Physical characteristics of the French Bulldog
Varieties: brindle; white and brindle
It is a small, gentle and very friendly molossoid, small in size, perfect for those who love this type of dog without being able to own a bigger one. In spite of his small size, the French Bulldog has a powerful, muscular, stocky body with a large bone structure. The head is extremely strong, broad and square: the skin forms wrinkles and almost symmetrical folds.
The skull is broad, almost flat, with a rounded forehead; the stop is very accentuated; the muzzle is short and broad, the nose very short and camouflaged. The eyes are large, round and dark. The ears are set high and carried erect. The legs must be well plumb: the hind legs are slightly longer than the front legs. so that the croup is slightly raised. The tail is short, set low, crooked or naturally docked, pointed at the tip.
Colour : Depending on the variety, fawn, brindle or not, or white and brindle. The brindle is a fawn dog with a dark charcoal that gives the brindle appearance. The fawn coat can be in all shades (from red to café au lait), and red is not preferred to other shades, on the contrary.
Weight: 17 to 30 lbs
Size : 12 to 14 inches
Hair : Short.
Origins and history
His story is rather mysterious. The French say it is a native dog, but the English maintain that it is descended from the Bulldog. It is probable that there was indeed an influence of the Bulldog but it is undeniable that the selection and fixation of the breed occurred in France.
Initially, the Bulldog had a double use: ratter and guardian. No wonder he became the favorite dog of butchers and wine merchants whose warehouses and stables he guarded.
With his lively and intelligent character, he quickly comes out of the stables! At the beginning of the 20th century we find him among the nobles, the rich and even in the royal courts, but also on the “fortif'” where he is the bodyguard of prostitutes and bad boys.
From now on the French Bulldog is a very widespread dog in France.
His sensitivity and his attachment to his owners make him a dog who can bear very little solitude. He needs to be surrounded to fully develop, so he should not be left alone for long days.
These small dogs are known to “sing” and indeed they have an unusual way of expressing their excitement, discontent or impatience.
However, this little Bulldog never barks for no reason or wrongly. If he barks, it is better to understand the cause of the bark in order to solve the problem.
Easy to train / obedient
The hard head of the French Bulldog, can sometimes put some owners off, but patience and firmness, added to a consistent and fair attitude will convince this stubborn little one to cooperate.
Education must be early and the basic educational notions must be acquired quickly to allow this little hound to integrate as well as possible, both in his social group, but also in society in general.
In spite of appearances, the French Bulldog keeps a rather sensitive character, brutal and coercive methods would only taint the relationship he has with his master.
The firmness of the training will have to be nuanced by a great gentleness in order not to hurt this small dog, either physically or emotionally. Playful educational sessions will be preferred with games and/or treats as rewards.
For this small dog, the expression “having a velvet glove in an iron hand” is very appropriate.
Finally, his education should not be neglected under the pretext that he is a small dog. No matter the size of the dog we adopt, his good education is essential.
The qualities and size of this dog make him a perfect companion for novice masters. Moreover, it is suitable for many profiles of future adopters since it can adapt to a single person, (be careful with its possessive temperament), to a home with children as well as to a retired couple for example.
Especially when he is a puppy, the French bulldog can be destructive, to do his teeth, to attract attention or simply to keep busy.
It will be a question of offering him toys adapted to chewing, of not answering his constant requests for attention and of proposing him activities regularly so that the destructions are only a passage and not a bad habit.
Greedy / glutton
Gluttony is this dog’s biggest fault. Without any exaggeration, he could kill father and mother for a piece of ham.
Joking aside, one must be very vigilant about this aspect because many French Bulldogs are overweight because of this vice.
Much too attached to his social group and especially to his comfort, the idea of running away would never occur to this little hound, who devotes infinite loyalty to his masters.
Physically not very dissuasive despite his muscles, this little hound can nevertheless be a good watchdog. However, be careful not to rely on him 100%, as he will quickly be able to be coaxed by a small treat or a caress.
Character and Abilities
The French Bulldog is exclusively a companion dog. In spite of his appearance as a “ferocious hound”, his character is very cheerful: full of zest for life, he is always ready to play and has a very gentle nature.
He loves children and is a tireless playmate for them, but he is also suitable for older people because he does not need a lot of exercise. When he is older, he remains playful and likes to “clown around”, but he is also able to transform himself into a quiet, reserved and peaceful dog.
