperman