The French Bulldog, also known as the Frenchie, is the 6th most popular dog in America according to the American Kennel Club. This loveable little dog may be small in stature but large in personality. With their distinct “bat-like” ears, wrinkly squished in face, and roach-like skull they are rather distinctive in appearance. Our French Bulldog breed profile will allow you to get to know the breed in order to find out if one is right for your family.
There's a good chance that there isn't a breeder in your local area, so you may need to work with rescue organizations or do some traveling to find your new family member. Don't let this discourage you. As you'll learn in this French Bulldog breed profile, these dogs are worth the effort!
Known as one of the best companion dogs, these smart and easy-going canines are sure to make you smile. Thanks to his short coat, the French Bulldog doesn't require a lot of grooming, and they are easy to train.
Perhaps the most important thing you'll take away from this French Bulldog breed profile is that human contact is a must for this breed. Be sure you have adequate time to spend with one before adopting. They love to be held and snuggled, and most Frenchies won't pass up a chance to lounge in your lap while you watch television.
One of the best things about Frenchies is their small stature. This makes them ideal for dog owners living in smaller homes, such as apartments, and they are also great travel companions. Although they are full of energy, you won't need a lot of space to entertain your French Bulldog. Unlike large breeds, you can play a game of tug with these dogs in the comfort of your living room. This French Bulldog breed profile will give you all the information you need to take proper care of your Frenchie.
French Bulldog Breed Profile
Main Characteristics of French Bulldogs
For many people who want a loving lap dog, they have turned to the French Bulldog. The breed's easy going nature and willingness to please have become a fast favorite amongst city dwellers, elderly and even young families with little children at home.
French Bulldogs are small sized dogs and are also in the medium energy range.
They enjoy short walks and lots of hours of lounging on the couch. Frenchies will also spend lots of time in the house running and playing with you on the floor. These proud and stubborn little dogs will rarely bark for no reason, yet they’ll let you know when someone is at your house and are willing to defend their family with their lives if necessary.
Size of French Bulldogs
Every French Bulldog breed profile must touch on the size of these dogs. Frenchies are known as small dogs, since they measure from 11-12 inches high at the shoulder. Most will weigh between 16-29 pounds. Although small, these dogs have a powerful, muscular body. Like all breeds, the female dog is usually smaller than the males.
Lifespan of Frenchies
Most French Bulldogs will be your best friend and companion for about 11-13 years. Of course, the way you treat your dog will have a large impact on the length of their life. Keeping your dog healthy, well exercised and trim will add years to their life, and help to keep them out of the Vets.
There are many things that can affect their life expectancy; stress, loss of a beloved member of the family, and even abandonment can shorten their lifespan by years. Make sure to keep your dog happy in order for him to remain by your side for as long as possible.
Physical Characteristics of French Bulldogs
French Bulldogs are most distinctive for their “bat-like” ears. And like their ancestors, the English Bulldog, they also have a wrinkly face. You’ll find a broad muzzle and black nose squished amongst these adorable wrinkles. Their eyes are low-set, small and dark and are placed just above their muzzle.
French Bulldogs give off many expressive looks from their eyes, usually expressions of alertness, curiosity, and interest.
Their bodies are well proportioned with strong necks, full muscled chests and small stocky legs. Frenchies are heavy boned and are considered sturdy for their small size. They have short but thick tails.
This French Bulldog breed profile will also discuss their smooth, sleek, and soft coat. Frenchies come in many different colors and color combinations. There are 9 standard colors that are recognized by the American Kennel Club. Some of these colors include; black, brindle, fawn, and white.
Living Arrangements for Frenchies
French Bulldogs are adaptable to any living condition, but they must be indoor dogs. They are not meant to be left outside for long periods of time, and especially not when it’s hot outside. They need to be indoors and preferably in an air-conditioned room due to their breathing issues in the heat.
