Breeds

French Bulldogs Breed Information Guide: Photos, Traits, & Care

Written by: Savannah Lyons

July 11, 2019

Cute, compact, and extremely charming, the French bulldog can make the perfect miniature companion dog. With big bat ears, wrinkly skin, and smushed faces, they’re a close cousin to the English bulldog. That said, this breed has its own distinct personality traits. 

French bulldogs are smart and affectionate, known to follow their owners from room to room, eager for any attention they can get. Friendly, playful, and calm, Frenchies can adapt to most environments with ease. Quiet unless startled or suspicious, French bulldogs can even make as good of a watch dog as the German shepherd—just don’t expect anyone to be intimidated by them.

For a small breed, they’re sturdy and robust, with muscular bodies, short legs, and large heads. Despite looking rather strong, they’re not necessarily the most athletic dogs. This well-tempered breed will be more than comfortable in a smaller apartment, and French bulldogs are happy just to take a short stroll down the sidewalk. Be warned: strangers will stop you to tell you how cute your pup is.

Breed Overview

  • Height: 11–12 inches
  • Weight: 16–24 lbs
  • Lifespan: 10–14 years
  • Breed Size: Small
  • Colors: White, brindle, fawn, tan, brindle & white
  • Good With: Kids, other dogs, cats
  • Temperament: Easy-going, affectionate, protective

Also Known As…

Bouledogue Français. Frenchies. The frog dog, clown dog, smush face, bat pig, “Are they really from France?”

What Is The History Of The French Bulldog?

Despite the name, the French bulldog actually originates in England. The Frenchie’s closest genetic relative, the English bulldog, was wildly popular in 19th century Nottingham, particularly among garment workers. The industrial revolution brought unprecedented change to England, and while many thrived, the artisanal lace and textile workers quickly found themselves without work. Many chose to emigrate to northern France, and they brought their trusty canine companions with them.

In France, the lace workers were able to ply their trade, and, at the same time, many began breeding their bulldogs. Crossing the smaller, “toy” bulldogs with the local French ratting dogs, the French bulldog breed began to grow in popularity, and soon families across France were celebrating these little wrinkly bundles of joy.

In 1896, Frenchies began to ascend to the ranks of high society, showing up on the leash of many wealthy and regal owners. Two short years later, the French bulldog was properly recognized as a breed, and the popularity of this pooch began to skyrocket. Now, the Frenchie is a beloved pet for anyone looking for a handsome pup in a small package.

How Big Do French Bulldogs Get?

French bulldogs come from crossbreeding English bulldogs with other terrier breeds. As a result, Frenchies are smaller than a standard English bulldog.

Height: 11-12 inches tall

Weight: 16-24 pounds

How Long Do French Bulldogs (Generally) Live?

With a lifespan of 10–14 years, French Bulldogs can remain healthy and active well into their double digits, just like a dachshund.

What Is A French Bulldog’s Temperament & Personality Like?

Frenchies are adaptable. If you’re hoping to stroll over to your local park for an afternoon in the sun, your French bulldog is game to join you. If you’d rather kick back on the couch, just set out a pillow for your pup to veg out next to you—they will. 

French bulldogs are easy-going, sweet, and affectionate, especially towards their owner. Conversely, they might act a little territorial around strangers. They are bulldogs, after all, and that means they do have a tough streak underneath their cute and wrinkly exteriors.

Do French Bulldogs Bark A Lot?

The French bulldog is a dog breed of few words. Expect your Frenchie to stay quiet as a mouse, unless their erect ears detect someone at the door. There’s no need to worry about keeping your neighbors up with loud barking—another reason Frenchies do so well in apartments. When they do decide to speak up, however, expect a unique Frenchie “scream” that really sounds like they’re trying to speak to you.

Good With Kids? Cats? Dogs?

A calm and compassionate breed, Frenchies can be raised around small children. With proper socialization training, your French bulldogs should form close-knit bonds with your entire family. They may even become the unsung protector of your kiddos, watching for strangers or standing guard by their door as they sleep. 

Have no fear about your Frenchie puppy living with your other dog breeds or cats, either. So long as you take things slow and provide a safe and calm introduction for your animals, you can expect them to get along swimmingly. French Bulldogs are super social and may even be happier overall when they have animal friends to spend time with, especially when their human isn’t around.

Are French Bulldogs High Energy? 

Your French bulldog is likely to jump for joy when you arrive home after a long day, excitedly nuzzle, and even run circles around your legs when excited. Typically, this behavior wears off pretty quickly as Frenchies don’t have a lot of stamina. That said, you can look forward to a little burst of energy here and there.

Do French Bulldogs Need A Lot Of Exercise?

French bulldogs aren’t lazy, but they’re not exactly known for their athleticism. Due to the shape of their skulls, Frenchies may have difficulty breathing during strenuous exercise. Keep your walks short and brisk and minimize high-intensity activity, especially when the weather is warmer.

Are French Bulldogs Hard To Train?

