The Ultimate Australian Guide To French Bulldogs
The French Bulldog is a bundle of endearing traits. These dogs have a lovable, friendly nature and are full of quirks that make them much enjoyed. Additionally, Frenchies are physically distinct – they’re both strong and somewhat limited by their build.
When all this is considered, it’s no wonder that French Bulldogs constantly rank among the most popular pets worldwide.
There’s plenty to learn about the breed, from its interesting history to physical features that require particular care. One thing is certain: The more you discover about this wonderful breed, the more likely you’ll be to want to adopt one.
This article will serve as your ultimate guide to the French Bulldog. We’ll start by sharing the history of these adorable pups.
French Bulldog Breed History
The history of the French Bulldog begins in the British Isles. There, the breed’s ancestors, Bulldogs, lived much different lives than their modern counterparts.
These dogs got their name due to an inhumane practice they were involved in during the 19th century: bull-baiting. The dogs were trained to grab a bull’s nose and hold on while the enraged animal tried to shake off the small but bulky combatants.
As a result, Bulldogs became exceptionally tough. After all, those that weren’t aggressive usually didn’t have the best survival chances.
Thankfully, bull-baiting was banned relatively early on, although many would argue the ban didn’t come fast enough. Since the 1830s, Bulldogs stopped battling raging bulls and quickly assumed a role that fits the breed much better. They became highly popular companions.
Dog shows replaced the cruel battling arenas, and the breed underwent proper classification. Size was a considerable factor here, and no variant of the Bulldog stood out in that regard more than the Toy Bulldog.
As the name implies, Toy Bulldogs were tiny – a trait they’ll share with French Bulldogs once the continental variant comes into existence.
Interestingly, the Toy Bulldog found its popularity among poverty-ridden female workers. The most likely reasons for this were that the pups could fit into the smallest living spaces, and they didn’t require too much maintenance.
Getting a Toy Bulldog was an excellent way for poor workers to get a companion at the lowest possible expense.
The dogs turned out to be great pets. In fact, when manual jobs started dying out in Britain due to the Industrial Revolution, the pups travelled with their owners who pursued job opportunities on the other side of the English Channel to France.
France greeted the Toy Bulldog with open arms. The small, friendly dogs soon became beloved nationwide, regardless of social class. Even royalty found them irresistible, spreading the new, chic breed across other European courts.
The popularisation of the breed started in France – a fact that lent this British Bulldog variant its modern name. Yet, the pups didn’t achieve global renown and standardisation until they charmed their way into America. That’s where the first French Bulldog club in the world was created.
Nearly two centuries later, the Frenchie still tops the popularity charts. This is a breed that not only overcame hardships in its early history but rose to become one of the most cherished pets. The French Bulldog owes its success to its lovable character as much as its unique appearance.
French Bulldog Appearance
The French Bulldog is easiest to describe as a Bulldog, but smaller. Needless to say, this is a tiny breed, although you could mistake these pups for medium-sized were you to judge them only by their ears.
The Frenchie has characteristic large ears that point upward, similar to a bat’s ears. This is one of the most recognisable traits of the breed, albeit the rest of the pup’s appearance is far from forgettable, as well.
The dogs have a square-shaped head that’s pretty massive compared to their build. Their muzzles are wrinkly, while their noses are quite short. Standard Frenchies have nearly black eyes – no other eye colour is acceptable by international kennel associations. Owing to its rough combative background, the French Bulldog has a stocky, muscular body and can display surprising strength considering its small frame.
Frenchie’s legs are proportional and well-developed. The breed has a straight back with a mild slope in the rear, ending in a stumpy, short tail that appears docked. The tail is so short that the pups usually can’t wag it. At the longest, French Bulldog tails can reach 5 cm.
French Bulldog Coat Colour and Grooming
A Frenchie’s coat is distinctive by very short hair that feels smooth and silky. French Bulldogs come in several coat variants accepted by kennel authorities:
Brindle is a subtle, tiger-like pattern. In French Bulldogs, the base coat colour is dark brown to black, with lighter stripes. There are several other variants here, including brindle and white, fawn brindle, white brindle, and fawn brindle and white.
