French Bulldog Breed Traits & Facts

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Last Updated on September 20, 2023

Quick Summary: French Bulldogs (fondly called Frenchies) are very similar to American Bulldogs and Pugs. The bulldog breeders in England noticed the popularity of bulldogs, so they began exporting the breed to France. The first French Bulldog Club was founded in 1880, and the first breed standards were established in 1898 – the same year the French Kennel Club recognized the breed. Frenchies are not accustomed to long walks, but they can handle quick 15-minute walks for exercise. Older Frenchies tend to have more health issues, so prepare yourself when you welcome a senior Frenchie into your home. Their lifespan ranges from 8 to 13 years, which can even extend to more years if they’re kept healthy.

French Bulldogs are tiny bundles of joy. They love attention and are great family dogs. This adorable canine companion is loved by many dog owners, whether they are apartment dwellers or dedicated dog owners with large yards.

The result of breeding miniature bulldogs, Frenchies are friendly to people and can live with small families. They are small, require daily walks, and can live in limited living spaces. They can be difficult to keep healthy and some have a stubborn streak.

This article will discuss the French Bulldog, including their history, health issues, and typical size. Learn more about this popular breed and find out if it’s the right canine companion for you.

French Bulldog

Breed History

According to the American Kennel Club, the progenitors of the breed first emerged in mid-1800s Nottingham as a miniature version of the Bulldog. While Bulldogs were originally bred for bull bait and other blood sports, they were bred to be lighter than Bulldogs and have the same lighthearted energy as terriers. These Bulldogs were most often associated with Nottingham’s lace-makers.

This was also the height of the Industrial Revolution, where small industries that depended on handicrafts were gradually being eliminated by the advent of machines. The lacemakers brought their craft and their dogs to the French countryside in order to escape this.

The dogs were very popular in the country, and the dogs were soon crossbred with other dogs to give them their distinctive muzzles. At this point, they were known as Bouledogue Francais, or French Bulldogs. Word of these small dogs made their way to the fashionable cafes and parties of Paris, and soon the Bouledogue Francais became a staple of Parisian high life.

In fact, the painter Henri de Toulouse Lautrec painted one named Bouboule. Madame Palmyre, the owner of La Souris cafe, owned the dog. Bulldog breeders in England noticed the popularity of Bulldogs and began exporting Bulldogs to France. This was much to the dismay of others who wanted to keep the Bulldog an English breed.

French Bulldog Breed Recognition

According to the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI), the first French Bulldog Club was founded in 1880. The first breed standards were also established in 1898, the same year when the French Kennel Club recognized the breed. As early as 1887, they started appearing in dog shows and exhibitions.

The French Bulldog Club of America explains that one of the biggest controversies surrounding the breed was its ears when American breeders insisted dogs adhering to the breed standard had bat ears. In one Westminster show in 1898, the Americans refused to participate as there were rose-eared dogs at the show. The American judge refused to take part and American dog owners pulled their dogs. They had their own show at Waldorf-Astoria.

The World Wars and Great Depression caused a decline in interest in purebred dogs. The French Bulldog was no exception. By the 1940s, only 100 were registered with the American Kennel Club. Fortunately, by the 1980s, interest was restored, with wave upon wave of new registration. Frenchies are still popular today, and breeders are taking steps to provide better care for them.

Size and Lifespan

French Bulldogs stand from 11-12 inches at the shoulders. The AKC standard states that they usually will not exceed 28 pounds in weight. Their short bodies and splayed legs give them a low center point of gravity. They are expected to live anywhere from 8 to 13 years, though different dog breeding associations disagree on the true margin.

Frenchies are compact, muscular dogs with cylindrical, barrel-shaped chests, and strong muscles. Breeders need to pay attention to their skin. The most dedicated breeders insist that their dogs adhere to the breed standard without causing any skin problems or wrinkles. Bat-eared dogs are now the norm. There has been much infighting between breeders about Frenchies’ ears over the years.

The face is one of the most striking features of the breed. French Bulldogs are similar to American Bulldogs or Pugs. Their muzzles are shorter and the nose is turned up, a so-called snub nose. The muzzle is pronounced with jowls that meet at the loose, black lips. Their lips should cover their teeth and tongue completely. Most dogs have a black nose, but cream-colored or fawn-colored canines tend to have lighter ones.

They have a slight hump just above their humps, a characteristic known as “roach back.” This means that the hind legs are slightly longer than the forelegs. This breed also has short, narrow tails that taper at their tips.

Coats and Colors

French Bulldogs are short and glossy with no undercoat. They are easy to groom and have soft coats. Although they come in many colors, most breeding associations include black, white, cream, and fawn in any combination. You can also find the breed in many different markings.

Brindle: This refers to an uneven coloring pattern that is sometimes described as “tiger-striped”. The fur is streaked with color in brindle-striped colors. Brindle markings can be thinner, less irregular, and less opaque than tiger stripes. In this breed, brindle is made up of black and fawn hairs.

