French Bulldogs are a type of relatively small companion dogs, bred down in size from full-sized English bulldogs as far back as the 19th century. These dogs have a smooth coat that requires minimal grooming for the show ring. Still, if you don’t pay attention to detail, the judge is sure to notice. If you plan on showing your Frenchie, make regular grooming a part of your routine. Some aspects of grooming, particularly the face folds, toenails and eye area, need ongoing care if your dog is to be ready to go when show day rolls around.
A bath is the first order of business when you are preparing your French Bulldog for the show ring. Use a good dog shampoo, and lather your dog well, removing all traces of dirt. A mild shampoo will leave the natural oils in your dog’s coat, ensuring your Frenchie will shine in the show ring. Lift and separate the folds on your dog’s face, rubbing each one with a finger to make sure the area is clean. Rinse the dog well, since any soap left behind will make dry, flaky areas and cause your dog to itch. Dry your Frenchie completely after the bath.
The folds in the face of French Bulldogs can be a problem area, especially in humid climates. Clean and dry each fold, and check for signs of irritation. While most of the time you can use talcum powder on your dog’s face to keep the folds dry, don’t apply anything to the folds when you are preparing for a show.
Eyes and Ears
Some dogs have tearstains under their eyes, a problem that is particularly noticeable on light-colored Frenchies. It will be very difficult, if not impossible, to remove these stains if you wait until the day of the show. Instead, apply a good commercial tearstain remover regularly to prevent the stains from getting too dark.
Wipe the inside of the dog’s ears with a damp cotton ball or washcloth, and clean the outer canals with a cotton swab. Do not poke the swab down into the ears.
Toenails should be kept short to give the foot a compact, rounded look and making it easier and more comfortable for your dog to walk. Dogs’ nails have a sensitive area inside of them, called the quick, that can cause pain and bleeding if they are cut too short, so have them trimmed by a veterinarian or a groomer. Take your dog in for a trimming at least once a month, to prevent the toenails from getting too long.
Brush the coat of a French Bulldog with a soft brush to remove any loose hair. Pay attention to the dog’s legs, sides and belly so that there are no pockets of loose hair for the judge to find. Finish by wiping the dog down with a clean, dry cloth. You can lightly spray your dog with a coat conditioner to add some shine if you wish, but don’t use anything that may feel greasy or oily to the judge.