The French Bulldog, also nicknamed “Frenchie” is a small-sized ‘Utility’ dog with a characteristic large “bat ears” and short tail that gives the breed a clownish look. The French Bulldog is a result of a cross between an English dwarf Bulldog known as the Toy Bulldog and other short-faced breeds from France used for vermin hunting. It is one of the most popular dog breeds in the United Kingdom, ranking 4th in popularity in 2014 breed registrations and 9th in the United States. It has a sturdy, compact, solid appearance with a good bone structure. The stocky and muscular body is covered with short, smooth coat made of fine-textured hair that comes in brindle, fawn, and pied colour. The most striking features of the French Bulldog are its “bat ears”, medium-sized, rounded at top and wide at the base, set high on the head and carried upright. It has a general attitude described by owners as bubbly, friendly, loving, and highly intelligent. The average weight of a male French Bulldog is 12.5 kg while a female typically weighs 11 kg.
The French Bulldog lineage goes back directly to the dogs of the Molossians and ancient Greeks, spread throughout ancient Europe by the Phoenicians. The British Molossians developed into the Mastiff which developed the Bullenbeisser sub-family and were bred for bull-baiting during the 18th century. When bull-baiting was banned, these “bull dogs” became companion dogs and were developed into smaller size breeds that gave rise to the Toy Bulldog.
Part of the history of the modern French Bulldog can be traced back to Great Britain during the middle of the 19th century, when the Toy Bulldog was very popular in some areas of the United Kingdom. Lace makers from Nottingham displaced by the Industrial Revolution emigrated to Normandy in France, taking their Toy Bulldogs with them. These dogs gradually became popular and were eventually crossed with terrier and Pug stock which gave rise to the Bouledogue Français that we know today.
This breed is describe as affectionate, alert, energetic, gentle, lively, playful, and a social dog. Bred as a companion dog more than anything else, the French Bulldog requires close human interaction in its day to day living. It thrives on human companionship and will suffer if left alone for a long period of time. It is active and sweet-tempered and is full of fun. It is an ideal companion dog for a stay-at-home owner who likes a discretely silent house dog. It generally forms a strong attachment to a single family member and is wary of strangers. The French Bulldog has a very good memory and is a fearless dog, owing to its Bullenbeisser lineage. It is sometimes referred to as a “frog dog” because the way it sits with his hind legs spread out. It is also called the “clown dog” because of its fun-loving clownish character.
The French Bulldog ranks at the lower portion of the canine intelligence scale, which makes training a bit challenging. However, the key to teaching a dog is to start out young. This means that training the French Bulldog to follow basic and essential commands (such as come, stay, sit, etc.) should start during puppyhood. Basic commands are essential for the dog to learn early, progressing into a wide range of commands as the dog gets older. Fun and upbeat training coupled with positive reinforcement methods are the best training style suitable for the French Bulldog.
The French Bulldog has a short, smooth, shiny coat with loose and wrinkled skin in the head and shoulders. The coat is quite easy to groom and only needs occasional brushing. Check the skin for any sign of allergies or infections as well as skin lesions. Clean the ears on a regular basis using a damp cloth. Dry ear edges can be treated with mineral oil or baby oil. Inspect the facial wrinkles and make sure they are free from bacterial infections. Dry the coat and skin thoroughly after bathing to prevent the onset of bacterial infections.
The French Bulldog has a bulky body and a short muzzle that is known to have a compromised breathing system. These factors make it rather difficult for the dog to regulate body temperatures. In hot weather conditions, it may suffer from heat stroke if left under the heat for a long period. Its short single coat on the other hand, makes the dog intolerable of cold weather particularly during winter and requires warm clothing.
With a lifespan of 12 to 14 years, the French Bulldog is generally a healthy breed with a few health predispositions, including:
This breed has a fairly minimal exercise requirements but it still needs at least a daily short walk to stay fit. However, it must only be taken for a walk when the temperature outside is cool. It is typically inactive indoors and will make a great companion to someone who lives in an apartment or condominium or to someone who typically stays at home.
The French Bulldog is patient and highly affectionate with its owners, especially with children regardless of age. It has no problem living with other dogs and animals in the house especially if it is introduced with them from an early age.