If you only have a small space to live in but you want a dog for a companion, a French Bulldog is a perfect option. They can be satisfied with just a couple short walks and some play inside the house. Find a nice hallway and throw a ball for your dog. This small amount of exercise is adequate for a French Bulldog, and they’ll love the game.
If you’re a stay at home mom or work from home, French Bulldogs are great. They’ll be content to follow you around the house and when you pick a room to work in, they’ll be content to lounge and sleep by your feet. One thing to take away from this French Bulldog breed profile is that they love to be close to their people.
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If you live in an apartment or condo complex with a Frenchie, your neighbors may not even know that you have a dog. They rarely bark and usually only bark when someone comes into their home. Being light weight, quiet and loving to socialize, your neighbors will probably love your little Frenchie as much as you do.
No matter what stage you are in in your life, you can bring a French Bulldog into your home. Being single, having a young family, mid-life or even retired you can bring a French Bulldog into your family, as long as you will be home often enough to give him the attention that he requires.
What Else You Need to Know About French Bulldogs
French Bulldogs have a lot of great characteristics that make them a well-rounded breed. However, we couldn't write this French Bulldog breed profile without mentioning some of their quirks as well. If you don't deal with these quirks properly while training, you could end up with a feisty Frenchie that gives you a run for your money.
Most French Bulldogs are playful, smart, active, intelligent, and adaptable. But, they are known to have a stubborn streak. If they get something into their minds, they will dig in their heels and stick to their guns, unless you can entice them otherwise. This can usually be done easily with some type of food or a dog treat.
Being highly food motivated is a characteristic of many breeds, and it isn't a bad thing. Although it may encourage your Fido to sniff at the garbage or steal food when they can find it, it can also be a huge advantage while training. French Bulldogs respond very well to treat training, and once you get them trained, start to ween them off and work on affection training instead.
The social nature of this breed can also cause some trouble if they aren't properly trained. Like most family dogs, the French Bulldog wants to be around people. As long as they are properly socialized when they are a puppy they will enjoy being around other humans, pets and small children. Just be sure that your Frenchie learns that he can't tag along with everyone that walks by your home or jump on small children who may come for a visit.
Best-known French Bulldog Facts
French Bulldogs are meant to be indoor lap dogs. With their short snouts, they can have breathing issues so they do best when kept calm and in cool (not cold) conditions. DO NOT leave your dog in a car or outside in hot weather for any length of time. The heat may suffocate any dog, but it could happen much quicker with a French Bulldog.
Unfortunately, with their cute little-squished in face, it can cause some breathing issues. This is the main reason why Frenchies are so susceptible to the heat. This squishy face leads to other quirks as well, like excess drooling, snoring and even snorting. It could also lead to excessively flatulence, which will be worse at times. Proper food and keeping down the amount of “junk” or treats will help their digestive system.
These small, muscled dogs were once fully employed in keeping their owner's houses rat free. They would be sent out in cellars and surrounding fields to sniff out the rats and to kill them. Which kept the food supplies safe.
French Bulldog History
What would a French Bulldog breed profile be without a little history lesson? As their names imply, French Bulldogs are an off-breed of other Bulldogs. It is believed that they came from toy versions of English Bulldogs when lace makers traveled from England to France for work.
They have since flourished and raised in ranks to being the 6th most popular dog in America.
The ladies of high society were so taken with them that they were kept and then bred with their own French breeds. This is where the “bat-like” ears came from. There was a huge debate on which ears were preferable – the rounded ears of the bulldog or the unique bat-like ones that are now the trademark of the French Bulldog. Of course, you can see which were chosen.
In the late 1860’s, after being bred with some French breeds, they were dubbed “Boule-Dog Francais.” Their name was later changed to French Bulldog, since the English were not keen on calling their dogs by a French name. So many Americans became fond of these little dogs while visiting France that they brought them home to America.
