The French Bulldog, in France it's known as the Bouledogue Français and is nicknamed Frenchie, is a small-sized, short haired, muscled breed of dog that originated in England but was developed in France and then slightly refined in the U.S. making the bat ears the standard. It's family dog that doesn't require much, and is a part of the Molossers group.
The French Bulldog History
The French Bulldog roots began in England around 1800 (see the English Bulldog for more details), when non-sporting bulldogs began to be bred and later the sporting breed turned to a companion breed as well with the outlaw of bull-baiting in 1835. Some Bulldogs were crossed with terriers such as the White Terrier, while others were just bred for reduced size. By 1850 the Toy Bulldog or Miniature Bulldog had become common in England, and appeared in conformation shows when they began around 1860.
When the Industrial Revolution forced many of the small craft shops to close down, these lace-makers emigrated from Nottingham to the North of France, where they began to settle mainly in Normandy and Calais in France. They brought a variety of dogs with them, including Miniature Bulldogs which had been popular a while ago. Now these dogs became popular in France and a trade in imported small Bulldogs was created, with breeders in England happily sending over the these now unpopular small Bulldogs, or those with faults such as ears that stood up, creating a win/win scenario. By 1860, there were few Miniature Bulldogs left in England, such was their popularity in France and due to the exploits of specialist dog exporters. In the mean time in England the English Bulldog was also further developed into a more and more show dog using Pug influences.
In France the small Bulldog type slowly getting more uniform in appearance gradually became thought of as a breed, and received a name, the Bouledogue Français. As time went by, Pug and Terrier influences were used to further refine their distinct round headed look, the types of ears (some had the erect "bat ears" while others had "rose ears") and the roundness of their eyes. The dogs were highly fashionable, loyal and good ratters and so were sought after by society ladies and Parisian prostitutes alike, as well as creatives such as artists, writers and fashion designers.
The French Bulldog was then exported to the United Status of America, where they basically only wanted the bat-like ears. The first dog show there featured an English judge choosing the rose eared dogs, angry the Americans created a breed standard and the French Bull Dog Club of America. When that wasn't enough to ban the rose eared dogs from the 1898 Westminster show they pulled their dogs, the American judge refused to participate in the show, and the club organized their own show, for bat-eared dogs only, to be held at the luxurious Waldorf-Astoria. The breed was officially recognized for the first time in 1898. In the early 20th century they remained in vogue for high society, with dogs changing hands for up to $3,000 and being owned by members of influential families such as the Rockefellers and the J. P. Morgans. By 1906 the French Bulldog was the fifth most popular dog breed in America.
In England some breeders bred the French Bulldogs to their dogs in order to resurrect the Miniature Bulldog breed, and the French Buldog was now also registered in England as Bouledogue Francais in 1905, and later in 1912 the name changed to French Bulldog.
Some years later in America interest in purebred dogs generally declined during the Depression of the 1930s. By 1940 French Bulldogs were considered a rare breed and only 100 were registered with the AKC. The years during World War II were difficult for all dog breeders and especially for those in Europe where many fine dogs starved or were put down for lack of food. After the war the breed began to see some new interest and breeders did their best to build a new genepool. Then in 1980s the breed witnessed a rapid rise in Frenchie registrations and again the breed began popular and wide spread.
French Bulldog Appearance
Body: the French Bulldog has a stocky build with a broad muscular back. The wide loins are short and strong. From withers the topline gradually increases to the loins, and bows from there down to the tail. The croup is sloping. The short and knobby tail is carried low and against the buttocks. The belly and flanks are tucked up. The chest is broad, deep and barrel-shaped. The ribs are round shaped like a barrel. Their shoulders are short and not very agile. The front legs are set far apart and are slightly shorter than the hind legs. The low hocks may not be too steep. French Bulldogs have small round feet, which face slightly outwards. The neck is short and slightly arched and is without dewlaps.
