French Bulldog Breed Overview
The small and sociable French Bulldog may not be the most attractive dog breed, but it is undoubtedly one of the most popular. The dog with the trademark bat-ears and unique face is beloved not only for his looks but more so for his personality. The French Bulldog, or Frenchie, is a valued companion dog whose easygoing, laid back attitude makes him a family favourite. This intelligent dog breed is also low maintenance in terms of care. His smaller size means he is a dog that adapts to a wide variety of homes, from large houses to smaller condos and apartments.
Frenchies thrive on the bonds they create with their owners, so bringing this breed into your life means having a constant companion everywhere you go. Socialization is a necessity for the French Bulldog, but the result is as loyal a dog as anyone could ask for.
- They weigh up to 11 – 13 kg (12.5 dogs and 11.5 bitches)
- French bulldog lifespan – 10 – 13 Years
- Suitability for Children – High
- Tendency to Bark – Medium
- Energy – Medium
- Suitability as a Guard Dog – Low
- Grooming Requirements – Once a Week
- Amount of hair shed – Medium
- Food Cost – $10 to $15
- Average Monthly Pet insurance Premium – $97
Life Expectancy of French Bulldogs
As a small breed dog, the French Bulldog can live anywhere from 10 – 13 years; however, if properly cared for, Frenchies can live to upwards of 16 years. Overall, French Bulldogs are a generally healthy breed; however, as with any breed of dog, Frenchies are prone to some hereditary diseases and medical conditions.
The average price of a French Bulldog puppy in Australia is between $4000 – $4500 (2019)
Origins of French bulldog
The French Bulldog is a result of the vision of breeders in three different countries. In England, the old English bulldog provided the foundation of the modern Frenchie. Then, in France, bulldog breeders developed the smaller size, giving the breed a “French” type. Finally, American breeders created the standard that gave us the modern Frenchie complete with “bat ears.”
The English Bulldog was the ancestral type for the Frenchie and was bred roughly 200 years ago as a strong, athletic breed capable of being used for bull-baiting. In England, though, the breed was crossbred with terrier breeds for ratting and dog-fighting. Then came the lighter bulldog breeds that were popular with the labourers in the English midlands. The lace-makers were in particular fond of this smaller version of the dog.
After the Industrial Revolution, the lace-makers moved to northern France, and they brought their small bulldogs with them. The breed became popular in the country and became a staple in the lives of ordinary Parisians. By the 19th century, the French had developed a more uniform breed with a muscular, compact frame and straight legs but without the English bulldog under jaw.
Americans visiting Paris saw these little dogs, purchased them, and took them back across the Atlantic; because they preferred the bat ears to the traditional rose ears, the American Frenchie was bred for the pointed ears only. When a Westminster judge refused to judge the bat-ear dogs and instead looked only at the rose-ear dogs, the American owners were outraged. The result was the creation of the French Bull Dog Club of America, which created a breed standard that only accepted the bat ear.
Interest in purebred dogs declined after the American Great Depression of the 1930s, but some Frenchie breeders in both France and America kept the breed alive. Even so, by 1940, the French Bulldog was viewed as a rare breed. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the French Bulldog breed caught on with the public again. Today, the French Bulldog is one of the most popular breeds with thousands of dogs registered each year.
French Bulldog Temperament
The French Bulldog is extremely popular due to his cute looks, but more so, for his endearing personality and temperament. Frenchies are people-pleasers and fun-loving dogs. Their charisma and charm make them ideal family pets, especially for an owner looking for a personable dog who also enjoys cuddling in their lap. Because Frenchies are a relatively docile breed, they are easier to train than some other dogs. Their high intelligence capabilities mean they are capable of learning quickly, and they are not aggressive, although they can nip on occasion.
The Frenchie bonds closely with his owner; therefore, the breed is prone to separation anxiety if left alone for long periods. Although the French Bulldog is a confident dog, that does not mean he won’t experience stress if he is dependent on the presence of owners who are never there. This breed is better suited to a family environment when people are often home for hours rather than an owner who is usually gone. A Frenchie may resort to destructive behaviours if stressed and anxious, such as chewing and digging, and that can lead to damaged property and household items.
General Exercise and Care
As a small breed with potential brachycephalic health concerns, French Bulldogs do not require much exercise. Although some Frenchies might be rambunctious, most are low energy and only need daily exercise through short walks and backyard play. French Bulldogs are prone to heat exhaustion and should not be exercised or be outside in hot temperatures for more than a few moments. During warm months, it is best to walk your Frenchie when it is cooler, primarily in the early morning or late evening.
Although French Bulldogs are people-oriented and devoted to their owners, they can be stubborn and tend to have an independent streak. Positive, firm training is a must with this breed, and they are often open to learning a variety of techniques. Training classes are a perfect opportunity to learn to work with your dog, regardless of his age. Proper, thorough training will also make your Frenchie more comfortable around other people and dogs, and better equipped to encounter new places and things.
As part of a Frenchie’s health care, you should check your dog’s eyes, ears, and teeth for any changes or unpleasant odours. Ears should be checked regularly for any smells, dirt, or excess wax buildup. French Bulldogs do not naturally wear down their nails as they are not overly active dogs. As such, they need to have their nails trimmed often to prevent painful tearing and splitting.
Coat and Grooming
The French Bulldog’s coat is short, shiny, smooth, and flat against the body. The soft-textured skin tends to be wrinkled around the head and shoulders. This breed can come in a variety of coat colours, including cream, fawn, and shades of brindle that may have streaks of dark and light markings and specks.