In 1898 French Bulldogs were given a luxurious introduction into high-class society when they were given a specialty show in the ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC. This was the first show to be given in such a prestigious location. It was given so much press coverage that the French Bulldogs were accepted officially into the ranks of the American Kennel Club.
By 1913, The Westminister Kennel Club was overwhelmed with no less than 100 entries of French Bulldogs into their competition.
French Bulldog’s Personality and Temperament
French Bulldogs have large personalities and need to be trained at an early age. One imortant thing to learn from this French Bulldog breed profile is that your Frenchie must know who the Alpha (master) in your home is. Once he learns this, you should have an easier time and have a great companion by your side. You’ll find that once your mastery is secured your Frenchie will be eager to please, and happy to receive your attention.
With their even temperament, you’ll see that they rarely get upset and prefer to spend their time playing or just relaxing. With their easy going nature they’re also well equipped to deal with small children and their antics. French Bulldogs are well-known as one of the best family dogs.
French Bulldog’s General Health and Common Ailments
Like all breeds, French Bulldogs have genetic issues that are common among the breed. Although we don't like to talk about them, it would be irresponsible not to mention them in our French Bulldog breed profile. To put your mind at ease make sure to find a reputable breeder that has their breeding stock and puppies well taken care of and checked out for any medical concerns.
With the short snout, Bulldogs as a whole, have issues breathing compared to the long-nosed breeds. Due to their issues breathing, they have problems with long stretches of exercise, extreme heat and stress. Anything that makes them pant heavily or feel anxious will cause them to have issues getting enough air into their system.
This is a huge problem and can cause extreme issues if your dog is not taken care of properly.
If you find your dog spitting up foam, consult your vet. He may have pinched nostrils or an elongated soft palate – both common problems in snub-nosed breeds. Some surgery can correct this and give your dog a healthy life.
Like many dogs, the French Bulldog may have an issue called Hip Dysplasia, this happens when the femur doesn’t fit properly into the pelvic socket of the hip joint. The constant wear on the joints can bring on early arthritis. If you adopt a Frenchie, have him checked over by a vet or get a certificate from the breeder that this check has been done.
French Bulldogs are part of the dwarf breeds (usually referred to as toy breeds). You may find that these dogs have abnormal vertebrae or possibly premature degeneration of the intervertebral discs. Hemivertebrae, the malformation of one or more vertebrae, is common in French Bulldogs. Often times the vertebrae will become wedge shaped.
This disease may cause no issue at all or it may put too much pressure on the spinal cord and lead to pain, weakness and possibly even paralysis. This usually doesn’t require any treatment, unless there is pressure on the spinal cord. If this is the case, leaving it alone will cause more damage to your dog.
Patellar Luxation is also worth a mention in this French Bulldog breed profile, as it is very common in small dogs. This is caused when three separate parts, the femur, patella (knee cap) and tibia do not properly line up and slips out of place. This can make your dog lame or give him an abnormal strut when walking or running. Your vet should be able to detect this at birth, but it may not become an issue until later on when it causes early onset arthritis. You may notice this in some dogs that have a bowed legged appearance. Severe cases may require surgery to correct it.
Intervertebral Disc Disease, also known as IVDD, occurs when a disc ruptures in the spine or herniates and pushes on the spinal cord. With the spinal cord being disturbed, it can cause issues with the transmissions being passed through the nervous system. The cause of these can be random, caused by trauma to the back, age or just from a jolt to the dog's spine from a simple act of jumping off a couch.
This will be very painful and can lead to weakness or even permanent paralysis. Make sure to take your dog directly to a vet. They can administer a non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug, known as NSAIDS. NEVER give drugs that are meant for human consumption. They can be poisonous to animals.
In some situations the dog may require surgery. You can also ask the vet about other methods of rehabilitation. The key though, is to get your dog to the vet immediately. This may be the difference between him being able to walk again or not.
