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If you’re thinking of owning a dog, you might want to know what makes a particular breed so popular. Most rescue centers report that a majority of the dogs are from individual surrenders. And the most common reason is the breed is not right for them and can’t fit in with their current lifestyle. Today we’re going to have an in-depth look at one of the most popular dog breeds in the world, the French Bulldog, so you can decide whether or not it’s the perfect fit for you and your family.
French Bulldog Dog Breed Introduction
The French Bulldog, also known as the Frenchie, is a one-of-kind dog breed. It’s pretty popular, especially among city dwellers, thanks to its small size, moderate energy levels, and friendly nature. It will happily adapt to living with singles, couples, families with children and other pets, and even living in an apartment. Do you want a companion to laugh, play, cuddle, and hang out with, then the French Bulldog is for you? They are not particularly high-energy but have a huge personality and can be stubborn at times. Their ideal human will commit to feeding, exercising, grooming, training, taking them for regular vet visits, loving, and spending as much time as possible with them.
French Bulldog Breed History
Despite its name, the earliest ancestors of the French Bulldog came from England and not France. They are cousins to the English Bulldog. When blood sports were outlawed in 1835, the English Bulldog emerged as a companion dog, and increasingly smaller dogs were developed to fulfill this new role. The miniaturized version of the English Bulldog became popular among lace workers in Nottingham as these docile and loyal pups kept them company and rid their workrooms of rats.
Many skilled workers immigrated to France during the Industrial Revolution, taking their dogs with them. The Toy Bulldog became an instant hit among the French people who started to breed them with other dogs, including the Pug and some terriers and, behold, the French Bulldog we know and love today was created. The breed made its way to the US in the late 19th century. French Bulldogs were all well received, earning the nickname Frenchie, and the American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized them in 1898.
The modern Frenchie is considerably different from when it was first bred. The original version looked more like the Boston Terrier, but today’s version is shorter and wider in build with a flatter snout.
The French Bulldog remains one of the most popular and beloved breeds among dog lovers, due to being adaptable, playful, friendly, affectionate, and loyal with a cute appearance and lovely personality.
French Bulldog Dog Physical Characteristics
Frenchies resemble an English Bulldog in miniature. Though small, they are substantial in build with a powerful, muscular body. They have a large square head with heavy wrinkles rolled above their extremely short nose. But their trademark feature is their large, erect ‘bat ears.’ You will never mistake the French Bulldog, thanks to this unique feature. Though not as pronounced as certain breeds, these dogs have webbed feet to give them more stability. Frenchies are a brachycephalic breed, which constitutes a short nose and flat face. While this adorable smooshy face is just perfect for smooching, it does come with some disadvantages, like not being able to handle heat or even swim.
Size and Weight of French Bulldog Dog
When you get a pup, you wonder about its potential size and weight for a number of reasons. Perhaps you want to know whether they will fit in your space as an adult. By understanding the average growth pattern of your particular breed, you’ll be able to tell whether or not your dog is growing at the appropriate rate.
Frenchies are classified as small to medium-sized dogs. According to the AKC, an adult Frenchie weighs no more than 28 pounds with an 11-13 inches height at the withers. Males tend to be bigger than females, weighing 20-28 pounds, while females weigh about 17-24 pounds.
A French Bulldog reaches their adult size at around 12 months, but this doesn’t mean they won’t get larger. These dogs are prone to obesity, which can be caused by overeating or consuming too many calories while being lazy. You should avoid obesity by all means as it can lead to serious health issues such as heart diseases. Plus, it worsens the already existing breathing problems in this breed.
While you should use Frenchie’s growth chart to monitor your pup’s height and weight, note that all dogs are not the same. Some puppies may grow slower or faster than the estimated numbers. This should be a concern if the numbers vary slightly. However, there are dangers to growing too quickly or stunted growth. So, work with your vet to ensure your dog stays in a healthy range.
