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The French Bulldog

A complete breed guide


This article is written by our veterinarian, Dr Teagan Lever, BVSc (Hons)


1. At a glance

2. History

3. Personality

4. Distinguishing Features

5. Common Health Ailments

6. Nutritional Requirements

Further reading

Breed size: Place of origin: Other names:
Small Southern England "Frenchie"
Breed group: Energy level: Activity Needs:
Non Sporting/Utility Average Daily walks and exercise is important to keep them at a healthy weight. Limit walks and active play to cooler temperatures during early mornings and evenings.
Life expectancy: Tendency to bark: Weight range:
10 - 12 years Low to Average 11 - 12.5kg
Height range: Coat length: Coat Colours:
28 to 33cm Short, soft and fine hair Brindle, cream, fawn, fawn brindle and or white. Markings include ticked, black mask, brindle markings, piebald and white markings.
Shedding factor: Drool factor: Overall grooming needs:
Low Medium Low

2. History

From left: 'Rico' circa 1890, 'Maurice' circa 1901, French Bulldogs circa 1907

Toy-sized Bulldogs were popular in some cities of England during the mid-1800's, and were exceedingly popular among lacemakers. During the height of the Industrial Revolution, lace workers sought new opportunities in neighbouring France and of course, took their toy Bulldogs with them for companionship and also for protection from vermin. The breed gained popularity and soon became the fashionable breed among the upper class and royalty, and were regularly seen on the streets of Paris. Breeding over a span of decades has resulted in their infamous 'bat ears' and the name Bouledogue Francais was coined. One individual French Bulldog was insured for $750, a huge amount of money during that time, and even travelled aboard the Titanic. The 'French Bulldog Club of America' became the first breed club in 1897 and their popularity skyrocketed after a show held in the deluxe ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria.

3. Personality

The French Bulldog is often described as 'a clown in the cloak of a philosopher', due to their mischievous attitude hidden behind their sometimes stern face. They are extremely affectionate and loyal dogs that thrive on human attention and love to be included in family activities. They will happily adapt to life with singles, couples or families and usually get on well with other animals.

4. Distinguishing features

The most prominent distinguishing feature of the French Bulldog are of course those prominent, raised 'bat ears'. While they may at first appear similar to the Boston Terrier, the Frenchies have a more muscular build and heavy bone structure compared to the leggier Boston.

5. Common health ailments

French Bulldogs are a Brachycephalic ('flat faced') breed which can lead to obstructive airway syndrome in certain individuals. Affected animals can vary in severity from noisy or laboured breathing to complete collapse of the airway. This condition is worsened by heat and exercise therefore extreme caution is advised when exercising and playing in the heat.

6. Nutritional requirements

Although they have no specific nutritional requirements, ideally French Bulldogs should be fed diets formulated for small breed dogs. Ensure close attention is paid to daily calorie requirements to ensure they are kept at an ideal weight. Extra weight can exacerbate respiratory issues, particularly during exercise and in hot weather.

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Further Reading

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome in Dogs

How to Choose a Dog Breed That's Right For You

Premium Pet Food: Is It Worth It?

Best French Bulldog Food

New Puppy Guide

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