Curious, affectionate and comical
Approximately 12 inches
Males 20-28 lbs; Females 16-24 lbs
Brindle, fawn, white, or combinations of brindle or fawn with white
Short and soft
Consistent year round
Bred strictly as a companion pet, the French Bulldog is sweet, lovable and possesses a great sense of humor. They are curious and comical and love to play. Their affection for their human owners is unending, often bonding strongly to one person in particular. They will thrive with companionship, and will be extremely unhappy without it. Jovial, affectionate and even-tempered, most will get along with just about anyone.
Although they enjoy human company, a Frenchie will function best with older or well-behaved children who will not tease the dog. They will happily play with other dogs, friend or stranger alike, although the occasional male may be dog-aggressive. They get along well with most other household animals.
French Bulldogs can be a bit willful but can be well trained by a patient and consistent trainer who does not use overly harsh tones or physical punishment.
The French Bulldog is ideal for apartment life as it does not need an excessive amount of exercise. They are particularly prone to heat stroke and will be happiest in a milder climate. Be sure not to overexert the dog in hot temperatures.
The most commonly accepted theory of the evolution of the French Bulldog is that it was bred from small (or toy) English Bulldogs by people who wanted a non-fighting version of the breed. These small Bulldogs were taken to France in large numbers in the second half of the 19th century by English artisans, particularly lace makers, looking to preserve their craft in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. The breed became immensely popular in Parisian society, and two versions were established: one with rose-shaped ears and the other with larger ears. The larger bat-like ears eventually won out in America, leading to the modern French Bulldog that we see today.
The French Bulldog became immensely popular in the Northeastern United States around the beginning of the 20th century, but it’s popularity began to decline dramatically at the start of World War I. The French Bulldog Club of America sites many possible reasons for this. First of all, general interest in pure breeds declined after the Great Depression; regardless, a new snub-nosed toy breed called the Boston Terrier was becoming all the rage. Additionally, female French Bulldogs often encountered difficulty delivering puppies with such large heads (safe Caesarian Sections would not be instituted for many years to come). Overall economic growth, coupled with the advent of safer veterinary practices, lead to a resurgence in the breed’s popularity in the 1980’s.
Body Structure and Composition
The most distinctive feature of the French Bulldog are it’s bat-like ears, which sit on the corners of a level skull (though the forehead is slightly arched). A short muzzle, reminiscent of it’s most likely ancestor, the English Bulldog, is wrinkled with the flews (upper lips) hanging over the lower jaw. They also share the characteristic Bulldog underbite. It is a well-proportioned breed, approximately as long as it is tall. The neck is thick and the skin is loose on the throat. The Frenchie’s topline is slightly higher at the hindquarters than at the shoulder, due to it’s slightly longer back legs. The chest is deep, and it’s tail is straight or slightly screwed and hung low.
As a brachycephalic (snub-nosed) breed, the French Bulldog can be prone to breathing problems, as their airways are more compressed than non-brachycephalic breeds. Subsequently breathing problems are possible in all French Bulldog, although they occur particularly in individuals who are overweight. They are also very sensitive to warm temperatures, and it is important to keep the dog mainly indoors during hot summer months. They routinely wheeze and snore, and some may drool.
In addition to being brachycephalic, French Bulldogs are also chondrodystrophic, meaning that they suffer from dwarfism. This condition results in a shortening of the vertebrae as well as the long bones of the limbs. This can cause vertebral malformations or premature degeneration of the intervertebral discs, conditions that become more pronounced in individuals with shorter backs. Also, with the shorter spine comes decreased lung capacity, putting additional strain on an already debilitated respiratory system. The dog’s gait can be affected if the long bones of the forelegs are more affected by the dwarfism than the hind legs, causing the hid legs to overtake the forelegs when the dog trots. When choosing a French Bulldog puppy, look for parents with relatively longer backs and well-proportioned front and back legs.
Some French Bulldog lines are susceptible to various eye conditions. Glaucoma, corneal ulcers, juvenile cataracts, and Entropion (inward-turning eyelids) have all been known to plague this breed. Another condition called Cherry Eye is known to occur, although is more common in the Bulldog and the Pug (this occurs when the gland of the third eyelid - known as the nictitating membrane - prolapses and becomes visible as a red mass on the inner corner of the eye). Reputable breeders will have their breeding stock certified by the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) prior to producing a litter to help prevent the spread of inherited eye diseases.
The short and smooth coat of a French Bulldog is easy to care for - occasional brushing is all that is needed.
The French Bulldog has enjoyed a dramatic increase in popularity in the last 30 years. According to the French Bulldog Club of America, registrations have grown from 170 in 1980 to over 5,500 in 2006. During the same period, the breed climbed the American Kennel Club’s registration list, from #76 in 1997 to #34 in 2007.
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