underbite dog

Underbite dog colloquially referred to as malocclusion, presents a unique dental arrangement where the lower teeth protrude beyond the upper teeth upon jaw closure. This characteristic is notably prevalent among certain dog breeds, particularly those with compacted skulls, such as French Bulldogs and English Bulldogs. Due to their cranial morphology, this trait is not uncommon and is even established within breed standards.

The extent of the underbite can vary among individuals within these breeds: some may exhibit a slight misalignment that is scarcely perceptible, whereas others may display a more prominent underbite. While this feature contributes to their distinctive appearance, it’s imperative to acknowledge its implications for their overall well-being. The underbite can impact their eating habits, chewing efficiency, and oral hygiene maintenance.

Common Causes Behind Frenchie Underbite

Delving into the origins of the underbite in French Bulldogs illuminates the factors underlying this common trait in these cherished companions. Let’s unravel the elements that play a role in its development.


The emergence of an underbite in French Bulldogs is predominantly dictated by genetics, often passed down through ancestral lines. Within our breeding protocols, rigorous screening procedures are implemented to exclude individuals exhibiting underbites from our breeding program.

Examining the historical lineage of French Bulldogs provides insight into the evolution of this characteristic. Originating from downsized English Bulldogs, Frenchies underwent crossbreeding with smaller canine counterparts, such as terriers, over successive generations. While this breeding endeavor aimed to diminish the underbite feature inherited from their English Bulldog ancestors, French Bulldogs retain a genetic propensity towards developing an underbite.

Skeletal Makeup

As previously noted, French Bulldogs exhibit brachycephalic traits, typified by their condensed facial anatomy. This cranial morphology, notably featuring a shortened upper jaw, frequently results in constrained tooth spacing. The incongruity between jaw dimensions and tooth positioning is a primary catalyst for the prevalence of underbites in French Bulldogs.

Dental Makeup

While not specific to French Bulldogs, it’s pertinent to acknowledge that dental complications can occasionally precipitate an underbite in dogs. Anomalies during the transition from puppy to adult teeth, particularly if adult teeth emerge while baby teeth persist, may contribute to underbites. Furthermore, irregularities in jaw formation or overcrowded teeth can also factor into the development of this condition.


Although genetic influences typically predominate, there are occasional instances where an underbite may be acquired. During the teething period, excessive chewing or vigorous play by a puppy could inadvertently disrupt tooth alignment. Such behavior might exacerbate an existing underbite or lead to misalignment as adult teeth emerge. Additionally, external factors such as infections or trauma can influence the development of facial and jaw structures, potentially contributing to an underbite.

underbite dog

Signs and Symptoms of an Underbite

Now, let’s explore the primary indicators and symptoms suggestive of an underbite in French Bulldogs.

Visible Misalignment

One of the clearest indications is the observable misalignment of the jaws upon closure. An underbite typically presents with the lower jaw protruding beyond the upper jaw, resulting in the lower teeth being visible even when the mouth is shut.

Challenges in Chewing and Eating

Dogs afflicted with underbites may encounter challenges during mealtime or while chewing. The misalignment of their teeth can impede proper chewing, leading to difficulties in breaking down food. You may observe your Frenchie taking longer to consume meals or encountering obstacles in biting and masticating their food effectively.

Discomfort or Pain

In more pronounced instances, dogs with underbites may display indications of discomfort or distress, particularly if the misalignment results in friction or pressure on the teeth or gums. This discomfort could prompt behavioral alterations like pawing at the mouth or reluctance to consume specific food varieties.

Oral Health Issues

Underbites can exacerbate a range of oral health issues. Irritation of the gums, bleeding, or even minor abrasions within the mouth may arise from the misalignment of teeth rubbing against delicate tissues. Additionally, the presence of bad breath can be indicative of such oral complications.

What Is an Underbite in a Dog ?

