The French Bulldog

The “Bouledogue Francais,” or French Bulldog, likely descended from the English bulldog. Judging by his smaller size and bat-like ears, most think that the French Bulldog actually arose from the toy or miniature Bulldog, which originated in Nottinham, England, where he was used as a ratter in the shops of laceworkers.

During the industrial revolution, lace workers displaced by the rise of machines moved about Europe looking for work, and in the shuffle, their little Bulldogs ended up in France, where they were immediately popular. In fact, the French Bulldog was a fashionable companion in bohemian society, favored by society ladies, prostitutes, artists and writers throughout France.

Today the French Bulldog, big ears and all, is one of the most popular dogs in the U.S.

Sizing Up
The French Bulldog is a medium-to-small-sized breed. Here are some common physical traits of the French Bulldog:

  • Weight: 22-28 lbs.
  • Height: 12 inches (to shoulders)
  • Coat: Short, fine, and smooth
  • Color: Fawn, brindle, cream, white, black brindle
  • Lifespan: 10-12 years

What are they like?
With his bat shaped ears and bow-legs, this little guy resembles an alien. But he’s no stranger to affection!

The French Bulldog is charming and pretty easygoing. He’s quietly enthusiastic, often preferring to sit and watch what’s going on around him. He also loves to goof around. He generally gets along well with other dogs – though at times he wants to be the alpha dog, this can be addressed through training.

One of the best things about the French Bulldog: he’s the ideal dog for city-dwellers. As a mellow, smaller dog that doesn’t need a ton of exercise, he does very well in the confines of an apartment. He won’t bark or get too worked up, unless you aren’t able to spend enough time with him.

The French Bulldog is generally healthy, but also prone to some genetic medical problems:

  • Respiratory problems, such as brachycephalic airway syndrome, which causes difficulty breathing. This can cause a lot of wheezing and snoring, and makes it hard for them to cool off in hot weather.
  • Allergies
  • Eye problems such as cherry eye, cataracts, and retinal dysplasia
  • Cleft lip/palate
  • Hemophilia

Right for you?
As with any new pet, there are some considerations to make before you welcome an adorable, flat-faced French Bulldog into your home:

  • Stay out of the heat! The French Bulldog is very, very sensitive to the heat. This is mostly due to his difficulty breathing, which makes it difficult for him to cool off. It is important to make sure the French Bulldog is cool and always has access to fresh water. The French Bulldog also doesn’t swim very well.
  • The French Bulldog can be a bit difficult to housetrain, so you’ll have to be patient.
  • French Bulldogs are only moderately active. They also tend to have breathing problems. That means that they are not ideal for a really active person or family.
  • The French Bulldog can be touchy around small children or cats and is sometimes aggressive toward strange dogs.

When trained well and exercised thoroughly, the French Bulldog can be a great companion for the right person or family.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

Reviewed on:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

11 Facts About French Bulldogs

These cute little dogs are enjoying a serious comeback. Here’s the scoop on the fourth most popular dog breed in America.



The French bulldog’s origins are murky, but most sources trace their roots to English bulldogs. Lace makers in England were drawn to the toy version of the dog and would use the smaller pups as lap warmers while they worked. When the lace industry moved to France, they took their dogs with them. There, the English bulldogs probably bred with terriers to create bouledogues français, or French bulldogs.


Frenchies are affectionate, friendly dogs that were bred to be companions. Although they’re somewhat slow to be housebroken, they get along well with other dogs and aren’t big barkers. The dogs don’t need much exercise, so they are fine in small areas and enjoy the safety of a crate.



As a result of their squat frame and bulbous head, French bulldogs can’t swim, so pool owners should keep a watchful eye on their pups. Keep in mind that if you plan a beach vacation, your furry friend might feel a little left out.


French Bulldogs are a brachycephalic breed, meaning they have shorter snouts than other dogs. These pushed-in faces can lead to a variety of breathing problems. This facial structure, coupled with high stress and uncomfortably warm temperatures, can lead to fatal situations for dogs with smaller snouts. Many breeds like bulldogs and pugs have perished while flying, so as a result, many airlines have banned them.

Luckily there are special airlines just for pets, like Pet Jets. These companies will transport dogs with special needs on their own flights separate from their owners. There's a human on board to take care of any pups that get sick or panic.


When a baby orangutan named Malone was abandoned by his mother, the Twycross Zoo in England didn’t know if he would make it. Luckily, a 9-year-old French bulldog named Bugsy stepped in and took care of the little guy. The pair became fast friends and would even fall asleep together. When Malone was big enough, he joined the other orangutans at the zoo.


Frenchies are very sensitive, so they do not take criticism lightly. If you scold a French bulldog, it might take it very seriously and mope around the house. French bulldogs respond better to positive reinforcement and encouragement.


French bulldogs might not bark much, but they do like to “talk.” Using a complex system of yawns, yips, and gargles, the dogs can convey the illusion of their own language. Sometimes they will even sing along with you in the car.



Originally, French bulldogs had rose-shaped ears, similar to their larger relative, the English bulldog. English breeders much preferred the shape, but American breeders liked the unique bat ears. When a rose-eared bulldog was featured at the Westminster Kennel Club in 1897, American dog fanciers were very angry.


The FBDCA was founded in protest of the rose-shaped ears. The organization threw its first specialty show in 1898 at New York City’s famed Waldorf-Astoria. The FBDCA website described the event: “amid palms, potted plants, rich rugs and soft divans. Hundreds of engraved invitations were sent out and the cream of New York society showed up. And, of course, rose-eared dogs were not welcomed.”

The somewhat catty efforts of the club led to the breed moving away from rose-shaped ears entirely. Today, French bulldogs feature the bat-shaped ears American breeders fought to showcase.


