Breed Category: Molosser
Country of Origin: England (Yes – England, not France)
Most suited as: Family Pet
Average Size: Small, but stocky. Height at withers 28 to 32cm
Average Weight: 7-11kg
Average Life Span: 8-10 years
Grooming Requirements: Low due to short hair
Exercise Requirements: Low as with most Molosser dogs regardless of size.

French Bulldogs are a small and stocky breed of somewhat comical appearance. Their arched back, expressive eyes, flattish faces and permanently pricked, wide set ears make them one of the most distinctive of breeds. Their faces whilst flat, tend to be without the rolls of skin that come with the British Bulldog so they are less snuffly and less likely to snore.

Coat comes in brindle, pied (similar to brindle but with white predominant) and fawn.

Comical in appearance they are often comical in personality. They are fun loving but intelligent clowns. They are happy chaps and their size and sense of fun makes them the most ideal of the molloser types to have around children. They are rarely aggressive and their muscular bodies are able to stand up to eh rough treatment sometimes handed out by younger children.

Unlike other small breeds, especially Lhaso Apsos and terrier breeds they are no yappy or easily frightened thus they make good watch dogs as they bark only when there is good reason and then will stand their ground to challenge strangers.

The breed has is history in the British bulldog were in Nottingham some individuals spontaneously developed cartilage in their ears which led to their permanent erectness. This trait turned out to be predominant and was passed on to subsequent offspring.
It is thought that following the industrial revolution in the mid-19th century in Britain. Lacemakers from Nottingham left for Brittany, France to ply their trade taking their dogs with them. Here, the breed was refined and they developed into a smaller sized animal with a more energetic, friendly personality that the heavier British Bulldog.

They quickly became popular around the world and are commonly seen through Europe and the US, after which they made their way to Australia in the 1940’s

Health and lifespan
Though fairly robust, they can experience some health problems, particularly bone structural in nature. Their high energy levels combined with their heavy build on a fine frame can cause problems with their back, especially in younger animals that are more likely top attempt jumps from height such as children’s arms, or the couch. They can also suffer from dislocating knee joints (or luxating patella syndrome) and as with most flat faced breeds some amount of soft palate deformity.
Being heavily muscled for a small dog with a high energy level, they can suffer from heat stress if allowed to exercise vigorously in summer. Extra care when transporting this breed needs to be exercised due to their low tolerance for hot conditions which can exacerbate breathing problems caused by constricted nasal passages.

This is not a breed to be bought sight unseen and seeking out a trusted breeder is essential.

Typical of the Molosser breeds, they are not long lived with the average age of 8 to 10 years.

Feeding and Breeding
Being small they are not huge eaters and being molossers, are not finicky eaters so they will certainly not break the food budget.

As with many breeds with comparatively large heads, bitches can experience trouble giving birth due to their birth canal size not being large enough so caesareans are often needed to successfully deliver. This of course increases the risks and costs for the breeder and the resulting price of puppies so they are not a breed for the novice breeder.

As Pets
Low maintenance, quiet yet energetic in spurts and lots of fun they make wonderful pets. They are a lap/companion dog not a catch the Frisbee style dog. They will fret if left alone once they have bonded with their owner.

Exercise Requirements
Being both small and molosser, they need little exercise. They will be active in spurts, but may tire and overheat quickly especially in hot weather. A short walk each day is adequate for most. They are not strong swimmers, some I fact swim like stones so be aware of ponds and pools – they are dangerous to your Frenchie as to your 1 year old child.

Regardless of their small size…. Their history is of a type of dog that was typically a livestock guardian dog so they can be stubborn and self motivated, not taking well to repetitive training that will please a retriever. Be gentle and consistent when training  – praise will achieve more than punishment.

Veterinary Surgeon, London at Blue Cross UK | + posts

A London based Veterinary surgeon, Sanja is also an avid writer and pet advocate.