With bat-like ears but queerly beautiful, the French Bulldog or simply the Frenchie has a unique appeal. In appearance, other breeds without a doubt are more showy and glamorous, but beauty lies in the eyes of the behold and what many people behold in the Frenchie are the qualities that make this dog breed one of the best companion breeds in the world today.
The Frenchie is small, compactly built and with a strong muscular body. He has a smooth coat that accompanies his easygoing personality. The French Bulldog loves to play, but most of the time you’ll find him relaxing on the couch. They carry their relaxed attitude and love of play into their training sessions making them easy-to-train dogs.
Generally, Frenchies are active and intelligent, and you won’t find it hard to train them as long you make it look like a game and make it fun. They’re free thinkers and don’t make an ideal breed for competing for agility or obedience although some of them have risen to the challenge. Due to their freethinking approach, they can be stubborn meaning that if they decide to obstinate, there’s nothing you can do.
French Bulldogs make loving companions, and they thrive well on human contact. So, if you’re looking for an outdoor dog that you can leave alone for a long period, then the Frenchie is actually not for you. This is a breed that enjoys to lavish love on his companions just as much as it enjoys getting the same treatment in return.
Generally, Frenchies get along well with almost everyone, including children. However, they can be possessive and territorial of their human companions especially when other dogs are present. For this breed, socialization is a must, but with their loving companionship, it’s an enjoyable task.
With a mischievous and humorous nature, Frenchies need to be bred by somebody who is firm, patient and consistent with all the idiosyncrasies and antics that make them both delightful and frustrating. Frenchies make wonderful watchdogs and will alert you when they see an approaching stranger. But, it’s not their nature to bark often, especially without a cause.
French Bulldogs can be protective of their family, and home and some of them will even try to defend both their lives. Frenchies don’t need a spacious room and will do well in small dwellings and apartments. A few 15-minute walks a day are enough to keep them healthy and from gaining extra weight. Keep this breed in a cool and comfortable environment.
Frenchies are prone to heat exhaustion and usually needs air-conditioned surroundings. This is not a breed that can stay outside for long on a hot day. French Bulldogs are amazing and gentle companions. If you stay most of the time at your home or work from there, the Frenchie will be happy to lie next to your feet all day and will follow you to every room you go.
People who love the Frenchie can describe him as a mischievous goofball and can’t imagine living without them. They are constantly present, and they love their human companions with all their strength in their small bodies.
Breed Group: Companion dogs
Weight: 16 – 28 pounds
Height -11 inches – 1 foot tall at the shoulder
Usually, French Bulldogs don’t need a lot of exercises, but daily walks will be enough to keep them fit and healthy. Another important attribute about these wonderful companions is that they don’t handle heat very well so you’ll have to monitor them on hot days to make sure that they do not overexert themselves.
Frenchies can prove to be easy to train, but also they can be stubborn. So what you need to do is to stay patient and firm when training them. If cleanliness is your thing, then the French may not be the breed for you, since they are susceptible to flatulence, drooling and some shedding. This breed can also prove difficult to housetrain.
The Frenchie is a quiet breed and is not known as a dog breed that often barks although as they say, they are exceptions to every rule. Since French Bulldogs are not excessive barkers, they make wonderful apartment dogs.
While it’s imperative to always supervise youngsters and dogs when they are playing together, the Frenchie gets along very well with children. French Bulldogs make great watchdogs, but sometimes they can become territorial.
Frenchies loves being the Center of attention, and this can lead to some behavioral problems if you overindulge them. They are incredible companion dogs, and they like it when they have human contact. The Frenchie is not a dog that can be left outside to live or left alone for a long period. So, if you want a healthy Frenchie, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible pet store, breeder or puppy mill.
French Bulldogs originated in England and were bred to be toy-size versions of the Bulldogs. The dog breed was very popular among lace workers who lived in the city of Nottingham. When many Lace workers who were displaced by the Industrial Revolution moved to Normandy, France, they brought a variety of their little bulldogs with them.
The French Bulldog thrived in Europe and France and Americans soon discovered his charm and appeal as well. The Americans had been importing these dogs until around 1896 when the dogs were displayed at the Westminster Kennel Club show. After this, the breed was given an affectionate nickname “Frenchie”, which is still used today.
Generally, the Frenchie is about 11-12 inches tall. The male ones weight 20-28 pounds while females weigh 16-24 pounds.
The Frenchie is an intelligent, loving breed that wants to spend much of their time with their human companions. A smart free-thinker, the French Bulldog, is easy to train when the sessions are done in a positive manner and with lots of play, praise, and food rewards.
The Frenchie is prone to some diseases. Although not all of them will get any or all of the following diseases, it’s imperative to know them if you have decided to buy this breed.