Head: the head is strong, broad and square. The scalp should form almost symmetrical folds and wrinkles. The skull is broad, almost flat, and the forehead is sphere shaped. The eyebrows are distinct. They are separated by a distinct furrow that may not extend towards the forehead. The stop is very much accentuated. French Bulldogs have a short and wide upturned nose. The lips are thick and somewhat limp. The upper lip covers the teeth completely. The jaws are broad, square and powerful. The well-developed cheek muscles do not stick out. The medium sized ears are wide at the base and rounded at the top and are called bat ears. They are set high and erect on the head, but not too close to each other. The eyes are set low and are far from the nose and ears. They are well rounded, rather large and slightly bulging out. The eye whites may not be visible when viewed from the front. French Bulldogs have an undershot bite, which means that the incisors of the lower jaw close before the incisors of the upper jaw. The teeth and tongue should not be visible when the dog has his mouth closed.
Height at Withers: the height at the withers for males is 30.5 centimeters (12 inches) to about 33 centimeters (13 inches). Bitches are around 28 centimeters (11 inches) high to about 30.5 centimeters (12 inches). There is no maximum height.
Weight: the weight of males is around 10 and 12.7 kg and for bitches, this is around 9.1 to 11.8 kg depending on their size.
Coat: the short coat is made of soft, glossy and dense hair.
Colors: French Bulldogs come in three different colors, namely white with brindle, white with brindle patches (mottled) and fawn. Brindle dogs are allowed to have white markings on the chest and forehead, but preferably not too much. There are also (almost) white French Bulldogs. These are grouped with the mottled color variety.
French Bulldog Temperament
Character: French Bulldogs are distinctive, clownish, extroverted, happy and playful dogs. They are quite intelligent and smart and can be very persistent when they have put their mind on something. Although they are brave, impetuous and physically hardened, mentally they are very sensitive to moods in the home, they also have a sense for them and harsh words harm them deeply. They are very affectionate and do not like being left alone. The kennel life is very numbing to them. They should be part of the family. French Bulldogs can sometimes be jealous if the boss's attention on something or someone else. These dogs are alert to what is happening around them and they certainly make their voices heard when they perceive danger. On average, they do not bark much.
Social Build: most of these dogs go excellently with children, even the youngest among them. They are, due to their high pain tolerance threshold and dog humor, great playmates for older children. It is said that children make the dog mad, but with the French Bulldog, this is the case the other way around! Some specimens can be rather dominant and sharp compared to peers in the street or at home, but this is not a rule. French Bulldogs do well with other pets, if they accustomed to this at a young age. The French Bulldog is generally a man lover, visitors are usually welcomed enthusiastically.
French Bulldog Socially
Care: the grooming of the French Bulldog is pretty easy. In the shedding period, you can use a little rubber brush to easily remove the dead and loose hairs from the coat. Outside of this period, weekly brushing is enough, for example with a stiff hair brush. The facial folds of a French Bulldog usually require little maintenance. Lubricate the folds every now and then with petroleum jelly or an appropriate cleaner. Especially on white dogs it is needed, to prevent unsightly tear streaks. Keep an eye on the ears so that they are clear from from dirt and an excess of ear wax and keep the nails short.
Education: French Bulldogs are not difficult to raise. They are very smart and learn quickly, especially if the lessons are presented in a fun way and you clearly let the dog know when you're happy with him. Yet they because of their very striking facial mimicry they can set you on the wrong track, consistency is certainly needed. This breed is very sensitive to the intonation of your voice.
Activity: French Bulldogs love to play and romp, but you do not need to take them on long walks. In hot weather, because of their the short nose, this is strongly discouraged. Most French Bulldogs will do fine with three times a day a stroll around the block combined with some roaming and playing in the garden. These dogs can easily be kept in a flat. They have virtually no hunting instinct and little inclination to run away and move out on their own.
Usability: dogs of this breed are almost exclusively kept as companion dogs. They are intelligent enough and willing to participate in obedience training and the like, but at higher levels of training, they are usually overtaken by other breeds.
French Bulldog Quotes / Trivia
The French Bulldog is a fashionable breed and has appeared in many movies. The same French Bulldog appeared in See Spot Run, Bringing Down the House, Second Hand Lions, The Shaggy Dog and Just Married. Other movies that feature glimpses or more are: At First Sight, Wigstock - The Movie, Babe - Pig in the City, Grease, Titanic, Monkey Bone, Armageddon, 'Franky Goes to Hollywood', Garden State and Due Date.
The French Bulldog and the Boston Terrier have a lot of the same features, the predecessor of the Boston Terrier known as the Olde Boston Bulldogge is like his athletic brother.