Family: mastiff (bulldog)
History of the French Bulldog Breed
The bulldog was a popular breed in 19th century England, particularly in Nottingham. But some of the dogs were rather small compared to the traditional English bulldog we know today – some of them weighed less than 25 pounds. It was this toy size bulldog that appeared in France when their English owners, known for their work with lace, went there to find work during the mid-1800s. French women were immediately drawn to the little bulldogs, particularly the ones which had erect ears (a common feature that was disliked by the English). Many more of the “clownish” dogs were brought to France by dealers, and Parisians named the dogs “bouledogue Francais.” It was the French breeders that tried to breed dogs that consistently featured the “bat” ears. This was a disappointment to English breeders. Some claim that people of all classes, from “streetwalkers” to the gay and artisan communities, were responsible for the popularity of this breed and the subsequent naming of “French Bulldog.” Others say that it was the upper class that made the dog so popular in France by the late 1800s. The background regarding the breeding of the French bulldog also differs. Some accounts credit the breed to a crossing of a miniature version of the English bulldog with a French terrier. Others say it was the crossing of a tiny Toy bulldog with an English bulldog that resulted in the French bulldog breed. Whatever its origins, the “Frenchie,” as it is lovingly referred to, became popular in the United States in the late 1800s. After the dog was brought back to England for exhibition, there was considerable controversy about the name “French bulldog” and the correct ear type for this breed, particularly since the bulldog is known as a traditional symbol of the culture of England. An American French bulldog club was formed, and it sponsored the most elegant dog show specifically for French bulldogs in 1898. This show drew the attention of wealthy dog fanciers, and soon the French bulldog became very popular in American. By 1913, this breed was one of the most sought after dogs in the United States. Although its popularity has waned since, many people are still ardent fans.
Size and Appearance of the French Bulldog Breed
The French bulldog is a muscular breed with heavy bones and a smooth coat. Compact and described as pear-shaped, the French bulldog has wide shoulders and a body that narrows as it moves down to the tail. The muscular front legs are set wide apart and are short and stout. The hind legs, also strong and muscular, are shorter than the front legs. The moderate-sized feet feature compact toes and short nails. The back feet are just slight larger than the front feet. The French bulldog has a large, square head with round, dark eyes that are set wide apart and low on the skull. The “bat” ears are carried erect and are set high on the head. The ears are broad at the base and rounded at the top, and they are fine and soft in texture. A broad muzzle features well-developed cheeks, a black nose, and a broad, square underjaw. The thick neck of the French bulldog is well-arched and features loose skin at the throat. Short and well-rounded, the body of this breed includes a broad chest. The tail can be straight or screwed, and it is carried low when the dog is at rest. Short and smooth, the coat is quite fine and comes in a variety of colors including brindle, fawn, and white, or brindle and white.
French Bulldog Temperament
Affectionate and well behaved, the French bulldog makes a delightful companion. It is known for its love of “clowning” and entertaining its family, but is it equally as happy to cuddle with its favorite human. This breed generally gets along well with strangers as well as other animals, but does tend to make a strong bond with one person in particular. Occasionally the male French bulldog might be aggressive with other dogs. This breed thrives on human companionship and is not a dog that should be ignored. A patient owner will be able to train this sometimes willful breed with consistent training. The French bulldog is better matched to a home with older children, as it will sometimes snap at a child that teases it. It is a clean breed, although some may drool or slobber. This dog does not tend to bark much and prefers the company of humans. It is also an effective mouse hunter.
French Bulldog Recommended Maintenance
The French bulldog’s coat is easy to maintain with regular brushing. However, it is important to clean the facial wrinkles on a regular basis. This breed is considered to be an average shedder. While this breed is full of fun and curiosity, it doesn’t require a great amount of exercise. Many have quite high energy levels and prefer to run and play for long periods of time. But the French bulldog does not do well in hot, humid weather, and overheating should be avoided in order to prevent heat stroke. Most dogs of this breed cannot swim. Appropriate exercise includes short walks on a leash. This breed does well in an apartment dwelling and does not need to have a yard. It is quite active indoors and should not live outside. The French bulldog has a short windpipe, which tends to cause breathing problems in hot weather, and it is sometimes difficult for the veterinarian to intubate the dog for surgery. The Frenchie may drool and tends to snore when asleep and wheeze when awake.
French Bulldog Health
Life span: 9 – 11 years