How many celebrities have you seen recently with a cute frenchie pup tucked under their arm – Lady Gaga has got Asia, Hugh Jackman has Dali – and of course David and Victoria Beckham have the beautiful Scarlet.
French Bulldogs are fast becoming the most popular dog in the UK!
So anyone who is anyone has a French bulldog it seems.
However don’t be fooled by the cute face and the huge ears. Owning a Frenchie, like any dog, is a huge commitment.
French Bulldog Breed Standard
French Bulldogs have a wide head and shortened face with a black nose. The ears should be “bat-like” and stand proud on the top of the head.
The large eyes are set wide apart and the dogs have an intense stare full of intelligence and curiosity.
They were originally bred for bull baiting, so have a heavy deep and muscular chest. The legs are short and muscular, especially the forelegs.
The coat is short and thick and the most common colours are dark brindle, fawn, white and pied (white with patches of dark brindle or fawn).
They are naturally born with a very short tail which is either bunny style or corkscrew.
Their average weight is around 12-14kg for males and 10-12kg for females.
French Bulldog Ears
Contrary to what many people think, French Bulldogs are not born with bat like ears.
Their ears grow rapidly from birth but flop down like a retrievers ears.
From about week 4 as the calcium develops, their ears start to lift.
The funniest sight is when you come down one morning to a litter of puppies and one ear on the first pup is standing proud, while the other is still flopped over.
Both ears on the pups should be standing by about week 6, but it has been known to take up to 6 months in some puppies.
So don’t worry if you go to view pups and their ears are still floppy. This should soon change.
Apart from their inquisitive and loving stare, the main attraction of Frenchies is that they have an endearing personality and make a wonderful companion dog.
They develop a superb and affectionate connection with their owners.
They are more suited to indoor living so will want to spend most of the time on the couch beside you.
This breed needs companionship and will not thrive without it. The Frenchie cannot be owned and ignored.
They get along well with other dogs, animals and children.
Their deep affectionate relationship with their owners can cause problems in that they can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods.
This can also lead to unwanted behavior as they vie for their owner’s attention.
Common French Bulldog Health Issues
French Bulldogs are normally a healthy breed but their are certain illnesses to which they are prone.
Like all breeds of dog, Frenchies can have their fair share of health problems which can prove expensive when requiring vet treatment – here are a few of the most common French Bulldog health issues:
- Joint problems
- Thyroid problems
- Hereditary cataracts and other problems with their large eyes.
- Being short-nosed, they can suffer from breathing problems.
- It is also more difficult for them to regulate their temperature and can easily overheat and get heat stroke.
- They can only withstand short periods of exercise (which is another reason why they may have become much more popular with urban dwellers)
Let’s go into some more detail on the main risks to a French Bulldog’s health
Part of the Frenchie charm is their “pushed-in” bulldog face. Unfortunately, this feature means a short airway which can lead to breathing problems. Narrow nostrils can add to the problem so sometimes it is necessary for the vet to operate to widen the nostrils to assist breathing.
Any treatment involving a general anesthetic is risky with a Frenchie, again due to their flat face, they require increased monitoring and careful sedation.
Frenchies don’t need huge amounts of exercise and should never be exercised in the heat of the day. Their flat face and short airway means they have huge difficult in regulating their body temperature and can overheat very quickly.
French Bulldogs can suffer terribly from allergies and itchiness. Owners can spend a lot of time researching why their Frenchie seems to be allergic to anything and everything from their food to the grass in the garden.
Frenchies can suffer in varying degrees from skin problems. Itchy, broken skin, constant paw licking and bald patches are just a few of the problems commonly seen. These problems can often be controlled with diet but may sometimes require vet treatment.
This is an unpleasant looking but relatively painless condition that affects a small number of dogs. The dog’s third eyelid prolapses from its correct place out of sight in the corner of the eye, and protrudes over the visible portion of the eyeball. A red mass appears at the corner of the eye near the nose around the area of the tear duct. Cherry eye problems can also produce a sticky discharge as well. It is possible for an experienced owner to treat cherry eye at home initially but recurring episodes will need a visit to the vet.
This type of cataract will show up at an early age and in most cases is inherited. One or both eyes may be affected and the cataracts may not appear in both eyes at the same time. There is no proof that eye colour has any bearing on the likelihood of developing juvenile cataracts. Many dogs with juvenile cataracts can lead normal lives well into their older years before cataracts impair their vision dramatically. Unfortunately, in some instances, the cataracts are severe enough to cause blindness at a young age.
Patellar luxation is the term used to describe the slipping (dislocation) of the kneecap. The patella in dogs is a small bone held in place by ligaments that shields the joint where the femur meets the tibia (the stifle) and acts like a lever.
As the knee moves, the patella slides up and down in a groove in the femur. Dislocation or patellar luxation occurs when the small bone of the patella jumps out of the groove in the femur.
The patella can dislocate to the inside or outside. Patellar luxation can occur as the result of injury or genetic problem (present at birth). French Bulldogs fall just outside the top quartile of dogs likely to suffer from patellar luxation as a result of a genetic deformity.
Research has shown that approx 5% of dogs will suffer this problem.
Patellar luxation can be detected by a veterinarian and is normally graded 1-5. Dogs with grades 1-2 will likely not require corrective surgery, however those graded 4-5 will most likely require surgery to correct the condition, ease pain and prevent arthritis.