French Bulldog Colors and Patterns
This dog breed comes in a range of colors, from dark to light coats. The AKC approves only 11 colors as the official French Bulldog colors. And this includes:
- Fawn & White
- Fawn Brindle
- White & Fawn
- Fawn Brindle & White
- Brindle & White
- White & Brindle
- Cream & White
Frenchies come in more color options than the ones mentioned above, but only the approved colors can participate in dog shows. Some of these additional colors are exotic and quite rare. This includes:
- Blue fawn
- Merle pattern
Along with the approved colors are five markings commonly seen on this dog, and they are:
- Black Mask: Frenchies typically have black around their muzzle and nose, while the rest of the coat is another color
- Brindle Markings: This Frenchie has a predominantly dark coat with a few lighter colored hairs. The lighter coloring can be very light or extremely heavy to what’s commonly known as Tiger Brindle.
- Piebald: This is a white coat with large darker colored patches on various body portions like the neck, back, and/or around the eyes and ears.
- White Markings: Areas of white on a darker coat
- Black markings
Ticking is another acceptable Frenchie marking but not desired. This pattern includes small spots of one color, usually white, mixed in with the primary coat color.
There are many rare coat colors for this breed, and many are pretty expensive as breeders strive to produce something unique. But be careful because some of these colors are prone to health problems. Plus, you may be duped into paying a lot for a coat color that doesn’t really exist when the truth is your Frenchie is probably not purebred, and they got their unique coloring from another breed. In the end, the best color depends on your aesthetic preference and whether or not you want your Frenchie to participate in show rings.
Shedding Levels and Grooming Routine
All dogs shed, although some more than others. The French Bulldog has a fine, smooth, short, single coat. Compared to similar dog breeds, Frenchies are considered moderate shedders. You can expect consistent shedding throughout the year, although they shed more in spring and summer in preparation for seasonal changes.
That being said, if you notice they’re shedding more than usual, then there’s a problem. Even during seasonal shedding, watch out if they start to shed in clumps. Excessive shedding can be caused by poor nutrition, allergies, stress, skin irritation, fungal or bacterial infections, etc.
You cannot completely stop a dog from shedding, but you can manage the situation, so there are no hairs all over the house. The first solution is through proper grooming. Regular brushing provides several benefits for your Frenchie, including getting rid of loose hairs before they spread all over the house, distributing natural oils for healthier hair growth, removing dirt from their fur, and getting rid of dead skin. These dogs are generally a clean breed and don’t smell as much as other dogs, so they don’t require frequent baths; perhaps once a month should suffice. Should they get dirty in between cleanings, use a wet towel, wet baby wipes, or dry-cleaning foam. You’ll also need to provide regular dental cleaning, folds cleaning, effectively cleaning their ear canals, checking for infection, and regularly trim their nails.
Energy Levels and Exercise Routine
French Bulldogs have low energy levels and often tire easily due to overheating, especially during hot weather conditions. They are often described as couch potatoes, but that’s not the whole truth. These dogs are intolerant of high-energy activities because of how their bodies are designed. They tend to run out of energy quickly because their short nose is unable to supply enough oxygen in their tiny bodies. For this reason, they can’t run exuberantly like other dogs. Frenchies prefer to lounge around while enjoying occasional playtime with their owners.
French Bulldogs become less active as they age. Since they have compromised breathing and overheat quickly, French Bulldogs shouldn’t be given a lot of exercise. But it’s advisable to provide just enough exercise routine to manage their weight and health. Furthermore, exercises help build strong muscles, make their joints mobile, and stimulate their minds, thus preventing them from adopting destructive behaviors. It would be best to do outdoor activities during cool mornings and evenings to avoid too cold or hot weather conditions that are life-threatening to the French Bulldog.
Strenuous activities are discouraged; you can take short walks and games like play fetch to keep your Frenchie active. Swimming is also discouraged as their heavy front structure also makes it difficult for them to swim
The Lifespan of a French Bulldog Dog
The lifespan of a French Bulldog is 10-14 years. The oldest Frenchie alive, reported by Kennel Club Survey, is said to have died at 14.5 years old. Frenchies are prone to health concerns that can affect their lifespan and quality of life. Factors like stress and anxiety contribute to the short life expectancy of this dog. Luckily, they do not get too old to be affected by old age diseases.
Another factor that can affect their lifespan is their flat face with short muzzles, which make them prone to suffer from breathing problems, sleeping apnea, and snoring. French Bulldogs are also likely to suffer from brain disorders and respiratory tract disorders. Since they rely on evaporation from the mouth to cool their body temperature, many French bulldogs die from overheating in hot weather.