Brindle and white means the dog has a dark base coat with white stripes. Fawn brindle and white brindle pups have fawn or white base coat colours, respectively, with cream stripes. Finally, fawn brindle and white Frenchies have a fawn base with white stripes.
French Bulldogs can also be black and blue (actually a greyish shade), but those colours aren’t recognised by breed associations.
When it comes to markings, Frenchies can have others apart from brindle. The more common markings are a black mask, pied, and ticked.
A black mask is a distinct pattern across the dog’s muzzle and sometimes the eye area. In some cases, the “mask” can nearly cover the entire face. Pied marking denotes colour patches which are usually of the same colour. However, “piebald” Frenchies have patches in different shades.
Ticked markings are smaller and appear as coloured spots in certain regions or all over the pup’s body. All French Bulldog markings may be black or white.
French Bulldog Size
Adult French Bulldogs achieve a wither height of about 30 cm. Males and females weigh approximately the same – the maximal healthy weight for a male is up to 13 kg, while a female may be a kilo lighter.
A closer look at other body dimensions of French Bulldogs reveals the secret behind their unique, adorable look. The pups have very thick necks. On average, a Frenchie’s neck circumference will surpass its height, and the same is true for head circumference. These dimensions may reach 35 and 47 cm, respectively.
Another factor that contributes to the Frenchie’s stocky appearance is the ratio between their chest size and body length. The dog’s broad chest may reach up to 65 cm, while the length is about 28 cm, withers to tail.
It’s worth noting that most measurements of a French Bulldog will vary very little. They can be about 3 cm higher or shorter than the average, and their bodies will always be roughly the same length – again, with a possible three-centimetre offset.
Weight will vary slightly more: A well-fed Frenchie may weigh between 8 and 13 kg. However, the largest difference will be in the head and chest measurements. At its smallest, the head may have a circumference of 33 cm – a whole 14 centimetres less than the maximum. Similarly, chest size may vary by up to 10-11 cm.
Breed Pros and Cons
French Bulldog Pros
The fact that so many dog owners choose the French Bulldog as their favourite breed is no coincidence. These pups are friendly, cuddly, and relatively easy to maintain. Plus, they come with certain features that some view as detriments while others absolutely love them. Here’s everything great about French Bulldogs.
- Loyal and loving
- Easily adaptable
- Ideal for families
- Great with other pets
- Easy to groom
One of the greatest traits of French Bulldogs that recommends them as great pets is their loving nature. These pups are made for companionship. Adopting a Frenchie will mean getting a loyal friend that will get the most joy from simply being with you.
Better yet, a French Bulldog will adapt to any space with ease. Since the dogs are very tolerant, they won’t mind living with large families. At the same time, they’ll feel at home with a single owner. Another advantage resulting from the Frenchie’s adaptability is that they’re a great fit for smaller homes.
On a similar note, Frenchies will get along with kids without a hitch. This is, of course, provided you teach the kids, as well as your pet, how to act around one another. On the pup’s part, establishing a warm, friendly relationship will be relatively easy, particularly due to their cute demeanour and playful spirit.
Just as with kids, Frenchies won’t have many issues getting along with other pets. Other animals, including cats, will be the best fit, but you can also train your pup to cohabitate with dogs, too. Naturally, proper socialisation will play a key role here.
When it comes to guarding your home, a French Bulldog certainly won’t seem particularly fierce to intruders. Frenchies are notably quiet and won’t bark unless there’s something to bark at – which can be an excellent trait for a watchdog. The pup will help you by raising the alarm at the right moment.
On the flip side of keeping a watchful eye on your home, your French Bulldog will spend just as much of its time cuddling with you. In fact, this will likely be the pup’s favourite activity.
