What’s not to love about this fun-sized, cordial canine? One of the most beloved breeds, French Bulldogs are loyal companions to many around the world, especially in the United States and the United Kingdom. In fact, in recent years, they’ve consistently ranked second on the American Kennel Club’s list of most popular dog breeds.1
Behind this pup’s sweet disposition, however, lies quite a few surprising habits that may make you look twice at your best friend. So, if you’re looking for the scoop on the neighborhood pooch or curious to track down a hidden trait, we’ve gone off-leash to fetch our top ten favorite French bulldog fun facts.
Read on to learn how this mini-hound really got its name, why they hate bath time as much as going to the vet, and what they’re actually trying to say when they start moaning along to the radio, among other tail-wagging tidbits.
#1 Frenchies were Bred for Companionship
Being a companion dog, It’s no mistake that this breed tops the popular charts year after year—Frenchies were bred for their social nature and love interacting with humans. Luckily, their rounded red eyes and wrinkled smiles often make them irresistible to us too!
Frenchies are particularly known for their:
- Immediate affection
- Mild disposition
These dogs love meeting new people and may even spend more time with a house guest than their owner! By nature, they’re great therapy dogs and tend to be a favorite for homes with young kids or elderly individuals. But their sociability is often coupled with separation anxiety, so be prepared to stay by this dog’s side as often as it runs to yours!
#2 French Bulldogs Don’t Like Water Up Their Noses Either
French bulldogs are brachycephalic, which means they have particularly short, flat snouts.2 This condition means smaller airways, making it difficult for Frenchies to breathe in normal day-to-day situations. Adding water to the mix can be a particularly frightening experience.
In water, a Frenchie has to tilt its head upwards to breathe, which means the heavier part of its body can start to sink. So instead of jumping in the waves, this diva dog would much prefer to lounge far up the beach.
Of course, since they’re easy to train, it is still technically possible to teach your pooch the doggie paddle in the pool with a little persistence and a few treats on hand.3
#3 Most Frenchies are Test Tube Babies
As a smaller breed, these 12-inch tall, 20-pound pups certainly didn’t win the genetic lottery. Due to their short legs and small hips, this breed doesn’t have an easy time mating. Similar to the English bulldog, Shih Tzu, and Boston terrier, French bulldogs also have short airways that often leave males quickly exhausted and fatigued.
While these dogs do have all the equipment to reproduce naturally, most French bulldogs are born through artificial insemination. This means the male dog’s sperm is extracted and injected into the female dog.
But don’t worry! This careful process is a safe and routine procedure. In fact, due to the build of female dogs, about 80% of French bulldog puppies are also born via cesarean section, which means humans must intervene with surgical measures to extract pups.4
#4 French Bulldogs aren’t Exactly French
Think twice before letting your portrait painter convince your Frenchie to don a beret! These puppers couldn’t always parler français. The French bulldog breed actually traces its origins to England’s Industrial revolution.5
In the nineteenth century, small bulldog breeds were especially popular in English cities. In particular, lace artisans in smaller villages like Nottingham were fond of the small breed. With industry and machine production on the rise, the lace trade brought many of its crafters (and their companions) to northern France.
There, these pups become popular in the countryside and cross-bred with other small breeds to become the squishable flat face we know today. Perhaps due to their ability to live comfortably in smaller quarters, these dogs were quickly rebranded as the perfect Parisian city dog.
A European Feud
After Parisians gave them their long-lasting moniker—“Bouledogue Français” or French bulldog—the breed took off in global popularity. However, English dog lovers turned up their noses at the breed and refused to let the dog revisit its roots.
As a national symbol of England, the bulldog had long been a strong English icon. However, Englishmen were appalled and wounded by the fact that their French rivals had laid claim to their national canine without so much as a letter.
Tip: A foolproof way to find out which side your Frenchie identifies with most is to leave a croissant on one side of the house and a crumpet on the other and wait for them to sniff out their roots.
#5 They’re a Particularly Sensitive Breed
Their inclination to be social means that this dog doesn’t only want to give love but also expects it back. Yelling at your Frenchie can throw it into a sad tailspin for hours afterward.
Frenchies, and most dogs for that matter, experience the world through sensations like smell, taste, and movement. Instead of using a louder voice, try showing your pup what you would like them to do with your body language.
Apart from their sensitive emotions, Frenchies also have particularly sensitive skin! The genetics of these dogs makes them susceptible to allergies, which can make their skin dry, itchy, or flaky. Consult a vet to confirm how to recognize symptoms and ensure your dog is comfortable in its present environment.
