Head Tremors, Bobbing, Nodding, Shaking Of Head in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs

Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs

Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs are also known as:

  1. “Bulldog head bobbing”,
  2. “Bulldog head shaking”
  3. “Bulldog head nodding”
  4. “Idiopathic bulldog head tremors

Bulldog and French Bulldog head tremors, head shaking, and head bobbing are interchangeable terms.

Bulldog Head Tremors 5 X MUST KNOW

  1. The most common origin of bulldog head tremors is unknown (idiopathic).
  2. The condition is unique to the breed and is usually harmless.
  3. It is best to have your bully examined but RX is usually not required
  4. Head shaking is usually short-term and can be stopped by distraction with food or a toy.
  5. For nervous system wellness, we offer  Dr. Kraemer’s Affordable nerve & back Bundles 

Members of this bulldog community prefer prevention over RX

Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs CAUSE:

There is more than one cause that underlines bulldog head tremors, examples are

  • “Idiopathic”
  • “Focal seizures”
  • “Intentions tremors”
  • “Sleep disorder”

The most common type of bulldog and French bulldog head tremors is IDIOPATHIC

Despite the idiopathic type being the most likely cause you should have your bully examined.

Bulldog and French Bulldog Head Tremors IDIOPATHIC ORIGEN:

The origin of this bulldog head nodding and bobbing is mostly unknown (idiopathic) and thus is considered “benign”

Bulldog Head Nodding due to FOCAL SEIZURE:

We suspect that in some bulldog head tremors cases, focal seizure or a stretch mechanism localized to the head is the underlining cause.

Bulldog head focal seizures could imitate the more common bulldog idiopathic head shaking (“bulldog head bobbing, bulldog head nodding, bulldog head tremors).

The area of the brain affected in bulldog focal seizure head tremors is the area that controls movement.


The presentation of “bulldog intention tremors” can be very similar to the more common bulldog idiopathic head shaking.

Intention tremors originate in the cerebellum, and you can often differentiate them from the idiopathic type by their jerkier shaking movement.

Bulldog intention tremors are typically jerkier and  observed when your bulldog eats or drinks, or during other voluntary movements.

Bulldog and French Bulldog  SLEEP DISORDER

Sleep Disorder Head Tremors are usually present during the REM (rapid eye movement) sleep phase and are associated with active dreaming.

Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs

Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs PRESENTATION:

Bulldog and French Bulldog Head Shaking IDPPATHIC

Bulldog and French bulldog idiopathic head tremors patients remain alert and responsive.

Bulldog and French Bulldog Head Shaking SEIZURE:

Bulldogs and French bulldogs suffering from focal seizures exhibit a change in mental status.

Bulldog and French Bulldog Head Shaking INTENTION TREMORS

Bulldog intention tremors presentation is similar to bulldog idiopathic head shaking, though the tremors are typically jerkier.

Bulldog and French Bulldog SLEEP DISORDER

Bulldog sleep disorder head tremors present during the dreaming phase (REM sleep).

Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs DURATION:

Most of the head shaking, tremors, nodding, and bobbing in bulldogs and French bulldogs are short-lived, but occasionally, could last for a few minutes.

Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs DIAGNOSIS:

Common diagnostic testing conducted for a bulldog and French bulldog head-shaking is:

  2. BILE ACID TEST:  to help rule out portosystemic shunts (liver shunt).
  3. BLOOD TEST: a general blood test to r/o diabetes and other medical conditions that can lead to seizures, inculding electrolytes and thyroid levels.
  5. OTHER: spinal fluid analysis, EEG 

Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs TREATMENT:

Head tremors are usually intermittent and considered harmless, thus NO treatment is required.

Seizure medication is controversial, if your bulldog has no seizure history, I usually do not prescribe anything.

Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Head Tremors in Bulldogs TRUTH & MYTH

Bulldog Head Saking Myth #1


Offering ice cream or sugary liquids is not recommended.

Those are often given to treat seizing bulldogs and French bulldog puppies suffering from hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) events.

To stop idopathic bulldog head tremors, simply distract your bully with food, treat, or toy.

Bulldog Head Nodding Myth #2


Offering calcium supplements to a bulldog or French bulldog with a head shake has little merit.

Those are often given to female bulldogs suffering from “postpartum calcium deficiency” (i.e. eclampsia).

Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs TIPS & WARNINGS:


Bulldog Head Tremors / HARMLESS:

Don’t panic! Bulldog head shaking (bulldog head bobbing) is not an emergency, nor a life-threatening event.  It is considered idiopathic (arising from an unknown cause) and harmless.

Bulldog Head Tremors / DISTRACTION:

Typically, I advise distressed bulldog owners to try and have their bully move his/her head and neck and distract them with a toy, or a treat.

Distraction with food, toy, “lets go play or for a walk”, or by showing the leash, will usully stop your bulldog or French bulldog head tremors. 

Bulldog Head Tremors / NON PAINFUL

Bulldogs and French bulldogs exhibiting head tremors and head bobbing are usually fully alert and otherwise acting normally.

As far as we know, bulldog and French bulldog idopathic head tremor is not a painful condition or a distress signal 

Bulldog Head Tremors / OTHER DISEASE:

We do not know of any medical and neurological conditions that are a direct result of bulldog head bobbing.

Bulldog Head Tremors / GENETIC LINK:

There may be a genetic link to head tremors,  head shaking, or head bobbing in bulldogs and French bulldogs.

Bulldog Head Tremors /SHAKING DIRECTION:

Your bulldog puppy’s head shaking can present as an up-and-down movement (saying “yes”) or a side-to-side movement (saying “no”).

Bulldog Head Shaking / NEUROLOGICAL DISEASE:

Bulldogs with idiopathic head shaking do NOT develop other neurological signs due to this condition.

Bulldog Head Tremors  TREATMENT:

There is NO known treatment for head bobbing in bulldogs and French bulldogs.

You can usually stop your bulldog and French bulldog’s idiopathic head from shaking by distracting him/her with food, a favorite treat or toy, a leash (“let’s go for a walk”), or having them tense their neck muscles turning side to side.

Bulldog Head Tremors / LEG SHAKING:

Many senior bulldogs and French bulldog owners wonder why their aging dog’s hind legs are shaking.

Shaking of the extremities can happen standing up or lying down and can be progressive.

Like head shaking in bulldogs, the origin of the senior bulldog leg shaking is likely idiopathic.

The theory is that “senior bulldog leg-shaking may be associated with disk disease, neuropathy, arthritis, myelopathies, etc.


There is no known treatment for aging bulldog idiopathic leg shaking, but usually.

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I will prescribe anti-inflammatory medication, or recommend supplements like my:

Members of our community prefers prevention over RX



Your bulldog might be head shaking or leg shaking due to other conditions, thus you should always consult your veterinarian.

Head shaking due to advanced cases of distemper virus usually also involves the jaw and leg muscles and can be observed even while your bulldog is sleeping.

Distemper encephalomyelitis is rare because of the introduction of the vaccine and its integration to our canine pet’s wellness core vaccine series.

Bulldog Head Tremors POISONS & TOXINS WARNING:

Other types of tremors can be due to poisons and toxins, hormonal abnormalities, and electrolyte imbalance.

“An Ounce Of PREVENTIVES Is Worth A Pound Of CURE”

Pododermatitis in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs store

*This guide was compiled courtesy of Dr. Kraemer, a “must-read” manual for any current or future bully owner