French Bulldog

French Bulldog

Overview

The French Bulldog, originally called the Bouledogue Francais, has regained its popularity in recent years. They fulfill their original breeding purpose as purely companion and lap dogs. Though they did also catch rats, very few of the breed are used as pest control today. As of 2020, French Bulldogs were the American Kennel Club’s second most popular dog breed on their most popular dog breeds list. They have also been listed as the second most popular dog breed in the United Kingdom.

French Bulldogs have mild, friendly, and affectionate temperaments. They get along great as family dogs and with other breeds of dog. They are particularly sweet and cuddly with their human owners. Their small size makes them extremely popular for apartment renters who have limited space. Since they are mostly indoor dogs who need mild daily exercise, a full yard probably won’t be necessary. Like all breeds they do love the park and outdoors though so make sure you have access to one for their walks.

Socialization is a necessary part of training this breed, especially with puppies. Without proper socialization, French bulldogs can get very territorial and aggressive. They may be stubborn, even argumentative, at times. However, this comes from their intelligence. With their favorite treats in hand, training becomes a breeze.

Their loving natures do make French bulldogs prone to separation anxiety. This is something to keep in mind as an owner. It’s best to limit your time away from a Frenchie, as they may become agitated after a few hours separated from you. Having a full plan in place to ensure you have enough time or can share the load with someones else is essential.

If you want a loving lap dog, that is relatively easy to look after, the French bulldog may be the breed for you!

History

The French Bulldog is the breeding endpoint of some fascinating trends. Like all bulldogs currently in existence, they trace their lineage back to the Old English bulldog.

Bulldogs were first bred in the United Kingdom around the beginning of the 18th century to participate in the cruel sport of bull-baiting. Breeders also maximized the breed’s potential in another bloody sport, dogfighting. However, as the 19th century dawned, more and more people became opposed to using dogs and other animals for blood sport. In 1835, British Parliament passed The Cruelty to Animals Act, outlawing both bull-baiting and dogfighting.

Without these sports, bulldogs were technically out of a job. More and more bulldogs were bred primarily as companion animals after the 1835 shift. Prominent dog breeder Bill George had a lot to do with this bulldog rebranding. Companion bulldogs became so popular, in fact, that they became a sort of mascot for English lace-makers and artisans in cities like Nottingham.

Around 1850, these bulldogs were first cross-bred with terriers. This was partially to reduce their size and partially to introduce rat-catching behaviors for pest control. The now-extinct toy bulldog was once a popular result of this crossbreeding.

As fabric and lace manufacturing became more automated, the handwork artisans of places like Nottingham found themselves unemployed. Many moved to Normandy in the North of France to find jobs, and they took their faithful companion bulldogs with them. There, the dogs gained popularity with members of the French middle and upper classes. As their popularity grew, these smaller bulldogs were continually bred with terriers and pugs. This breeding resulted in the general size and breed characteristics we are familiar with today, including their bat-like ears. The French called them the Bouledogue Francais.

The Bouledogue Francais was first brought from France to the United States in 1885. The breed was first shown at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1896. At this point, the breed was very high-end and expensive. Prominent American families like the Rockefellers and the J.P. Morgans kept French Bulldogs as companions.

Since there was such strong loyalty to the established English bulldog breed, the British took a bit longer to recognize these French interlopers. Eventually, it was recognized as separate from the English bulldog in 1905. It was renamed as the French bulldog in 1912.

As of 2019, French bulldogs are the 4th most popular breed out of 197 breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Health

Even though these are a well-loved breed, French bulldogs are prone to a few health issues caused by their genetic makeup. Many of the traits which make them unique also cause medical problems.

Like all breeds with short muzzles, French bulldogs are prone to breathing problems. This may cause respiratory obstruction, snoring, and mean your dog easily overheats. Make sure to keep their environments climate-controlled, and don’t over-exercise them.

Since they have narrow ear canals, French bulldogs can develop chronic ear infections. Check for frequent scratching in the ear area and redness inside the ear. If left untreated, an infection may rupture a Frenchie’s eardrum, causing a lot of pain.

You can prevent skin fold dermatitis by regularly cleaning your French bulldog’s face wrinkles. Dermatitis can also develop in the armpits, so keep an eye on these areas too. The adorable bulldog face wrinkles can be a great breeding ground for bacteria. From there, the pathogens can travel to your French bulldog’s eyes, causing conjunctivitis (also known as pinkeye).

French bulldogs tend to experience upset stomachs regularly. These may be caused by food allergies, but may also be caused by parasites present in their food. Check with your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Like many breeds, French bulldogs may experience joint and mobility issues. These may have a genetic cause, or may be due to the dog’s advanced age. A veterinarian will be able to help you with a correct diagnosis and possible medication.

Make sure to keep up with your French bulldog’s regular vet visits, deworming medications, and vaccinations. If you have just bought a puppy, make sure to take them to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Interesting Facts

  • The breed was so popular in 19th century France that artists like Edgar Degas and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec used them as inspiration for their paintings.
  • Many past society and royal family members loved their pet French bulldogs. One notable example, Russian Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna Romanov, had a black one named Ortipo.
  • Celebrity love for French bulldogs isn’t just limited to the past. Current famous Frenchie lovers include Lady Gaga, Hugh Jackman, and Leonardo DiCaprio.
  • While French bulldogs are not particularly barky, they make a wide and unique variety of yips, gargles, yawns, and whines. They could be said to have their own language!
  • The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes nine standard colors of French bulldog, including but not limited to fawn, cream, brindle, and combinations of these colors.

 

Photos of French Bulldog

Here are some Bernese mountain dog photos for you to get a good picture of the breed.
NAMES BY BREED

French Bulldog Names

Female, Male, Inspired by size or by coat color

Frankie

Louie

Max

Milo

Moose

Minnie

Poppy

Zoe

Buttons

Poof

Dumpling

Oatmeal

Muffin

Sugar

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