At the Woof Club this week we are celebrating dog breeds that originated from France. Today we’re going to take a look at the French Bulldog or Bouledogue Francais. Over the past few years it has grown steadily in popularity until it is now one of the top 10 most popular dog breeds to own.
The Woof Club is based in Switzerland where a modest 600,000 dogs are officially registered in the central database, of which 25% are cross breeds. Here the most popular pure breed is now the cheeky chihuahua, just pipping the Labrador to the post. However the French bulldogs are closing in fast on that top position.
So let’s learn a little more about this popular canine with a big dog character in a little dog’s clothes.
Firstly some basic statistics about this charming and affectionate chappie.
- Height : 28-31 cm at the shoulder
- Weight: 7-11Kg
- Colours: white, brindle, fawn, brindle and white, tan
- Life expectancy: 11-14 years
- Temperament: Easygoing, Affectionate, Sociable, Lively, Keen, Patient, Alert, Bright, Athletic, Playful
The French bulldog originated from the English bulldog. History suggests that the English breed was initially cross bred with terriers and pugs to create a toy bulldog to satisfy the demand for a companion dog with character. This toy bulldog was apparently admired by the French who subsequently took it back to France in substantial numbers and bred it with their Parisian ratting dog to create the french bulldog with the distinguishing bat like ears. Apparently the French much preferred these quirky ears to the rose shaped ears of the original english bulldog.
So why is this stocky, bat eared, flat faced cutie so popular?
Well, as we said, they are a small dog with a big character – they are after all, still a bull dog at heart! So from a size point of view they fit just as well into apartment life as they do into life on a country estate, but their character is larger than life and so they are lots of fun to have around.
They have a lively and entertaining manner and a very sociable and loyal personality, and very importantly, they are great with children making them an ideal family dog. They are also excellent watch dogs since they are inquisitive and alert but, unlike many small breeds, they don’t often bark unless there is really something to bark about – perfect for town living.
They don’t need much grooming, love to socialise with other dogs and generally fit in well with any family activity you can imagine. They are also quite happy to be the substitute child for a couple or the flat mate of a working single. Infact they are just happy to be included in our lives and to be the perfect companion.
They can even be left alone at home for short periods of time without any adverse effects – on them or on your furniture!
So what are the downsides to consider when thinking about owning a French bulldog?
Due to the characteristic flat face and squat, stocky stature, the breed is very prone to certain genetic conditions such as breathing difficulties, hip problems and skin and allergies. However careful selection of your puppy from a reputable breeder should minimise these risks and you can always adopt an adult from a shelter who comes complete with a medical history.
The short airways also mean that these dogs snuffle, snort, grunt and snore. Oh and they drool too when drinking and eating……. this is either really cute or really disgusting , depending on your point of view. The short face also means that this breed swallows a lot of air whilst eating, which then has to escape somehow, meaning that they are very prone to flatulence which is not particularly appealing – especially in confined spaces!
Despite their sunny personality they can also be stubborn and so need firm management to avoid temper tantrums as they get older. They are also said to be slow to house train. Typically, a french bulldog is not fully clean in the house until 4-6 months of age.
The breed is expensive to buy. This is driven partly by their increased popularity but also by the fact that, the breed standard shape of the dog now means that most bitches can only conceive by artificial insemination and the puppies have to be born by caesarean section since the head of the puppy is now too large to pass through the birth canal.
Finally if you want a dog that can swim, this is definitely not the dog for you since the small, squat body and short legs mean that a french bulldog is incapable of swimming!
However, even having taken into consideration some of the downsides of owning this breed, we at the Woof Club can still totally understand why this little dog is the pet of choice for so many dog owners. In fact our cousin, Yoshi Monstar is a Frenchie living in the UK, and we love here to bits. She always wants to play with us and she even shares her toys! Our hoomans say that she is such a good little girl – most of the time ?
image credits: @kimchifrallan, @funnyfrenchie_cute, @thatfrenchienova, @felacutiepups