The French Bulldog, or “Frenchie” has taken the world by storm and captured the hearts of millions. He’s one of the top 5 most popular dog breeds in the United States and is adored around the world. Especially among city-dwellers.
Their small size and low-maintenance needs for outdoor exercise make them perfect for people who live in apartments.
He’s also playful, adaptable, and friendly. He’s also a bit of a clown. And a couch potato.
Plus, the breed isn’t a barker. In fact, he hardly yaps at all.
But that doesn’t mean he’s silent.
He’s actually one of those special pups that has their own secret language…
And here’s a French Bulldog dog breed infographic to pin to your Pinterest board:
Despite the name (and the infographic above), French Bulldogs actually originated in England.
They were bred to be miniature versions of the Bulldog before leaving for France with English lacemakers. Demand for the breed exploded, and a booming trade between English breeders and French citizens began.
In France, they were called Bouledogues, Francais. Everyone from butchers to rag dealers fell in love with the beloved French Bulldog.
This love for the French Bulldog soon spread to North America, as the breed first debuted at the Westminster Kennel Club show in 1896.
Popularity for the breed rose so much that dogs were sold for up to $3,000. Influential families including the Rockefellers and J.P. Morgans boasted French Bulldogs.
Today, people continue to adore French Bulldogs for their charming personality and fun energy.
Are French Bulldogs Good Family Dogs?
Yes! French Bulldogs are good family dogs for people who are looking for a fun, social dog.
Due to French Bulldog sleeping habits and small size, they also make great apartment dogs.
French Bulldogs don’t bite a lot, so they’re good around kids and strangers. Even if they do bite, the weak French Bulldog bite force means it won’t hurt much!
They are also great for people who are sensitive to loud noises, as they aren’t very vocal and don’t bark much.
If you can live with the “singing” or “talking back” in the video above, that is…
That being said, they might bark at strangers as they tend to be protective of their owners.
Oh, and the French Bulldog farts…a lot!
The French Bulldog is a relatively low-maintenance breed that is easy to take care of.
They don’t require too much exercise, are easy to train, and have short hair.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can neglect or ignore them whenever you get tired of them. They rely on you to take care of them and give them a good life. Therefore, it is your responsibility to ensure that they are happy and healthy.
Making sure that you are feeding them a proper diet, grooming them on a regular basis, walking them, and taking them to regular veterinary appointments are just a few necessary tasks you need to remember to complete as you look after your French Bulldog.
The best food for French Bulldogs is the one that will give them optimal nutrition while being tasty (and, with any luck…not too expensive).
While each French Bulldog’s metabolism and exercise levels will influence the number of calories they should consume in a day as well as what macronutrients and vitamins should be included in their diet, most owners will purchase dog food designed for small or medium breeds.
You can purchase dry food, canned food, raw food, or even make your own homemade meals for your little Frenchie.
Dry food is the most popular among owners because it’s the most bang for your buck.
French Bulldogs require two to four meals a day, depending on their age and health requirements.
Most French Bulldogs require a diet that includes:
- Protein that comes from whole meat such as chicken, beef, fish, or lamb or protein that comes from meat meals
- Fat from sources such as chicken fat, canola oil, and flaxseed
- Omega-3 fatty acids, such as DHA which supports brain and eye development
- A low amount of carbohydrates
- A properly measured calcium to phosphorus ratio
Owners should try to avoid including the following when building up their French Bulldog’s diet:
- Too much protein – the AAFCO recommends 22% for puppies and 18% for adult dogs
You will need to brush and bathe your French Bulldog on a regular basis in order to maintain her hygiene.
While their short, shiny coats don’t shed as much as breeds with 2-layered coats and long hair, they should still be brushed once a week to remove dead or loose hair.
French Bulldogs have very sensitive eyes due to the loose skin surrounding them. Make sure this area is kept clean and dry at all times. Facial cleansers are helpful in clearing away any dirt or debris from the eye area.
In terms of bathing, you only need to give your French Bulldog once a month at the most. Of course, if your dog has just rolled in the mud or rubbed up against something dirty, you should also bathe it then.
Don’t forget to clean your dog’s ears and clip their nails once a month as well. To keep your Frenchie’s teeth clean, brush them several times a week using special toothpaste for dogs. It may be tempting to just use human toothpaste, but it usually contains fluoride, which is poisonous for dogs.
While French Bulldogs do better in apartments than other dog breeds, such as Bernese Mountain Dogs or German Shepherds, you still need to exercise him regularly.