To improve their life expectancy, provide a healthy diet that avoids commercially processed dog food containing fillers. Regularly exercising you dog will also help prevent obesity and lower stress levels. Practicing oral cleaning plays a significant role in preventing dental issues that could significantly shorten your dog’s lifespan. Lastly, pay regular vet visits to help identify and address any possible health concerns early enough.
Are French Bulldog Hypoallergenic
The question is common to dog lovers with pet allergies. Hypoallergenic means something is less likely to trigger an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to allergens. French Bulldogs are small-sized and have short hair making them seem hypoallergenic. The truth is, no completely hypoallergenic breed of dog exists, and the French Bulldog is not an exception. It is not the dog’s fur that makes you sneeze or experience allergic reactions, but the protein found in their saliva and dander that triggers the response. When the Frenchie drools and even groom themselves, the saliva ends up on their fur and dries up later. As they shed or rub themselves on objects, the protein in the saliva becomes airborne. The person breathing in such air might experience allergic reactions such as sneezing, coughing, and itchy eyes.
The good news is there are several things you can do to reduce the risk of allergic reactions when living with this dog. The first one is proper grooming, which helps to remove dander and other irritants on the dog before they get into the air. Remember to wash the sheets, furniture, and other items the dog gets in contact with. You’ll also need to clean and regularly vacuum your home/office. Be sure to invest in a HEPA air filter to remove all possible allergens in the air.
Your options for feeding this dog are commercial dry food (kibble), a raw diet, or canned wet food. The former comes in different levels of quality, so go for the high-quality ones with fewer filler materials and more nutrients. Canned food is highly nutritious, but since it contains about 75% water, you must offer more of it to obtain the same calories as kibble. Raw foods are available commercially, but you can prepare them at home too. You may want to check with your vet before feeding this diet to your Frenchie as bacteria are a risk.
Frenchies are known to have big appetites and will scarf down as much food as they are given. And overeating can quickly lead to obesity, so how much food should your dog eat? This will largely depend on the Frenchie’s size, weight, and activity level. Ensure you read the label on the dog food packaging or consult with your vet or a vet nutrition specialist, especially when offering a homemade diet since it’s more difficult to balance. Ideally, the average adult French Bulldog should get between 550 and 600 calories a day.
You also want to ensure they are not eating too fast as this can cause stomach discomfort, gas and dog farts, vomiting, and is a hazard of choking. A pregnant Frenchie will need to eat multiple small meals each day as the litter inside her will compress their stomach.
Are French Bulldogs Suitable for Apartments?
Most apartments have limited space, and most people think it may be too small to afford their dog a comfortable and quality life. While that may be true for some, especially for most large and high-energy dogs, it isn’t the case for all breeds. In fact, there are many good apartment dogs, and the French Bulldog is one of them. Frenchies are affectionate, warm, cuddly, and loving companions, and you’ll never feel lonely with one in your apartment.
These dogs are small and don’t weigh that much, meaning they won’t need much space to be comfortable. Apartment living means no yard or a lot of outdoor space, which can be a problem for a very energetic dog. Luckily, Frenchies have low energy levels and don’t need much exercise to be happy and healthy. Another reason these are good apartment dogs is they aren’t big barkers, which is a crucial component when you share walls with other people. Last but not least, they love the indoors. Their common breathing issues require them to be indoors more than outdoors. Plus, they tend to sleep a lot most of the day, sometimes for as much as 12-14 hours.
One common issue dog lovers experience in apartments is that most have restrictions for pets. They won’t allow certain breeds, especially large or aggressive ones. You’re in luck because French Bulldogs are usually allowed.
Can French Bulldog Live Outside, In Cold and Hot Weather?
French Bulldogs enjoy outside fun. They will play, run, investigate, sniff around smells, and more. But this breed is not suited to be outside, whether in cold or hot weather. They are best in moderate temperatures, and careful attention should be paid when too cold or hot.
This breed is particularly susceptible to heat. Panting is a natural process dogs use to cool themselves during hot weather. But with the Frenchie being a brachycephalic breed, their short snouts don’t allow them to regulate body heat with deep breathing. This makes hot weather dangerous to them as they could suffer from a heatstroke.
