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French Bulldog

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The French Bulldog has been well loved by women from prostitutes to the wealthy in France to across the ocean with early 20th century American society ladies!

Here is the French Bulldog at a Glance
Name French Bulldog
Other Names Bouledogue Français
Nicknames Frenchie, Frog Dog (because of how it sits) Clown Dog (because of its antics)
Origin France and the UK
Average size Small to medium
Average weight 16 to 28 pounds
Average height 11 to 13 inches
Life span 11 to 13 years
Coat type Short, fine
Hypoallergenic No
Color Brown, red, black, white, fawn, brindle
Popularity Quite popular – It is ranked 6th according to the AKC
Intelligence Average – it is not considered to be very intelligent
Tolerance to heat Low – It is not good in any kind of heat and will need monitoring to ensure it does not overheat
Tolerance to cold Low – It is not good in cold temperatures either and again will need extra care in those conditions
Shedding Minimal – It does shed but it is a low amount
Drooling Quite a bit – As with other Bulldogs it drools a lot
Obesity Prone to obesity – Exercise and food should be closely monitored
Grooming/brushing Moderate at least twice a week – the coat itself though is easy to brush
Barking Rare – it is not a very noisy dog
Exercise needs Somewhat active – Does not need very active owners but will need daily walks at least
Trainability Difficult if you have no experience – it can be stubborn
Friendliness Quite friendly – it is an approachable dog
Good first dog Good but best with experienced dog owner due to training issues
Good family pet Very good – it makes a great family dog with socialization
Good with children Good with socialization and is also better if raised with them
Good with other dogs Good with socialization, male with male can be a problem
Good with other pets Good with socialization - may try to chase them
Good with strangers Very good though some can be shy at first
Good apartment dog Yes due to size this is a great dog for apartment living but it still needs daily exercise outside
Handles alone time well No – it does not like to be left alone for long periods
Health issues Some concerns, especially with breathing and weight
Medical expenses $460 a year including pet insurance
Food expenses $140 a year including treats
Miscellaneous expenses $210 a year including toys, training and license
Average annual expense $810
Cost to purchase $2000
Biting Statistics None known

The French Bulldog's Beginnings .

The modern French Bulldog can have it's roots traced back to the dogs if an ancient Greek tribe called the Molossians. While they could be found in many places across the globe, it is the British Molossians that were developed into the Mastiff and from them the Bullenbeisser, a dog used in bull baiting.

In England Bulldogs were commonly used in this blood sport both as entertainment and because people then thought it tenderized the meat. In 1835 though blood sports were outlawed leaving the Bulldogs without a job or use. Some had been bred for reasons other than blood sports though and so with more careful breeding they became more of a companion breed.

To go with companion role some breeders crossed them with pugs and terrier. The Toy Bulldog was a popular dog in the mid 1800s. While this was happening lace workers who had nowhere else to go due to the Industrial Revolution, were settling in Normandy, France. With them came their pets and one of those was the miniature Bulldog.

These small Bulldogs were very well received in France and they liked them so much breeders in England would trade their unwanted small Bulldogs with them. Unwanted because perhaps they were too small or had some kind of fault. By 1860 France had far more small Bulldogs than England did. Over time they were perceived as separate to English Bulldogs and given the name Bouledogue Francais, French for French Bulldog.

While other dogs have been bred with it since it is not known exactly what was used though more Pug and Terrier is suspected due to its round eyes and long erect ears.

New Lease on Life

In 1885 Americans began to bring over French Bulldogs and set up their own breeding system. They were a society thing, most owners were society ladies in fact. In their first show they were judged by English Bulldog standards so the ladies set up a French Bulldog Club of America and created a standard suited to French Bulldogs only.

Into the early 1900s they remained popular for the wealthy. In 1905 the American Kennel Club recognized them as a separate breed and in 1906 it was the 5th most popular breed. Over the years its popularity waned dropping to 54th in 2003. But recently it has seen a big increase in interest once more and is currently in the 6th spot for most popular dog.

The Dog You See Today

The French Bulldog or the Frenchie as it is affectionately known is a muscular small to medium sized dog. It has a compact and powerful body and a short and smooth coat. That coat comes in colors such as fawn, white, tan or brindle.

The skin of the Frenchie should loose and soft which leads to wrinkles around the head and neck. That head should be squared and large, flat on top. Between the eyes it has a groove and it has a very short nose with wide nostrils.

Its under jaw should be wide, squared, and undershot. Eyes and ears should not be close together. Eyes should be dark and round. Ears should be wide at the base then elongate out and round off at the top. They should be high set and erect.

It should have broad shoulders, short and muscular forelegs and its body should narrow towards the rear. The hind legs should be longer than the front legs. They can have a screwed or straight short tail that has a thicker base and then narrows to a fine tip.

The Inner French Bulldog


While the Frenchie may look like it is in a permanent foul mood in fact it is quite a friendly, comical and happy dog. Some are more friendly than others and it tends to be a quiet dog, barking only rarely. It prefers to be close to its owners so it does not like to be left alone.

It is a calm dog and is a very good companion. It is affectionate and female Frenchies are especially protective and loving with children. It is patient and of average intelligence. Its protectiveness means it can be a very good watchdog.


Living with them does mean adjusting to their snuffling and snorting noises, their snoring and their gas. It is loving and enjoys being social. It can be very entertaining and loves to have fun. But it can be independent in its thinking sometimes.