Other Ailments Common for French Bulldogs
Obesity can be a common issue in any dog. That's why it's important to talk about in this French Bulldog breed profile. Canine obesity is an epidemic that can be controlled. With proper nourishment and exercise, it could be a non-issue.
If your French Bulldog does become obese, it can make his breathing even harder and shorten his life span. This will put too much pressure on his lungs and cause his already hard breathing to be even harder. If your dog, no matter what breed, is overweight you need to speak with your vet immediately and get him on a weight management plan.
Cataracts are common in this breed when they get older. Proper nourishment can help in their overall health and also aid in eye health. Many dogs are and can become allergic to many different things, too. Keep an eye out for how your dog reacts to new food, treats, products that you use with him and his environment.
There are certain tests you should have done on your dog before adopting them; get their hips, spine, knees, and eyes checked for any signs of disease or illnesses.
A lot of canine allergies can be prevented just by eliminating them out of your dog's diet or care. Unfortunately, environmental allergens can be harder to avoid. If you find that your dog is severely incapacitated due to his allergies, speak with your vet about what options you have to help alleviate these issues.
Von Willebrand’s Disease is a blood disorder that both dogs and humans can have. It will cause issues with the blood clotting process. Symptoms that you can recognize for the disease include:
- bleeding in the mouth
- sudden bleeding from the vagina
- blood in the urine or stool
For females, you can also see prolonged bleeding during their heat cycle or after having puppies. It will usually become apparent in dogs between the ages of 3 and 5. Unfortunately, at the date that this French Bulldog breed profile was published, there is no cure for this disease. Thankfully it can be managed with treatments that can include having your pet's injuries stitched or cauterized. Make sure your vet is aware of your dog's condition before undergoing any surgery so precautions can be made.
Cleft Palates are common in puppies, and many can be fixed with surgery. Sadly, many puppies born with a cleft palate are put down by the breeder. Cleft Palates can also be caused due to injuries in older dogs. They are caused by slits forming in the roof of the mouth, between the hard and soft palate. The Cleft Palate may separate the nasal and oral cavities. In some cases, you will also see a cleft lip as well. The only cure for a Cleft Palate is surgery, but you'll need to talk to your vet about your options.
How To Groom a French Bulldog
A French Bulldog breed profile would not be complete without a discussion of grooming. No matter what type of dog you choose to adopt, he will need some amount of grooming. Some more than others, of course, but even a small breed with short fur, like a Frenchie, will need some work.
These dogs have a sleek short coat. With weekly brushing, you will keep down their minimal shedding and keep their coats shiny and clean. You’ll want to give a Frenchie frequent baths to keep their skin clear of any abrasions. There is no need to shave or cut their coats; a nice brushing is all that is required and your dog will love the attention that you give him.
With their upright “bat-like” ears, the French Bulldog will require very little maintenance. Once in a while, you'll need to check the inside of their ears. Use a warm damp cloth to wipe around the inside of the ear flap. You can use a cotton swab to remove any amounts of wax build up – just make sure to stay away from the inside of the ear canal or you may cause more issues than you’re trying to prevent. By keeping the amount of wax build-up down in the ears, you will help to prevent ear infections.
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The activities of your French Bulldog will not be enough to naturally wear down his nails. You’ll want to make sure that you are frequently clipping or grinding down his nails to prevent any issues caused when they are too long. Such issues can include; issues walking, cracked or broken nails, and having his nails caught and ripped (which can be very painful and require a trip to the vet). Keeping his nails short will make him happier, and cause you fewer scratches while you’re at play with your dog.
In this French Bulldog breed profile we've talked a lot about the effects of having a short muzzle. Dental issues are another problem than can result in snub-nosed dogs.0 With breeds like the French Bulldog, it’s even more important to help them with their oral care. You’ll want to frequently brush your dog's teeth. Keeping them clean and plaque free will help your dog to keep his teeth longer and to have better oral health.