The sun doesn’t even have to be too hot to be too much for this dog. Just be cautious as soon as the sun is out, and the heat has risen. Watch out for signs of overheating, such as heavy and excessive panting, odd sounds coming from the throat, foaming at the mouth, and exhaustion from struggling to breathe. If your dog is experiencing any of these signs crank up the air conditioner, let them lick an ice cube, or use a fan and water spray combo.
Cold weather isn’t as harmful to this dog as heat, but you shouldn’t expose them to extreme cold weather. Frenchies have one-layered short coats that aren’t enough to keep them warm during winter. Be sure to put them in a sweater or jacket to stay safe from freezing.
French Bulldog Dog Personality Characteristics
Thanks to their amazing personality, Frenchies make one of the most incredible companion dogs. These pups are sweet and friendly people pleasers who enjoy cuddling and love being the center of attention. They are loving, affectionate, loyal, and protective of their owners. These fun-loving dogs also love to play, making them good playmates for kids. Often considered a lap dog, this dog is easy-going and it won’t take much to keep them happy and healthy. But note that Frenchies have a bit of a mischievous and stubborn side and will need an owner who can train them with a firm and gentle hand.
Living with Children and Family Members
Frenchies make excellent family dogs, so long as you have a safe, secure, and loving environment to keep them. Family means being loving, affectionate, protective, loyal, and friendly towards one another, and these are words that describe the personality of the Frenchie. These guys have lots of love and aren’t afraid to show it with little happy smiles and cuddles.
This dog will get along with all family members, including children. Their small size and easy-going nature make them wonderful with kids. They are quite playful and will make a great companion for your child. They also have a gentle temperament and can be very tolerant, which is a trait you’ll come to appreciate, given how rough kids can be. But like any other dog, they have their limitations. No dog likes their ears and tails being pulled all day. And such mistreatment might be met with aggression from the dog. Other reasons for canine aggression towards kids include food, resources, and territory guarding. Ensure you teach your kids to be gentle and respectful in all their interactions with the dog
A French Bulldog will be good with kids as long as they are well socialized. It’s also important to teach them acceptable behavior around kids and those that are not, such as nipping and biting.
Living with Cats and Other Dogs
French Bulldogs are generally friendly and non-aggressive and thrive on companionship. They will likely get along well with other dogs, especially if they have been properly socialized. However, these little dogs always want to be the center of attention, which can cause conflict if you have other dogs or pets to take care of.
Like most dogs, your Frenchie will have a unique reaction to the presence of a cat. The good news is this breed has a long history as a companion animal and has less chase instinct compared to other dog breeds. This should give you some peace as your Frenchie is likely to be okay with a cat, especially if they grew up together.
If you’ve got an adult Frenchie, you’ll need to socialize them with cats. The way they react to the presence of other cats should tell whether or not they will get along with one if you bring them home. You must do introductions properly in a controlled environment, and only when you’re sure both animals like each other should you leave them to interact freely.
Remember that conflict between Frenchies and other dogs or cats can be triggered by territorial trespass, disputes over food and toys, rough play that goes too far, and so. Each animal needs to have their own personal space to eat, play, and sleep without interference. And, socialization is key!
Barking Levels of a French Bulldog Dog
Frenchies can make good apartment dogs since they do not bark or howl frequently. However, barking might sometimes be triggered by anxiety, fear, aggression, loneliness, or boredom. Loud barks might irritate the neighbors or yourself. Daily exercise is important in avoiding boredom and loneliness.
Sudden loud noise makes the Frenchie uncomfortable, causing them bark in response. Excitement can also make them bark, especially because they’ve seen their favorite human companion.
If the barking becomes intense, you should consider training your Frenchie to be familiar and friendly to visitors to avoid unnecessary barking when new people visit your house. Poor socialization makes French Bulldogs bark when other dogs come around or hear other dogs barking. It is good to socialize your Frenchie by taking them to dog shows and dog parks or visiting other dog owners with them.
French Bulldogs will bark when trying to communicate a need like hunger. So, provide their meals in time before they decide to ask for it. You dog might also bark for no reason just to attract your attention. When you notice this, deny them the attention. Do not look or talk to them until they stop barking. After this, they will realize that there is no reward for unnecessary barking and slowly stop it.