Piebald: This marking pattern refers to a coat that has patches of colored fur and other areas left white. French Bulldogs have colored patches on their backs, necks, ears, and around their eyes.

Black Mask:  This coloring is for fawns or cream dogs and has black fur around their muzzle and eyes.

Ticking: This pattern displays tiny dots and flecks in one color but not in a brindle-striped pattern. Although ticking is generally accepted by the American Kennel Club, it is not considered desirable in this breed.

Other Colors

Some breeders claim that certain breed standards are being met by dogs with other “rare” or “fad colors such as black, blue, pure and white, and merle. These rare colors are disqualified by various breed associations as they are considered to be out of the breed.

The pure white gene, for instance, carries the deaf gene. Frenchie breeders know this and many breeders who offer “fad colors” are in it for the money. Keep this in mind when buying from breeders that are responsible or even better, adopt.

Temperament and Behavior

Frenchies are friendly, active people-pleasers that work well in a family environment. They are energetic and ready to have a good time with their owners. Since they are avid people-pleasers, they are quite easy to train. This is in contrast to their ability to think independently and take action. To remind Frenchies who is in charge, it is important to give them firm guidance. They will not respond well to your yelling. Frenchies are sensitive to human voices, so yelling aggressively may cause them to fear their family.

Although Frenchies are family dogs, they can be protective of their owners and reject strangers. This problem can be mitigated by proper socialization. Puppy training classes are also essential to help Frenchies distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Although they may be stubborn, enough positive reinforcement and motivation will get the message across.

Frenchies do not bark often, so they are not very good watchdogs. They also have weak barks. Frenchies can sometimes be vocalized if someone approaches them, so owners of Frenchie dogs may need to pay extra attention to socializing with strangers.

Exercises Requirements and Living Conditions

Frenchies are a great choice for city dwellers as they don’t need much space. They can thrive almost anywhere where they have regular contact with their owners. Because of their restricted breathing, Frenchies are not able to tolerate heat and humidity. They cannot be left outside but must be kept indoors, in an air-conditioned environment. They should be kept occupied indoors, preferably through the use of Frenchie-sized dog toys.

According to the French Bulldog Club of England, Frenchies are not accustomed to long walks, though they can handle quick 15-minute walks. Frenchies can manage a leisurely walk for a few minutes and avoid becoming obese. Frenchies love to play, so a visit to the park might be in order. The Frenchie should not be taken outside if it is too hot or too humid. Frenchies are unable to swim due to their unique body structure. They should never be left alone in the water.

French Bulldogs are a play-loving breed. They won’t chew up furniture or torment couches if they don’t get enough. They will feel anxious and uneasy if they are not able to interact with their families for a prolonged period of time. Apartment dwellers may fare well with owning a Frenchie, but not if they disappear for work for weeks at a time! Frenchies can also drool, and may release flatulence. People who are easily grossed out by this breed might not be able to live with them.

Training and Socialization

French Bulldogs can be very stubborn when it comes to training. They are small in stature but pack a lot of power and strength into their tiny frames. It is important to start training your Frenchie as soon as possible. This means making sure your pup can properly walk on a leash or with a Frenchie-sized harness.

Behavior training and socialization are essential. If you plan to crate train, you’ll want to find a medium-sized dog crate that allows you to train your pup while you are away. Frenchies are known for having separation anxiety, so keep that in mind, as you may need to purchase a secure dog crate that alleviates anxiety.

Nutrition and Basic Diet

The American Kennel Club recommends high-quality dog food suitable for Frenchies of any age. Purina states that French Bulldogs get their nutrition mostly from their mother’s milk during the first four months. On veterinary advice, it is possible to add minced meat like beef after 4 months. Puppies are usually weaned after 8 weeks. Frenchies should be weaned using milk or nutritionally complete dog food. It is recommended that Frenchies eat two meals per day, usually in the morning or late afternoon.

Frenchies love to learn and are interested in new things. They may become bored with their dog food and beg for scraps . They are eager to participate in human meals! They are susceptible to obesity, so eating high-fat and cooked bones can cause them to gain weight. Treats are the same. Due to their unique body structure and breathing difficulties, the breed is more likely to succumb to obesity-related complications than other dogs. Research into which foods are safe for Frenchies may be in order.

Grooming Requirements

Frenchies are easy to groom. Frenchies have short fur and no undercoat, as mentioned previously. They also shed over the year, though in very small quantities at a time. Their coat only requires weekly brushing using a grooming mitt, or a medium-sized brush. Regular brushing will ensure that any shed fur is removed. It distributes the natural oils in the coat to give it a gorgeous sheen.

French Bulldogs are not known for getting dirty outside. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to get a little dirt and mud. Regular bathing is a good way to keep your Frenchie happy and healthy. You should pay special attention to cleaning between their faces, as dirt and grime can easily build up. Frenchies’ eyes are a particular concern as the wrinkles and yeast growths around their eyes can be very problematic. Regular dog shampoo is fine, but a sensitive skin shampoo is best for Frenchies with dry or irritated skin.