Due to their unusual proportions, the dogs have a little trouble copulating. Males have a hard time reaching the females, and they often get overheated and exhausted when trying to get things going. As a result, a large majority of French bulldogs are created through artificial insemination. While this measure makes each litter of pups more expensive, it also allows breeders to check for potential problems during the process.

French bulldogs often also have problems giving birth, so many must undergo a C-section. The operation ensures the dog will not have to weather too much stress and prevents future health complications.


Frenchies make plenty of appearances in the tabloids. Celebrities like Lady Gaga, Hugh Jackman, and The Rock have all been seen frolicking with their French bulldogs. Even Leonardo DiCaprio has one—aptly named Django. Hugh Jackman’s Frenchie is named Dali, after the way the dog’s mouth curls like the famous artist’s mustache.

This article originally ran in 2015.

French Bulldog

If your idea of the perfect pet is a pint-sized comedian with a special gift for napping, meet the French bulldog. These charming pups love to play just as much as they love to snuggle up on their owner’s lap to take a snooze. They won’t get taller than 13 inches at the shoulder, making them a great option for city dwellers. It doesn’t take much space to keep a Frenchie happy. This breed has an easygoing personality and they make wonderful companions for families, children, or seniors. They’re easy to groom and easy to please, and they thrive on human contact.

General Health Information for your French Bulldog

Dental Disease

Dental disease is the most common chronic problem in pets, affecting 80% of all dogs by age two. And unfortunately, your French Bulldog is more likely than other dogs to have problems with her teeth. It starts with tartar build-up on the teeth and progresses to infection of the gums and roots of the teeth. If we don’t prevent or treat dental disease, your buddy will lose her teeth and be in danger of damaging her kidneys, liver, heart, and joints. In fact, your French Bulldog's life span may be cut short by one to three years! We’ll clean your dog’s teeth regularly and let you know what you can do at home to keep those pearly whites clean.


French Bulldogs are susceptible to bacterial and viral infections — the same ones that all dogs can get — such as parvo, rabies, and distemper. Many of these infections are preventable through vaccination, which we will recommend based on the diseases we see in our area, her age, and other factors.


Obesity can be a significant health problem in French Bulldogs. It is a serious disease that may cause or worsen joint problems, metabolic and digestive disorders, back pain and heart disease. Though it’s tempting to give your pal food when she looks at you with those soulful eyes, you can “love her to death” with leftover people food and doggie treats. Instead, give her a hug, brush her fur or teeth, play a game with her, or perhaps take her for a walk. She’ll feel better, and so will you!


All kinds of worms and bugs can invade your Frenchie's body, inside and out. Everything from fleas and ticks to ear mites can infest her skin and ears. Hookworms, roundworms, heartworms, and whipworms can get into her system in a number of ways: drinking unclean water, walking on contaminated soil, or being bitten by an infected mosquito. Some of these parasites can be transmitted to you or a family member and are a serious concern for everyone. For your canine friend, these parasites can cause pain, discomfort, and even death, so it’s important that we test for them on a regular basis. Sylvan Veterinary Hospital will also recommend preventive medication as necessary to keep her healthy.

Spay or Neuter

One of the best things you can do for your French Bulldog is to have her spayed (neutered for males). In females, this means we surgically remove the ovaries and usually the uterus, and in males, it means we surgically remove the testicles. Spaying or neutering decreases the likelihood of certain types of cancers and eliminates the possibility of your pet becoming pregnant or fathering unwanted puppies. Performing this surgery also gives us a chance, while your pet is under anesthesia, to identify and address some of the diseases your dog is likely to develop. For example, if your pet needs hip X-rays or a puppy tooth extracted, this would be a good time. This is convenient for you and easy for your friend. Routine blood testing prior to surgery also helps us to identify and take precautions for common problems that increase anesthetic or surgical risk. Don’t worry we’ll discuss the specific problems we will be looking for when the time arrives.

Plain English summary

The French Bulldog, despite its name, is a breed of both British and French origin. The breed was first recognised by The Kennel Club in 1906 and has three colourings currently allowed: brindle, fawn and pied. French Bulldogs are currently very popular in the UK and were the second most commonly registered UK pedigree dog breed in 2017. Owners of this breed are attracted to their distinctive appearance, their size being suited to a sedentary lifestyle, and the perception that they are a good companion and children’s breed. However, despite their popularity, the breed has some well-documented health issues, especially in relation to eye, breathing, skin and spinal problems. Collection of health information on large numbers of French Bulldogs attending veterinary practices in the UK would provide reliable data to assist with reforms that aim to improve the health of the breed. The VetCompass™ Programme collects de-identified clinical record data from veterinary practices in the UK for research to improve animal welfare.

French Bulldogs made up 2228 (0.49%) of 445,557 study dogs under veterinary care during 2013. By calculating the French Bulldog proportion of dogs born each year that attended VetCompass™ practices, the study showed that French Bulldogs accounted for just 0.02% of puppies born in 2003 but rose to comprise 1.46% of all puppies born in 2013. The most common colours of the study French Bulldogs were brindle (solid or main) (32.36%) and fawn (solid or main) (29.9%). Of the 2228 French Bulldogs under veterinary care during 2013, 1612 (72.4%) had at least one disorder recorded. The most common disorders recorded were ear infections (14.0%), diarrhoea (7.5%) and conjunctivitis (3.2%). Skin problems were the most commonly reported group of disorders (17.9%). This study of over two thousand French Bulldogs provides a framework to identify the most important health priorities in French Bulldogs in the UK and can assist with reforms to improve health and welfare within the breed.

Watch the video: History of Dog Breeds: THE FRENCH BULLDOG! (September 2021).