The French Bulldog breed, called “Frenchies” or Bouledogue Francais is a playful little dog to be kept exclusively as a house pet. These dogs have the typical bulldog appearance, complete with a flattened head full of wrinkles. Being extremely loyal and affectionate, these clownish dogs make great companions to people of all ages and stations. They are perfect for people who live in small apartments.
The French Bulldog is related to the English Bulldog breed which was used for bull baiting and pit fighting until the early part of the 19th century. As these sports fell out of favor, bulldogs were kept as companion dogs, and were bred for still smaller size. They were crossbred with pugs and terrier breeds, which resulted in a toy bulldog breed which became very popular by the middle of the century.
Some of these toy bulldogs were imported to France, and were well received in that country, especially by the womenfolk. They particularly preferred smaller sized dogs and those with erect ears, features that were thought of as defects in England at that time. This resulted in the export of dogs with the above characteristics in large numbers from England to France.
In France, these small dogs became extremely popular, both with the rich and the fashionable as well as with the commoners. They came to be called Bouledogue Francais, and were considered a separate breed. When introduced into the United States from France, the French Bulldogs became equally popular there and topped the charts in dog shows in the early 20th century. These delightful little dogs are still valued as great companion dogs throughout the country and elsewhere.
The French Bulldogs have a compact body; both stocky and muscular, with an average of 11 inches in height, and weighing less than 30 pounds. The head is large and flat, with very short nose, upturned lower jaw and erect ears. The chest is deep and broad, and well supported.
The coat is short and smooth, coming in various shades of tan or fawn, as well as solid white coat, and black coat with white patches, and brindle patterns. The skin is loosely attached, particularly on the head and neck, causing it to form wrinkles on the face and around the shoulders.
The French Bulldog breed is playful and very entertaining. They are extremely affectionate, and show their attachment to their owners by cuddling up to them. Even though they are lively, and full of life, they do not make many demands on the owners, making them ideal for apartment dwellers and for people who lead a sedentary life. Even though these dogs are delightful pets, always ready to please their owners, they are not always obedient. In fact, they are known to be stubborn to some extent, so obedience training should be given early.
Grooming and exercise
The French Bulldog breed is easy to groom as its coat requires only a weekly brushing. However, care should be taken to clean the skin folds on the face every day.
These dogs are quite active, but their exercise needs are often met by running around in the house. But regular walks are essential to keep the dogs healthy. Since these dogs are troubled by allergies, and have very little tolerance to temperature variations, they should be taken out with ample protection against cold, and only when the weather is fine.
Since they cannot tolerate heat, French Bulldogs should be housed in air-conditioned comfort, making them an indoor pet. They are given to wheezing and snoring due to their short nose. Drooling is common too.
Common health issues of French Bulldog breed
The French Bulldog breed has a number of health issues, some of them breed-related. Being a flat-faced (brachycephalic) breed, it is prone to respiratory troubles, and finds it difficult to maintain proper thermoregulation. This makes it unsuitable for outdoor living.
Being specially bred from dwarf stock, these dogs are susceptible to spinal disorders, particularly chondrodysplasia. Hip dysplasia and patellar luxation are also common in these dogs. Eye problems such as glaucoma, cherry eye, corneal ulcers, retinal dysplasia and cataracts are frequently encountered.
Since these dogs generally need artificial insemination and caesarian sections, it is not advisable for dog owners to attempt breeding them. Regular health checkups and prompt treatment for potential disorders may help the dog lead a healthy life. Their lifespan of 9 to 10 years is relatively short for dog breeds of similar size.