An underbite, clinically termed Class III malocclusion or prognathism, is a dental condition in dogs where the lower jaw (mandible) protrudes further than the upper jaw (maxilla), causing the lower teeth to overlap the upper teeth when the mouth is closed. This creates a distinctive facial appearance, often characterized by the lower incisors and sometimes the canine teeth being visible even when the dog’s mouth is closed.

Visually, an underbite can be identified by the lower jaw extending out farther than the upper jaw when the dog’s mouth is closed. This can be accompanied by an overbite, where the upper jaw extends farther out than the lower jaw, creating a reverse underbite. Some dogs may also have an asymmetrical underbite, where one side of the jaw is more pronounced than the other.

Underbites can vary in severity, ranging from a mild misalignment that may not cause any noticeable problems, to a more pronounced condition that can impact a dog’s ability to eat, drink, or properly groom themselves. In some cases, an underbite may also lead to dental issues, such as tooth wear or gum injuries, if left untreated. The causes of underbites in dogs can be genetic, related to breed characteristics, or in some instances, the result of trauma or injury to the dog’s jaw.

underbite dog

What Breeds Have Underbites ?

Underbites are frequently observed in brachycephalic breeds or those with shortened, ‘pushed-in’ facial structures. These breeds possess a genetic inclination towards underbites owing to the configuration of their skulls and jaws. Among the breeds commonly associated with underbites are:

  • Boxer
  • Bulldog (English and French)
  • Pug
  • Boston Terrier
  • Pekingese
  • Shih Tzu
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Brussels Griffon

While these breeds exhibit a higher propensity for underbites, it’s essential to recognize that underbites can manifest in any dog, irrespective of breed. While less prevalent in other breeds, underbites can still occur due to genetic predispositions, developmental anomalies, or jaw injuries underbite dog.

Potential Health Problemsg

Depending on its severity, an underbite in dogs can give rise to various health complications. While mild cases may not pose significant issues, moderate to severe underbites can lead to the following health concerns:

  1. Difficulty eating and drinking: Dogs with pronounced underbites may struggle to grasp food or drink water, potentially resulting in reduced food intake, malnutrition, or dehydration if not addressed.
  2. Tooth wear and damage: Misaligned teeth may experience abnormal wear or damage, leading to enamel erosion, fractures, and an increased susceptibility to tooth decay or infection.
  3. Gum injuries and infections: The lower teeth rubbing against the upper gums can cause irritation, injuries, and inflammation over time, potentially progressing to gum recession or periodontal disease.
  4. Oral hygiene challenges: Underbites may hinder a dog’s ability to groom effectively, fostering the accumulation of food particles and plaque in inaccessible areas. This buildup can contribute to halitosis, tartar formation, and an elevated risk of dental issues.
  5. Pain and discomfort: Severe underbites can induce discomfort, particularly during eating or chewing activities, potentially prompting behavioral changes or reluctance to eat.

If concerns arise regarding the health implications of your dog’s underbite, seeking veterinary guidance is imperative. A veterinarian can evaluate the underbite’s severity and recommend suitable treatment modalities underbite dog.

underbite dog

Do Underbites Get Better ? Treatment Options

The potential for improvement in underbites in dogs varies based on factors such as severity, age, and underlying causes.

In puppies, mild underbites may resolve naturally as the dog matures and jaw development progresses. However, this isn’t guaranteed, and underbites can persist or worsen as the dog grows.

For adult dogs, spontaneous improvement is unlikely without intervention. If the underbite impacts the dog’s health or well-being, veterinarians may recommend treatments like:

Orthodontic interventions: Orthodontic devices may be utilized to correct mild to moderate underbites, although not all cases are suitable for this approach.

Dental procedures: Extracting overcrowded or retained baby teeth can alleviate underbite issues caused by these factors underbite dog .

Surgical options: Severe underbites or cases with significant health implications may necessitate surgical correction, such as jaw realignment or reshaping procedures.

Consulting a veterinarian is crucial if you’re concerned about your dog’s underbite. They can assess the severity and recommend the most appropriate course of action tailored to your dog’s individual needs.

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