- Breed group — Non-Sporting Group (American Kennel Club)
- Height — 11-13 inches
- Weight — Under 28 pounds
- Coat length & texture — Brilliant, short, and smooth
- Coat color —Coat collars vary based on genetics, but acceptable colors include white, cream, light to red fawn, or any combination of these. Breed standard markings may be brindle, piebald, black mask, black shadings, or white.
- Exercise needs — Low
- Intelligence — High
- Barking — When necessary
- Life span — 10-12 years
- Temperament —Playful, loving, and alert
- Hypoallergenic — No
- Origin — France
French bulldog fun facts
- French bulldogs have some famous fans, including celebrity owners Reese Witherspoon and Lady Gaga.
- French bulldogs have a nickname as cute as their mugs—you may often hear the breed called “Frenchies.”
- Breeders in the United Kingdom weren’t fans of the French bulldog’s erect, triangular “bat ears,” but high society French women apparently felt differently. As a result, French breeders prioritized this feature.
French bulldog temperament and characteristics
French bulldogs are members of the Non-Sporting Group, a catch-all AKC categorization that typically encompasses breeds developed to interact with humans. French bulldogs epitomize this idea. They’re known for being friendly and playful. Though they’ll gladly engage in play, Frenchies are the ultimate lap dogs — always keen to curl up for a Netflix binge with you.
These small dogs with erect ears and short snouts typically get along famously with others, including children, so they’re often a good choice for people with kids. They are generally accepting of other pets in the home. A Frenchie will bark to alert you that someone is at the door, but a friend of yours is usually a friend of a Frenchie’s, as they’re often good with guests.
Common French bulldog health problems
French bulldogs are friendly and loving dogs but are susceptible to their share of health issues. A 2021 study found that the breed was more prone to 20 common health disorders than other breeds. Prompt care can help your French bulldog receive the best care and outcomes.
- Allergies. Bacteria can accumulate in French bulldogs’ skin folds and cause allergies. In addition to skin folds, your Frenchie may develop allergies around their ears, eyes, and paws.
- Heatstroke. These little bulldogs are brachycephalic, or flat-faced, dogs. This feature is a breed hallmark, but it can also cause breathing difficulties, making them more prone to heatstroke.
- Obstructive airways syndrome. Frenchies were found to be more likely to develop this respiratory condition , which is characterized by breathing problems and coughing.
- Difficulty giving birth. Female French bulldogs are nine times more likely to have problems giving birth, according to the 2021 research.
👉 A French bulldog’s flat face is cute, but it can lead to respiratory problems, particularly in the heat. On hot days, pay close attention to how much time you spend outside and provide them with plenty of water.
Cost of caring for a French bulldog
Allergies sound like a routine condition, but the costs can add up. A test can carry a $350+ vet bill, and medications run about $150 for four months.
When it comes to heatstroke, prevention is the best medicine. Keep your dog out of the heat, and put on the air conditioning on hot days . Consider spaying your female dog to prevent the need to give birth — shelters will usually do this for free before sending an older puppy or adult dog home. Obstructive airway syndrome isn’t preventable. Depending on the severity, measures to fix it, like soft palate or stenotic nares resections, can cost $200 to $1,500.
A French bulldog can live a healthy and happy life, but issues may pop up, and you want to be prepared. Health insurance can help reduce out-of-pocket expenses, with the greatest benefits going to pet parents who sign their fur babies up early. Opening a pet savings account and budgeting for the unexpected when possible can also help you fund care.
History of the French bulldog
French bulldogs were first developed in France in the mid to late 1880s. Unlike their bulldog predecessors from England, Frenchies were not bred for bull sports, as those were outlawed in 1835. Around that time, lace workers affected by the Industrial Revolution arrived in Normandy with toy bulldogs.
The small bulldogs are likely a cross between toy and English bulldogs. The bat-like ears and amiable personality made the breed, also called Bouledogue Francais, become wildly popular among the French almost from the start. Artists, high-society women, writers, and designers reportedly loved the pup.
The French Bulldog Club of America was founded in 1897, with the American Kennel Club recognizing the breed the following year. Over the years, the French bulldog has been hugely popular with Americans. It recently ranked second in the AKC list of most popular dog breeds in the United States in 2021.
