French Bulldog: Pet Profile

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French bulldogs, also known as Frenchies, are popular for their easy-to-maintain coats and fun-loving personalities. These dogs are cute, cuddly, fairly low energy, and make great pets for first-time dog owners. This may be why these dogs are some of the most expensive. French bulldog prices range from $1,500 to $5,000, depending on the breeder. 

Frenchies love to play, but they also enjoy lounging on the couch. Their relaxed attitudes make them some of the easiest dogs to care for, and they're highly trainable and intelligent. Unfortunately, this brachycephalic breed is prone to many of the same health conditions as other flat-faced breeds, so it's essential to know what to expect if you want to adopt a Frenchie. Wondering if adopting a French bulldog is right for you? Let's look at French bulldog temperament, origins, and care to ensure you make the right decision. 

History & Origin Of French Bulldogs

The French bulldog has a complicated origin story. They're descendants from British bulldogs, which were much larger and used for bull-baiting, a practice that involved a bull and a dog wrestling until the bull ended up on its side.1 Luckily, bull-baiting was eventually banned, and bulldogs of all sizes entered different levels of society. Toy bulldogs were a popular breed among female lace workers who were put out of work with the invention of machines, and these women took their dogs with them to farms along the English countryside and France. These little dogs became even more popular in France, and toy bulldogs were crossed with other breeds to create the modern Frenchie.2 

The popularity of this breed only soared throughout Paris, where they became popular among ladies of all types. Then, by the 19th century, these dogs had made their way to Europe and America.2

Physical Attributes Of The French Bulldog

French bulldogs are known for their small stature, smooth coat, compact build, and bat-like ears

French bulldogs are considered a small breed with the following characteristics:

  • Height: 11-13 inches
  • Weight: under 28 pounds

They're known for their small stature, smooth coat, and compact build.3 However, the most popular feature of the Frenchie is its bat ears. They also come in many coat colors, including cream, fawn, and white. 

The French bulldog's lifespan is around 10-12 years, making them a great companion whose company you can enjoy for many years. But, of course, you must take care of their health and wellness to help them reach old age. 

Behavioral Characteristics Of The French Bulldog

The French bulldog's temperament is one of the reasons why they make the best apartment dogs. These dogs are playful and full of joy. Of course, while they love to engage in physical activities, they also enjoy relaxing with their pet parents. The French bulldog is typically affectionate with family and great with young children. They even tend to enjoy the presence of other dogs. Of course, whether your dog is good with other dogs and people will depend on their socialization and training, both of which are crucial for all dogs, including Frenchies. 

When considering French bulldog temperament, you might think they're low energy and lazy. However, they're anything but. Instead, they love to play, and your young pup might even play non-stop, so you'll need to find ways to engage them in physical and mental exercise. Luckily, they're not necessarily high-energy dogs. Instead, they're a good mix between lazy couch potatoes and high-energy working breeds.2 Therefore, they're typically good dogs for first-time pet owners, especially because they're easy to train. However, you should still stick to a puppy training schedule to ensure they know all their basic commands and behave well around others. 

Luckily, French bulldogs are incredibly friendly and adaptable. In addition, they don't require a job or activity to stay happy. Since they're not high-energy, they're happy to spend at least some of their time lounging around the house with their pet parents. However, you should still ensure they get enough exercise each day. 

Common French Bulldog Health Issues

Common French Bulldog health issues

French bulldogs are a brachycephalic breed; they have short snouts that can affect their breathing ability. Frenchies should not engage in vigorous exercise because their short skulls cause upper airway abnormalities that make breathing challenging, such as an elongated soft palate and stenotic nostrils. In addition, they're prone to the same health issues as other flat-faced dog breeds. Brachycephalic airway syndrome is common, and your dog may have noisy breathing, retching, or gagging when swallowing.4 These dogs also have exercise intolerance, and too much vigorous exercise can cause collapse because they can't breathe well. 

Unfortunately, physical activity, heat, and cold weather can aggravate your dog's brachycephalic airway syndrome, potentially causing collapse and other serious health problems.4 Therefore, you should work with a vet to determine how to properly exercise your Frenchie to ensure they're getting the physical exercise they need without overdoing it. This syndrome also affects other aspects of your dog's life. For example, anesthesia is more dangerous for these dogs because they already have difficulty breathing.2

Because of this, your dog must maintain a healthy weight. Since French bulldogs aren't high-energy breeds, it's easy for them to get lazy, especially if you aren't spending time ensuring they get enough exercise. Also, depending on your dog's weight, they might need weight management dog food if they're overweight or obese to prevent further obstruction of the airways and difficulty breathing. 