1. Hip Dysplasia: This is an inheritable condition where the femur does not fit tightly into the pelvic socket of the hip joint. Hip dysplasia can occur symptomatically or asymptomatically. Some dogs will manifest with lameness or pain on or both of their rear legs. As the dog gets older, arthritis can develop.
Hip-dysplasia requires X-ray-screening which is done by the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement or the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. When buying this dog, it’s important to ask the pet store or breeder for proof that the puppy’s parents have been screened for this condition and found to be negative.
2. Brachycephalic Syndrome: This is a disorder found in dogs with narrowed nostrils, short heads, or soft or elongated palates. This causes airway obstruction of varying degrees and can cause anything from labored or noisy breathing to total airway collapse.
Usually, Dogs with this condition commonly snort and snuffle. There are various treatments depending on the condition’s severity but include oxygen therapy and surgery to shorten palates or widen nostrils.
3. Allergies: Many dogs have this problem. They are generally three types of allergies: food-based allergies which are caused by certain foods in the dog’s diet and treated by elimination of these foods: Contact allergies which are caused by a reaction to a certain topical substances such as flea powders, dog shampoos, and bedding, and treated by eliminating the cause: and inhalant allergies triggered by airborne substances such as mildew, dust, and pollen.
The medications for treating inhalant allergies depend on the severity of the condition. It’s imperative to note that inhalant allergies are often accompanied by ear infections.
4. Hemivertebrae: This is a congenital spinal malformation that causes one or more vertebrae to be shaped like a triangle or wedge. This anomaly can occur alone or with other spinal malformations and can put pressure on the dog’s spinal cord or cause no problems. This can lead to weakness, pain, and or paralysis. There’s no treatment for hetero vertebrae unless it presses on the spinal cord.
5. Patella luxation: This is also known as slipped stifles and is a common condition especially in small dogs. It occurs when the patella, which has 3 parts, the thigh bone, kneecap, and tibia, is not lined up properly and luxates in and out of place.
This leads to abnormal gait (the way the dog moves or lameness. It’s a congenital condition, meaning that it is present at birth, although the actual luxation doesn’t occur until much later.
The patella misalignment causes rubbing which leads to arthritis, an inflammation of joints. Usually, there are 4 grades of patella luxation ranging from grade I which is an occasional luxation that causes temporary lameness in the joint, to Grade IV where there is a severe turning of the tibia and the luxation can’t be realigned manually.
This makes the dog have a bowlegged appearance. Surgical repair may be needed to treat several grades of patellar luxation.
6. Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD): This condition occurs when a vertebral disk herniates, ruptures, or pushed upward into the spinal cord. When the disk presses the spinal cord, it inhibits nerve transmissions from moving along the spinal cord. Intervertebral Disk Disease may be caused by age, trauma, or simply by the physical jolt that happens when a dog jumps off a couch.
When the vertebral disk ruptures, the dog will feel pain, and the condition can lead to weakness and paralysis (temporary or permanent). Treatment for this condition usually involves NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) made specifically for dogs.
You should never give your Frenchie Tylenol or other NSAIDs manufactured for people as they can be toxic to them. Sometimes, surgery can help, but it ought to be done with a day or so of the injury. You may also discuss with your vet about physical rehabilitation.
Treatments such as electrical stimulation, water treadmills, and massage are available for dogs and can have amazing results.
7. Von Willebrand’s Disease: This is a blood disorder found in both dogs and humans. It’s caused by a reduced Willebrand factor that affects the clotting process.
A dog suffering from Von Willebrand’s Disease will manifest with bleeding gums, nosebleeds, prolonged bleed after whelping or during heat cycles, and prolonged bleeding after surgery. Occasionally, the stool can be stained with blood.
Diagnosis of this disorder is done between age 3 and 5 and has no cure. However, the condition can be managed with treatments that include transfusions of the Willebrand factor, suturing or cauterizing injuries, as well as avoiding certain medications.
8. Cleft Palate: The palate is the roof of the mouth and separates the oral cavity from the nasal cavity. It’s made up of 2 parts; hard and soft. A cleft palate is a birth defect where there is a slit that runs unilaterally or bilaterally and can range in size from a small opening to a large split.
The condition can involve both the hard and soft palate together or separately and can lead to a cleft lip. Cleft palate can be caused by an injury or can be a congenital defect. They are fairly common in dogs, but most puppies which are born with them don’t survive or are euthanized by the breeder.
Surgery to close the hole is the only treatment for this defect, but not all puppies born with it require surgery. It’s vital to consult your vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment recommendation.
9. Elongated Soft Palate: Also known as palatal velum, the soft palate constitutes the back of the mouth roof. When it becomes elongated, it may cause obstructed airways and difficulty in breathing. The treatment for this defect is surgical removal of the excess tissue.
If you’re planning to buy a puppy, find a reputable store or breeder who will show you a proof of health clearances for both parents of the puppy. Health clearances prove that the puppy has been screened for and cleared of specific conditions.
