Originally bred in the 19th century as lap dogs, the French Bulldog makes for a perfect companion. The second most popular dog in the US according to the American Kennel Club, it’s not hard to see why these miniature dogs are so sought-after. They’re not only adorably cute with their comedic flat face and bulging eyes, but the breed is known for its friendly and affectionate nature. They love people and are great with kids as they’re playful, loyal and protective.
While they can be stubborn and slow to train, they don’t need much exercise so can be kept in a flat and they’re fairly easy to groom. Just make sure you’re sensitive to their needs. The Frenchie loves attention, but hates being shouted at so try positive reinforcement instead. While they aren’t barkers, they’ll chat away to you with yawns, yips and gargles so they’re great company. Check out these French Bulldog facts to find out more...
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1. French Bulldogs are actually English
Here's the first of our French Bulldog facts: they were actually bred from the English Bulldog. In the 19th century, people started breeding smaller versions of the English Bulldog and they were used by Nottingham lace makers as lapdogs while they worked. Then, during the Industrial Revolution, when the lace industry moved to France, the dogs moved with their owners. The small bulldogs were bred then bred with terriers and eventually became a new breed – the Bouledogue Francais, or the French Bulldog as it is known today.
2. They were not built for the sea or air
One of the lesser-known French Bulldog facts is that while lots of dogs are good swimmers, the French Bulldog is not one of them. The breed not only has a stocky body, its short snout makes it difficult for your pooch to keep its head afloat to breathe. They love the water, so make sure you’ve got a doggy life jacket to hand (try the Ruffwear K9 Flat Dog Coat).
You’ll also have to keep your pet in mind when flying. Unlike most dog breeds, French bulldogs have to fly in the cabin area with you instead of in the cargo. This is because they have a condition called Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome, which makes it difficult for them to breathe and withstand high temperatures. It’s important to check the airline’s requirements for carriers and weight restrictions before you fly.
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3. Their ears have caused controversy
French Bulldogs are known for their bat-shaped ears, but they originally had rose-shaped ears that fold over like the English Bulldog. All French Bulldogs start off with folded ears, but as they grow up and stop teething their ears perk up. When the French Bulldog Club of America hosted its first show in New York in 1989, French Bulldogs with rose-shaped ears were banned. Since then, American breeders have campaigned to only showcase bat-shaped ears. Today, the American Kennel Club still considers rose-shaped ears a disqualifying characteristic.
4. They’re expensive to breed
If you’re hoping to get a French Bulldog, you’ll need to save up. This breed is pricey, not only because of its popularity, but because it comes with expensive needs. Most French Bulldogs are born through artificial insemination and C-Section. Firstly, they struggle to breed due to their short legs and hips, and secondly the females’ small birth canals makes birthing difficult because of their pups’ big heads.
Once you’ve bought one, they’re also expensive to maintain. They not only love to eat, they come with high vet bills. As well as suffering from breathing difficulties, French Bulldogs can be affected by eye, back, and skin disorders.
5. They’re well-known fashionistas
If you’re getting a Frenchie, prepare for your pet to go viral. This breed is a fashion star! The French Bulldog has grown in popularity since the 19th century, and today they not only have a whole host of famous owners (from Lady Gaga and Hugh Jackman to Leonard DiCaprio and Dwayne Johnson), but they are the number one dog breed on Instagram. These dogs are so laidback that they’ll quite happily let their owners dress them up. In fact, designer Marc Jacobs even has his own line of French Bulldog accessories.
6. They fart a lot!
French bulldogs love to eat, but beware, they fart a lot, and it can be quite smelly! The brachycephalic breed has a very sensitive digestive system, and when they eat they tend to swallow a lot of air because of their short snouts. Flatulence can be caused if their diet is changed or they eat too quickly. It’s important to monitor your Frenchie’s diet, as they can also have problems with obesity. Their ideal weight, according to the American Kennel Club, is 28 pounds.
Clown dogs come up trumps
Lovingly known as clown dogs, the charismatic French bulldog is sure to keep you entertained. If you can afford the price tag, they’ll be your best friend. And while you may have to put up with some farting, when it comes to being a calm and patient companion, this breed will always come up trumps.
Former editor of World of Animals magazine, Zara is a freelance writer with a passion for wildlife. Born in South Africa, she developed a love of animals from an early age. She is currently looking for a bigger house just so she can get a cat and a dog.
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