How To Train a French Bulldog
Training and exercise quite frequently are the same thing for this breed. One thing you'll learn in this French Bulldog breed profile is that they can be very stubborn and dig in their heels, but once broken of this (and they learn that you are master and Alpha), then they will follow you forever. If you can learn to use your Franchie's personality to your advantage while training, do it.
The key to training your French Bulldog is to have patience with them, and maybe a few treats in your pocket.
Crate training can be a good and fun experience for your dog. This will help to quickly house train your dog, since he will not want to make a mess in the personal space of his kennel. Set up the crate for your dog so it’s his safe haven – his little home or den that’s just for him. You may find that if he wants some quiet time that he’ll just go and rest in there. During the hot seasons, it can be useful to put some cooling pads in your dog's crate with him to help keep him cool and to help improve his breathing.
French Bulldogs require small amounts of exercise, which is one reason why they are perfect for city dwellers or those who live in apartments. A couple of 15 minute walks or training sessions each day is sufficient enough to keep a French Bulldog trim and healthy, as long as you’re not overfeeding him.
Having some play time on the floor will also be welcomed. Find some fun games you can play inside the house, and maybe even involve the kids in with it too. Keeping it a family affair will go a long way to making the family a pack in the eye of your dog. Nose work is a great training exercise that will not only exercise your dog's body, but it burns mental energy too. Your pup will be pooped!
As previously mentioned in this French Bulldog breed profile, Frenchies struggle in the heat. During the warmer months make sure to keep your play in the shade or during the cooler parts of the day. Also, limit the amount of time you are playing. If your dog is too over-exerted in the warm temperatures it can affect their breathing too badly. If it’s too warm outside you can always enjoy some fun play time inside where it’s air-conditioned.
What to Feed French Bulldogs
Since French Bulldogs are a small breed they do not require much food. This French Bulldog breed profile cannot specifically tell you how to feed your pet, because every dog is different. Your dog has his own specific nutritional needs, and it is best to contact your vet if you’re wondering how much to feed him throughout each of his developmental milestones.
You’ll want to split his food up over at least two meals per day. With most dog foods, an adult dog will only need between 1-1.5 cups of food a day. Using higher quality food will help to limit the quantity you’ll need to give them. Many manufacturers will have specific foods for different size breeds, so make sure to get a food that is either meant for Bulldogs or for small breeds.
Best Dog Food for French Bulldogs
Picking the best food for French Bulldogs is vital if you want to ensure proper energy levels, adequate health, growth and cater to this specific breed's needs. Focusing not only on good quality French Bulldog dog food with healthy ingredients but also on what the your specific dog requires in terms of energy and protein should be the main focus of every owner with a Frenchie.
Here are quick picks for the best dog food for French Bulldogs:
- Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food, Hi Prairie Canine Formula
- Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition French Bulldog Adult dry dog food
- Fromm Four Star Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Game Bird Recipe
- Grandma Lucy's Freeze-Dried Grain-Free Pet Food: Artisan Chicken
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Potato & Duck Formula
You can find more information on general best dog food brands in this review.
Caring for French Bulldogs
Spending lots of time with your Frenchie is a must, and possibly the most important bit of information in this French Bulldog breed profile. These dogs are extremely social, and they'll want to be with you and your family all the time. That's not to say that they can't be left alone sometimes, but you'll need to be sure you have plenty of time to spend with your dog if you want to adopt this breed.
How are French Bulldogs with Children?
If you haven't already picked up on this in our French Bulldog breed profile, these dogs are great for young families with small kids. With their immense amount of patience and their relaxed nature, they’re usually ready to take on the day to day antics of the children in their home – taking all the “love” that the kids are going to be dishing out. For a small breed, French Bulldogs are quite rugged, which is a good thing if they're going to be spending lots of time around children.
They’re also small enough that you won’t have to worry about them bowling over your young children as they toddle around the house. As with any animal, you’ll want to supervise the time that your kids are playing with your French Bulldog. Teaching both the kids and dog how to play properly together is a must..