He loves his owner and needs to stay with him as much as possible.
Occasionally, he can be a very vigilant guardian: he is a small dog that thinks he is a big dog. He is a real emotional sponge: “my master is not well and neither am I”. He is affectionate but exclusive, he likes his comfort and naps.
Very active and jovial, the French Bulldog, is a great player who will sometimes need to be helped back down under pressure.
He loves to play with children, but parental supervision will be necessary to initiate the beginning and especially the end of the game. This little hound may not know how to stop, until exhaustion.
Very attached to his social group, this small hound can be very clingy as well as very discreet. Despite this ambivalence, he remains a very pleasant pet dog that loves to be the center of attention, whether for fun or to be cuddled.
His overflowing affection pushes him to be somewhat possessive and exclusive towards his master.
Naturally cheerful but also peaceful, this little dog can wear both hats. This will depend mainly on his education, his character but also on his lineage.
In all cases, whether with children or the elderly, he will know how to adapt and have the right attitude.
Absolutely not a hunter, the predation instinct is very little present in the French bulldog. Faced with other species, he will be sometimes playful, sometimes ignorant.
This dog can be very sticky towards members of his social group. However, it is not uncommon to see him taking more distance, especially to go to rest on the bed or sofa.
This could be a sign of a certain independence, but on the contrary, the French Bulldog certainly distances himself from his masters, but always chooses beds on which the smell of his master is very present.
Fearful / distrustful of strangers
The French Bulldog is in no way fearful or aggressive towards strangers. He will go with pleasure and enthusiasm towards the guests who arrive at his home or with any other person who will deign to pay him any attention.
On the other hand, rather of a possessive and exclusive nature, he will always favour contact with his master if he is present.
This little hound is an intelligent dog but is often not recognized for its true worth. Often considered as a simple pet dog that only snores and sleeps on the couch, his abilities sometimes take a back seat.
However, this dog will show great aptitudes if we take the time to offer him adapted training sessions and encourage his good behaviour.
Always and only in a house. The French Bulldog, is an ideal apartment dog because he has short hair, drools very little, does not bark too much and knows how to adapt to circumstances (frantic play or absolute tranquillity) with great intelligence and intuition. It is very sensitive to its master’s moods.
Needs exercise / sport
This brachycephalic breed (flattened muzzle) is not made to practice intense physical exercises but this stocky little dog still needs daily outings to be fully satisfied.
Its musculature and strong bones must be maintained and phy
sical exertion, even moderate, is necessary for this small dog, which can quickly exceed its fitness weight if it is not sufficiently stimulated.
French bulldog in apartment
Apartment life is perfectly suited to this little hound. Rather calm by nature, especially as an adult, he does not need to exercise intensely and will be content with a small interior space.
A house with a garden will also suit him, but be careful not to leave him outside in the heat of the day or even in the middle of winter. Its flattened muzzle and lack of undercoat do not give it a good resistance.
Moreover, being a very bad swimmer and having rather a tendency to sink, the presence of a water point in its environment could represent a danger.
Travel / Ease of transport
The small size of the French Bulldog could facilitate its transport, but this is not the case for two simple reasons:
First of all, the weight limit for dogs that can be transported easily and cheaply, especially on trains, is 7 kg, yet this strong little dog generally weighs around 10 kg, even if it looks less.
On the other hand, its flattened muzzle causes this brachycephalic dog to have severe breathing problems. so it will not be comfortable in confined and poorly ventilated places, as is often the case with conventional means of transport (car, train, plane).
Like all short-nosed dogs, he can have breathing problems. He suffers a lot from the heat, and should not be left in the sun too long (especially in a car) because he could feel very bad. The eyes of the French Bulldog should always be kept clean.
Tendency to get bigger
Very greedy and not very or even at all sporty, it is important to remain vigilant and above all consistent, about the daily rations given to the dog. It will be important to offer him a food adapted to his physical condition.
Furthermore, treats, even during training sessions, should be given sparingly and no gaps between meals should be allowed.
The French Bulldog is a robust dog but has some fragilities, especially on the cardiac and respiratory levels.
