Other names: Frenchie
The French Bulldog is a small-statured, bold and loyal watchdog who is very attached to his social group. His devotion to his group can even sometimes make him a little possessive. A very pleasant pet, he isn’t sporty but very much enjoys playing with both the young and elderly, as long as it doesn’t tire him out too much. From the Brachycephalic race, his flat snout doesn’t allow him enough breathing capacity to endure the intensity of some activities. This dog will particularly appreciate owners who are able to be present frequently, as the breed hates nothing more than being alone. He suits a number of profiles and can adapt to a multitude of situations
Key facts about the French Bulldog
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Origins and history
The history of this pet is rather mysterious. The French claim that he is a dog native to their country, but the English maintain that he descends from the Bulldog. It is likely that he was influenced by the latter, but nonetheless, it is undeniable that the selection and popularity of this breed began in France.
At the beginning, the Bulldog had two uses: as a rat hunter and guard dog. No wonder he was so popular among butchers and wine sellers, whose stables and wine houses he kept.
However, thanks to his lovely and intelligent personality, he quickly left the stables! At the beginning of the 20th century, you could find him in the houses of nobles, the rich and even in the royal courts, but also in poor areas, where he protected prostitutes and naughty boys.
Today, the French Bulldog is very popular in the United Kingdom
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 9 - Companion and Toy Dogs
Section 11 : Small Molossian type Dogs
Physical characteristics of the French Bulldog
Female : Between 9 and 13 in
Male : Between 11 and 14 in
Female : Between 18 and 29 lb
Male : Between 20 and 31 lb
His coat can be a variety of colours:
- Fawn (all shades are possible, from red to beige and lighter to darker)
- Brindle (fawn with stripe-like markings)
- Pied (brindle coat with strong or more subtle white patches)
- Fawn pied (fawn coat with strong or more subtle white patches)
French Bulldogs that are predominantly white are bred, but not so sought after due to their association with deafness. A black mask is particularly desired. However, blue French Bulldogs are not recognised.
Type of coat
This dog’s hair is short.
The hair is dense, shiny and soft. This pet does not have an undercoat.
His eyes are always dark, regardless of the colour of the coat.
Despite his small size, the French Bulldog is powerful. His frame is solid and his body muscular. Everything about him is short and stocky, his brevilineal look making him appear compact. His square head, pointy ears and flat muzzle make him look grumpy at times, which contrasts with his sweet personality.
Good to know
The writer Colette once laughed “I have four dog and a bulldog”, and for good reason, lovers of this little pup agree that he is far from being just a dog: he is without a doubt a mixture of dog, human and cat.
As a result, the attitudes of this dog are often disarming, especially when he sits on the sofa, sat on his bottom with his four paws close together.
Additionally, note that this Brachycephalic dog is a very loud snorer and his heavy breathing can be somewhat disturbing for some people. It is a quality that can often make you smile, but it’s only a consequence of an ever more choosy selection process of this poor dog.
Very attached to his social group, this small dog can be just as needy as he is discrete. Despite this ambivalence, he remains a very pleasant companion that loves being the centre of attention, whether to entertain his onlookers or to be cuddled.
His overflowing affection can drive him to be somewhat possessive towards his owner.
As an active and happy pup, the French Bulldog loves to play and as a result, can be very helpful in lightening the mood. He loves playing with children, but parental supervision will be necessary to initiate the beginning and end of the game especially. This little dog won’t always know when to stop - exhaustion is usually his only reason!
Naturally both joyful and peaceful, this pet can wear both hats. Which way he leans will mostly depend on his training, temperament and lineage.
In any case, whether he’s with children or seniors, he will be able to adapt to exert the appropriate level of energy.
This pup is indeed smart, but he is often not recognised for it. Often thought of as a simple pet that merely snores and sleeps on the sofa, his abilities are often forgotten about.
The French Bulldog will demonstrate his abilities if his owner takes the time to provide him with adapted training sessions and if he is rewarded for his good behaviour.
Far from being a hunter, the predator instinct is barely present in the French Bulldog. Around other species, he will sometimes by playful, other times ignorant.
Fearful / wary of strangers
The French Bulldog is not at all shy or aggressive towards strangers. He will happily greet guests or anyone else that offers him attention.
That said, as a rather possessive pet, he will always prioritise contact with his owner if he is present.
This dog can be very clingy with members of his social group. However, it is not uncommon for him to take more distance, particularly if it’s to lie down on the bed or sofa.