Where to Adopt a French Bulldog?
You probably didn't think a French Bulldog breed profile would include information about adopting your pet, but this part is very important. There are three different ways to acquire your new French Bulldog. You can go through a breeder, an adoption shelter, or through French Bulldog clubs.
French Bulldogs are a rarer breed, so you’ll usually be put on a waiting list for a new puppy. Don’t be surprised when this happens. Looking for a reputable breeder should be of your highest concerns when deciding to purchase your new puppy. Look for someone who is interested in you and your family and how you live. You’ll want a breeder who is interested in the welfare of their pups and where they are going to be placed.
Reputable breeders will also make sure that the adults are well-taken care of, that the pups are well socialized and that the litters are in a clean and safe area. Your breeder should be open and honest about the different diseases that are genetic in French Bulldogs, and they should have several different tests done on the puppies before you get them.
They should also be registered with the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA); these tests include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and Von Willebrand’s disease. The pups should also be tested for thrombophilia with the Auburn University and have their eyes tested through the Canine Eye Registry Foundation.
Unfortunately, for many different reasons, French Bulldogs can not always stay in their home. This does not mean that they are bad dogs or even that there is a problem with the dog. Some could have come into the shelter due to a break down in the home or the passing of a loved one. Or perhaps the previous owner didn't read a French Bulldog breed profile, and they weren't prepared to care for the pet. Many of these dogs are great and just need a new forever home. And let’s face it, you can skip the puppy stage by doing this.
There are many great sites that can help you find your new companion as well, and of course, you should try to find out as much information as you can about these dogs before adopting. This French Bulldog breed profile will help you learn about the breed in general, but you need to speak with the workers at the shelter or rescue organizations about the specific dog you're looking to adopt.
Every dog is different, and you need to be sure the dog you select will fit in well with your family. Adopting an older dog is also great because it will be much easier to see if there are any health issues in an adult dog. Hip dysplasia and other genetic defaults will be much more prominent in an older dog.
Some sites to check out include:
- French Bulldog Rescue League
- French Bulldog Connection Rescue
- French Bulldog Rescue Network
- French Bulldog Fanciers of Canada
- French Bulldog Club of America
What to Look For When Adopting a French Bulldog
Keep in mind all the information in this French Bulldog breed profile. If you're certain that this breed is right for your family, it's time to start looking for the right Frenchie for you. When acquiring your new puppy you want to first and foremost stay clear of puppy mills. Avoid any place that is just in it for the money and doesn’t actually care for the well-being of the dogs or where they are going to be placed. Other signs of puppy mills are how the dogs are housed and how many litters are on the go at any given time.
Sure signs of wrongdoing are when there are no papers available for your new dog (unless getting a shelter dog under certain situations). All new puppies should have their shots and be tested by vets and professionals before they can be sold. Puppies should never be taken away from their mothers before they reach the age of 8 weeks. They need this time to learn proper socialization skills and also have time for all of their checkups.
Questions to Ask When Adopting a French Bulldog
Any questions that you would want to ask a breeder can also be asked at shelters and rescue organizations. Some important questions include:
- How is the dog around other animals?
- How does the dog respond to the humans that come into the shelter?
- How is the dog around children, especially if you have a young family?
- How does the dog behave in general?
- Is the dog already house trained?
- Has the dog ever bitten or been aggressive towards humans or other animals?
Make sure you know and understand your rights when adopting a puppy or dog. There are rights on both sides – the seller and buyer – make sure you do your research on the breeder and keep an eye out for any of those red flags.
Reading this French Bulldog breed profile is great, but your dog will still need medical care right away. Take him to a vet as soon after you get him as possible in order to have a full checkup done. This is to look for any issues that can be seen. Your vet can help you with a preventive plan to keep your new dog healthy and living a long and happy life.