Resistant / robust
Several weak points impoverish its resistance:
its flattened muzzle which causes respiratory complications, its spine which is also a victim of compression, as well as its lack of undercoat which does not protect it from bad weather, to name just a few of these weaknesses.
Withstands the cold
The lack of undercoat, as well as the short topcoat of this stocky little dog gives him only a poor protection against cold or humidity. Therefore, never let a Bulldog sleep outside.
Withstands the heat
Brachycephalic breeds suffer from heat and all too often, heatstroke is fatal.
Never leave a dog with a flattened muzzle in a confined area that is not properly ventilated, even if the temperatures are not extremely hot.
In the car, for example, a few rays of sunshine can turn a car into a real oven, especially for dogs that are unable to regulate their body temperature effectively.
The French Bulldog and the Cats:
If he is accustomed from his youngest age to being around cats, the French bulldog will be able to cohabit with a feline without any problem. As a puppy, he will be playful and more distant or even ignorant as an adult.
The French Bulldog and the Elderly :
Since it requires little maintenance and does not need intense physical activity, this dog is perfectly compatible with sedentary people.
Moreover, its apprehension of solitude is perfectly suited to owners who stay at home more than more active profiles.
The French Bulldog and children :
This small muscular dog loves children, he likes to amuse the gallery and will particularly appreciate all the attention that small toddlers can give him.
Be careful to always maintain a certain vigilance: children must respect the dog to avoid any overflow.
Moreover, it will sometimes be necessary to intervene to stop the game because this big player can quickly become excited.
The French Bulldog and Other Dogs :
Very sociable with humans, this little dog is not very welcoming with his fellow dogs. Its strong attachment to its social group creates a very exclusive character, which makes sharing difficult.
In order for a cohabitation between congeners to go well, it will be important that the dogs have grown up together and that an early and quality socialization has been set up.
Beware of whole males that will not tolerate the presence of dogs of the same sex. Rather combative and courageous by nature, the French Bulldog will not hesitate to start a fight.
The French Bulldog bitch, is predisposed to dystociic births (problem births) due to the relatively narrow pelvis of females and puppies with wide heads.
They have difficulty giving birth naturally: most often a caesarean section is required, but this does not usually lead to complications because the bitches are very robust.
Frequent illnesses :
- Heat stroke
- Demodecia (skin disease)
- Herniated disc (intervertebral disc disease)
- Canine herpes virus (contagious disease due to the presence of a herpes virus: CHIV)
- Dislocation of the nictitating gland (Harder’s gland)
- Patella dislocation (usually congenital)
- Extension of the palace veil
In the French Bulldog, entropion (rolling of the eyelid margin inwards) is not exceptional and is considered probably hereditary. It generally affects the lower and upper eyelids. In the most important forms, it is easily corrected by a small surgical operation.
In the young French Bulldog, a predisposition to certain congenital heart malformations (pulmonary stenosis) is reported.
The French bulldog can be subject to different affections affecting the spine such as :
- Spina bifida: a malformation located more often in the last thoracic vertebrae in this breed.
- Herniated discs: they can be located at different levels of the spine and can cause pain, lameness, or even paralysis. A neurology consultation and complementary examinations (CT scan, MRI, …) are necessary to establish a precise diagnosis. The most serious forms of the disease require surgical treatment. Taken early, their prognosis is favourable.
Diseases of the respiratory system
Like all dogs with a “crushed nose”, the French Bulldog is predisposed to Upper Airway Brachycephalic Syndrome. This is a complex malformation of the airways, often associated with gastrointestinal lesions. The most advanced forms require surgical correction. Modern techniques (laser) give very good results.
Grooming and maintenance
The maintenance of the French Bulldog is not complicated but must nevertheless be regular. One brushing a week is enough to maintain the shine of his short hair.
It will also be necessary to take care regularly of his ears and eyes as well as his wrinkles and folds.
A little tip: once the folds have been cleaned and dried, it is advisable to apply Vaseline to protect the skin. The same goes for his muzzle, which can sometimes crack.
This dog’s hair loss is moderate but is continuous. In autumn and spring, shedding intensifies the loss and daily brushing must be done to remove dead hairs.
Remarks and advice
What we have said about his health should not make you think that he is an excessively delicate dog:
all you have to do, is take good care of him, by paying attention to his “Achilles’ heels” and he will live a long time in splendid shape.