The French Bulldog has always been a companion dog: small and muscular with a smooth coat, short face and trademark "bat" ears. Affectionately known as the Frenchie, it is loved for its endearing nature and even disposition.
The Frenchie has a curious and alert expression that is enhanced by its bat ears. It differs from the English Bulldog in its movement, which is free, unrestrained and has good reach and drive. Its loose, soft skin around the shoulders and head forms wrinkles. It is a strong and entertaining home dog as well as a sturdy lapdog.
Sharing several characteristics of its Bulldog ancestors, the French Bulldog breed is characterized by a heavy-boned and wide body, muscular build, big square head, low center of gravity, and a short, fine coat, which is found in various colors, including brindle, fawn, white, and black.
This sweet, friendly, and companionable dog is willing to please. As a clownish lap dog, the French Bulldog loves playing and enjoys entertaining its family. It is fond of snoozing with and cuddling its favorite person.
Although the Frenchie is a fun-loving dog, it has minimal exercise needs. It loves an outdoor romp but does not enjoy hot and humid weather. In fact, the French Bulldog is not suited for outdoor living and cannot swim.
A short on-leash walk is adequate to fulfill most of the dog’s physical needs. Coat care is minimal but the facial wrinkles of the dog need regular cleaning. In addition, Frenchies tend to snore, drool, and wheeze.
The Frenchie, which has an average lifespan of 9 to 11 years, is prone to major health problems like brachycephalic syndrome, intervertebral disk disease (IVDD), allergies, and canine hip dysplasia (CHD), and minor problems like patellar luxation, and hemivertebra. The French Bulldog breed is also sensitive to heat and anesthesia, and dogs of this breed must be delivered by Caesarean section. Knee, eye hip, and spine tests are advised for this breed of dog.
As one of the popular dogs in England, the Bulldog was very common in the area surrounding Nottingham in the 1800s. Certain small Bulldogs weighed no more than 25 pounds and many lace workers took these "Toy" Bulldogs to France, where they went for work in the mid-19th century.
The little Bulldogs, particularly the ones that had erect ears, fascinated the women of France. (Ironically, this same feature was not liked in England.) Dog dealers introduced many such clownish dogs to France, and thus these dogs, known as the Bouledogue Francais, created a furor in Paris. The breeders in France continued to develop the straight, bat ears, causing further annoyance to English breeders.
By the late 19th century, the upper class took a fancy to the breed and it got a place in many fine French homes. At about the same time, many Americans visiting France carried specimens to the U.S. and started breeding the dog.
Despite the controversy over the correct ear type, an American club was set up and, in 1898, it sponsored a very elegant dog show for the French Bulldog. The wealthy American spectators were attracted to the stylish show and soon the French Bulldog captured the hearts of many. High society was also very fond of the dog and by 1913, this breed dominated many of the popular show dogs in the United States.
Even though other breeds have become popular since then, the Frenchie continues to have a great fan-following.