Finally, French Bulldogs are easy to groom. Their short hair doesn’t shed very much, so you won’t have a ton of work taking care of the pup or picking up stray hair off your floors, furniture, or clothes.
French Bulldog Cons
Naturally, no dog breed has only positive traits, and this applies to Frenchies as well. However, you’ll find that the breed’s pros far outweigh the cons, which are few and far between. We can’t even claim all the cons of the breed are always perceived as negative traits, which is precisely the case with the first entry on our list.
- Snory, snorty, and gassy
- Relatively costly
- Susceptible to health issues
- Can’t handle staying alone
French Bulldogs are notorious for the range of bodily noises they can produce. Your pup will snort when happy or exploring, snore in their sleep, and pass gas in often unacceptable amounts. All this will either be hilarious or cute, but can turn into something of a nuisance.
Much more worryingly, some of the sounds that a Frenchie makes aren’t just quirky, funny noises. They can also be indicators of specific health issues, some of which are inherent to the breed while others may point to potential problems down the road.
Besides the short muzzle and generally poor air intake, French Bulldogs may suffer from gastrointestinal issues and other disruptive symptoms and diseases. Some of the ailments that trouble Frenchies can be remedied with treatment or quality nutrition, while others will be much more challenging to put under control.
Due to their popularity and uniqueness, French Bulldogs are relatively expensive to buy or adopt. Puppies frequently sell for anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000. Adoption fees are, of course, lower, but can still amount to $1,000-$2,000.
Lastly, your French Bulldog probably won’t be fine with staying alone for long hours. These pups are extremely tied to their humans, and they live for companionship. Unfortunately, that also means they can easily become depressed if left on their own for extended periods. And should your dog be alone too often, it might develop separation anxiety.
French Bulldog Personality
French Bulldogs have very favourable personality traits. As we’ve mentioned, these are extremely friendly dogs with a natural proclivity toward family and kids. Better yet, Frenchies have a stable temperament. In other words, you’ll always know what kind of behaviour to expect from your pup.
These positive traits make French Bulldogs perfect first pets. The only downside is that they might spoil their owners, making them expect a similar temperament from all pets.
While Frenchies are well-behaved, they can also be a lot of fun. They can have their share of mischief and be adorably playful, which is always a plus. A French Bulldog won’t be destructive during play time – instead, they’ll be a constant source of laughs.
Another thing that Frenchies have going for them is their considerable intelligence. When it comes to smarts, a typical French Bulldog will surpass their Terrier, Pug, and Bulldog cousins. Frenchies learn quickly and, more importantly, retain what they’ve learned. As a result, training these pups is a breeze.
French Bulldogs are intuitive, emphatic, and responsive to body language. All this can make them wonderful to work with, as they’ll be fast to pick up on everything they should and shouldn’t do in particular situations and when given specific commands.
On the other hand, Frenchies can be pretty stubborn at times, but they’ll never go against their owner’s wishes just out of spite. These pups are simply free thinkers and sometimes can’t help themselves.
As a French Bulldog owner, you can be certain of one thing: Your pup will be loving and committed to you entirely. These dogs adore their humans and are always joyful when in good company. They’ll show their love through their expressive look and the myriad of kisses that they’ll give you.
Interestingly, your Frenchie can adapt to a pretty active lifestyle. The pups are perfectly capable of sleeping up to 14 hours daily, but they’ll follow along if their owner enjoys plenty of daily walks. Naturally, the latter will be a much healthier choice, both for you and your dog. The two scenarios where your dog won’t be able to keep up are moving in extreme heat and swimming, as Frenchies have a lower heat tolerance and are notoriously poor swimmers.
French Bulldog Health
The sad truth about French Bulldogs is that they often fall prey to different illnesses. One of the most common ailments that troubles this breed is brachycephalic syndrome, a direct consequence of their anatomy.
The brachycephalic syndrome is common among dogs with flat faces, including Boxers, Pugs, and French Bulldogs. As a combination of unfavourable physical traits, this syndrome is characterised by airway obstruction, hard breathing, poor tolerance of physical effort and heat, and other symptoms.
