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Buying a pet

French Bulldog: Breed info & health advice

Date updated: 15 02 2018

They’re chunky. They’re lively. They’re bat-eared and beautiful. French Bulldogs might be small, but their larger than life personalities make sure they never go unnoticed. Frenchies love company and constant attention, they’ve got a lotta love to give and can’t wait to share it around.

Frenchie’s have a reputation for playing the class clown, and can hold the attention of a whole room without even trying thanks to that ‘endearing’ stream of grunts, snorts, and flatulence! They’re usually well behaved and pretty chilled out, but really don’t like being alone, and will pine and sulk if you’re gone for a long time.

via GIPHY

Stats:

Average lifespan: 10-12 years

Weight: 9.5 - 12.5 kilos

Height at shoulder: 12 inches

Colouring: there are three officially recognised colours: pied, brindle and fawn. You might spot a few other colours, but watch out - the French Bulldog Club of England advises against buying a puppy with a non-recognised colouring, as they may be more likely to have underlying health problems and temperament issues.

Grooming requirements: low maintenance (thinks to a smooooooth coat)

Average purchase cost: You’re looking at somewhere between £500 and £800.

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Bet you didn’t know...

  • They’re not really French! The Frenchie is actually a Brit, first created in England as a toy-sized bulldog. They were a big hit with Nottingham lace workers - many of whom moved to France in the mid-19th Century, taking their buddies along with them where they became a big hit in high society.
  • They nearly disappeared - but came back with a boom. In 1940 there were just a handful of Frenchies registered, and it wasn’t until the eighties that the breed started to really get popular. Fast forward to today, and the French bulldog looks set to overtake the labrador as Britain’s most popular dog. There were 670 registered purebreeds in 2007. By the end of 2017, there could be over 28,000!
  • They’re a big deal in New York. For the last few years, the Frenchie has been New York’s most popular dog; second only to the labrador across America as a whole. Their popularity in the Big Apple is down to their pint-sized frame and powerful personalities - Frenchie’s are perfect for small city-centre apartments.
  • Most Frenchies are bred via artificial insemination. The… uh... ‘logistics and angles’ involved are just too much for those short little legs to handle!
  • You’re in fabulous company. Lady Gaga, David Beckham, Leo Dicaprio, Reese Witherspoon, Hugh Jackman… yep, they’re all firm Frenchie fans.

Great for…

Anyone looking for a dog that’s small but sturdy, perfect if you don’t have that much space. Frenchies make great family pets or buddies for the elderly.

Frenchies are relatively low maintenance. Most need a couple of walks each day, but they’re no athlete: 15 mins for each trip should do it. Fave hobbies include chasing balls around the house or garden - and kicking back on the sofa in front of the TV.

Barking can be a problem where Frenchies are left alone for long periods - so if there’s no-one at home all day, this breed might not be for you.

Source: @french_bulldogs

Source: @french_bulldogs

Behaviour & training...

When meeting new people or pets, Frenchie’s can suffer from “little dog syndrome”. They might be snappy and territorial at first, but once the intros are over they’re super chilled and will generally get on well with everyone.

Frenchie’s are known to be smart but stubborn. They love a game, but can find it hard to see the ‘fun’ in training. The trick for training your Frenchie is short sessions, a few times a day. Try and mix up the routine to keep it fresh and stop your buddy from losing interest.

Let’s just say, Frenchie’s don't take criticism well. If they think they’re being told off, they’ll bark and sulk. This means house training can be a long process! A crate can help: slowly increasing the length of time your French bulldog is in the crate helps him to learn to “hold it in”. 

Black frenchbull dog on a skateboard with a rucksack

Source: @frenchie_bulldog

TLC...

A short smooth coat means no clipping, and no need for trips to the groomer. Frenchie’s are low-to-moderate shedders - just give your buddy a weekly brush to help keep this under control.

French bulldogs are especially prone to sun stroke - so in the summer, try to walk early in the morning or late in the day. When out and about in the heat, take it slow and have plenty of water and ice at hand.

Give your buddy a monthly mani pedi to keep toenails in check. To help keep halitosis at bay and keep teeth and gums healthy, teeth should be brushed several times a week. Those big bat ears also need regular cleaning to reduce the chances of infection. Use ear rinse and a cotton swab - but be careful not to go into the actual canal or you could end up impacting more dirt into the ear!

As adorable as those wrinkles are, moisture can quickly build up, providing a breeding ground for bacteria. Reduce the risk of infection by cleaning with warm water - only use soap or shampoo if your vet tells you to.

Common health issues to watch out for...

As a short-faced dwarf breed, French Bulldogs unfortunately suffer from their fair share of health issues:

  • Brachycephalic syndrome. This is a condition that many short-headed dog breeds (including Frenchies) have to contend with. If your Frenchie’s usual snorts and grunts get more pronounced, if they get tired easily or have difficulty breathing - these are warning signs. Anti-inflammatory therapy can help bring relief, but surgery is required in some cases.
  • Knee and elbow problems. French bulldogs can be prone to luxating patellas (kneecaps slipping out of place), which can be very sore in the short-term and sometimes lead to arthritis and cruciate rupture further down the line.
  • Entropion (inward-turning eyelids) can be an issue with Frenchies. It’s caused by excess eyelid tissue - and results in the lid turning inward with the hairy side rubbing against the cornea (very painful). Surgery can fix it - and this usually involves referral to a veterinary ophthalmologist.
  • Slipped discs are also a possibility. Treatment depends on severity, but can sometimes involve surgery to remove pressure on the spinal cord.  
  • Frenchies can also be prone to Urolithiasis (stones in the urine). If this leads to an obstruction, it’s an emergency requiring immediate surgery.
  • Other health issues include: skin allergies and problems, dietary allergies, regurgitation, ear and eye problems, tail problems, hip dysplasia and neuro problems.
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