The French Bulldog

Black Masked Fawn French Bulldog

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Other names Bouledogue Français
Nicknames Frenchie, Boule
Country of origin France

The French Bulldog is a small breed of domestic dog. "Frenchies" were the result of a cross between bulldog ancestors imported from England and local ratters in Paris (France), in the 1800s.

In the UK, they became the fourth most popular registered dog by 2014. In the USA, French bulldogs were the ninth most popular AKC registered dog breed by 2014.



A Bit of History

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The modern French Bulldog descends directly from the dogs of the Molossians, an ancient Greek tribe. The dogs were spread throughout the ancient world by Phoenician traders. British Molossian dogs were developed into the Mastiff. A sub-family of the Mastiff was theBullenbeisser, a type of dog used for bull-baiting.

Blood sports such as bull-baiting were outlawed in England in 1835, leaving these "Bulldogs" unemployed. However, they had been bred also for non-sporting reasons since at least 1800, and so their use changed from a sporting breed to a companion breed. To reduce their size, some Bulldogs were crossed with terriers, while others were crossed with pugs. By 1850 the Toy Bulldog had become common in England. These dogs weighed around 7 to 11 kg.

At the same time, lace workers from Nottingham, displaced by the industrial revolution, began to settle in France. They brought a variety of dogs with them, including miniature Bulldogs. These small bulldogs became popular in France and a trade in imported small Bulldogs was created, with breeders in England sending over Bulldogs that they considered to be too small, or with faults such as ears that stood up. By 1860, there were few miniature Bulldogs left in England, such was their popularity in France and due to the exploits of specialist dog exporters.

The small Bulldog type gradually became thought of as a breed, and received a name: le Bouledogue Francais. This Francization of the English name is also a contraction of the words "boule" (ball) and "dogue" (mastiff or molosse). The dogs were highly fashionable and were sought after by society ladies and Parisian prostitutes alike, as well as artists, writers and fashion designers. However, records were not kept of the breed's development as it diverged further away from its original Bulldog roots. As it changed, terrier and Pug stock may have been brought in to develop traits such as the breed's long straight ears, and the roundness of their eyes.

Americans had been importing French Bulldogs for a while, but it was not until 1885 when they were brought over in order to set up an American-based breeding program. They were mostly owned by society ladies, who first displayed them at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1896. These ladies formed the French Bull Dog Club of America and created the breed standard which stated for the first time that the "erect bat ear" was the correct type. In the early 20th century they remained in vogue for high society, with dogs changing hands for up to $3,000 and being owned by members of influential families such as the Rockfellers and the J.P. Morgans. The American Kennel Club recognised the breed quickly after the breed club was formed, and by 1906 the French Bulldog was already the fifth most popular dog breed in America.

This new Bulldog breed arrived for the first time in England in 1893.The Kennel Club initially recognized them as a subset of the existing English Bulldog breed rather than an entirely new breed. In 1902, a breed club was set up in order to seek individual recognition for the French breed. The adopted breed standard was the same one which was already in use in America, France, Germany and Austria. Despite opposition from Miniature Bulldog (the new breed name for the Toy Bulldog) and Bulldog breeders, in 1905 the Kennel Club changed its policy on the breed and recognised them separate from the English variety, initially as the Bouledogue Francais, then later in 1912 the name changed to French Bulldog.



Basic Features

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The French Bulldog has the appearance of an active, muscular dog, of heavy bone, smooth coat, compactly built, and of medium or small structure. 

Acceptable colors under the breed standard are the various shades of brindle, fawn, tan or white with brindle patches (known as "pied" or “caille”). The most common colors are brindle, then fawn, with pieds being less common than the other colors. The breed clubs do not recognize any other colors or patterns. This is because some colors come linked with genetic health problems not usually found in the breed, most notably blue coloration, which is linked with a form of alopecia (hair loss or baldness), sometimes known as "Blue Dog Alopecia". The skin should be soft and loose, especially at the head and shoulders, forming wrinkles. Coat moderately fine, brilliant, short and smooth.

The head is large and square. The nose should be extremely short; nostrils broad with well defined line between them. The nose and flews should be black, except in the case of lighter-colored dogs, where a lighter color of nose is acceptable. The flews should be thick and broad, hanging over the lower jaw at the sides, meeting the underlip in front and covering the teeth, which should not be seen when the mouth is closed. Eyes should be wide apart, as far from the ears as possible, round in form, of moderate size and in color dark. Ears (“bat ears”) broad at the base, elongated, with round top, set high in the head, but not too close together, and carried erect with the orifice to the front.

The body of the French Bulldog is short and well rounded. The back should be a roach bck, with a slight fall close behind the shoulders.The tail should be either straight or screwed (but not curly), short, carried low in repose.




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The French Bulldog, like many other companion dog breeds, requires close contact with humans. They have fairly minimal exercise needs but do require at least daily short walks. The French Bulldogs are sometimes called ‘Clown dogs' because they are known to be fun loving and vivacious 'clowns of the dog world’. Their calm nature makes them an excellent choice for apartment dwellers, as do their sensible attitude towards barking.

Their bulk and their compromised breathing system make it impossible for them to regulate their temperature efficiently. Precautions must be taken when exercising during hot or humid weather, as they are prone to heat stroke.


ch Bulldogs are very sweet, and make excellent companions. They rarely bark. This breed is patient and affectionate with its owners, especially with children. French Bulldogs can easily live with other breeds when the proper introductions are done.



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The French Bulldogs has an average lifespan of 10 to 13 years. 

French bulldogs suffer an innate inability to effectively regulate their body temperature. While a regular canine may suffer to some degree from the heat, to a Frenchie it may prove lethal. It is imperative that they be protected from temperature extremes at all times, and that they always have access to fresh water and shade. As a brachycephalic breed (snub nose), French Bulldogs find it difficult to breathe when they are hot and stressed out, especially if they suffer from the brachycephalic syndrome (nostrils too narrow and allongated palates).

French bulldogs may require artificial insemination to conceive and caesarean section to give birth, with over 80% of litters delivered this way. The litters may have up to 6 babies, exceptionally more than that.

French bulldogs can also suffer from an assortment of back, disk and spinal diseases and disorders, most of which are probably related to the fact that they were selectively chosen from the dwarf examples of the bulldog breed. French bulldogs are also prone to having congenital hemiertebrae (also called “butterfly vertebrae”).

French bulldogs, as several other breeds, are susceptible to allergic skin disease. This includes the possibility of allergies to proteins or carbohydrates (food allergies) and atopy (seasonal allergies). 

The skin folds under the eyes of the French bulldog should be cleaned regularly and kept dry. Tear stains are common on lighter-colored dogs.

The Frenchie often snores while sleeping, it is a registered mark of the breed.