You might think this makes for a certain independence, but on the contrary: the French Bulldog may leave his owner’s side, but he will always choose a resting spot that smells strongly of him or her.
Behaviour of the French Bulldog
His sensitivity and attachment to his owner makes him a dog that does not allow for much solitude. To thrive, he has to be in company, so he shouldn’t be left alone for long days.
Easy to train / obedience
The French Bulldog’s stubbornness is a trait that his owners can find disconcerting. However, a patient, firm and coherent approach will manage to convince this hard-headed pup to cooperate.
Training should start early, and he must learn the basics quickly to allow him to properly integrate into his social group and society overall.
Despite what it may seem, the French Bulldog has a sensitive personality, with aggressive and coercive approaches only damaging his relationship with his owner.
The approach to training this dog will have to be softened so as not to harm him, both physically and emotionally. Fun training environments should be fostered, with games and/or treats given as rewards.
For this pet, the expression to use “an iron fist a velvet glove” could not be more appropriate.
Finally, his training shouldn’t be neglected on the pretext that he is a small dog. Regardless of the size of the dog we adopt, proper training is always necessary.
These little dogs are famous for "singing", and indeed, they do have an unusual way of conveying their excitement, discontent and impatience.
However, this little Bulldog never barks for no reason; if he barks, it is advisable to try to pinpoint the cause to solve the issue.
Tendency to run away
Far too attached to his social group and his comfort in particular, this pet would never think to run away, thanks to his unwavering loyalty to his owners.
Especially when he is a puppy, the French Bulldog can prove destructive if he’s teething, wanting attention or simply looking for something to do.
It’s a good idea to provide him with chew toys and not to give in to his constant demands for attention, instead engaging him in regular activities so that destruction is merely a passing phase and not a habit.
Greedy / Gluttony
Gluttony is arguably the biggest fault of this dog. He would willingly hand over an arm and a leg for a little piece of ham!
Joking aside, you need to be vigilant regarding this aspect of his character, as many French Bulldogs suffer from obesity as a result of this vice.
Not overly intimidating appearance-wise despite his muscular physique, this little pup can nevertheless serve as a good alert dog. However, keep your wits about you, as his protectiveness can be easily softened with a little treat or stroke.
The qualities and size of this dog make him the perfect pet for first-time owners. He is also suited to a number of different profiles, easily adapting to one person for example (but beware of his possessiveness), a family with kids or a retired couple.
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French Bulldog in a flat
Life in a flat suits this little dog perfectly. Mostly calm in nature, especially during adulthood, he doesn’t need intense exercise and knows how to keep himself entertained in a small indoor space.
A house with a garden would also suit him, but make sure you don’t leave him outside in the intense heat or cold. His flat nose and lack of undercoat don’t make for much resistance.
Moreover, as a very poor swimmer with a tendency to sink, the presence of water in his environment could represent a danger.
Need for exercise / Sporty
This Brachycephalic (flat-nosed) breed is not built to engage in intense physical exercise, but this stocky dog nonetheless needs daily outings to remain content.
His strong muscles and skeleton need to be kept in shape and moderate exercise is necessary, since this dog can quickly put on weight if he isn’t active enough.
Travelling / easy to transport
The French Bulldog’s small stature has the potential to make traveling with him relatively easy. However, this isn’t always the case. This Brachycephalic dog’s flat snout means that he can have difficulty breathing, so he won’t be at ease in confined and poorly-aerated areas, which classic means of transport often are (car, train, plane).
French Bulldog and cats
If he is exposed to cats from a young age, the French Bulldog can live with a feline problem-free. He will be playful as a puppy, and more distant - even ignorant - as an adult.
French Bulldog and dogs
While this dog is very sociable around humans, he isn’t that welcoming towards his canine counterparts. His strong attachment to his social group can result in a very exclusive attitude, which makes sharing difficult for him.
To encourage a successful cohabitation, it will be necessary to have the dogs grow up together and establish an early socialisation process.
Be aware that uncastrated males will not tolerate the presence of other dogs of the same sex. With a combative and bold nature, the French Bulldog will have no qualms in starting a fight.
French Bulldog and children
This little muscular dog loves children. He loves to entertain his onlookers and will very much appreciate the attention that little kids will pay him.
That said, it’s still important to be vigilant: children will need to respect the dog in order to avoid any conflict.
It may also be necessary to intervene to bring the playing to a halt, as this enthusiastic pup can quickly get a bit too excited.
French Bulldog and the elderly
Since he doesn’t require much exercise or intense physical activity, this dog is very well suited to less active owners.
