In Dog Breed Corner this month is the French Bulldog! Check out the Frenchie’s stats, personality, trainability, health, grooming, and more. Should your Frenchie need a Pet Sitter in Brisbane, Perth, or anywhere in between, Mad Paws is the platform for you!
French Bulldog Breed History ♜
If you were to place a French Bulldog alongside a wolf, you would probably ask yourself, “How in the world did humans do that?” Indeed, the French Bulldog is one of the breeds that showcases the extreme of human dog breeding. They’re short, barrel-chested, brachycephalic (flat snouted), bat- eared, and virtually tailless – how did we get this cute little doggo from their canine ancestors?
To answer that question, we have to go way back to a dog breed that is now extinct: the Alaunt. These ancient dogs were from central Asia and existed until around the 17th century. It’s widely believed that the Alaut breed gave rise to both Mastiffs and Bulldogs, which share similarly short snouts.
Sadly, during this time, breeders in England were interested in the brachycephalic snouts because they gave dogs an advantage in dog and bull fights. Dogs with this bone structure are able to chomp down and hold on while still maintaining normal breathing.
At the turn of the 19th century, most people were on the side of banning bull baiting and bear baiting. By 1835, both sports were officially banned by Parliament. And, as a result, some Bulldogs were bred smaller to continue dog fighting while others went out of fashion altogether.
The Frenchie didn’t really fall in either category. Instead, they were miniaturised and bred exclusively for companionship. This new breed, called the Toy Bulldog, was popular in the city of Nottingham where they were owned mainly by lace makers.
With the rise of the Industrial Revolution, the lace makers sought better lives in France. Here, the breed may have been crossed with Pugs and Terriers to create a new Bulldog with a few notable changes. First the ears – Frenchies began to sport erect blunted ears or bat ears instead of the Bulldog’s floppier rose ears. And, instead of the Bulldog’s characteristic underbite, the Frenchie would have a more even facial structure. Overall, the Frenchie became a more petit, sleek dog that could accompany any fashionable French family.
In France, this new breed was called the Bouledogue Francais, but the name didn’t stick. Indeed, English breeders refused to recognise the dog as French at all, preferring instead to call it by its English translation.
Pretty soon, everyone wanted their hands on this compact little fashion statement. Within 50 years, they had spread across Europe and made their way to the United States. And it’s believed that Frenchies have been in Australia since the 1940s when they were brought over by the English.
Today, the French Bulldog is an incredibly popular small dog breed. You can find them clustered especially in cities, where their size is perfect for small space living.
French Bulldogs are playful, intelligent and affectionate. They have a sense of humour that is unique to the breed, and Owners will attest to their quirky personalities.
Perhaps the strongest personality trait of the French Bulldog is its desire to be around humans. As a companion animal, this dog will not be happy to be left alone. Although they’re not as destructive as some other social breeds, you can definitely see a drop in mood when a Frenchie isn’t getting enough love and attention.
If you do work outside of the home and want to make sure your French Bulldog gets plenty of attention, you might consider hiring a loving Dog Sitter.
Luckily, the Frenchie is the perfect traveling companion. With regular exercise and socialisation, these dogs are calm and quiet in most settings. They are well suited to keep you company for long hours at your desk, and they’re the perfect shop dog to welcome visitors.
French Bulldogs are friendly and curious, making them adaptable to households with dogs and other animals. They don’t tend to be aggressive or dominant, although you might see a bit of an independent streak in them. Males may also become a bit grouchy with other males, so it’s important to socialise them at a young age.
Other than that, they’re a joy to have around. The French Bulldog was bred to fit right into any household, large or small, loud or quiet.
French Bulldog Trainability & Training Tips ★
Although they’re small, the French Bulldog is a sturdy, sometimes stubborn dog. That can make training a bit of a challenge, especially for first-time dog owners.
While the Frenchie has come a long way from its Bulldog roots, you’ll still find that this dog will not easily let go of toys or territory. And they’re much stronger than they look. This is especially obvious during leash training, for instance. Try pulling and yanking that leash all you want, but that sturdy little dog will hold their ground admirably.
So, what’s the best way to train a French Bulldog? With positive reinforcement training. Convince your Frenchie that good behaviour results in treats and love and praise and they will be much more willing to play along.
It can be helpful, also, to provide strong leadership as a Frenchie Owner. This little pup will look to your for instructions on how to interact with other humans and animals, and they can become anxious when their Owners show hesitation. But again, that doesn’t mean that you should butt heads with your Frenchie. They are, at the core, a dog that was bred to fight bears. You won’t win a battle of wills with a French Bulldog.
Exercise Needs of the French Bulldog
Frenchies are small dogs who can’t exercise for long periods of time. If you’re looking for a running, swimming or trekking companion, a French Bulldog will not keep up.
In fact, because of the Frenchie’s large head and short legs, these are one of the only dog breeds that can’t swim.