Are French Bulldogs Good Guard or Watchdogs?
Some people get dogs because they want extra security and safety around their houses. A watchdog will basically alarm you to somebody or something coming close to your house, but a guard dog goes the extra mile to stop the intruder. The French Bulldog is an excellent watchdog and will bark to alert you to an intruder but don’t expect it to attack. Though they can be somewhat territorial, they are not aggressive enough to strike a burglar. This makes them not so great guard dogs.
While you cannot depend on them entirely for your security, their prowess in this area will largely depend on how you train and socialize them. If left to be an indoor dog and only get used to a few individuals, it can grow to bark at strangers persistently.
That being said, this breed is one of the friendliest on the planet and doesn’t grow big enough to threaten intruders. They also can’t bark for too long as their short airways tire them easily. Another weakness of the Frenchies is their love for food. If an intruder offers your dog some tasty bacon, they will surely devour the food and forget the intruder.
For this reason, if you’re looking for a dog primarily for protection, perhaps you should consider well-known guard dogs like the Akita, Bullmastiff, German Shepherd, and Rottweiler, just to name a few.
Looks can be deceiving. French Bulldogs can look a bit scary and menacing at first glance, but once you get to know them, they are one of the most playful, loving, affectionate, and friendly dogs out there. In short, these dogs don’t have an aggressive bone in their being.
That being said, if they are not properly socialized and trained, there’s the risk of aggression. If the dog is not seeing other people or animals or experiencing different smells, sights, and sounds, it’s only natural that they will be afraid and unsure about them. As such, they can react with aggression when they experience new things.
Secondly, even a friendly and loving dog like the Frenchie can become aggressive when provoked. Like any other dog, they can become territorial of their home and show guarding behaviors. As such, they might react with aggression if anyone tries to take their resources away. Aggression in Frenchies could also stem from fear, pain from illness or injury, establishing dominance with other dogs or even humans, frustration, and even past trauma. Signs of aggression include things like snarling, growling, and snapping. If your dog shows fear-based aggression, they may try to hide, run away, or avoid physical and eye contact before displaying any aggressive behaviors.
The first step to preventing aggressive behaviors in Frenchies is early socialization and proper training. You also want to take care of all their needs and handle them with care and respect. Last but not least, seek out an animal behaviorist near you to help nip this problem in the bud.
Can A French Bulldog Be Left Alone?
The French Bulldog is known to be an especially social and clingy breed. It thrives on human companionship and doesn’t like to be left alone. That being said, you will need to leave your dog behind at some point, whether it’s to go to work, school, or even run errands. An adult Frenchie can stay alone for about 4-6 hours, but they need to be fully prepared for being alone for such long periods. Puppies, seniors, or sick dogs should never be left alone for such long hours; perhaps an hour is more than enough.
You’ll need to teach your dog to be alone, which can take a while. Start by leaving them for a few minutes, then hours, and gradually progress until they can handle being alone for up to six hours. Even then, you should do a few things to make their alone time comfortable and enjoyable. For starters, make sure they have access to food and water, as well as interactive toys to keep them occupied and entertained. If you have to leave longer than recommended, ask a neighbor or friend to watch over your dog or hire a dog sitter. Remember to exercise them, so they don’t have excess energy and stay calmer.
If you leave your Frenchie alone for more than the recommended time frame, they can quickly become bored and even develop separation anxiety. And when that happens, they will begin to dig, chew, bark and whine excessively, poop and pee in the house, or engage in other destructive behaviors.
French Bulldog Dog Training – Easy or Hard?
Training is vital to having a well-behaved dog and a happy household. On the one hand, Frenchies are considered smart and people-pleasing dogs who can easily pick up on whatever makes their owners happy. Their love for food and need for attention means they are food and praise-motivated. As such, they respond well to training with lots of positive reinforcement. These dogs also love order and routine, so you can easily get them used to a regular schedule for potty breaks, mealtimes, and even walks. That being said, Bulldogs of any type are notoriously stubborn. This is especially true if you’re trying to train an adult Frenchie who’s already set in their ways. The good news is you can overcome such resistance with consistency, love, and patience.
