Trupanion Dog Breed Guide - French BulldogTrupanion Dog Breed Guide - French BulldogTrupanion Dog Breed Guide - French Bulldog

French Bulldog



French Bulldog Breed Highlights

A small brown French Bulldog puppy sitting outside in the grass

  • You might hear people refer to the French Bulldog as a “Frog Dog” — this comes from their funny way of laying down with their back legs splayed out straight behind them and their round face, just like a frog!

  • The French Bulldog might be small, but they have BIG personalities.

  • There’s actually no French in the French Bulldog. At least not in its early days, as the breed is originally from England — not France.

  • They tend to be very … gassy. Their flat faces, and tendency to eat quickly, allows air into their digestive tract which, like it or not, has to find a way out.

  • This breed isn’t generally considered a frequent barker. But Frenchies do like to “talk” and make a variety of unique noises while conversing with their humans. So be prepared for some interesting conversations.

  • Originally bred for companionship, French Bulldogs take this role very seriously and make wonderful sidekicks to their human. Known for their goofy and entertaining play style, they also love to snuggle up and relax on your couch, which will ultimately be their couch.

  • Breeding French Bulldogs can be difficult, as most French Bulldog puppies need to be delivered by Cesarean section (owing to the broadness of their head and shoulders relative to their smaller body size and the width of the female’s pelvic canal). Most are also conceived via artificial insemination, as opposed to natural mating, again due to body conformation challenges.

Unique Physical Features

Trupanion Dog Breed Guide - French Bulldog Illustration

  • Large, bat-like ears

  • Flat-face (brachycephalic) and narrow nostrils

  • Stocky and muscular build

Unique Personality

Trupanion Dog Breed Guide - French Bulldog Illustration

The Frenchie is a fun-loving breed who can go from the life of the party to asleep in your favorite chair in no time. They’re playful and entertaining, not to mention extremely affectionate and loyal to their humans.

Preferred Lifestyle

Energy Level

dog energy level - low (couch potato) to medium (mall walker)

With Kids

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Frenchies are a sturdy breed, making them a great choice for families with children.

With Other Pets

Icon - cat and dog outline

They do quite well with other animals in the household.

Environment

Icon - outline of a house

They’re a great partner if you live in an apartment or love the city life, but still need sufficient exercise with a walk around town.

Average Lifespan
(Range)

10 to 12 years

Average Size
(Range)

Small (8 - 10 pounds)

Breed Group

Non-Sporting

Similar Breeds

History of the French Bulldog

Two French Bulldogs sitting outside on the patio squinting into the sunshine

Some believe French Bulldogs can be traced all the way back to the mastiff-type dogs kept by an ancient Greek tribe called the Molassians — spread throughout the world by Phoenician traders. Many of these large dogs were used in sporting contests against bulls and other animals. When this practice was banned in England in 1835, many of the breeders shifted their focus to create a breed more suitable as a companion dog.

Companion dogs of the time were generally small, so the larger, 1800s English Bulldogs were crossed with Terriers (and possibly the Pug as well) to create a “Toy Bulldog.” Interestingly, this miniature breed became popular with the lace workers of Nottingham, England. Ultimately, the lace workers were pushed out of England by the Industrial Revolution and made their way to France. And that’s how the Frenchie finally made it to France.

The people of France, particularly high society, were rather smitten with these unique, stalky companion dogs. At that time, the floppy, bat-like ears we love in today’s French Bulldogs did not meet The Kennel Club’s breed standard. And English breeders saw an opportunity to export these little guys to France, where these puppies were all the rage. As often happens when breeds are introduced into a new culture, these toy Bulldogs were crossed again with small terriers. The result was the Bouledogue Francais, or French Bulldog — quite the status symbol.

Changes Over Time

When the new French Bulldog was imported back to England, there was pushback from traditional English breeders. Their concern — English-bred Bulldogs had rose ears folding at the tip, as we see today. They did not want the French and English breeds to mix. Both rose-eared and bat-eared French Bulldogs were entered in shows. But judges primarily chose rose-eared members of the breed as the winners.