A walk around the neighborhood or a trip to the park at least once a day for 20 to 30 minutes should do the trick.
Make sure you keep a close eye on your Frenchie to make sure they are not being over-exercised:
Because of their flat faces and short noses, French Bulldogs have difficulty regulating their body temperature.
Avoid walking your French Bulldog during the hotter parts of the day, such as the late afternoon. Early mornings or evenings are the best times to walk your Frenchie as the temperature is usually below 70 degrees Fahrenheit during those times.
French Bulldogs are notorious for being stubborn. It’s almost as if they simply refuse to be trained for the sake of ignoring their owner. :-)
But, with plenty of patience, you can successfully train your French Bulldog. And while they can be stubborn, they are known to be people-pleasers. Positive reinforcement, such as verbal praise and treats, is extremely effective in helping you train your little Frenchie.
Starting from a young age, you should train your French Bulldog these basics:
- House training
- Simple commands such as “sit”, “stay” and “come”
- Crate training
- Getting along with other animals and humans
French Bulldog Health Issues
Unfortunately, French Bulldogs are associated with a long list of genetic health problems.
As a result, they are not the cheapest breed to own due to the high amount of veterinary bills they may accrue over the years. Therefore, it is important to make sure you are purchasing a Frenchie from a reputable breeder and that you are able to invest in good pet insurance.
The most common diseases that French Bulldogs are susceptible to developing are:
- Allergies: French Bulldogs are more likely to develop allergies than other breeds because of their flat facial structure
- Brachycephalic Respiratory Syndrome, which can prevent your Frenchie from being able to breathe properly
- Conjunctivitis, which is also known as pink eye
- Hip dysplasia, which occurs when the ball and socket joint of the hip doesn’t form correctly
- Cherry eye, which happens when your dog’s tear gland in its third eyelid pops out of its position
- Stenotic Nares, also known as pinched nostrils that make it difficult for French Bulldogs to breathe
- A disease of the trachea, also known as tracheal collapse
- Heat stress
- Cleft palate
This list isn’t meant to dissuade you from getting a French Bulldog…but rather to encourage you to do your homework so you know what you’re getting into! Remember:
Prepared dog owners are the best dog owners.
Things to Know About French Bulldogs
1. They Love Sitting on Your Lap
It should come as no surprise that these little guys enjoy resting on their owner’s laps from time to time.
From their time as companions to lace workers in England to becoming the loyal friends of modern workers today, French Bulldogs have always enjoyed snuggling up to their humans.
2. Celebrities Love French Bulldogs
Multiple celebrities have been spotted walking around with their French Bulldogs, including:
- Lady Gaga
- Hugh Jackman
- The Rock
- Leonardo DiCaprio
- Reese Witherspoon
- Hilary Duff
- Martha Stewart
- Eva Longoria
DiCaprio’s French Bulldog is named Django while Jackman’s is named Dali.
3. There are 9 Standard Colors for the Breed
The AKC officially recognizes nine standard coat colors for the French Bulldog:
- Brindle and white
- Fawn and white
- Fawn brindle
- White and brindle
- White and fawn
4. They are Actually Pretty Good Watchdogs
While they obviously aren’t large or strong enough to become guard dogs, their intelligence and alertness do give them the potential to be good watchdogs.
They are known to bark incessantly when they hear a stranger approach the house. This depends on the individual Frenchie as well as how they were trained.
It is important to note that while they do have the ability to be good watchdogs, they have not been bred specifically for this job and therefore shouldn’t be bought by someone looking for a watchdog specifically.
5. They Can’t Swim
Before you take your French Bulldog swimming, make sure you purchase a life vest for him first!
Without one, your Frenchie can drown within seconds if he falls into water that is deeper than his standing height.
Even with a life vest, you must keep your eye on your French Bulldog at all times. No exceptions. You can also let your Frenchie play in a shallow kiddie pool, as they can stand up in them.
6. They aren’t Suited for Flying Either
Because they are a brachycephalic breed, meaning they have shorter snouts than other dogs, they deal with a lot of breathing problems.
The stressful environment of a plane mixed with these breathing problems has proved fatal in the past. So many Frenchies and other dogs with this familiar facial structure have died on airplanes before that some airlines have even banned them.
If you need to transport your Frenchie via airplane for any reason, you can purchase a ticket for it at a special airline that caters specifically to pets.
Pet Jets is one airline that does this.
Pets are transported on a separate plane for their owners and are overseen by a human in case they get sick or begin to panic.