That said, they do need daily fresh air and mental stimulation. If you’re looking for a dog that will happily accompany you for a daily stroll, well, then this is the breed for you. Learn more about the best walking practices by reading our article on choosing the best time of day for dog walks.
Frenchies also love a good romp around at the dog park. They love to play with small dogs, and they’re muscular enough not to stay afoot around the big ones. It’s a joy to watch a French Bulldog making friends with dogs of all shapes and sizes.
One thing to remember – and we’ll cover this more in health – is that too much exercise can be dangerous for some brachycephalic breeds. If you see your French Bulldog panting excessively, give them a chance to rest in the shade and cool off.
French Bulldogs can entertain themselves pretty well indoors and so are a good breed for apartment living. Again, their biggest concern is spending time with their beloved humans, so any living environment with people is good enough for your Frenchie.
There are also temperature considerations, too. Frenchies aren’t able to pant efficiently like their long snout relatives, so they don’t do well in excessive heat. During the hot days of summer, you might help your Frenchie out by filling up an inflatable backyard pool with a few centimetres of cold water – just enough for them to splash around.
With that short coat, they also need special clothing in extreme cold.
French Bulldog Health +
If there’s one thing that can threaten a breed’s good health, it’s popularity. And the Frenchies fashionability for the last 150 years has made it prone to some unfortunate genetic issues.
The first we should mention is Brachycephalic Syndrome. This is a respiratory issue having to do with the Frenchie’s altered breathing system. Some dogs with this disease experience laboured breathing, while others may have to undergo surgery as the result of collapsed airways.
Oh, by the way, remember when we said that Frenchies are great travel companions? We meant that in terms of land travel. If you’re looking for a dog that you can easily board on a plan and travel the world, a French Bulldog isn’t the dog for you. These dogs need to stay land-born because of their respiratory issues. In fact, many airlines will hesitate to board the breed at all.
Of course, frequent air travel doesn’t mean that you can’t have a French Bulldog. You just might need to hire a trusted Pet Sitter to take care of your pup while you’re away.
Another health risk having to do with the French Bulldog’s unique breeding process has to do with their bone structure. Hip dysplasia is generally something that we think about with large breeds, but it’s frequently found in Frenchies as well. They may also experience Patellar Luxation, Hemivertebrae, Intervertebral Disc Disease, or issues with the Palate. These are all genetic issues having to do with normal development of bones and cartilage.
Allergies are also common in the breed. Many experience food-based allergies while some may also be excessively sensitive to topical stimuli like shampoos or beddings. Airborne allergies are also quite prevalent with French Bulldogs.
With a breed as popular as the French Bulldog, finding the right breeder is absolutely key. All Frenchies should be screened for genetic disorders so that your puppy is healthy and strong.
Coat Info & Grooming ✄
French Bulldogs come in a wide range of colour options. Solid black, piebald or black with white chest markings, for example, are very common. Then, there are brindle Frenchies, which are the most prevalent coat colour in the breed. Fawn Frenchies are also popular, featuring a tan body with dark face mask and ears. Some breeders offer less common colours such as white or pale, liver, or blue.
Some kennel clubs are pretty strict about what constitutes a true French Bulldog, but to us, all of the colour combinations are just as lovable and cute. If anything, keep in mind that white or pale Frenchies may be at higher risk for deafness and UV sensitivity.
French Bulldogs come in a variety of colours, but they all have the same coat: a short, single layer of fur that is easy to maintain and includes minimal shedding. The good news is you won’t need to worry about trimming or stripping.
On the other hand, you’ll find that finding a good hygiene routine may take some time with Frenchies. Because they are so prone to allergies, you’ll want to use dog shampoos and other products that are specially designed for sensitive skin. And if you do want to brush your Frenchie, use a soft bristled brush.
In general, a simple wipe down with a wet cloth is enough to keep your French Bulldog fresh and clean. You’ll also want to invest in doggie ear wipes to lower the risk of ear infections
Fun Fact about the French Bulldog ♥
There are plenty of celebrity Frenchies, but one of our favourites? Hugh Jackman’s cream French Bulldog, Dali. Jackman loves his Frenchie so much that he has confessed to needing Skype time with this little guy when he’s away for work.
Other celebrities with Frenchies include Reese Witherspoon, who has a blue Frenchie named Pepper, and Lady Gaga, who has not one but four!
Final Thoughts on the French Bulldog
As popular as these doggos are with celebrities, the Frenchie isn’t just a trend. People love French Bulldogs because, well, they’re so lovable! Friendly, cuddly, low maintenance, and quiet, this is the perfect dog for just about any lifestyle and living space.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that having a French Bulldog comes with zero responsibility. These puppers require socialisation and training, which can be a bit difficult for first time Dog Owners due to their stubbornness. These dogs also come with an array of health risks that need to be addressed throughout their lifetime.
If you’re willing to put in the effort and money to make your Frenchie healthy and happy, you’ll have a dog that gets along with everyone and has eyes just for you. They are little bundles of happiness that you will adore.