Their nails should be clipped frequently to maintain their comfort. A Frenchie can also benefit from brushing their teeth several times per week. Use toothpaste that is specifically made for dogs. Fluoride found in human toothpaste can be harmful to dogs. Frenchies might also benefit from a monthly ear cleaning.

Health Issues and Concerns

Frenchies, like other breeds with a slanted nose, are more susceptible to numerous diseases. Many of their most prominent health problems are related to breathing. It can be difficult for them to breathe in hot weather due to their compressed nasal passages. Due to their many health concerns, we recommend looking into pet insurance for your French Bulldog.

French Bulldogs are also poor flyers because of the decompression from high-flying. This breed has been banned by several airlines. Frenchies must be treated with special care if they are to survive a flight.

The French Bulldog Club of America lists down several health tests that are recommended prior to purchasing a puppy, though only a few will be discussed in detail.

  • ACL Tears
  • Hip Dysplasia Testing
  • Congenital Cardiac Database
  • Eye Examination by a boarded ACVO
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Autoimmune thyroiditis testing

ACL Tears

An ACL tear is a condition that affects the cranial cruciate ligament, one of several ligaments in the hind leg of dogs that connects the thigh to the shin. This is especially true for Frenchies due to their weight distribution. An ACL tear in a dog’s leg can cause sudden pain and loss of weight. Although they may slowly regain their use of the leg, it can still cause pain. ACL Tears can be treated with surgery. However, some cases may only require physical therapy and rest.

Hip Dysplasia

Given their large bodies, Frenchies are at risk of hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia refers to a condition in which the hip bone and the lower thigh bone of dogs are connected by a “ball-and-socket” joint. The thigh bone acts as a ball and the hip bone acts as a socket. The socket is designed to hold the ball securely. This socket joint allows movement in all directions during normal growth.

Hip dysplasia can cause the hip socket to become too small or the thigh to be displaced by abnormal tissue growth. Hip dysplasia is easily detected by a dog’s gait. A Frenchie could have hip dysplasia when their pelvises move side to side when walking or if they cross their legs while sitting. The treatment options for this condition include special exercise, painkillers, and a special diet.

Note: Frenchies may be affected by other health issues, but it is best to treat them individually. Every dog is unique and may require different care.

The Frenchie as a Family Pet

  • French Bulldogs will interact well with family members.
  • They may become overly possessive of their owner.
  • On occasion, they’ve been known to react poorly to friendly people.
  • This breed plays happily with children, but supervision is always the safest bet.
  • They are easily socialized if done from a young age.
  • French Bulldogs do not require long walks
  • The Frenchie is an excellent breed for any living space, including apartments.

Breeders and Puppy Costs/Prices

If you decide to adopt a French Bulldog puppy, it is essential that you obtain your French Bulldog puppy from a well-respected breeder. French Bulldog Club of England recommends puppies only be purchased from parents who have had their dogs vaccinated and passed health checks. To ensure that the puppies are healthy, it is important to visit the parents with them.

Responsible breeders will have lots of information about the parent dogs. This allows them to trace a dog’s pedigree through multiple generations. This will allow them to have detailed information about their family’s history, including the health risks and where their dogs come from. The Humane Society of the United States lists several traits of responsible breeders, which include transparency and a working relationship with local veterinarians.

As mentioned previously, “rare” or “fad colors can pose health risks. Avoid breeders that only offer dogs in trendy colors. They are likely to have little concern for their dogs’ health. It is not a good idea to buy a puppy from a puppy broker, puppy farm/mill, or pet shop. They tend to treat dogs poorly. There are many Kennel Clubs that have lists of trusted breeders who can provide healthy puppies.

Rescues and Shelters for Adoption

Shelters are a great way to get any breed of dog. It is a great way to give a lonely dog a home and it costs very little! Adoption usually includes spaying and vaccinations, as well as microchipping.

Do your research about each rescue to ensure they are properly registered and uphold high standards. It is best to adopt a dog from an animal shelter that does not kill. This will ensure your dog’s well-being and safety. Responsible shelters prepare potential owners to take on the challenge of owning a dog. They will also provide information and list supplies that are needed to welcome a dog home. Decide on the perfect Frenchie name before bringing the dog home.

Some shelter dogs are also senior dogs. If you’re considering purchasing a senior Frenchie, you need to be aware of what you’re getting into. older Frenchies tend to have more health issues, so it is important to do your research and prepare enough to welcome a senior Frenchie to the family.


While French Bulldogs can have a lot of health problems, they are loving companions who give a lot of love. Frenchies can be a joy in the house and will brighten up any dull spaces . Although they may live a shorter life span than other breeds of dogs, their spirit and determination can be admired. You can give them the best possible life by taking care of them – this can often extend their life expectancy.

Frenchies are so loving and deserve a caring home. If you’re able to meet the special needs of this breed, your home could be theirs. An in-depth understanding of the breed is essential to preparing for life with a new dog. A Frenchie will give you endless cuddles and laughs in return for your love and dedication.

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