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Are French Bulldogs Smart?

Reading time: 7 minutes.

Dog owners love their Frenchies because they are sweet, loyal, and playful. If you want to know more about this wonderful breed, you may find yourself wondering “are French Bulldogs smart?

French Bulldogs aren’t known for their intelligence, however, they are much smarter than people give them credit for. How smart a Frenchie is should be judged based on the individual dog. Yet, these dogs continue to impress their owners with their abilities to understand and communicate.

Are you interested to know more about how smart a French Bulldog is? You’re in the right spot. On this page, we’re going to discuss why French Bulldogs are smarter than their reputation leads people to believe. We’ll also discuss the reasons why people may not believe their Frenchie is as smart as it really is. 

Are French Bulldogs Smart?

When we’re determining how smart a dog breed is, there are two factors that are always considered: 

  • How obedient the dog breed is
  • It’s working intelligence level

According to Cornel’s dog intelligence list, French Bulldogs have ranked 109th place on the list of smartest dog breeds. This isn’t impressive, but it doesn’t mean Frenchies are dumb either. They can be very smart dogs, they just choose when they want to be.

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One thing that every dog owner should be aware of is that Frenchies do what they want. You can teach your Frenchie a command until the dog masters it, but if it doesn’t feel like listening to you at the moment, it won’t obey the command. This doesn’t mean the Frenchie forgot the command, it just doesn’t feel like doing the trick at the time being.

French Bulldogs were never bred as working dogs, so it’s not in their nature to obey commands at the drop of a hat. Instead, Frenchies were initially bred as companion dogs. They would do simple things, like chase away rodents or warm up people’s laps. 

Why Do People Believe French Bulldogs Aren’t Smart?

Frenchies aren’t a dumb breed, but many dog owners mistake them for being unintelligent because they rarely obey a command on the first try. In fact, it’s Frenchie’s stubbornness that convinces people the dog doesn’t understand the command. 

If the French Bulldog doesn’t want to obey, it won’t. These little dogs are notoriously stubborn, which gives dog owners the impression that they are difficult to train. This is slightly true because if the dog isn’t cooperating, training can be very difficult. One thing to remember is just because your Frenchie is choosing not to listen to you doesn’t mean the dog’s dumb.

Training a French Bulldog that won’t listen can be very frustrating. However, it’s not impossible. There are some steps you can take to get a stubborn Frenchie to listen up.

  • Know what motivates your French Bulldog. Many Frenchies will listen if they know treats are on the line, some will also obey if they know they will receive a lot of praise and affection.
  • Remove anything that could be a distraction for your pup.
  • Always be consistent when you are training your Frenchie a new command. These dogs thrive on routine and consistency helps them learn.
  • Does it seem like your Frenchie understands the command? Good, now keep practicing it. Continue teaching the dog the command each day until it has mastered it.
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Our Trick For Stubborn French Bulldogs

French Bulldogs can be very smart little critters, you just need to find the right way to communicate with them. These dogs have an amazing skill for being able to tune people out. In fact, many dog owners are jealous of their Frenchie’s ability to tune out a chatty Kathy. However, this is also very frustrating for owners that want to grab their dog’s attention.

Since Frenchies aren’t phased by vocals, you should try visuals instead. Hand gestures can be a great way to teach your French a command. You can teach your dog a specific hand cue for each command. That way, if the dog is ignoring your verbal command, you can show it a hand gesture to get a response. 

Real Reasons Why French Bulldogs Are Smart

There are those who like to show off how intelligent they are, and then there are those who hide their intelligence so people don’t expect anything from them. French Bulldogs would be the latter. These dogs are intelligent enough to learn new commands and perform them, they just pick and choose when they are in the mood to obey.

Ranking low on the intelligence test doesn’t give people a real idea of how smart a French Bulldog is. Since this intelligence test is most targeted toward how a dog performs in work, it’s not necessarily the best type of test to accurately measure a companion dog’s intelligence.

We don’t want to leave you with a bad taste in your mouth about the French Bulldog’s intelligence, so let’s share some reasons why Frenchies are actually smart dogs.

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They Stay True To Their Skill

When looking at the history of any dog breed, you will learn that they were originally bred for different tasks. This is because every dog breed has a skill that can be useful. If the dog is smart, it will be able to perform this skill. So, what is a French Bulldog’s skill? That is to be your companion.

French Bulldogs were originally bred as companion dogs. An intelligent dog won’t need the training to excel at their special skill. If you have spent time with a French Bulldog, one trait you’ve likely noticed is that they are incredibly loyal. This is showing their natural ability to be good companions, which is also a sign of intelligence.

They Understand Emotions

One of the most unique traits of a French Bulldog is how it can understand its human emotions. Not only are these dogs good at reading emotions, but they are also adaptable to the situation. 

For example, if you’re in a lively mood with good energy, your French Bulldog will likely be very playful. However, if you were to come down with a cold and needed rest, your Frenchie will likely stay calm and collected. 

This is a skill that’s highly appreciated about French Bulldogs, as not all breeds are capable of picking up on human emotions as sharply. 

Smartest of the Bulldogs

There are several types of Bulldogs, but French Bulldogs are named the smartest type. Keep in mind that how smart your Frenchie is will depend on a few factors. A major factor is the dog’s lifestyle. If you are attentive and put the work into training and socializing your dog, you will have better luck at training a smart dog.

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The type of activities you chose for training will play a big role in your dog’s mental alertness. We encourage you to incorporate games into your training sessions that work the dog’s mind. Check your local pet store to see if they have any problem-solving or puzzle-style toys for dogs.

Can You Train a French Bulldog to be Smart?

Good training won’t necessarily make your French Bulldog smarter, but it will help get the dog to show more of its intelligent side. As we mentioned earlier, Frenchies have a strong stubborn side.  In order to make training effective, you need to do it on the Frenchie’s terms.

Now, we know you’re probably thinking something along the lines of how you don’t have all day to wait around for when your Frenchie feels like learning. That would be silly. Instead, you need to make training seem like something the Frenchie wants to do. Once the French Bulldog associates the training with being positive, it will show you how powerful those brain cells really are.

So, how do you make training seem positive for French Bulldogs? Always start with a warm attitude, this way your dog will be more responsive to it. One thing to know about French Bulldogs is that they love to please their owners but they need to know they are getting something in return, such as praise, affection, and their favorite treats.

You can make training a lot more enjoyable for your dog if you make a game out of it. When training is fun, your French Bulldog won’t be so stubborn about it.

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Final Thoughts

Are French Bulldogs smart? French Bulldogs are smart little dogs, but not everyone knows this about them. This is because Frenchies ranked very low on the dog’s intelligence list, being ranked 109th smartest breed out of 138 dog breeds. While this ranking isn’t high at all, many dog owners will agree it doesn’t reflect the true intelligence of a French Bulldog.

Frenchies are very stubborn dogs, so it may appear like they don’t understand a command. However, it’s more or less that the French Bulldog just isn’t listening. This makes it seem like the dog may not be smart, however, once you find the right approach to training, these dogs will fool you with how intelligent they really are.