Caring for your French bulldog
When you welcome a new puppy to your family, it can feel like your to-do list grows by four feet, regardless of the breed. You need to take your pet to the veterinarian for the first time and set aside time for your dog’s vaccinations. Then there’s the need to puppy-proof your home and prepare for teething.
You have big plans for a long, loving friendship with your new furbaby. No one likes to think about their new dog getting lost, but it can happen. FidoAlert has a free Fido ID and tag — just in case. Here are some other essential things to know about the French bulldog.
Unlike other popular breeds, like the Labrador retriever, French bulldogs don’t have high exercise needs. In fact, too much exercise, particularly strenuous activity in the heat, can be hard on these flat-faced pups. They’re often content to snuggle in your lap. Their small size and low-energy temperament make them ideal dogs for small apartment dwellers.
Still, Frenchies need physical activity to maintain a healthy weight, just like humans. Short daily walks around the block or play sessions will help your Frenchie stretch their legs. Make sure to have water on hand, particularly when it’s hot, to help them cool down.
Frenchies may not need lots of exercise, but they love tons of attention. After playtime or a short walk, they’re always content to cuddle up for a contact nap.
French bulldogs have smooth and short coats that won’t require cutting or trimming throughout their lives. Still, you’ll want to brush them about once per week with a rubber or bristle brush.
Since bacteria often grow in a Frenchie’s skin folds, which can exacerbate allergies, you’ll want to bathe your pet frequently—at least once every three months. Frenchies, like other bulldogs, have tail pockets. These pockets are small indents just below your pup’s tiny tail, and they can collect dirt and debris that trigger infections. The good news? Tail pockets aren’t challenging to clean.
Regular maintenance, such as nail trimming, ear cleaning, and teeth brushing, will keep your pet comfortable, healthy, and happy.
Diet and nutrition
French bulldogs without any underlying health conditions don’t have any specific nutritional requirements. Standard dog food from a big box store with the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) should have all the nutrition your Frenchie needs to thrive.
If your Frenchie has an underlying health condition, such as diabetes or food allergies, your vet may prescribe specific food.
Your vet will also provide portion requirements, and you can find general guidelines for your dog’s size on the back of every bag. Look closely at the label — the portions may be per day, in which case you need to divide it by two. Generally, a 27-pound dog should have 733 calories per day .
Training your French bulldog
French bulldogs are generally considered bright, particularly for bulldogs. They’re eager to please and highly adaptable. These endearing qualities also make the French bulldog easy to train.
The French bulldog is considered friendly, playful, and loving, but all dogs can benefit from early training from a young age. The Humane Society recommends training that focuses on positive reinforcement over yelling or punishment. Think treats and praise instead of crating and yelling.
Short, simple commands like “sit” and “stay” are easier to follow. If you’re having trouble with training, your vet may be able to recommend a professional to provide assistance in a group or one-on-one setting.
Breeds similar to the French bulldog
Not quite sure that a French bulldog is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds that might be a good fit. Here are a few to get you started:
- Labrador retriever. The AKC’s perennial most popular dog breed is also friendly and loyal, just like the Frenchie.
- Pomeranian. These pint-sized dogs have big personalities. The Pomeranian is also considered a highly affectionate breed.
- Bichon frise. Bichon frise are also playful and loving Non-Sporting breed dogs. They make excellent companion dogs.
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Frequently asked questions
Are French bulldogs good house dogs?
French bulldogs do well in both big houses and small apartments. They’re loving, low-energy, only bark to alert, and are easy to train, making them ideal for a range of living arrangements.
Are French bulldogs high maintenance?
No. In terms of temperament, French bulldogs are go-with-the-flow and low-energy. They also do not have a ton of grooming needs because of their short, smooth coat.
What problems do French bulldogs have?
Unfortunately, French bulldogs are prone to several health problems. Their flat faces can make them more susceptible to respiratory and breathing problems, and their skin folds can collect bacteria. French bulldogs are prone to allergies.
Are French bulldogs expensive?
As they’ve grown in popularity, prices for French bulldog puppies have gone up. If you’re getting a French bulldog from a reputable breeder, expect around a four-figure price tag at the minimum.