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The French Bulldog is an easygoing, affectionate breed. Often called “Frenchies,” these pups usually aren’t barkers, but their alertness makes them outstanding watchdogs. They have big personalities and tend to enjoy being around people and other animals. As a result, French Bulldogs have become a favorite breed of many pet parents.
As its name suggests, the French Bulldog has its roots in France. The breed dates back to the 19th century—when toy bulldogs came to France alongside English workers. And when these dogs bred with the local French terriers, the French Bulldog resulted. Fast-forward to 1905, and the English Kennel Club recognized the breed.
Frenchies tend to be expensive, partly because most must be artificially inseminated to conceive, and the pups are often delivered via cesarean section. Litters are consequently small. So, the breed can be hard to find. That being said, they are quite popular, and their petite size makes them ideal for apartment living.
Short and stout, the French Bulldog has a small, muscular body with wide-set front legs.
French Bulldogs come in relatively common colors—including brindle, white, black, mouse, liver, or a mixture of these.
Traits that distinguish the French Bulldog from its English cousin are its dome-shaped skull and bat-like ears that are wide at the base and narrow at the tip. Frenchies have large (for their small body size) and square heads with thick wrinkles rolled above their short nose. Their bodies are robust and muscular, and they have naturally short tails.
Well-behaved, adaptable, and agreeable, French Bulldogs adore being the center of attention and make for fun-loving companions. They’re also silly and mischievous, which is probably why they are very good with children. (However, you should always supervise play between your pup and kids.)
French Bulldogs are truly people-oriented and crave close contact with humans. They have a strong desire to please their owners and be a part of the family. So, they don’t do well when left alone for long periods.
Though they have an even disposition and are usually good with other dogs, Frenchies will sometimes try to stick up for their owners by growling at strange dogs. Socialization can help with this. They’re also known for grunting, snorting, snoring, and making other odd noises.
French Bulldog should be fed a high-quality dog food that is appropriate for their life stage. Given that this breed is prone to obesity, it’s important to monitor how much your French Bulldog eats and reduce meal portions if your pup gains weight. Giving too many treats, in addition to regular meals, can also put Frenchies at risk for certain health issues.
The French Bulldog has a short coat and sheds very little. Weekly brushing with a medium-bristle brush, rubber grooming mitt/tool, or a hound glove will help remove loose hair. This also promotes new hair growth by distributing skin oils throughout the coat to keep it healthy.
Also, take care to keep the facial folds of your French Bulldog kept clean and dry. And you should routinely trim nails to prevent them from growing too long and causing your dog pain.
French Bulldogs do not require a ton of exercise—a short walk or romp in the park will do. They also like participating in canine sports, such as obedience, agility, and rally. But because brachycephalic (i.e., flat-faced), they can sometimes have trouble breathing. For this reason, exertion in hot or humid weather isn’t a good idea.
The French Bulldog requires a fair amount of training, as they are often unenthusiastic learners. (Treats can help!) Early socialization and puppy training classes will help ensure your French Bulldog grows into a happy, confident, and well-adjusted companion. But you’ll need patience with this stubborn breed.
Canine Multifocal Retinopathy 1 (CMR1) is an eye disorder that can cause retinal decay which may impact vision, but very rarely results in blindness.
Knowing if your French Bulldog is a carrier or at-risk for these conditions can help you and your veterinarian plan for your pup's lifelong care. With Wisdom Panel™ Premium, you can get results for over 200 genetic health tests.
Reviewed 26 July 2020 by Annette Louviere, DVM