His adversity to solitude is also more compatible with owners that spend a lot of time in the house than those who are more active.
The price of a French Bulldog varies depending on its origins, age and sex. You should budget around £3,500 to £4,500 for a Bulldog registered with the KC.
A rough budget between £20 and £30 a month should be accounted for to meet the French Bulldog’s needs and provide him with a good quality diet.
The maintenance of the French Bulldog is very small, but should still be regular. A brush a week will be enough to keep his short coat nice and shiny.
You will also need to regularly pay attention to his ears and eyes, as well as his wrinkles and folds.
A little tip: once his folds are clean and dry, it is a good idea to apply some vaseline to protect his skin. The same is true for his nose, which can be prone to cracking.
This pet’s hair loss is moderate but consistent. In Spring and Autumn, moulting intensifies, meaning that a daily brush is necessary to get rid of the excess fur.
Nutrition of the French Bulldog
Whether his food is homemade, raw or shop-bought, it is necessary to choose a diet that will allow the French Bulldog to maintain his weight and health.
To make sure this little dog doesn’t put on too much weight, it is advised to feed him once a day while he is alone, at a fixed time and place, preferably during the evening, to allow for a healthy digestion at night.
Under no circumstances should he be allowed to eat as he pleases or between meal times, and it is important not to give into his (often persistent) begging at the dinner table.
Health of the French Bulldog
The lifespan of the French Bulldog is around 10 years.
Strong / robust
This dog has several weak points that limit his overall strength: his flat nose puts him at risk of breathing problems, his spine is compressed and his lack of undercoat makes him vulnerable to adverse weather conditions, to name just a few of his weaker points.
Brachycephalic breeds suffer in the heat and overheating can too often prove fatal.
Dogs with flat noses should never be left in confined or poorly-aerated spaces, even if it is not extremely hot.
For example, in the car, a few rays of sunlight are enough to turn a car into an oven, especially for dogs that aren’t able to effectively regulate their core temperature.
This stocky dog’s lack of undercoat and short hair only provides him with a very small amount of protection against the cold and humidity. You should therefore never leave a Bulldog to sleep outside.
Tendency to put on weight
As a very greedy and relatively unsporty dog, it is important to remain vigilant and consistent when it comes to his daily rations. It is important to provide him with a diet that is adapted to his physical state.
Moreover, with the exception of training sessions, treats should be given sparingly and deviations between meals should not be allowed.
- Demodicosis (skin disease)
- Herniated disc (disease of the intervertebral discs)
- Canine herpes virus (contagious disease due to the presence of the herpes virus: CHV)
- Dislocation of the nictitating gland (Harder gland)
- Dislocation of the kneecaps (generally congenital disease)
- Elongation of the soft palate
Frequently asked questions
Are French Bulldogs good pets?
French Bulldogs can make good pets for owners who are looking for a bit of a clown at home. They don’t need much exercise and could do well in an apartment. However, Frenchies are stubborn and will only listen to you on occasion. They also suffer from a lot of health issues, typically related to their brachycephalic skulls.
Find out how to train a stubborn dog.
Why shouldn’t you get a French Bulldog?
French Bulldogs have become very popular in recent years, but many vets have spoken out about the many health issues the dogs suffer from. Because of their flat faces, Frenchies struggle to breathe meaning every day life is harder for them. They are particularly prone to heatstroke and run out of breath very quickly when exercising. They tend to snore, cough, snort, wheeze, and fart a lot due to their unusual intake of air. Because they are so top heavy, and have such big heads, they have spinal issues, can’t swim, and can’t give birth naturally. The more people purchase this breed, the more breeders will continue to produce puppies with a host of health issues. If you’re set on getting a French Bulldog, official advice is to look for one who needs rehoming.
Find out more about brachycephalic breeds.
How much should I pay for a French Bulldog?
Pre-pandemic, you could get a French Bulldog puppy for £2,000 - £2,500. However, the pandemic has sent the demand for puppies soaring, and it’s thought that there has been almost a 100% increase in the price of French Bulldogs in the past year. That means you could pay upwards of £4,500 for a well-bred French Bulldog pup today!
Is it normal for French Bulldogs to snore?
French Bulldogs are brachycephalic, meaning they have squished faces. This affects their airways and they often have trouble breathing. Their breathing often sounds laboured, even when they sleep - hence the snoring. Snoring is essentially normal for this breed, though some Frenchies snore more than others.
Find out more about why your Frenchie is making weird noises.