Frenchies are average shedding dogs, but their coat characteristics mean that they are low maintenance in this department. It is easy to groom them and brushing once a week is generally more than enough to keep their coats shiny and healthy. It is best to begin grooming your Frenchie as early as possible, so he becomes accustomed to the process. Because this breed is susceptible to allergies, grooming once a week is a great way to check for any rashes, lesions, dry skin or hot spots on your dog.
When you bathe your French Bulldog, be sure to carefully and thoroughly dry the wrinkled skin between the folds. This action will help prevent bacterial infections that can grow in warm, moist locations. Make sure to dry the facial wrinkles as well.
Children and Other Pets
The French Bulldog makes an excellent pet for families with children of any age. Because of his small size, the Frenchie is a good, friendly pet to have around toddlers and young children. Generally, this breed gets along very well with kids; however, never leave a child unsupervised with a dog to prevent accidents and misunderstandings. The French Bulldog can live comfortably with cats or other dogs as long as they have been socialised to do so from a young age. If any older Frenchie is possessive of his owner, he may be jealous toward other animals in the home.
Common French bulldog Conditions and Diseases
French Bulldogs can be susceptible to certain illnesses and diseases, and prospective owners should be aware of these possible conditions. Because this is a “short-faced” breed, it is essential to have a good veterinarian with experience treating Frenchies and the diseases they may develop. Should you purchase your French Bulldog from a breeder, do some research to verify that the breeder is reputable and trustworthy. Good breeders will have health clearances and documentation from both of the puppy’s parents to prove they have been tested for genetic diseases.
Here are some common medical conditions that afflict French Bulldogs:
Brachycephalic Syndrome is a condition found in short-faced breeds; these dogs often have short heads, soft or elongated palates, and narrowed nostrils. Frenchies are short-faced breeds, which means their airways are obstructed to some degree. This condition can result in mild to labored breathing to a complete collapse of the airway. It is common for a Frenchie with this condition to snort and snuffle. Treatment ranges from oxygen therapy to surgical procedures to shorten the palate or widen the nostrils.
Hemivertebrae is a condition wherein one or more vertebrae are malformed, causing the vertebrae to become misshapen in a triangular or wedge shape. This deformity can occur on its own but can be part of a series of vertebral malformations as well. This medical condition can either cause no harm to a Frenchie, or it can put pressure on the spinal cord, leading to weakness, pain, and possibly paralysis. No treatment exists for hemivertebrae unless spinal cord pressure is occurring; then, surgery may be an option.
Allergies are often a problem for some French Bulldogs. Most allergies are the result of an inflammatory reaction to food, environment, or are caused by genetic predispositions to a particular allergen. If your Frenchie is frequently or excessively scratching, itching, or biting at his face, ears, neck, legs, paws, sides, hind end, or stomach, he may be suffering from allergies. Talk to your veterinarian who can diagnose the allergy, potentially determine its cause, and advise appropriate measures to manage allergic reactions. In most cases, allergies can be reduced or eliminated with medications or a new diet.
Patellar luxation is when the kneecap is dislocated, a common injury in small dogs like the French Bulldog. Also called “slipped stifles,” patellar luxation happens when the kneecap (patella) is not lined up with the joint socket, and slips in and out of it. This action causes significant pain, and the condition typically occurs in the back legs. Because it is a congenital disease, patellar luxation is present from a dog’s birth; however, the actual injury does not occur until later in life. This disease can also lead to other debilitating medical conditions, such as arthritis, from the rubbing caused by the kneecap slipping in and out of the joint. Pain management and physical therapy can help a Frenchie with patellar luxation live a reasonably normal life, although in severe cases, surgery may be required so the dog can walk without severe pain. Likely, dogs with this disease will always be lame or have a limp.
Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) is a medical situation wherein a disc in the spine herniates or ruptures and pushes up into the spinal cord. When that action happens, nerve transmissions are prevented from moving along the spinal cord, resulting in pain, weakness, and temporary or permanent paralysis. IVDD can be caused by a variety of factors, including age, trauma, or simply a French Bulldog stepping or jumping the wrong way. Treatment depends on several conditions. Generally, dogs with IVDD may be candidates for surgery, but only if the procedure is done within a day of the injury occurring. Physical rehabilitation is also a possibility, and a veterinarian can give you an accurate assessment if rehab would be beneficial for your Frenchie. In particular, water treadmills, swimming, electrical stimulation, and massage are excellent rehab options for dogs.
Elongated Soft Palate and Cleft Palate are conditions that are common in the French Bulldog breed. Because of their physiology, Frenchies are prone to developing an elongated soft palate, which is the extension of the roof of the mouth and separates the oral and nasal cavities. This condition can cause serious issues, including causing difficulty in breathing and obstructing the airways. An elongated soft palate can be corrected through surgical removal of the excess part of the palate.
Another palate condition that affects French Bulldogs is a cleft palate, wherein a unilateral or bilateral slit that ranges in size from a small hole to a large break. Frenchies can be born with this deformity, or it can occur due to injury later in life. A cleft palate impacts both the soft and hard palates, and if it affects them at the same time, it may cause a cleft lip. The only treatment for a cleft palate is surgery to repair and close the hole. Not all dogs require this surgery, and some can live a normal life without it. Cleft palates are common, especially in small dog breeds, but most puppies born with this condition either do not survive much past birth or are euthanized by the breeder.
Frenchies do not bark much, but instead “talk” by making a series of noises like yips, yawns, and gargles.
French Bulldogs are not able to swim due to their compact body and bulbous head.
Many airlines have banned Frenchies from flying because many suffer and die due to their brachycephalic faces and their inability to tolerate warm temperatures.
- A French bulldog was in the part of the famous crew that sank on the Titanic.
- They were favourite dogs by King Edward VII
Because it is difficult for this breed to copulate due to its body structure, most French Bulldogs are born through artificial insemination.