The Ultimate French Bulldog Breed Guide Could this little class clown be the right pet for you?

BY | June 24 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
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Having enjoyed an explosion in popularity over the past few years, the enduringly popular French Bulldog has stolen the hearts of plenty thanks to its cheeky expression and bat-like ears. Bred to be a companion dog, the Frenchie has won a loyal legion of fans with its cheerful, comical nature and loving disposition.

IS THIS DOG RIGHT FOR YOU?

1. The French Bulldog is a playful, companionable breed which forms strong attachments to their owners. They make excellent apartment dogs thanks to their quiet nature.

2. Frenchies typically get along really well with children, other dogs, and cats if they are socialized properly. While theyโ€™re not a genius breed, they are quick to learn tricks.

3. French Bulldogs are renowned for their affectionate nature, love of lazing around with their owners, and can also make excellent Emotional Support Dogs.

HISTORY

The history of the French Bulldog is inextricably linked with the history of the Industrial Revolution, and the strong relationship between America and France in the 19th century.

The ancestral English bulldog was a mastiff type dog - strong, athletic that could be involved in bull-baiting. However, in the 1800s, these Bulldogs were crossbred with other dogs. The now extinct Toy Bulldog breed was crossed with a terrier, making it a smaller lapdog or companion dog. Weighing between 12 and 25 lbs, these small dogs became popular with lace workers in the English Midlands.

When the Industrial Revolution closed down many of their work opportunities, the lace-makers emigrated to Normandy in Northern France, and took their little bulldogs with them. It didnโ€™t take long for these popular little dogs to make their way to Paris, where they were quickly adopted. They were so loved by the citizens of Paris that they became known as Bouledogues Franรงais. In fact, they were so beloved that Toulouse Lautrec featured the bulldog Bouboule in several of his works.

As the breed continued in France, they developed some breed standardizations which are recognizable today: a compact body, straight legs, and erect ears. Some were bred to have the erect โ€œbat earsโ€, while others had โ€œroseโ€ ears similar to those of todayโ€™s English Bulldogs.

Society folk and wealthy Americans traveling in France fell in love with these endearing little creatures and began bringing them back to the USA to breed. Society ladies first exhibited Frenchies in 1896 at the Westminster Dog Show, and even though it was not yet an approved AKC breed, a Frenchie was the cover star of the 1897 Westminster catalog.

There has always been some discussion around the correct breeding and form of a French bulldog, thanks to their early origins. At the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show the judge only chose winners with "rose ears", but the ladies would go on to form the French Bull Dog Club of America, which would define the breed standard as having the โ€œerect bat earโ€.

Throughout the early 20th century, French Bulldogs continued to be fashionable little friends to those living in high society and influential families. The J. P. Morgans and the Rockefellers were Frenchie fans, and dogs could be sold for up to $3000.

By 1906, the French Bulldog had not only been recognized by the American Kennel Club, but was considered the fifth most popular dog breed in the U.S. This dipped throughout the 20th century, and in 2003 the dog was ranked at 54th place. However, they entered the public consciousness once more thanks to some high profile celebrity fans. Today the dog is consistently in the top five most popular dog breeds in America.

QUICK FACTS

SIZE

Companion

LIFESPAN

11-14 years

HAIR LENGTH

Short

MALE HEIGHT

12 โ€“ 14 inches (28 โ€“ 30 centimeters)

MALE WEIGHT

20 โ€“ 28 pounds (9 โ€“ 13 kilograms)

FEMALE HEIGHT

11 โ€“ 13 inches (28 โ€“ 30 centimeters).

FEMALE WEIGHT

18 โ€“ 26 pounds (8 โ€“ 12 kilograms)

LITTER SIZE

2-4 puppies with an average of 3 - French bulldogs typically need a Cesarian section for a safe birth

APPEARANCE

French bulldogs are renowned for their curious, expressive faces and their distinctive bat ears. Unlike their cousins, the English bulldog, they make free, bouncy movements and can have excellent jumping abilities. They are often muscular little dogs, although they can quickly put on weight which can cause health issues.

