French Bulldogs, affectionately known by their many fans as Frenchies, are an immensely popular and well-known breed of dog. As their name implies, they are native to France and are the result of a mix between English Bulldogs and local dogs in Paris. They are very popular around the world, and recently became the most popular dog breed in the United States.
Illustration courtesy of the Swedish Kennel Club
French Bulldog at a glance
It’s no secret that French Bulldogs—or Frenchies, as they’re often called—are one of the most popular dog breeds all around the world. Known for their playfulness, quirky look, and affectionate personalities, French Bulldogs make great companions.
French Bulldogs are, in fact, so desired that in 2022 they became the most popular dog breed in America. French Bulldogs generally get along well with other pets, including other dogs, and are marvelous with children.
French Bulldogs are also associated with unique health risks, and many can be assessed with an Embark dog DNA test.
About the French Bulldog
French Bulldogs became popular as companion dogs among French and English aristocrats in the 1800s. After England outlawed “bull-baiting,” unemployed Bulldogs were bred with smaller breeds, which resulted in Toy Bulldogs. When lace workers from Nottingham relocated to France and brought these Toy Bulldogs with them, they found popularity in their new homes and were soon eagerly traded. As these small Bulldogs grew in popularity, they began to be seen as a new breed and were given the name “Bouledogue Français.”
Though “Dogue” translates from French into “mastiff,” and French Bulldogs are indeed distant descendants of mastiffs, they served a different purpose in French society. They were considered extremely fashionable at the zenith of their creation and were adored by noble ladies and “ladies of the night” alike. Aristocratic owners valued this breed for their playful and affectionate personalities, as well as for their unique look.
French Bulldogs are sometimes referred to as “frog dogs.” This is because of their wide, round face and how they sit with their hind legs spread. Their heads are large and square-shaped, their coats are short and fine to the touch, and their eyes are dark. Their coats come in a variety of colors: brindle, pied, black, white, cream, fawn, and some have face masks. The most distinctive physical characteristics of the French Bulldog are their flat muzzles and their bat-like ears.
Males typically measure between 11 and 14 inches and weigh between 20 and 28 pounds, while females measure between 10 and 13 inches and weigh between 16 and 24 pounds.
French Bulldogs are susceptible to weight gain and obesity, so it is important to measure the proper amount of food and limit treats and table scraps. It is recommended that their diet contains at least 18% protein, and in order for them to get the energy they need, the fat content of their diet should be at least 5%. Omega fatty acids (aka fish oil) can also promote skin and coat health. Discuss the ideal diet for your dog with your veterinarian.
French Bulldogs have short, fine hair that doesn’t suffer from outrageous shedding, though they do benefit from a modest brushing from time to time. They’re also a generally clean breed. Weekly baths aren’t required, and they only need to be washed when they appear visibly dirty. They can develop skin problems, though, so they should be bathed with a vet-recommended shampoo, and pay extra attention to keeping their facial folds clean. Regular visits to your veterinarian to assess the need for a professional dental cleaning or ear cleaning, detect skin problems, and provide parasite preventatives will also help keep them healthy and happy.
Playtime and training
Because they were bred as companion dogs, French Bulldogs both require and offer a great deal of attention and love. If left alone for too long, they can suffer from separation anxiety and become unhappy. This is especially true when they’re young, but it can continue into adulthood. Though they are not highly rated on a cognitive scale, they more than make up for it with their fun-loving and endearing personalities.
Daily walks are recommended, but French Bulldogs don’t require excessive exercise, making them great apartment dogs. They are generally easy to train—though some stubbornness can present itself at times—and get along well with other breeds. French Bulldogs are also fantastic with children and make excellent family dogs. And, as a bonus, they are not big barkers.
Special attention should be paid during hot-weather playtime. Because of their flat muzzles, French Bulldogs tend to suffer from breathing problems, and too much exercise, especially during hot weather, should be avoided as they are prone to heat stroke. They should also be closely supervised when they’re near pools of water where they cannot stand. Because of their short legs, they’re not very good swimmers and have a difficult time getting out of pools.
Health and aging in French Bulldogs
French Bulldogs make great parents but poor reproducers. They often need to be artificially inseminated and frequently require cesarean births. Because of these costs associated with having a litter, expect to pay more money for a French Bulldog than other purebred dogs. It is very important to choose a breeder carefully—a reputable breeder will health test their dogs, and they will be able to show prospective pet owners all the documentation.
French Bulldogs typically live between 10 to 12 years of age.
An Embark Dog DNA Test looks at the following health conditions in French Bulldogs:
The costs related to caring for a French Bulldog are more than worth it, as few companions are as loving and memorable as Frenchies. Learn more about your dog with an Embark dog DNA test, the most accurate canine DNA test on the market.
French Bulldogs on Embark
Explore some Embark dogs that share French Bulldog ancestry.
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