#6 Frenchies Shed
This breed’s short hair can often be deceptive. It’s true that Frenchies aren’t frequent shedders; however, when they shed, they really shed. Twice a year they lose their undercoat. In the spring, they shed thicker hair to stay cool, and in the fall, they shed to prepare for new growth to keep warm.
Shedding is natural, and most dogs follow a similar pattern. Although, if excessive shedding occurs, you may want to take your pup to the vet to see if there’s a nutrition problem. And be sure to add in some occasional brushing to help keep your Frenchie’s coat healthy—they’ll undoubtedly appreciate the close social time with you, too.
Unfortunately, shedding tendencies mean this breed is not hypoallergenic. However, a 2012 study notes that there’s insufficient evidence to classify any dog breed as hypoallergenic, so this fact may not make much of a difference if you’re searching for an allergen-free pet.6
#7 They Love to Communicate, but not by Barking
The French bulldog is known for its passive friendliness and curiosity toward strangers. This trait is in part due to its non-aggressive volume. Instead of loud attention-grabbing barks, this pup uses subtle noises to spark conversation.
You may hear your pup make small yippy noises at the mail carrier or find your pal gargling at you while you prepare food. A playful growl may accompany a healthy play session.
Don’t be afraid to sing your own strange vocal acknowledgments! Frenchies love to participate in communal sound-making sessions. They’ll feel loved and heard—and you’ll have every opportunity to practice your arpeggios.
#8 This Canine has a Stubborn Bite
Compared with other dog breeds, the French bulldog doesn’t have a particularly strong chomp, hovering at an average of 180 to 239 PSI (pounds per square inch) as compared to larger breeds like the labrador retriever’s 230 PSI.7
Yet the Frenchie remains a formidable opponent against new toys due to their committed nature. Dare challenge this little ball of energy to a game of tug-of-war? Be prepared to keep up the fight until one of you drops, and then prepare for rounds two and three.
#9 Frenchies are a Top Celebrity Pup
Fun fact: Hugh Jackman, David Beckham, Hilary Duff, Lady Gaga, and Leonardo Dicaprio are some of the top celebs who count a French Bulldog as one of the family. Perhaps dating all the way back to the canine’s stint as the talk of the town in Paris, these dogs have frequently been a top pick of the privileged.
Whether it’s their kind nature, adorable folds, or travel-sized stature we’re not surprised to find this breed as a go-to red carpet companion. In addition, these adaptable dogs may be the best-suited breed to a fast-paced lifestyle.
Lady Gaga is perhaps the most outspoken proponent of the Frenchie fandom. Her three prize pets: Asia, Koji, and Gustave, frequently come up in interviews. In 2014, Asia even accompanied her world-famous owner on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar.
#10 They Hate Exercise
Partly due to their short snout and difficulty breathing, Frenchies can remain happy and healthy with only a short walk or a quick indoor game each day.
Their nature also means they’re rather prone to overexertion and should not be exposed to high temperatures—particularly high heat and humidity, which can exaggerate breathing problems.
It’s not unusual to find your Frenchie sleeping for long portions of the day. This cat-like snoozing schedule shouldn’t indicate any health issues and is considered normal for both puppies and adults.
For more about Frenchie’s and health check our “Common French Bull Dog Health Issues.” And if your shopping for the perfect food for your pup why not start with BARK food for Frenchies!” Pro Tip: Get 25% off with code 25FOOD and free shipping!
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- American Kennel Club. Post Popular Dog Breeds of 2020. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/dog-breeds/the-most-popular-dog-breeds-of-2020/
- American Canine Research Association. Can French Bulldogs Swim? https://ncraoa.com/can-french-bulldogs-swim/
- American Kennel Club. French Bulldog Puppy Training Timeline: How to Train a Frenchie. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/french-bulldog-puppy-training-timeline/
- Bulldog Corner. Can French Bulldogs Mate with Other Dogs? https://bulldogcorner.com/can-french-bulldogs-mate-with-other-dogs/
- American Kennel Club. French Bulldog Breed Information. https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/french-bulldog/
- Elselvier. Can f 1 levels in hair and homes of different dog breeds: lack of evidence to describe any dog breed as hypoallergenic. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22728082/
- French Bulldog Owner. French Bulldog Bite Force Strength (PSI): How Strong is the Bite? https://frenchbulldogowner.com/french-bulldog-bite-force-strength-psi/