In French Bulldogs, they should have health clearances from the Auburn University for thrombopathia: Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hypothyroidism, elbow dysplasia, von Willebrand’s disease, and hip dysplasia: and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) for an eye checkup. Health clearances can be confirmed by visiting the OFA website, offa.org.
Frenchies usually don’t need lots of exercises. They have somewhat low energy levels, but there are exceptions to every rule. To maintain a healthy weight, however, French Bulldogs need daily short walks or playtimes in the play yard.
Many Frenchies like to play and will spend most their day in various activities. But they don’t have high energy to require long periods of exercises or a large yard. The dog is susceptible to health exhaustions and therefore shouldn’t be left for long in hot temperatures.
Limit active play and walks to cool mornings and evenings. When training a Frenchie, remember that they although they’re smart and easy to please, they’re also free thinkers. This implies that they can be stubborn sometimes.
You can apply different training techniques with this breed so you shouldn’t give up if a certain technique fails to work; just try another different method. To stimulate your Frenchie’s interest, make the training look like a game with lots of rewards and fun. It’s imperative to crate train your Frenchie puppy even if you’re planning to give him the freedom of your house when reaches adulthood.
Regardless of breed, puppies usually like to explore, chew harmful things, and get into places or things they shouldn’t. It will be expensive to pay the veterinarian bills that could arise or repair or replace damaged items, so crate training your puppy’s wellbeing as well as your temper and your wallet.
The recommended daily amount is 1-1.5 cups of high-quality dog dry food per day, divided into 2 meals. Remember that how much your adult Frenchie eats depends on his build, activity level, metabolism, size, and age.
Just like people, dogs do not all need the same amount of food. It goes without saying that highly active breeds will need more than fairly active dogs. The quality of dog food you purchase actually makes a difference. The better the quality, the further it will go towards nourishing your Frenchie and the less of it you will need to feed your dog.
For more on feeding your French Bulldogs, check our guidelines for buying the right dog food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog.
Coat Color and Grooming
The coat of the Frenchie is short, shiny, smooth, and fine. The skin is wrinkled and loose, especially at the shoulders and head, and has a soft texture.
French Bulldogs have a variety of colors including cream, fawn, various shades of brindled coat patterned with streaks of light and specks and dark markings such the striking tiger brindle and black brindle, and white and brindle, known as brindled pied.
Frenchies can be of any color except mouse (a light steely gray), solid black, liver (a solid reddish brown with brown pigmentation on the nose and lips) and black with tan or white.
Run from any pet store or breeder who tells you that a particular color is rare and thus expensive. Conversely, note that you cannot just order a puppy of particular gender or color. Having your heart settled for a lawn female will only bring you disappointment when the litter has only brindle and creamy males. Frenchies are somewhat easy to groom and require only to be brushed occasionally to keep their coat healthy.
French Bulldogs are average shedders. It’s good to start grooming your Frenchie at a young age and teach him to start on a floor or table to make this experience easier for both of you.
When you’re grooming your French Bulldogs at any stage of life, ensure you check for any bare spots, round, flaky skin, scabs, skin lesions, or signs of infection. Also, you should check the eyes and ears for discharge, and teeth for a bad smell. Both of these signs show that your dog needs to see a vet. Always clear your dog’s ears with a warm damp cloth and swab the edge of the ear’s canal. You should never stick the swab inside the canal.
If the ear edges are dry, apply baby or mineral oil sparingly. You can also use the oil on a dry nose. Frenchies don’t naturally wear their nails down, and therefore you’ll have to trim them regularly. This prevents tearing and splitting, which can very painful for the dog. For the facial wrinkles, keep them dry to keep off bacterial infections. Everytime you bath your Frenchie, ensure that you thoroughly dry the skin between the folds.
You can bathe your Frenchie monthly or as needed and ensure you use a high-quality god shampoo to keep the natural oils on his coat and skin. This breed should be easy to groom, and with positive puppyhood and proper training, grooming can be an excellent bonding time for you and him.
If you feel uncomfortable doing some aspects of grooming such as trimming the nails, take your Frenchie to a professional groomer who knows the needs of a Frenchie.
Children and Other Pets
As stated earlier, children and Frenchies get along very well, and they are not so small that they can’t live in the same household with a toddler. However, it’s important to never leave alone any dog with a young child. You need to supervise them and ensure there’s no one harassing or poking the other. When started in early puppyhood, Frenchies can socialize well with cats and other dogs.
However, if overly spoil your French, it may become jealous of other dogs especially if you are also the owner of those other dogs and you’re giving them attention too.
Some people acquire Frenchies when they don’t clearly understand how to take care of them. And they end up in the care of dog rescue groups, in need of fostering and adoption. So if you are interested in adopting a French Bulldog, you can start in a rescue group.