Living with a French Bulldog

Training needs

The Frenchie is not an easy dog to train as it can be stubborn, is averagely intelligent and can be manipulative and sensitive. Training techniques need to be positive, treats are very motivating for it. But it will still take time, patience and consistency. Be firm and stay in control. Just avoid too many treats as it can become obese.

House training too will take time. Crate training may be a good idea and it can take up to six months. While a French Bulldog likes to please because it also has its own thoughts it does not always do what you want it to do. Vary your techniques if you find one is not successful. Keep sessions interesting and fun for it.

Early socialization is as important as obedience training. Early socialization will mean it gets on better with other animals, dogs, children and can cope with new situations a lot better.

How active is this dog?

This dog is just as happy in an apartment as it would be on a farm. It is adaptable and tends to have moments of laziness mixed in with spurts of energy where it will want to play. It will need a couple of walks a day but that should be done in cooler weather or at cool times of the day. Frenchies do not do well in heat and will need looking after in such situations. But they also do not do well in extreme cold as it only has a short single coat.

It cannot swim and great care should taken should you have a pool or pond in the yard. If it falls in the water it will drown due to its heavy head and build. While it does not need a yard if it is walked a couple of times a day, it is a place to play in when it wants to, if there is one.

Caring for the French Bulldog

Grooming needs

The short coat makes it easy to groom but it does shed an average amount so it may need brushing at least two to three times a week. Brushing will take care of the loose hair as well as helping to move the natural oils around its skin and coat. Give it a bath when it needs one, not on a schedule that is too frequent as it dries out its skin.

It does not wear down its nails naturally like some other dogs so they will require clipping. Dog nails are not like peoples and in fact have live vessels in them. This means should you cut incorrectly you can not just cause pain there can also be bleeding. Have a professional groomer do it if you do not know what to do. Also check its ears for infection and wipe them clean, and brush its teeth at least twice a week to try to prevent bad breath from a build up of tartar.

Another grooming need all Bulldogs have is to take care of its wrinkles. Wipe them clean and keep them dry on a daily basis to prevent infections. After a bath make sure inside the wrinkles are dried well.

Feeding time

How much a French Bulldog eats really depends on its size, activity level, health and metabolism. A guide would be between ¾ to 1½ cups of high quality dry dog food each day. This should be split into at least two meals. Measuring the food is important as it can be prone to over eating and therefore having weight problems.

How are French Bulldogs with other pets and children?

The French Bulldog can be good with children but early socialization helps and being raised with them does too. It is not a small and delicate dog and can handle toddlers though supervision is still a good idea just in case. Some female Frenchies are especially good with children.

Socialization is also key to it getting alone with other pets and other dogs. Some Frenchies will chase and hunt small rodent like animals though. And some male Frenchies do not get on well with other male dogs.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

The main health issue that is clear with a Frenchie is that because of the compacted airway it is not able to regulate its own body temperature. This means both extremes can be lethal to it and it needs protection. Water, shade, air conditioning on the hot days and sweaters on the cold ones. Other issues they have include Patellar Luxation, Allergies, IVDD, Hip Dysplasia, Cleft Palate, Von Willebrand's Disease, Brachycephalic syndrome and Elongated Soft Palate.

French Bulldogs are also known to need help with reproduction, needing artificial insemination and caesarean sections. Over three quarters of litters are made this way due to the slim hips they have making it hard for the females to be mounted and to give birth.

Biting Statistics


Over 34 years of dog attack reports show none specifically related to the French Bulldog. However there have been 20 attacks linked to the English Bulldog. We are mentioning that here just so it is understood that there is potential for aggression, as there really is in any dog. If it is not with the right family, having its needs met, being trained, socialized and loved, any dog can become aggressive.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

The French Bulldog is more expensive than many purebreds because of what is involved in breeding them. Prices have to cover the cost of insemination and caesarean sections. You can expect to see prices starting at $1500 going up to $3000. Cheaper than this can be found but you are looking at undesirable breeder who you should really avoid. You could opt to rescue a Frenchie for somewhere up to $200. This will also include some necessary medical needs too, but the dog will probably be older rather than a puppy.

Other initial costs will be for medical needs like shots, blood tests, getting it micro chipped, spayed or neutered. These will be about $270. You also need to think about some of the basic initial needs you will have in terms of items. A dog will need a collar and leash, about $30. A carrier bag for $60. A crate for $95.

As well as initial costs there are annual costs to be aware of. Medical costs for pet insurance, check ups with the vet once or twice a year just for routine exams, flea prevention and vaccinations are going to cost $235 a year at least. Then there is health insurance for it in case of a medical emergency. This or emergency savings should be at least $225 a year.

Food and treats are another annual cost. As a small to medium dog it will not be a huge amount, probably around $140 a year. But it is best to use good quality products and you can get some quite expensive and fancy treats for dogs should you want to splash out so that cost could easily go up quite quickly.

Other ongoing costs are training at a starting figure of $120 a year, a license at around $20 a year, toys for at least $30 a year and other miscellaneous items for $45 a year.

The starting figure for annual costs for a French Bulldog is $810.


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The French Bulldog is a small to medium companion dog that is generally laid back for most of time with some play and clownish moments. It will be entertaining and loving and protective. It is a very good watchdog and with socialization and training can get on with most families. Just be prepared for their independent thinking and stubborn side.

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