Hi, who doesn’t want a new doggy addition to the family? Fancy yourself a French bulldog?
These little dogs look like miniature bulldogs but with ears fit for a bat.
Let’s get you started on learning about this breed and hopefully helping you decide if it’s a possible new addition to your family or just to learn about them!
A Little About the Breed
The French bulldog, despite the name was popular in Britain in the 1800s.
Unlike its other lap dog counterparts, this breed was not all that glamorous but was popular with working city dwellers.
It even became the mascot for the lace makers of Nottingham, whose jobs were threatened by the industrial revolution relocated to France, taking of course there little frenchies with them.
It was there, in the French countryside where the modern bulldog was created and since then became popular and part of a more sophisticated culture within the cities such as Paris.
Within France, the ‘new’ bulldog breed was named ‘Bouledogue Français‘ (French bulldog) and thus there was a slow take back into Britain due to old fashioned rivalry but even the most disgruntled Brit could no longer keep away from the adorable breed and now it is popular across many countries.
Now lets talk about French bulldog pros and cons.
What is to Love About the Breed? Pros of the French Bulldog
1) They don’t have bad hair days
There coat is short and therefore requires little to no effort to keep it nice and silky. A bath when they smell and weekly grooming sessions to get the loose hairs is enough.
2) They love to cuddle
These little dogs are the ultimate lap dog and won’t say no to a snooze on the sofa.
Perfect for those who don’t want to or don’t have the time for several hours of walkies and play time.
A brisk walk once or twice a day will suffice in keeping these little doggies healthy and happy.
3) They love to play
They may love to lounge but they will also enjoy some quality play time.
Toys and fetch are both popular with this breed which will also help them keep fit and healthy.
4) They love to chatter but aren’t loud
There little faces means that they can grunt, snore and bark playfully but compared to other breeds this isn’t that loud and they don’t tend to bark excessively.
This makes them perfect for those with neighbours, even if they are a cat person!
5) They have a good temperament
These little dogs are made for companionship. They will love anyone who lets them cuddle making them good with both single people and families.
They are usually well-behaved making them perfectly suited to a wide range of scenarios
6) They are good with children
Although every dog does vary and children should always be supervised with doggy interactions this breed will likely welcome any well behaved children so long as they love to cuddle or play.
There more muscular build makes them a little more tolerant of more boisterous play without risk of being hurt than other small lap dog breeds.
7) They are adaptable
If you tend to have a lot of changes in your life, moving house, new family in the plans then they will adapt easier than other breeds so long as they are still allowed there cuddles!
8) They are good for apartment living
Small and stocky with a quieter voice make them ideal for flats. They won’t take up the whole sofa and a few walks and playtime are enough to keep this little breed happy.
Nobody’s Perfect, a Few Cons of the French Bulldog
1) They have many health issues
Like many , if not all brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds they suffer from breathing difficulties due there narrow airways.
A Kennel club study found that 50% of brachycephalic breeds have significant breathing difficulties (this study also included pugs amongst others) with 15% of these counting as severe.
This means you must be OK with this level of strain and with people thinking that owning this breed is cruel.
Some people even think that brachycephalic dog breeds should be banned completely, but other methods of increasing the well-being of these breeds can be read here.
They are also prone to several eye conditions, autoimmune diseases and skin allergies.
A good breeder will have screened their stock to try and reduce the frequency of prone diseases in their puppies, but this may take some time to research a reputable breeder.
Many articles claim that these kinds of breeds are sensitive to anaesthetic, but it is important to remember that its main difference (from most other breeds) is when waking up.
These dogs have large tonsils and a small windpipe so under anaesthetic and when waking up they can swallow saliva into their lungs and struggle to breathe.
It is important to remember that vets vets are aware of this and will keep your dog under close supervision until he is fully himself again. minimising the risk.
Like with any medication and surgery, there are many possible complications and your vet will discuss these with you should your dog be unfortunate enough to require them.
