A guide to the breed - French Bulldogs
Also known as Frenchies, if you are looking for a fairly easy to keep dog, this might be the dog for you. They enjoy moderate amounts of exercise every day, are good with children and other pets, and are adaptable and often easy-going.
There is some debate over the history of the French Bulldog, but it is thought they are a cross between English Bulldogs and terriers and were taken to France during the industrial revolution. The other theory is they are from ancient Greece, making them a very old breed indeed!
Powerfully built and muscular, French Bulldogs are fairly small dogs, growing to around 30cm at the wither, which is the point where the shoulders meet the spine. Males are slightly larger than females and will weigh between 11-12.5kgs. They are short-haired and come in a variety of colours, although the Kennel Club only recognises brindle, fawn and pied.
What does a French Bulldog need?
Exercise and mental stimulation
With fairly sound and undemanding temperaments, French Bulldogs are better suited to a couple of shorter walks a day rather than one long yomp. Although they will always appreciate a garden to roam in, Frenchies are adaptable enough to live in apartments, provided they are taken out several times a day for toilet breaks and a leg stretch. French Bulldogs are happy to live in a quieter household and like to curl up with their owner for a snooze after some exercise.
Like any dog, they do benefit from mental stimulation but you will not need to spend hours amusing them and creating activities, as you would with some of the more demanding breeds. According to Stanley Coren, a renowned neuropsychological researcher of dogs, they aren’t classified as the most intelligent breed. Don’t let that put you off. This is a positive if you want less work.
Training and socialisation
All dogs need to start their training and socialisation from an early age and the Frenchie is no exception. They love humans and are eager to please with good temperaments, which is helpful when you begin training. They are food-orientated, an extremely useful trait when training dogs! However, French Bulldogs do have a tendency towards obesity, so beware of giving them too many tasty treats.
Taking your Frenchie puppy to socialisation classes is a good plan. By allowing them to meet lots of other dogs when they are young, you are setting up good habits for life. They aren’t naturally aggressive towards other dogs, but you could end up with problems if you don’t put the work in when they are pups. They have a high-prey drive and will chase cats and small furries if you don’t get their recall sorted!
French Bulldogs do have a stubborn side to their nature. Use positive training methods and don’t pamper them too much. They have the potential to develop ‘small dog syndrome’ if allowed to do as they please.
Due to their friendly, people-orientated temperaments, Frenchies thrive in a home environment and are a good choice for first-time dog owners. But they will develop separation anxiety if left alone for long periods so are best suited to a home where they have company all day.
Grooming and health
With short hair and a low shed, French Bulldogs don’t require lots of grooming. However, they can develop skin conditions and become smelly. Special attention needs to be given to the skin folds and tails to avoid dermatitis.
Some Frenchies are bred to have a flatter, squashed face. Whilst this may look appealing, this shape means that they can overheat quickly in hot weather as they are unable to breathe and pant sufficiently enough to cool them down. Dogs with very flat faces struggle to exercise and have fun as they so desperately want to, because they simply cannot get enough oxygen to cope.
However, buying from a reputable Kennel Club breeder will ensure they have been bred responsibly and screened for brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) a condition causes severe breathing problems due to shorter faces.
If you are looking for a jolly, family dog that loves humans, French Bulldogs make a great choice. Contact The Kennel Club to find registered breeders, ensuring your Frenchie puppy has come from good breeding stock and has been well cared for in their first few weeks. Make sure you cover your Frenchie for illness and injury with our French Bulldog Insurance.
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