The Frenchie shares many of the traits that made its bulldog ancestors so successful in the bull-baiting arena: low center of gravity, wide body, heavy bone, muscular build and large, square head. It has soft loose skin forming wrinkles about the head and shoulders. Unlike the bulldog, it has an alert, curious expression, which is aided by its bar ears. Also, unlike the bulldog, its movement is unrestrained and free, with reach and drive. It is a hardy, entertaining home companion and a solid lap dog.
The French bulldog is a clown in a lap dog. It enjoys playing and entertaining its family, as well as cuddling and snoozing with its favorite person. It is amiable, sweet, companionable and willing to please.
AKC RANKING 54
FAMILY companion, mastiff (bulldog)
AREA OF ORIGIN France
DATE OF ORIGIN 1800s
ORIGINAL FUNCTION lap dog
TODAY'S FUNCTION companion
AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 11-13 Weight: <28
AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 11-13 Weight: <28
OTHER NAME bouledogue Francais
Energy level Medium energy
Exercise needs Low
Playfullness Moderately playful
Affection level Moderately affectionate
Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly
Friendliness toward other pets Very friendly
Friendliness toward strangers Shy
Ease of training Easy to train
Watchdog ability Medium
Protection ability Not very protective
Grooming needs Low maintenance
Cold tolerance Medium tolerance
Heat tolerance Low tolerance
The Frenchie has minimal exercise requirements, although it is a fun-loving dog. It enjoys a romp outdoors, but it doesn't do well in hot, humid weather. Most cannot swim. A short walk on lead is sufficient to meet most of its physical needs. This breed should not live outdoors. The Frenchie snores and may wheeze and drool. It requires minimal coat care, but its facial wrinkles should be regularly cleaned. Major concerns: stenotic nares, elongated soft palate, intervertebral
disc degeneration, hemivertebrae
Minor concerns: CHD, patellar luxation, entropion
Occasionally seen: distichiasis, cataract, deafness
Suggested tests: hip, spine, knee, eye
Life span: 9 11 years
Note: This breed does not tolerate heat well and may be sensitive to anesthesia.
In the 19th century, the bulldog was fairly popular in England, especially around Nottingham. Some of these bulldogs were quite small, weighing less than 25 pounds. When many of the lace workers of the region went to France for work in the mid-1800s, they took their "toy" bulldogs with them. The French women, especially, were attracted to these little bulldogs, especially those with erect ears (a common but disliked feature in England). Dog dealers brought more of the clownish little dogs to France, where they soon became the rage of Paris. The dogs were dubbed bouledogue Francais. French breeders sought to consistently produce the erect "bat ears," much to the chagrin of English breeders. By the late 1800s, the breed had caught the attention of the upper class and had moved into some of the finer homes in France. Around this same time, American visitors to France brought several back to America and began to breed the dogs in earnest. Amid continued controversy over which ear type was correct, an American club was formed and, in 1898, it sponsored one of the most elegant dog shows (just for French bulldogs) ever held. The gracious setting attracted wealthy spectators, and the Frenchie soon conquered America. Their popularity among high society soared, and by 1913 they were among the most popular show dogs in America. The breed has since been passed by many others in popularity, but it still boasts some of the most elite and ardent fans in dogdom.