The French Bulldog, or Frenchie, is the most popular dog breed in the UK, and it’s not hard to see why! This cute pooch is suitable for practically everyone - young or old, with or without kids… No matter who you are, the French Bulldog will light up your home with its vivacious temperament.
A Brief History
The French Bulldog as we know it today first appeared in Paris in the late 19th century. Its origins can be traced back in part to the Toy Bulldogs of Great Britain, which were popular in the 1850s. The Toy Bulldog breed was a result of the larger British Bulldogs being crossbred with smaller terrier-type dogs to reduce the size of the breed, following the British ban on blood sports in 1835. The resulting Toy Bulldogs became popular as companion dogs in Britain and started to gain recognition in France. Toy Bulldogs considered too small or having undesirable features, such as ears that stood up, were exported to France. The subsequent breeding gradually resulted in the birth of the French Bulldog breed, which quickly won favour with the Parisian Bourgeoisie.
The breed was officially recognised by The Kennel Club in 1906 and by the FCI in 1954. In recent years, the French Bulldog has experienced a great resurgence in popularity. Famous fans of the breed include Leonardo DiCaprio, Lady Gaga, and Chrissy Teigen and John Legend.
The French Bulldog is a small breed dog with a characteristically brachycephalic muzzle (flat face). There is a slight difference in the size of male and female French Bulldogs. In adulthood, the male measures between 30 and 35cm at the withers and weighs between 8 and 14kg, while the female measures between 29 and 34cm at the withers and weighs between 7 and 12kg.
The Kennel Club classifies the French Bulldog in The Utility Breed Group, which consists of miscellaneous breeds of dog mainly of a non-sporting origin.
Body: The body is stocky, muscular, and well-rounded with a strong back and well-sprung ribs.
Head: The French Bulldog is a brachycephalic breed with a flattened muzzle. The head is square and proportional to the body, with a flat skull and domed forehead. The skin covering the skull and forehead should be supple enough to allow folds and wrinkles to appear, even when the dog is alert.
Ears: The ears are colloquially referred to as “bat ears”. They are medium-sized and erect, wide at the base and rounded at the tip.
Eyes: The eyes are medium-sized, round., and preferably dark.
Tail: The tail is short, set low, and tapers towards the end.
Coat: The coat is fine, smooth, lustrous, short, and close.
Colour: The only colours recognised by the breed standard are: Brindle; Fawn; and Pied. All other colours are considered highly undesirable.
French Bulldog Temperament
The French Bulldog is known for its kind and funny temperament. This vivacious dog breed has clownish tendencies and just loves to entertain. Cheerful and playful, Frenchies are also deeply affectionate and docile, and never aggressive towards children, dogs, or other animals. French Bulldogs are calm and intelligent, preferring naps on the sofa to long walks. They also get very attached to their owners and don’t like to spend too much time alone.
Do French Bulldogs Get Along Well with Others?
The French Bulldog is an inherently gentle dog, with not even a hint of aggression. As such, your Frenchie will have no problem getting along with any and everyone. This is not a guard dog, nor a hunting dog; French Bulldogs are not suspicious of strangers and present no danger to other pets, such as cats or exotic animals.
Is a French Bulldog the Right Dog for Me?
The French Bulldog is a companion dog, perfect for families with children or less active people, like the elderly. If you want a more athletic breed, look elsewhere. French Bulldogs aren’t particularly athletic and don't like to exercise too much. In any case, they aren’t cut out for strenuous activity, thanks to their small size and brachycephalic muzzle. Pushing your Frenchie too far could have serious consequences on your dog’s health.
French Bulldog Health Problems
The average lifespan of the French Bulldog is between 9 and 11 years. This is very short for a small breed dog; they normally live much longer than large dogs. However, the French Bulldog is a popular dog breed that has been selectively bred to accentuate certain physical characteristics, such as its flat face. As such, unfortunately, French Bulldogs are affected by certain health problems, common to brachycephalic breeds, like breathing problems. Frenchies are also very sensitive to heat, and heatstroke can be fatal to them. So, be careful when the temperature starts to rise and avoid taking your dog out during the hottest hours of the day.
Ideal Living Conditions for a French Bulldog
Being an indoor dog breed, the French Bulldog is perfectly suited to apartment living! These dogs don't need to be out for long and prefer to rest at home with their owners, rather than be out of the house for hours on end. Although they do need to spend some time outside, like all dogs, Frenchies will be satisfied with a relatively short walk to stretch their legs, plus a few short trips to do their business. These dogs bark very little, which is great news if you live in an apartment. They can, of course, also be very happy in a large house in the countryside.
French Bulldog Training
Don't be fooled by their small size; French Bulldogs are not as easy to train as you might think. Sometimes stubborn and disobedient, they need a naturally authoritative owner, who is never violent. Begin training your Frenchie as soon as you welcome your puppy home, at the age of two months. However, despite their little quirks, French Bulldogs do love to learn and are very eager to please. Just remember to socialise your puppy properly and create lots of positive experiences for them with other dogs, animals, and people.
Diet: What to Feed Your French Bulldog
Take the time to research and choose the right dog food for your French Bulldog. Just like with humans, diet plays an essential role in your dog’s health. Opt for high-quality dog food adapted to the specificities of the breed. Also, bear in mind the fact that your Frenchie’s dietary requirements are likely to change as they grow. If you can, avoid buying the industrial dog food found in supermarkets, as much as possible. Learn how to decipher product labels to understand exactly what you're feeding your dog, and be sure to choose a healthy composition made from premium ingredients. Aim for dog food with a protein content of at least 25 to 28% animal protein. Be wary of added preservatives and other sweeteners. You can also use food supplements for dogs to address specific health problems, on veterinary advice of course!