French Bulldog Dog Potty Training
A dog may be a man’s best friend, but potty training/housebreaking them will surely test your patience. This is a critical type of training that once completed, will allow for a peaceful, happy, and clean household. The Frenchie is quite a stubborn breed, making that initial learning phase a challenge. But once they learn something, they stick with it forever.
The first step to potty training your Frenchie is identifying a dedicated place to do their business. It can be outside or use a potty mat. The latter will come in handy when it’s too cold or hot outside or at night. Once you find an ideal location, you need to create a routine for taking them to do their business. Puppies still don’t have full bladder control, so they’ll need to go several times a day. Consider taking them out when they wake up in the morning, after naps, after meals, after playtime, before bed, and anytime in between if they’re showing signs that they want to go potty. Adults in good health will have much better bladder control and can be taught to go potty every 4-6 hours. But this also means adhering to the rest of their schedule, including feeding and sleeping time.
One of the most important things you can do during housebreaking is teach a phrase that signals your dog that it’s okay to do their business. Remember to reward them with praises or a treat every time they eliminate successfully.
French Bulldog Dog Obedience Training
A dog that respects and obeys you will do what you say and immediately stop what they’re doing when you tell them no. Frenchies are ranked below average in obedience and working intelligence. According to Coren’s criteria, these dogs learn a new command with 40 to 80 repetitions and will only obey a command on the first try 30% of the time. Their low ranking in obedience intelligence is likely due to their stubborn nature.
This dog isn’t the type to blindly follow your commands for the sake of it. They will need a little motivation in the form of positive reinforcement. You can reward them with praises and treats, but be careful not to overdo the latter as these dogs are susceptible to obesity.
You want to start your obedience training by teaching basic commands such as sit, stay, come, down, go potty, quiet, stop, no, etc. When the dog does what you say, reward them. Then just repeat the training until they get the hang of it. The key is to be firm, consistent, and patient. And be sure to keep training sessions short and precise to maximize their attention span.
French Bulldog Dog Behavioral Training
Is your Frenchie having behavioral problems? For the most part, these adorable little dogs are pretty well-behaved. They are smart, friendly, loving, affectionate, playful, not big barkers, and not aggressive. But sometimes they can exhibit some behavior problems such as excessive barking and whining, nipping and biting, being too clingy, chewing on everything, separation anxiety, pulling on the leash, playing roughly, jumping on people, urinating or defecating in the house, and so on.
This is why behavioral training is essential, to help this dog understand acceptable behavior and what is not. This form of training uses basic commands, but the aim is for your Frenchie to understand how they should act in different situations even when you’re not around to command them. Speaking very generally, here are a few steps to follow to try and fix your Frenchie’s behavior problems:
- Identify the cause: Are they stressed or bored? Are they peeing in the house due to a health issue? Knowing the root cause of the problem is the first step to determining how best to handle it.
- Make a plan of action: There are many solutions for undesired behavior; you just have to identify the most appropriate one and implement it. For starters, providing enough daily exercise can help release pent-up energy that would otherwise cause your dog to find destructive ways to release it. Other solutions include zero tolerance for pulling on the leash, ignoring attention-seeking behaviors, etc.
- Lastly, stick to your guns.
French Bulldog Dog Protection Training
Like any other dog, Frenchies will instinctively protect their owners. But their small size is not intimidating, and their non-aggressive nature means they will not attack an intruder even if you are being attacked. They may bark continuously, but that’s usually all they can do. The good news is, even if your dog is not a breed that’s inherently inclined to protect you, they can be taught how to do guarding and protection work.
Remember that your goal is to get your Frenchie to help you, not go around attacking everyone and everything. This means teaching them to bark and stop on your command and snarl and posture instead of immediately jumping on a person. If you’re seriously interested in training your French Bulldog to guard, it’s best to seek professional training for both of you.
While you can teach your Frenchie to be a guard dog, we don’t recommend it. These dogs are usually trained to have short fuses and can easily bite or display other forms of aggression towards people and animals. Why ruin a perfect family dog? If your primary reason for wanting a dog is for protection, perhaps you should consider well-known protection dogs like the Rottweiler, Akita, German Shepherd, etc. Remember, whenever your dog attacks and causes harm, you might face a lawsuit even if they’re on the right.