The syndrome can worsen with obesity, which means a fine balance between exercise and rest will be crucial to keeping your Frenchie in optimal health.
The next common health issue with French Bulldogs is related to the spine. The dogs may suffer hernias on the back or neck discs, or contract degenerative myelopathy, a particularly nasty disease in which the spinal cord gradually weakens.
Spine-related issues are best prevented by prohibiting your pup from jumping, particularly up or down large stairs and on or off your furniture. Weight management will be a factor here, too.
French Bulldogs may also have allergy-prone skin or even suffer food allergies. These conditions are noticeable by increased sneezing, scratching, skin patches, and paw licking. In some cases, allergies can lead to other issues such as diarrhoea.
Food allergies are resolved much as they are with people: simply avoid giving your dog certain foods. When it comes to skin allergies, those shouldn’t be too complex to get rid of either. The most common remedies for these allergies include medicated wipes or shampoos.
With large ears and small ear canals, French Bulldogs represent prime targets for bacterial ear infections. This common health issue can be remedied with regular hygiene and specialised cleaning products.
Similarly, the pup’s eyes can become infected, but that’s not the only eye-related issue with Frenchies. Injuries can cause many other problems like corneal ulcers and cherry eye. Some of these issues are only resolved via surgery.
Lastly, obesity is a serious health issue with Frenchies, as well as most other dog breeds. Being overweight can worsen other health conditions, especially those related to the spine and joints.
French Bulldog Care
Taking care of your French Bulldog will be relatively easy, at least in terms of day-to-day affairs. Your pup won’t need more than one grooming a week, and you can clean their face and ears just as often. Clipping the pup’s nails once every couple of months will also be a good idea.
In terms of exercise, the main point with Frenchies is not to overdo it. We’ve mentioned that your French Bulldog will follow you in every activity. While that’s true, you should be mindful not to push your pet too far.
French Bulldog Feeding
Dry and starchy foods are a poor fit for French Bulldogs due to their sensitive stomachs. Quality nutrition will be an absolute must if you want to keep your pet’s gut healthy and your home devoid of unwanted gasses and scents.
Ideally, you should feed your Frenchie lightly cooked or fresh foods. Of course, avoid any foods that could cause allergies.
Feeding a French Bulldog will be relatively straightforward. The pup won’t require a lot of food. However, they are a dog and will try to eat everything you give them. This makes overfeeding a real risk.
It would be best to introduce regular, limited meals for your pup and avoid giving them too many snacks in between.
Suitability With Children and Other Pets
We’ve already talked about the Frenchie’s agreeable, well-tempered nature. Their great, balanced temperament makes the dogs perfect for kids and other pets. French Bulldogs will be playful without going over the top, and their play will never be too harsh.
Yet, how well your French Bulldog agrees with kids and other pets will also depend on the other side. Even if your pup is perfectly socialised, they won’t be able to help in a situation where they must spend time with a poorly mannered child or an overly aggressive dog.
Australian Rescue Groups and Breeders
There are several groups in Australia that deal with French Bulldog rescues. In particular, dedicated French Bulldog clubs and groups have rescue departments. You can find a quick list of such clubs by state on the French Bulldogz website.
Australia also has no shortage of certified breeders. Best of all, you can find a French Bulldog breeder in various parts of the country:
- Ocean Crest French Bulldog, in Sunshine Coast
- Themistocles, in Sydney
- LaShaoon French Bulldogs, in Newcastle
- Kaysand French Bulldog, in Glen Park
Of course, there are many other breeders, many of which offer puppies with spotless pedigrees.
A French Bulldog can be the ideal pet, especially if you like low-maintenance dogs that will give you nothing but love… and an occasional fart. These pups are beloved worldwide for many reasons, from their sympathetic and loving attitude to general cuteness.
If you decide to get a Frenchie, chances are you won’t regret the choice. You’ll gain a loyal companion and the perfect cuddling partner that will make you smile every day.