Breed Group: Non-Sporting
Despite his serious appearance, the French Bulldog, or Frenchie as his admirers call him, is clown-like in behavior and lives life with joyful exuberance. Compared with its English Bulldog cousin, the French Bulldog is smaller, more alert, and more active, especially indoors. In fact, their indoor activity level is so high that they tend to need little outdoor exercise and can live comfortably in almost any situation from a city apartment, to an expansive farm. French Bulldogs are good companions and lap dogs without being “clingy”. They get along reasonably well with children, and even though small, is sturdy enough to absorb the attention of small children. But with strangers, they are typically reticent. With their easy-going temperaments, Frenchies get along reasonably well with other dogs and better than average with other pets. He does not bark as much as most dogs in the Toy Group, but still makes an above average watchdog. Though he may try, his size limits his ability to serve as a guardian. With their short snout, Frenchies frequently snort while breathing and snore when asleep. Many are gassy. Although some owners claim otherwise, most French Bulldogs have difficulty swimming. Owners should take care when their Frenchie is around water.
French Bulldogs are between 11 and 13 inches tall and can weigh between 20 and 28 pounds. They are small, but stout and muscular with wide shoulders and large heads, facial wrinkles, and the short snout characteristic of bulldogs. They have a coat that is smooth and comes in a variety of colors including black, liver, white, fawn, brindle and combinations of these colors. Their coat requires minimal maintenance and he sheds less than most breeds. But like all dogs with skin folds, his facial wrinkles should be cleaned regularly to avoid infection. A French Bulldog's stocky bodies allow them to do better in cool temperatures than most small dogs with short coats. But because they have trouble regulating their body temperature, a sweater is needed in cold weather. Like other short-faced dogs, in hot, humid weather they do very poorly and should never be heavily exercised in these conditions.
Puppies should be socialized while still young paying special attention to encouraging healthy relationships with strangers. Though he is not likely to be a top performer, he can still do satisfactorily in basic obedience class. But make sure to use positive motivation as French Bulldogs can be quite stubborn. Food rewards are recommended, but moderate feeding is needed to avoid obesity. The breed makes a good choice for first-time dog owners.
French Bulldogs have some serious health concerns. One-third of all dogs suffer from Hip Dysplasia. Other significant health issues include thyroid conditions, an Elongated Soft Palate, or Cleft Palate, and Hemophilia. Frenchies also have a tendency to have problems with their spine, including Intervertebral Disc Disease and vertebrae that do not develop correctly. To reduce the likely-hood of back problems, jumping and stair climbing should be avoided as much as possible throughout their life. Seen less frequently are juvenile cataracts. Ten to 12 years is a typical lifespan for a French Bulldog.
French Bulldogs rank 36th in popularity with between 5,000 and 6,000 of the breed registered with the Ameican Kennel Club in a typical year.
The French Bulldog originated from unusually small English Bulldogs. These dogs tended to have large upright ears. Considered undesirable at the time, the comical ears endeared these mini bulldogs to nineteenth-century French aristocrats. It is thought that the little dogs made their way to France when English lace workers arrived in France looking for work. As their popularity increased, the French started developing these small bulldogs as a new breed. Eventually, the French Bulldog made his way to America where he became popular in the early 1900s.
Like their English counterparts, Frenchie females are often artificial inseminated and due to their large heads, birth is usually by cesarean section. Both these factors contribute to the cost of puppies which can be $1,000 or more. French Bulldog owners of note include Jason Priestly and Christine Elise, both of whom appeared in Beverly Hills 90210, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and Noble Prize winner Maurice Maeterlinck who wrote The Intelligence of Flowers and The Blue Bird. The National (US) Breed Club is the French Bulldog Club of America.
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