Deafness in French Bulldogs

Did you know that your Frenchie's color can be linked to deafness? Learn about the symptoms of deafness, and 7 simple tips to improve their quality of life.

Deafness

Deafness, or hearing loss, is an all too common health problem in French Bulldogs. It can be present at birth due to genetic defects or develop over time in older dogs.

Fortunately, you can rule out congenital deafness by conducting a test known as the BAER test in puppies as young as 6 weeks old. Deafness is more common in white coated dogs due to a piebald gene which is often characterized by a mainly white coat with patches of black and blue eyes.

Deafness is also common in merle French Bulldogs as well, and we recommend staying away from breeders that offer merle French Bulldogs due to the other various genetic defects that are associated with the merle gene.

Happy French Bulldog playing
Happy French Bulldog playing

The Role of Color in Hearing

You may be wondering why the color of the coat can affect the hearing.

The reason for this is that these genes are associated with a lack of pigment cells which give the appearance of their coats. There are small hairs in the inner ear that are called cilia, and when there is an extreme lack of pigment cells, the cilia may not develop properly, resulting in deafness.

If you are interested in a predominantly white French Bulldog or are just concerned about the possibility of your new puppy being deaf, be sure to ask your breeder about performing a BAER test.

Symptoms of deafness

according to PetMD include, but are not limited to:

  • Unresponsive to sounds
  • Unresponsive to its name
  • Unresponsive to the sounds of squeaky toys
  • Not woken by a loud noise / hard to wake them up
  • Prolonged barking

Improve your Deaf Frenchie’s Quality of Life

  • Be compassionate of their limitations
  • When outside, always use a leash. They won’t be able to hear cars or other dangers.
  • Use hand signals instead of voice commands and keep all forms of communication consistent
  • Place a bell on their collar to help locate them
  • Put a tag on their collar that says they’re deaf, just in case they get lost
  • Use a flashlight to get their attention
  • Wake them up by putting food under their nose or petting their back (not their face!)

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