Hip Dysplasia is the failure of the hip joints to develop normally, gradually deteriorating and leading to loss of function of the hip joints. It is one of the most common skeletal diseases seen in dogs and often begins while a dog is still young and physically immature. Early onset usually develops after four months of age
Murmurs are extra heart vibrations that are produced as a result of a disturbance in the blood flow enough to produce audible noise. Murmurs are classified according to a variety of characteristics. They are graded in degrees if severity from Grade I to Grade VI.
Generally, a heart murmur will only require out-patient treatment from your vet. Puppies with low-grade murmurs may require little or no treatment and often murmurs will settle themselves within the first 6 months.
Anyone who owns a french bulldog (or two) will be glad to extoll their virtues. They will give you a million reasons why you should of course get yourself a frenchie – your life isn’t complete without one.
They will talk endlessly about the breeds great intelligence, their loyalty, what great companions and watchdogs they are, how good they are with kids etc etc.
French Bulldogs are very intelligent and can be easily trained with one major caveat; being a bull breed they can display extreme stubbornness on occasion!
They are also not the most patient of breeds. They will react best to short and repeated periods of treat training.
It is important that their owners lay out the rules for acceptable behavior and establish themselves as the leader. In doing so you will have both an obedient and very loving companion.
However a Frenchie is first and foremost a Bulldog and as such needs a firm hand and a clear indication of what you expect from them as regards behavior and obedience.
Your approach to french bulldog training is all-important. You may find the following tips useful before you start:
Short Attention Span
French Bulldogs are a highly intelligent breed but they have a short attention span. In saying that they are very much food driven – the will do almost anything for a treat. Frenchies are also eager to please you so you will need to plan your training schedule around short, sharp sessions with lots of treats and even more praise for a job well done.
Keep Training Fun
Keep in mind that frenchies are very independent thinking dogs, if the exercises seem boring or pointless to your dog their stubborn streak will raise its ugly head and they will do nothing you ask. Keep it fun – keep it interesting – keep it exciting.
Short training sessions not only to take account of their short attention span but also to to reduce the possibility of overheating – French Bulldogs cannot dispell body heat quickly and are prone to over-heating if over-exercised or over-‘stimulated.
Clear, Calm and Consistent
Use a strong clear voice at all times, don’t shout and scream – it confuses the dog and leaves you frustrated.
Be consistent in the commands you use when training your frenchie, find one word that conveys praise and another that leaves him in no doubt that you are displeased – make sure you carry plenty of treats when training as reward for good work.
Frenchies are also known for their need for human attention and contact. They are very tactile little dogs and love nothing more than being close to you even if its just sitting on your foot. Use this need for attention and love to enforce the behavior rules you set in your home.
Although they are incredibly cute, frenchies are heavy, solid little dogs and often play in a rougher manner than other dogs both with their litter- mates and their owners. You should be sure that your dog knows the basic “NO” and “LEAVE” commands before being allowed to play with younger members of the family. Obviously young children should never be left unattended with a dog of any breed- better safe than sorry.
French Bulldogs are generally playful and will be demanding of your time and attention not only as a puppy but as an adult dog. Be prepared for the possibility of some bad behavior if your frenchie feels they’re not getting enough attention. Some owners find a set play-time each day is the way to control their dogs behavior ie if they know playtime is coming,they’re better behaved.
Last but probably most important, be very patient with your frenchie. They are very intelligent and eager to please but they are still dogs. It may take a few sessions before they fully understand what you expect from them.
History of the French Bulldog
Counter to their name, records indicate that the French Bulldog breed was derived by breeders in England wanting a miniaturised version of the English Bulldog. The majority of the breeding was carried out around the Nottingham area by lace makers.
When the lace trade died off in England, many of the lace makers moved to France in search of work – and their dogs went with them. They were an immediate hit and acquired the name French Bulldog. They were especially popular with the Parisian “belles de nuit” (ladies of the night – prostitutes!) and the French upper classes.
Although the original Frenchies had rose ears, which are folded over, it was when the breed hit America that the bat like ears were favoured. Their most distinguishing feature, the bat ears, did not go down well with the original European breeders. It was only through the persistence of a newly formed French Bulldog Club of America, that the bat ears eventually became a breed standard. The breed exploded in popularity in the early 1900s reaching an initial peak in 1913, which has only recently been surpassed!
Some Interesting Facts About French Bulldogs
There was a famous French Bulldog on the Titanic on its way to America on the ship’s stricken maiden voyage. The dog was a show champion Ch. Gamin de Pycombe. Sadly, like so many of the passengers, little Gamin perished. The owners had insured her before the journey for a sum equivalent to $20,000 in today’s money.
Although a French Bulldog has never won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the same French Bulldog did win best of breed for 5 consecutive years in the 1950’s. Ch. Bouquet Nouvelle Ami only relinquished the title after she was retired, and her owner went on to win Best of Breed for the next 10 years with other dogs. A record which stands until this day and will likely never be broken.
The popularity of the French Bulldog is on the rise again. The American Kennel Club reports them as being the 11th most popular breed in the USA and has become the most popular dog in the UK.
Frenchie owners just love talking about their fur babies. If you show that you are willing to learn about the breed before you buy, they will bend over backwards to help.
Don’t be intimidated by the apparent wealth of knowledge that Frenchie owners have. Like everything else it comes with experience of owning one of these special dogs.
- 1 French Bulldog Breed Standard
- 2 Temperament
- 3 Common French Bulldog Health Issues
- 4 Training
- 5 History of the French Bulldog
- 6 Some Interesting Facts About French Bulldogs
- 7 Summary