French Bulldogs emerged as a dog breed through breeding English bulldogs with Paris ratters in the 1800s, and now they are widely regarded as one of the most popular dog breeds. Frenchies are sturdy, compact little dogs with a short coat and bat ears that round at the tips. They have a large square head, and their foreheads are rounded.
This breed has eyes that are widely set apart and very prominent – they almost look as though they’re bulging out of their heads! These dogs also have very loose skin, which may form a wrinkled appearance around their head and shoulders. Unfortunately, French bulldogs have very short faces: their upper jaw is compressed, giving them an underbite, with the lower jaw being square and deep.
All You Need to Know About the French Bulldog
Typically, Frenchies stand at around 28-30cm (11-12 inches) in height and weigh between 26-31 pounds. However, you should note that dogs weighing over 28 pounds will be considered obese. The AKC disqualifies dogs over this weight.
French bulldogs come in a variety of colors, so you’ll be spoiled for choice when deciding the kind of Frenchie you’d like. Not all colors are recognized by the American Kennel Club, however.
- Brindle (recognized color) Brindle is a pattern made up of black and fawn hairs. Depending on the mixture of fawn and black hairs, the coat color can vary greatly from dark to light.
- Fawn (recognized color) A Frenchie with a fawn coat color is typically a light brown or tan in appearance, with a darker muzzle. Sometimes fawn French Bulldogs can have white underbellies.
- Cream (recognized color) This coat is the eggshell color base of a white Frenchie, but without the pied markings that they usually have. It is quite difficult to find.
- Pied/Piebald– A pied Frenchie needs to have 50% coloring of patches of white and any other color. This pattern is recessive, and so you should acknowledge potential issues associated with this type of Frenchie before you get one.
Other colors include solid black, black and tan, blue, blue fawn, liver, black and white, white with black, liver, chocolate, and merle. While these colors can be found and some look gorgeous, they are not recognized by the American Kennel Club.
The Frenchie is an easygoing companion. They are very affectionate, playful, pleasant, and alert dogs. They are very enthusiastic and lively pets, without being too yappy like you would expect from a Jack Russell terrier. French bulldogs are curious and inquisitive dogs, and can be quite comical in their actions as clowning around is a very common behavior for them.
French Bulldogs get on well with strangers and other animals alike. They enjoy interacting with their owners and playing with other dogs as they’re quite friendly creatures. These sweet little dogs live for human companionship – they have a strong tendency to love their families unconditionally.
Training a French Bulldog
As these dogs are quite easygoing from a young age, they can be easier to train than most other breeds. However, this doesn’t mean that training a Frenchie is going to be easy by any means. While they are good dogs, training a French bulldog is extremely important to ensure that they don’t become the household ruler. Additionally, though they make good family pets, they do best with considerate children who know how to display proper authority.
French Bulldogs need leadership. Otherwise, they will not thrive and even have the tendency to become aggressive. It’s important to never be passive with them – these dogs can sense it and can easily become very stubborn. They are easily trained if the owner is calm, patient, persistent, and a little firm. However, Frenchies can be a little wilful, so treats can often be very useful when training them, but you should be careful to avoid making treats the norm as this can lead to the onset of obesity.
If a Frenchie displays unwanted behaviors, it’s important never to sweet-talk them or give them any affection as this could reinforce the behavior. You should correct the behavior immediately and sternly, but never shout. Like all dogs, French bulldogs want to please their owner, so continuing to reinforce what you want or don’t want from them means they will learn pretty quickly.
Good news if you absolutely hate long walks – French bulldogs do not need a great deal of exercise. These sweet little dogs often suffer breathing problems due to the genetic predispositions selective breeding has given them, including their drastically shortened upper jaws and compressed faces. You should let your dog themselves decide how much exercise they need, as giving them too much can be dangerous.
Frenchies will often let you know when they’re tired and overwhelmed through panting, although they will naturally try to play for hours. It might be best to end the session or take breaks when you notice these behaviors even if your dog continues to run around.
The best methods of exercises for these little guys involves letting them wander around the garden at their own pace and taking them for short walks daily. You can also incorporate visiting parks to allow them to have short bursts of energy by playing ball games or fetch with your children, for example. Simply letting your French bulldog out into the garden is not enough to satisfy them, so you should try to mix up these different activities daily to keep them happy.
As mentioned above, French Bulldogs are prone to certain health conditions due to their genetics. Below are the most common health problems:
Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome is a respiratory disease associated with flat-face breed types (known collectively as ‘brachycephalic breeds’). This health problem stems from their short muzzles and compressed face structure, which results in compression of their facial tissues. A common feature of these dogs is an elongated soft palate, which creates their noisy breathing problems as it narrows the nose into the throat.
In addition, their flat faces make temperature regulation harder. Frenchies can easily overheat in hot weather, which can be fatal. It’s important to avoid taking your Frenchie out in extremely hot weather, as this would be against their best interests. Using a harness rather than a collar and with moderate exercise, you can help to alleviate some of their symptoms.
- Eye problems
As a French bulldog’s eyes are prominent, almost sticking out, they’re prone to corneal ulceration through injury, along with nasty infections. Additionally, a condition known as ‘cherry eye’ can also affect these sweet dogs. It’s characterized by eye tissue sticking out of the eye socket. This condition also requires a trip to the veterinarian.
- Hip Dysplasia
A condition that occurs when the ball and socket joint of the hip becomes loose or displaced, resulting in bone grinding. This condition can vary in severity, and it’s important to monitor your dog for difficulty getting onto their feet, lameness, limping, and reluctance to climb stairs or run. Hip dysplasia can be managed by monitoring their exercise and weight, but your dog will need a physical examination to diagnose and treat in all cases.
- Ear infections
Due to their bat-like ears, French bulldogs are prone to ear infections as debris and bacteria can easily get inside their narrow ear canal. You should look for redness, discharge, and scratching of the ear. If you notice any of these symptoms, arrange an appointment with your vet.
Just like people, dogs can suffer from tears in their abdominal walls. Some puppies can be born with hernias, and as long as they are not causing your puppy pain or distress, they can usually be fixed at the time of spaying or neutering. Despite this, it’s important to remember that some hernias require urgent attention. If you notice a lump and change in your dog’s behavior, you should consult your vet for a check-up, which will usually be followed by corrective surgery.
French bulldogs, like all dogs, will need some grooming weekly. They shed their undercoats twice a year, so you can still expect to find their hair around your home despite their limited shedding in comparison to other dog breeds. You can also bathe them occasionally, but be sure to keep that doggy shampoo away from their delicate eyes!
As for feeding them, you can ask your breeder for the brand of food they’ve used and go with that, or you can consult your vet for dietary advice. French bulldogs are also easy to cater to in terms of their dietary requirements. Once you pick the brand, a slow-feeding bowl will be useful to cater to their appetites.
Always do your research before you purchase any pet, especially if they have a long life expectancy of 10-12 years like the French bulldog. You should always aim to find the best breeder that you can afford, as French bulldogs come with many associated health issues that can be more problematic in a dog from a less reputable and experienced breeder who’s simply in the business for the money. Your puppy’s parents should have regular health checks. Some puppies you may come across might have already had some of their vaccinations.
You can even adopt a French bulldog if you wish to do so. Make sure to visit and interact with a dog or puppy before you get one, as it’s important to get an idea of whether a French bulldog is right for you before you bring them home.