The Ultimate French Bulldog Breed Guide

Could this little class clown be the right pet for you?

By June 24 | See Comments

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The Ultimate French Bulldog Breed Guide
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

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 they’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 didn’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 Français. 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 “bat ears”, while others had “rose” ears similar to those of today’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 “erect bat ear”.

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 – 14 inches (28 – 30 centimeters)

MALE WEIGHT

20 – 28 pounds (9 – 13 kilograms)

FEMALE HEIGHT

11 – 13 inches (28 – 30 centimeters).

FEMALE WEIGHT

18 – 26 pounds (8 – 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 “docked”, 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.

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