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French bulldog chewing a stick outside

French bulldogs, affectionately called Frenchies, are one of the most popular breeds in the world. They are loved for their affectionate, playful natures, large eyes, and adorable bat-like ears. However, there’s much more to this breed than good looks and an amicable temperament. Frenchies have a long, proud history as effective ratters and beloved companions for everyone from farmers to royalty.

French bulldog closeup

1. French Bulldogs originated in England, not France

Despite the name, French bulldogs are not actually French. They were first bred in the early 19th century in Nottingham, as a miniature English bulldog breed after bull baiting was banned in England. They became particularly popular with female lace workers, although no one is certain why. Maybe it was because they ate less than other breeds making them relatively cheap and easy to feed, or because they made the perfect lap dogs. Whatever the reason, they were so beloved that they were taken over to Normandy after many lace workers lost their jobs during the industrial revolution.

In France, their popularity exploded within various levels of society, including socialites and royalty. This earned them the name ‘Bouledogue Francais,’ meaning French bulldog.

2. French Bulldogs are quite popular with celebrities

Maybe it’s their sweet-natured personalities or their small size, but many Hollywood celebrities adore Frenchies. Famous singer-songwriter Lady Gaga has three French bulldogs named Koji, Asia, and Gustav. Hugh Jackman, star of the popular X-Men films, has a French bulldog named Dali. Other famous Frenchie owners include Reese Witherspoon, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Martha Stewart.

3. French bulldogs are not good flyers

The French bulldog is a brachycephalic breed, which basically means ‘flat-faced’. This means they’re prone to developing respiratory health problems, including a chronic airway disease called brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) . This can make them more vulnerable to air quality and temperature changes on flights, especially if their crate has limited ventilation or if they get stressed. Think of it like sucking through a straw: if you breathe gently you will have no problem. However, if you try to breathe more rapidly, you will run out of air quite quickly.

Many airlines will not allow a brachycephalic breed to travel in the cargo hold because of risks to the dog’s health. Instead, it’s recommended that you have them in a suitable travel carrier and placed under the seat in front of you. Speak to your vet if you plan to fly with your dog to make sure they remain safe throughout the flight.

👉 It’s a good idea to teach your dog to accept their carrier before you travel by using positive reinforcement training. This will ensure a stress-free flight with your dog

French bulldog cuddling with owner indoors

4. Most French bulldogs can’t swim

French bulldogs have a bulky, muscular body structure and short legs, which aren’t ideal for swimming! In addition, their brachycephalic facial structure requires them to tilt their heads up to keep their nostrils above water. When they do this, their center of gravity shifts lower, which makes it more difficult for them to stay afloat. French bulldogs must be supervised any time they are around water, and they should wear a lifejacket if they are in water for any length of time.

You should pay particular attention to your French bulldog in warm weather because they are prone to overheating due to their brachycephalic features, leading to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

5. French bulldogs are prone to eye injuries and infections

French bulldogs have large, protruding eyes vulnerable to injury. Punctures or scrapes on the cornea are fairly common in these dogs and can cause ulcers, infection, or vision issues. Furthermore, Frenchies are prone to developing a number of eye problems including cataracts, entropion (abnormal inward-rolling of the eyelids), and cherry eye.

6. French bulldogs make amazing apartment dogs

Frenchies are low-energy dogs that don’t require much exercise. This trait, combined with their calm, affectionate natures and small size, makes them the perfect apartment dog. However, they do need someone to be home for most of the day because these are clingy dogs prone to separation anxiety.

French bulldog laying on a couch

7. Frenchies are very talkative

French bulldogs aren’t known to bark excessively. However, they can certainly make a statement with their variety of howls, growls, yips, yawns, and gargles. These dogs always have something to say but they are not as loud as other breeds, such as Siberian huskies and basset hounds. In fact, their wide vocal repertoire is one of their most endearing characteristics.

8. Most French bulldogs are bred through artificial insemination

French bulldogs can be fertile but there are high risks associated with natural breeding and births because of their bulky body composition and narrow hips. So, most Frenchie puppies are born through artificial insemination. Natural births are generally fraught with complications, such as the puppies getting stuck in the birth canal.

9. French bulldogs are prone to obesity

Frenchies are known to have a fairly lazy disposition. That means they’re prone to obesity. Dog owners need to ensure they feed their French bulldog a strict diet consisting of quality protein, healthy vegetables, vitamins, and minerals to prevent them from piling on the pounds. Obesity can exacerbate muscle and bone deformities such as hip dysplasia and even increase the risk of certain types of cancer.

10. French bulldogs are very clever

Frenchies have a reputation for being unintelligent, but this is simply to do with their stubborn streak! French bulldogs were bred to be companion dogs so they are very in tune with human emotions. They have even been known to adapt their behavior depending on their owner’s mood. Positive reinforcement is the best way to get the most out of this breed.

A French bulldog playing with a basketball

Frequently asked questions

Are French bulldogs good pets?

French bulldogs are affectionate, loyal, and playful, so they make great pets for the right owners. They are also highly adaptable and get on well with children of all ages. However, you need to make sure they are not left alone for long periods because these dogs are prone to separation anxiety.

Are French bulldogs smart?

French bulldogs are smarter than a lot of people think. They have a reputation for being unintelligent thanks to their stubborn streak. However, positive reinforcement training will reward you with an obedient, loving, and highly trainable companion for years to come.

Do French bulldogs like to cuddle?

French bulldogs were bred to be human companions so they are incredibly cuddly. They crave love and security from their owners.

What is so special about French bulldogs?

Since the early 19th century, French bulldogs have been adored for their charming personalities, adorable appearance, and affectionate natures. They do well with children and other pets as long as they’ve been socialized from a young age. They are also highly adaptable so they do well in both apartments and large homes.