Other French bulldog health issues include the following:

  • Skin issues: French bulldogs have skin folds that are prone to bacteria growth and pyoderma. Pyoderma is pus in the skin caused by bacterial infections in warm, moist areas of the skin, including body and facial folds.5 Frenchies are also more prone to skin allergies and autoimmune skin disorders. 
  • Hip dysplasia: French bulldogs are prone to hip dysplasia, an inherited condition that can lead to arthritis. Of course, breeders should avoid breeding any dogs with hip dysplasia, so you can find out if your dog is at risk by asking for proof the parents have been tested.
  • Eye disorders: French bulldogs can inherit or develop eye conditions, including cherry eye, pink eye, and cataracts. However, proper care of your pet's eyes can help prevent many of these issues.2

The French Bulldog is a brachycephalic breed with shortened snouts

Caring For A French Bulldog

Caring for a French bulldog is easier than for other dogs because they don't require a lot of exercise since they're not a high-energy breed, and vigorous exercise can be dangerous to them. Therefore, they will benefit from a short walk outside daily to stay in shape. 

Like all dogs, they'll benefit from a high-quality diet. Since dogs are omnivores, they need amino acids, fatty acids, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water for optimal health.6 Choosing the best dog food is crucial to their health, so you should ensure your dog's food meets the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards. 

In addition to exercise and nutrition, French bulldogs need the same training as all other breeds. Socialization is especially important when they're young because it can help them understand how to interact with other dogs. Dog socialization period lasts from two to four months of age, and during this time, they can easily accept new environments, people, animals, and experiences.7

Luckily, Frenchies are fairly easy to train. You should start training them as soon as possible with potty training, basic commands, and obedience training. Depending on your lifestyle, you may also need to invest time in crate and leash training to ensure they're comfortable in any environment. 

Grooming

French bulldogs have short coats with minimal shedding. However, they still require weekly brushing to remove hair and prevent skin problems.2 In addition, you should trim your dog's nails regularly to prevent them from growing into the pads or causing your dog to change posture to prevent discomfort. How often you trim your dog's nails will depend on how quickly they grow. However, a good rule of thumb is that if you hear your dog's nails on the floor, it's time for a trim. 

In addition to nail trims, you should ensure their skin folds are kept clean and dry. Your dog's bathing schedule will depend on their daily activities, but a bath once every few months should prevent serious skin conditions. 

You should also brush your dog's teeth. Ideally, you should brush their teeth daily, but if that's not possible, you can give them chew toys and oral health treats to promote better breath and remove plaque. In addition, you should schedule regular professional cleanings with your vet. 

Exercise

As we've mentioned, keeping your Frenchie in good shape is essential to prevent weight gain and associated health problems. However, these dogs don't require much exercise because they're not high-energy. In addition, their short snout makes it dangerous for them to engage in vigorous activity, especially in hot or cold weather. So instead, you can ensure your French bulldog stays in shape with short play sessions or walks. 

French Bulldog: FAQs

Do French bulldogs shed?

French bulldogs have a short, smooth coat that doesn't shed a lot. However, all dogs shed, so you can expect to see some fur on your clothes and furniture. Luckily, these dogs are fairly low maintenance and only require a monthly brushing to maintain their coats. 

Are Frenchies high maintenance?

Frenchies are relatively low-maintenance dogs because they're not high-energy and have easy-to-maintain coats. They're also easy to train and do well with children, other people, and pets. But, of course, while they're not high-energy dogs, they're certainly not a low-energy breed. They still need tons of play and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. 

Do French bulldogs bark a lot?

All dogs bark. However, French bulldogs only bark to alert their pet parents. Unlike other small dogs, they don't bark at everything outside and are fairly quiet. However, every dog is different, and your dog's barking level depends on their temperament and training. 

Closeup of French Bulldog laying on a blanket looking up

Final Notes

French bulldogs are a popular breed because they're small with a unique look. However, they're a brachycephalic breed prone to certain health conditions. Unlike working dog breeds, they don't require tons of exercise, and too much exercise, especially in hot weather, can be dangerous for them. In addition, they're prone to health conditions like hip dysplasia and eye disorders. 

Ensuring your Frenchie eats a healthy diet and gets enough exercise is crucial. Regular checkups and having a vet who can answer your questions will make being a pet parent easier and less stressful. Talk to a Dutch vet today to help your Frenchie live a healthy, happy life. 

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References

  1. Flaim, Denise. "From Brothels to Royals: The Complicated Past of the French Bulldog." American Kennel Club, 26 May 2020, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/dog-breeds/behind-the-breed-history-french-bulldog/.

  2. Greenberg, Aurora. "French Bulldog Dog Breed Information." American Kennel Club, 6 Nov. 2017, https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/french-bulldog/.

  3. Official Standard of the French Bulldog. https://images.akc.org/pdf/breeds/standards/French_Bulldog-6-18.pdf.

  4. "Small Animal Topics." ACVS, https://www.acvs.org/small-animal/brachycephalic-syndrome.

  5. Moriello, Karen A. "Pyoderma in Dogs - Dog Owners." Merck Veterinary Manual, 13 Dec. 2022, https://www.merckvetmanual.com/dog-owners/skin-disorders-of-dogs/pyoderma-in-dogs.

  6. "Your Dog's Nutritional Needs." The National Academies Press, https://nap.nationalacademies.org/resource/10668/dog_nutrition_final_fix.pdf.

  7. Bukowski, John A., and Susan Aiello. "Puppy Care - Dog Owners." Merck Veterinary Manual, 13 Dec. 2022, https://www.merckvetmanual.com/dog-owners/routine-care-and-breeding-of-dogs/puppy-care.

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