The Complete Guide to: French Bulldogs
Known for their companionable nature and desire to please their owners, French Bulldogs are a lovely dog to have in your home. Best suited to the great indoors, rather than a kennel, they are an increasingly popular breed. Here’s more on how to keep your French Bulldog happy and full of life.
Despite their name, French Bulldogs originated from England. It’s believed that lace makers during the Industrial Revolution took their miniature, or Toy Bulldogs as they were called, with them as they emigrated in droves to France. From there, they became the localised French Bulldogs we know today.
The Kennel Club officially recognised the breed in the early 20th century, after its return to the UK some years before. These dogs were used both for practical purposes and companionship. They were ratters and, cruelly, were also celebrated fighters in the ring.As breeding developed, this once-small, ratter Bulldog became larger and sturdier. As they settled into French life, they rose in popularity with traders and café owners. Diminutive, cute and friendly, they were often paraded as a fashion accessory by elegant Parisians, too. Despite being originally rejected in the UKfor favour of English Bulldogs, they soon gained popularity following their integration into England. They became a frequent sight in the upper echelons of society in the late 19th century onwards.
The defining feature of the French Bulldogare its ears. Their pointy, upright, larger ears distinguish the Frenchie from other Bulldogs. This is what endears the breed to its enthusiasts. With a large head, a compact little body, overhanging upper lip, and multi-colours, it’s easy to pick a French Bulldog out of a Bulldog line-up!Frenchie’s have a smooth, medium-fine coat and loose, wrinkled skin, with a flat face and an underbite. When it comes to those colours, it can range from white, brindle, cream, black, fawn, grey and any mix of the above in spots, piebald or markings, but the Kennel Club only officially recognise Brindle, Fawn and Pied markings of either colour. They grow to around 12 inches at the shoulder and weigh anythingfrom 9 to 13 kilos in adulthood.
If you love a cheeky dog that enjoys human companionship, the French Bulldog is a great choice. Extremely loyal, it’s not unheard of for these dogs to become possessive of their owners, and they’ll go to great lengths to earn your praise. All this makes for plenty of fun and games, but they do needclear rules and structure, as well as close attention around children because they can take the upper hand.
Unlike some smaller dogs, French Bulldogs aren’t prone to extended periods of barking, and they don’t tend to initiate fights with other dogs - although some may respond aggressively ifthreatened. They can also become easily stressed if left alone or in a car,so ensuring you build up to leaving them alone slowly, will be really important for this breed.
Just like their ancestors, they love to seek out a mouse, but they can’t swim, so you won’t find them leaping in the water. They prefer to stay clean and dry wherever possible.
Exercise and training are just as important for French Bulldogs as any breed. They are suited to indoor life, and that includes living in flats, if you can walk them regularly and provide plenty of human interaction. Around one hour of walking a day is recommended by the Kennel Club.All these components will result in a happy dog and help towards informal training for them from a young age onwards. Due to their stubborn nature, you will need to spend time training them,and building a strong bond with your Frenchie to help reduce the risks of any behavioural issues.
- Potty training – it can take some months to train your Frenchie to go to the toilet where you want them to. Positive reinforcement and perseverance will pay off in the end. Ask your vet for specific advice based on your circumstances.
- Crate training – providing a safe, secluded spot for your puppy will give them a sense of security and will also aid in potty training, as dogs don’t like to soil the areas where they go to rest and sleep, which will encourage them to go outside.
- Commands – French Bulldogs are both intelligent and inquisitive. You can encourage this behaviour and reduce any boredom by training them to respond to simple commands, such as “sit”, “toilet” or “here.”There are lots of different and fun training commands you can build towards with your Frenchie, so it doesn’t have to stop there!
- Social skills – socialising your puppy from an early age with both people and other dogs will help reduce their anxiety in social situations. Rewarding good behaviour and praising them will help that positive reinforcement.
Due to their stocky build, an overweight French Bulldog can lead to dangerous health problems. This is because excess weight can restrict the abdomen and their breathing. That means that you’ll need to follow a balanced diet, limit treats, and keep to a regular exercise program.