They have short tails which can often be mistaken for โ€œdockedโ€, although this is just a feature of the breed. Frenchies have soft, loose skin around the head and shoulders, which gives them their distinctive wrinkles. They require little by way of grooming, although they are a breed who do shed. Their legendary wrinkles and snouts need regular cleaning, and some are more disposed to drool.

PERSONALITY

Clownish lap dogs, the Frenchie loves to play and entertain with the family. It has a tendency to be lazy, and so may need to be encouraged to go on walks. They enjoy playing outdoors, and if properly socialized will respond well to other dogs and cats. As a breed, Frenchies are not suited for outdoor living and should be carefully monitored in hot and humid weather. They cannot swim.

French Bulldogs bond very strongly to their owners, and as a result, do not enjoy being left on their own. They have a Bulldogs typical stubbornness, which can make them difficult to house train although they are the smartest of the Bulldog breed and can often learn tricks.

COLORS

The AKC accepted colors for a French Bulldog are any variations of brindle, fawn, or pied. Other colors, such as blue, black and tan, or merle are not accepted as a breed standard.

Behavior of a Bulldog

The Bulldog is a medium-sized dog with a powerful body and a strong will. Although bulldogs look intimidating, they are known for their gentle temperament. Bulldogs make excellent family pets and can be great with children. Much of a bulldog's behavior is dictated by the dog's body. The shortened muzzle of this breed makes breathing difficult, interfering with the bulldog's ability to exercise. Consequently, the breed is low-energy, and a bulldog will quickly become lethargic and sick after too much exercise. These dogs can be excellent companions, but are not good choices for people with highly active lifestyles.

Energy

Bulldogs are a low-energy breed because of their relatively weak respiratory system. However, bulldogs still need exercise and will thrive when given one or two 10-minute walks each day. Owners should not take their dogs on walks in temperatures above 80 degrees. Bulldogs also tend to have short bursts of impressive energy, and may charge at visitors, chase balls and ram into furniture. This behavior is less likely to occur when the dog has lots of attention and stimulation.

Personality

Bulldogs are tenacious and a bit domineering. They may obsess over objects they can't reach, such as hidden food, and may use their strong bodies to plow into things that interest them. Because of their domineering nature, they require strong leadership and early training. Without proper training, the breed may become stubborn and destructive. However, bulldogs are notoriously gentle and are unlikely to exhibit aggressive behavior.

Intelligence

Bulldogs are frequently ranked among the dumbest dogs, according to the book "Bulldogs for Dummies." However, this ranking may be undeserved and may be because bulldogs are stubborn and difficult to train. They can learn to do things that interest them and frequently devise novel solutions to problems. For example, a bulldog who wants to be on the other side of a fence might just plow through the fence. This breed typically requires more practice at learning basic commands because they are easily distracted, but with proper training bulldogs can learn an impressive array of skills.

Behavior Problems

Bulldogs are highly food-motivated and may guard their food, even when they've been trained to do otherwise. Consequently, bulldogs should not be fed around children or other dogs. Most of the bulldog's other behavior problems are actually a result of health issues. Lethargy is common among bulldogs when they are too hot or have had too much exercise. Drooling, snorting and loud breathing are also hallmarks of this breed. According to "Bulldogs for Dummies," bulldogs can become anxious and restless, and typically will chew on inappropriate objects well past puppyhood. They may also dig excessively.

More on Behavior

Dog Behaviors
Aging And Old Dog Behaviors
How To Know If Your Dog Has Anxiety

References & Resources

Canine Behavior; Bonnie Beaver D.V.M.
Bulldogs for Dummies; Susan M. Ewing
The Bulldog Information Library: Behavioral Problems in Bulldogs

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