Break out the treats, toys, and training accessories. Teaching your Frenchie proper manners and obedience may take a bit of work. While French bulldogs are more than happy to play and snuggle, they’re a little tougher to wrangle when it’s time for training. 

Don’t worry, you can still teach your Frenchie to behave. Keep your lessons as short as possible, and have plenty of treats on hand. French bulldogs are smart, but like many pooches, their attention span is a few minutes, at most.

Do French Bulldogs Have Health Issues?

Commonly, French bulldogs owners should keep an eye on chronic health issues such as:

  • Allergies to food, pollens, and parasites
  • Skin fold dermatitis and skin infection
  • Eye issues, such as cataracts, cherry eye, and conjunctivitis
  • Heat-related stress
  • Hip and back problems, such as intervertebral disc disease and hip dysplasia similar to the Beagle
  • Breathing problems due to stenotic nares (nostrils) or brachycephalic airway syndrome (BAS)

If you catch your pup wheezing, snoring, or gasping, they may have issues with their soft palate or BAS. Consult with your veterinarian regarding treatment options for any health problems you run into, and your Frenchie should be feeling en bon santé in no time.

Do French Bulldogs Need To Be Groomed? 

These stylish pups need a bit of assistance to keep up their dashing good looks. Your pup should take a dip in the bath as soon as they’re visibly dirty—Frenchies short coats are immune to things like tangles and mats. It’s up to you (and how fussy your Frenchie is) whether you tackle bath time and nail trimmings at home or the groomer’s. 

Keeping a Frenchie’s wrinkles and folds clean is an essential task to avoid skin irritation due to infection or bacterial buildup. Simply use a warm, damp wash cloth (no soap or shampoo) and gently wipe the crevices. Do this on a frequent basis to keep those wrinkles clean!

Are French Bulldogs Hypoallergenic?

Because of their smooth, short hair, many people mistakenly believe that French bulldogs are hypoallergenic. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Frenchies are notorious shedders and can leave allergy sufferers sneezing, sniffling, and scratching their heads.

How Much Does It Cost To Care For A French Bulldog?

The cost of purchasing a French bulldog from a reputable breeder can be high. You might spend anywhere from $1800–$4500 just to take your puppy home. After that initial cost, your yearly expenses should stay at around $1100. When searching for a Frenchie puppy, be cognizant that their flat-faced appearance cause health issues and difficulty breathing, so avoid breeders who choose to prioritize this feature. Better yet, skip the breeder entirely and adopt from a rescue or shelter instead.

Food

Little pups can have big appetites, and the Frenchie exemplifies this. Expect your small dog to wolf down 1 to 1½ cups of food per day. This should cost somewhere between $20 and $50 per month depending on the food you choose.

Now, choosing is even easier with BARK Eats. Why do the guesswork when BARK can deliver customized, pre-portioned dog food, designed by vets and customized to fit the dietary needs of your French bulldog? Plus, it comes straight to your door when you need it, so there’s no risk of running out. Get 50% off your first month!

Routine Vet Care (Healthy Dog)

Vaccines, checkups, and early screening may end up costing you $200–$500 initially. That doesn’t include any treatment costs or complex testing. Regular testing and checkups (around $50 per basic vet visit) will minimize the risk of more serious and costly health problems.

Preventative Medications

You’ll likely need to spend around $100+ on flea, tick, and heartworm prevention treatments per year to ensure your Frenchie is protected. After that, you might consider picking up some high-quality, vet-recommended supplements for an added boost to your pup’s health, all at an additional but manageable cost.

Grooming

The general cost for grooming appointments can vary widely, but expect to spend at least $30 per session to keep your dog fresh and clean. If you opt for at-home grooming, you’ll need to purchase your own dog-friendly shampoo, clippers, and cleaning brushes—around $50 or less all in.

Toys, Treats, Beds, & Accessories

Frenchies need somewhere to curl up and nap—they do spend more than half of their time sleeping. A small dog bed should cost around $25+.

Leashes, toys, and treats all have variable costs, but will keep your pup entertained and active. You can find plenty of toys for as low as $5 each, or you can drop a little extra for high-quality accessories that will last.

Give your Frenchie a reason to check the mail with BarkBox! It’s a monthly subscription service designed to engage and entertain. At $23/month your pup enjoys 2 toys, 2 full-size bags of treats, and a tasty chew. For only $6 more, you can unlock the Super Chewer subscription with fluff-free, durable toys. Double your first box free!

Working long days or taking a vacation? You might need to spend a little extra on some services to keep your dog safe and healthy:

  • Dog walker ($25+ per visit)
  • Daycare/boarding ($25+ per day)
  • Pet sitter ($50+ per day)

Sources

American Kennel Club. From Brothels to Royals: The Complicated Past of The French Bulldog. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/dog-breeds/behind-the-breed-history-french-bulldog/ 

Animal Health Center. French Bulldog. https://animalhealthcenternh.com/client-resources/breed-info/french-bulldog/

Written by: Savannah Lyons

July 11, 2019