This means that you need to spend a good amount of time researching breeders, vets and vet insurance as your vet bills could be sizable to minimise any unnecessary suffering.
2) They can’t swim
Live near a body of water or love your water sports? Then this breed may not be for you.
They are front heavy making swimming a nightmare for these little dogs and therefore constant supervision is needed near any water bodies.
3) They are banned from flying
Want to travel a lot with your Frenchie? Then you may have to consider other methods than planes.
Many commercial airlines have banned Frenchies from flying underneath the plane. This is due to the associated risks of flying with brachycephalic breeds, sadly which includes death on board.
Some may allow flying in the cabin but this breed tends to be too large for this to be allowed across a wide range of airlines.
4) They can be stubborn
Many Frenchies have a good temperament but that doesn’t mean they will want to sit when told.
Leash training can also be an issue so a lot of training may be required, but being so small pulling isn’t a control issue but a well-behaved Frenchie is a happy Frenchie.
If you struggle to train your frenchie yourself, or are worried about it being too much make sure you factor in costs of a professional dog behaviourist or trainer.
5) Toilet-training issues
Due to some Frenchies stubborn nature, potty training can take a long time.
Positive reinforcement, time and commitment should mean any Frenchie ‘fertiliser’ is outside where it belongs.
For help on French bulldog training see here.
6) They drool everywhere
Flabby skin and short snout leaves a lot of places for slobber to escape and then tend to splash water from their drinking bowl.
This breed also uses drooling to help cool down their body temperature just like panting.
7) They are no good in heat
This is true for many flat-faced breeds. Narrow airways can exuberate the effect of heat and lead to stroke.
Even in a British summer time, Frenchie parents must get up early and stay up late to walk their dog out of the midday sunshine.
8) They snore
Loveable Frenchies will likely want to be with you at bedtime but for a light sleeper this may get annoying.
Again, this is a side effect of having such short faces, the narrow airways restrict airflow creating an endearing snore (if it’s not keeping you up at night!)
9) They like to chew
Many puppies and dogs love to do this, and require a fair bit of training to prefer dog toys rather than your favourite shoes, socks…you get the idea.
Good thing about Frenchies is being quite small, a large proportion of your house is likely to be out of reach!
10) They are prone to obesity
Obesity in pets is increasing with one study calculating that 34% of US dogs were obese, with some breeds more prone than others (Lund, E.M. et al, 2006).
A Frenchie still requires a fair amount of exercise to keep fit and happy as well as a good quality diet with treats given sparingly. No matter how longingly they look at you!
11) They do shed
Grooming may be simple, but this breed is not hypoallergenic. Short hairs will appear round the house, although this is less than other breeds such as the pug.
Here are our final thoughts on French bulldog pros and cons. This is another breed which packs a lot in a little. They have an adorable face and give a good balance of energy and chilled.
Enough of a dog to take for walks and to play but still happy to curl up with you for a movie night.
The main issues with this breed are more or less the same for all brachycephalic breeds; the health complications.
This should concern you, as a worried pet parent will do the appropriate preparations but if you think you will struggle with the wheezing of their breathing or the veterinary commitment than you should rule out all brachycephalic dog breeds.
This breed can live very happy, healthy lives with a good amount of preparation and research into the right breeder ensuring the appropriate tests are done to screen the breeding stock so that any major disease that can be avoided if possible.
In order to help decide on a breed, we suggest that you set out what are the main drivers for your desire to have a dog, rank them into must haves and must not haves.
You will love any dog so appearance shouldn’t be the overall decision maker unless you are torn between two breeds.
For example, if you are worried about health complications then look elsewhere or if barking is a concern then Frenchies are a good choice.
Choosing a dog is an entirely personal process and hopefully this helped in the decision making or if you reading just for fun, we hoped this expanded your knowledge.
For more on French bulldogs check out this article French bulldogs vs Pugs
Thank you for taking the time to read this!