7. They can be Quite Maternal
A baby orangutan named Malone was abandoned by his mother at the Twycross Zoo in England.
Zookeepers were worried that he wouldn’t survive without her.
But then a 9-year-old Frenchie named Bugsy began to look after the little orangutan. They have become so close that they even fall asleep together.
8. They’re Quite Sensitive
Believe it or not, French Bulldogs do not take criticism well.
A harsh-sounding critique or a chastisement that comes out a little too loudly can negatively affect them.
They may even mope around the house a bit before getting over it.
9. They Have Two Styles of Ears
The earliest French Bulldogs had rose-shaped ears, which were similar to the English Bulldog’s.
However, American French Bulldog breeders preferred the unique bat ears that we commonly see today, and bred accordingly.
In fact, American dog fans were angered when a rose-eared Frenchie was featured at the Westminster Kennel Club in 1987.
10. Most French Bulldogs are Conceived by Artificial Insemination
French Bulldogs have trouble naturally conceiving due to their unique physical structure. As a result, most breeders go through the process by the means of artificial insemination.
This method is definitely more expensive than going down the typical, traditional route, but it does allow breeders to screen for potential problems during the process.
Since Frenchies also have trouble giving birth, many have to undergo a C-section in order to prevent them from undergoing too much stress and dealing with future health complications.
11. French Bulldogs in Hollywood
It should come as no surprise that French Bulldogs have appeared in multiple films. One French Bulldog lover actually made a list of 13 films that Frenchies have made an appearance in:
- At First Site
- Babe – Pig in the City
- Money Bone
- Franky Goes to Hollywood
- The Shaggy Dog
- Garden State
- Bringing Down the House
- Secondhand Lions
- Just Married
12. They Have a Unique Way of Laying Down (and a Nickname that Goes Along With it)
No one knows why, but French Bulldogs will sometimes lie flat on the ground while sleeping or resting.
This pose might be the reason they’ve earned the nickname “Frog Dog”.
It’s hard not to take a photo or giggle a little when we see this.
Frenchies are just so darn cute!
13. They Have a Strict Weight Limit
Officially, French Bulldogs shouldn’t weigh more than 28 pounds. In fact, they will be disqualified from a dog show if they are found to weigh over this number.
Since they love to eat and require little exercise, they are easily susceptible to gaining a few unwanted pounds.
Male Frenchies should weight between 20 and 28 pounds, while females should weigh between 18 to 26 pounds. The weight varies as factors such as genetics and body type will determine the right weight for the individual dog.
If you think your Frenchie might be overweight, check for these signs:
- Trouble breathing after a relatively easy or little exercise
- Lack of muscle definition
- Unkemptness from an inability to groom itself
On the other hand, underweight French Bulldogs will have ribs that bulge out and are easily noticed. Always be sure you consult with a veterinarian if you are afraid that your Frenchie is over or underweight.
14. French Bulldogs Were a Favorite Among French Prostitutes
During the late-19th and early-20th centuries, French Bulldogs were a favorite among “les belles de nuit” in Paris.
French prostitutes were actually the first to refer to Frenchies as “Bouledogues Francais”, or French Bulldogs.
French bohemians, writers, and artists began using this name for them as well.
15. They Were a Favorite Among the Romanov Family
The ill-fated family that was executed during the Russian Revolution owned a French Bulldog named Ortino.
He was so beloved, that Tatiana Romanov let him sleep in her bed.
Ortino’s fate is unknown, as no information has been found on his whereabouts after the family’s execution.
16. The French Bulldog Club of America was Started to Protest Rose-Shaped Ears
The club’s first specialty show was thrown in 1898 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.
The cream of New York society crop was said to show up.
Rose-eared dogs, on the other hand, were nowhere to be seen as they were banned from the event.
17. They can Make Pretty Funny Noises
French Bulldogs enjoy expressing themselves in their own unique, quirky language. They’ll make a variety of noises, such as snorting, gagging, or even a sound often referred to as reverse sneezing.
When a Frenchie experiences an episode of reverse sneezing, they will make quick, sudden inhalations through their nose. This is often caused by irritants in their airways such as allergens or from over-excitement.
18. A French Bulldog Sailed the Titanic :-(
2-year-old Ch. Gamin de Pycombe hopped aboard the Titanic with his beloved owner Robert W. Daniel.
The champion show dog cost Daniel the equivalent of $20,000 in today’s money.
While Daniel managed to survive the tragic accident, Gamin de Pycombe was last seen treading the ocean’s freezing waters.