If you have the time and the budget, perhaps you’d prefer to make your dog’s food yourself. You can do this in a couple of different ways: preparing homemade dog food or offering your dog a BARF diet. Homemade dog food is food that you prepare yourself from cooked meat and vegetables. This type of diet gives you complete control over what goes into your dog’s bowl. The BARF diet, on the other hand, consists of raw meat, raw eggs, and cooked vegetables. Please note: You should always seek advice from your vet before changing your dog's food or implementing a BARF diet.
French Bulldog Care and Maintenance
Vaccines: between £30 to £60 for the first injection series, plus annual boosters
Dog food: from £50 per month for high-quality dog food
Monthly budget: minimum £70 per month
French Bulldogs require relatively little maintenance. These doggies have a short coat which only needs brushing once or twice per week in normal periods. During moulting periods (spring and autumn), you will need to brush your French Bulldog more regularly, about once a day. One or two baths per year should suffice for this little pooch, unless they’re particularly dirty or smell bad. Be sure to choose the right products to wash your dog (never use human shampoo!!) to prevent the onset of skin conditions. Supplement this basic dog grooming routine by regularly brushing your dog’s teeth, cleaning the eyes and ears, and trimming the nails. Finally, don’t forget to take your Frenchie for a vet check-up at least once a year and request their vaccine booster shots, deworming treatments, and antiparasitic treatments against fleas and ticks.
French Bulldog Price
The average price of a French Bulldog puppy is between £1500 and £3500. The price range is relatively wide for several reasons. First of all, the French Bulldog is a very popular breed, whose popularity is still on the rise. As such, you have to consider the laws of supply and demand. Demand for the breed greatly influences the price; the more popular the breed, the longer the waiting list to adopt, and the fewer puppies available for adoption. Breeders can therefore afford to charge more. Dogs intended for exhibition or reproduction, or that come from a champion line, also often go for a higher price. Buying a purebred dog is always expensive, and not everyone can afford it. But there are other options if you’re looking to adopt a dog. Avoid puppy farms and black-market breeders which, although cheaper, often provide their puppies with poor living conditions which exacerbate health and behavioural issues in the long run. Instead, why not call your local animal shelter and let them know you’re looking to adopt a French Bulldog. This way, they can get in touch with you if one comes in looking for a loving home.
French Bulldog Sleep
The French Bulldog is not at all suited to sleeping outdoors. This is an indoor dog breed that should sleep inside the home in a dog bed adapted to its size. French Bulldogs are sensitive to both heat and the cold. So, leaving your dog out in the garden at night would pose a great, unnecessary danger to their health. They could also run into problems with stray cats. Being a small and popular breed, you could also risk having your Frenchie stolen from you in the night; a malicious person would have no trouble running off with a small dog like the French Bulldog! As such, we recommend that you keep this pooch in the house with you. Create a sleeping area for your French Bulldog in a quiet spot, such as the corner of the living room.
Games and Physical Activities for Your French Bulldog
Despite not being very tough or resilient, the French Bulldog is a playful, happy dog breed. This means that Frenchies love playing games and need to have fun to feel good in themselves. However, limit playtime to avoid exhausting your dog too quickly, especially in hot weather. The French Bulldog is not suitable for canine activities, such as agility or canicross. Instead, buy your little pooch lots of toys, such as puzzles and chew toys. Be sure to choose sturdy toys that don’t break easily - you don’t want your dog swallowing the pieces! Toys are also a great way to keep your dog occupied while you’re out to prevent them from getting bored.
Pet Insurance: Protecting Your French Bulldog
Pet insurance is not compulsory for a small dog breed like the French Bulldog. This dog breed is not a hunting dog, nor is it considered a dangerous dog breed, like the Pit Bull. Nonetheless, taking out a pet insurance policy for your dog helps to cover you in the event of accident or illness. Accidents can happen quickly and you would be held responsible for any damage or harm caused to a third party by your dog. Even though Frenchies are small and not likely to cause serious harm, your pooch could slip away from you and be the cause of a traffic accident, for example. Pet insurance is a great way to make sure you're not hit with any nasty surprises. Most home insurance policies offer the option to include animal liability insurance. You can also purchase third-party public liability dog insurance for extra protection.
Additionally, due to their small size and squashed brachycephalic face, French Bulldogs are subject to certain health problems. Pet insurance for your French Bulldog is a great way to make sure they get the healthcare they deserve throughout their life. Vet fees are not standardised in the UK, so veterinary costs can quickly add up. Health insurance for your dog works the same way as it does for you: you pay a monthly premium to an insurance company and, in return, they reimburse you for any veterinary expenses.
In any case, before deciding on a particular contract, make sure to shop around for quotes and assess which best suits your circumstances. Then, take the time to read the fine print to ascertain the type of services offered, as well as the reimbursement rate, limits, and eligibility or exclusion clauses. Some insurance companies may refuse to insure dogs that are too old, too young, or already sick. Likewise, insurance companies may refuse to reimburse costs incurred for certain diseases, genetic or hereditary diseases in particular. So don't wait for your French Bulldog to get sick or old before taking out pet insurance for them, or you may risk them not being properly taken care of.