In the late 1800s, American travelers started their love affair with the French Bulldog, preferring the large bat ears. This is how they made their way to the United States. And this move from across the pond is what prompted the breed standard we see today. In 1898, American owners of the breed boycotted the Westminster Dog Show. They weren’t happy Frenchies with both kinds of ears were allowed to participate, despite the French Bulldog Club of America requiring a bat ear as the breed standard. In an epic “shade-throwing” move, the club hosted their own swanky dog show at the Waldorf-Astoria, only allowing French Bulldogs with bat ears to participate. From there, the popularity of the breed (with the official bat ears) grew quickly, especially among the East Coast elite.

U.S. History of the French Bulldog Over Time

After their bat-eared American debut in the late 1800s, Frenchies were quite popular for the next few decades. Their popularity began to wane after World War I, thanks to the rise of the Boston Terrier as the new star of brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds. French Bulldogs also had trouble giving birth to their puppies naturally and didn’t do well during the summer heat.

Sadly, there were only 100 French Bulldogs registered with the AKC in 1940. And only 106 registered twenty years later in 1960. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the Frenchie experienced a jump in popularity that continues today. By 1990 there were 632 registered French Bulldogs and over 5,500 in 2006.

In 2018, the French Bulldog held the spot of 4th Most Popular Breed in the U.S. based on AKC registrations, and they continue to grow in popularity due in part to their social media presence and celebrity exposure.

French Bulldog Behavior and Training

French Bulldogs were bred as companion dogs and are experts at it. Their silly and entertaining personalities are endearing. And their eagerness to please makes training fun and successful, as long as their owner is positive, consistent, and patient. They also make great little guard dogs and will alert you when something or someone is afoot.

Frenchies do have some strong opinions, and they aren’t afraid to show it. While some call this “stubborn,” the breed’s lineage includes bulldogs and terriers, bred to be hard-working and able to think independently. It’s all about building solid, positive training habits that begin when they are a puppy, and knowing your Frenchie’s motivators.

French Bulldogs do best with consistent positive reinforcement training. Many love working for food (who doesn’t?), but also find toys and play with their human very rewarding.

TRAINING MYTH

Many people describe French Bulldogs as being a “stubborn” breed and hard to train. It all comes down to knowing what motivates them and using that to your advantage. They are descendants of the bulldog and terrier breeds that were created specifically for working independently and not giving up, so some hard-headedness is to be expected. With positive reinforcement training methods and consistency, a Frenchie is a joy to train and will be an excellent companion.

Frenchies can also be sensitive to harsh scolding or yelling. Punishments, whether verbal or physical, not only damage the relationship between a Frenchie and their owner but also tend not to work in the long run. Often, it creates long-term behavioral issues. By focusing on teaching a Frenchie what to do, rather than on unwanted behaviors, they will be well-behaved, flat-faced rock stars.

Plays Well with Others?

  • While Frenchies are known for their outgoing and social nature, proper proactive exposure to new sights, sounds, people, dogs, and other animals as a young puppy is essential for their socialization skills.

TRAINER TIP

Pair meeting new people or animals with high-value training treats or a favorite toy, and keep introductions short and sweet so it doesn’t get overwhelming.

  • French Bulldogs are a frequent breed choice for families with children. They’re outgoing, rugged, and can tolerate the physical handling of young kids. Make sure they have been properly introduced and socialized with children as a young puppy to set them up for success. Young children and dogs should always be supervised, and it’s helpful for a dog to have their own “safe space” where they can go when they need some quiet time.

  • When it comes to animal buddies in the home, it’s once again, all about socialization. As long as they have been properly socialized and introduced, French Bulldogs can enjoy and benefit from the companionship of other animals. Just remember, they tend to have a high-energy, rough and tumble play style — they might be small, but they play hard! Early socialization during puppyhood helps French Bulldogs learn proper play. And it’s important to always supervise play between a Frenchie and other dogs to keep it fun for everyone.
Graphic - bouncing red ball image

Exercise Requirements

French Bulldogs need daily exercise. But due to their flat-faces and breathing difficulties, it’s essential to make sure they don’t overdo it. A little outside playtime or short walks are a great way to keep a Frenchie in good shape. Never exercise them in warmer temperatures or when it’s humid outside, and provide lots of breaks and water. Frenchies should always be monitored for heatstroke symptoms, which include: rapid panting, drooling, bright red tongue or gums, and trouble breathing.

VETERINARIAN TIP

If a French Bulldog has narrowed nostrils, a component of Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS), some people will elect to have a surgical procedure done to widen the nostrils (and correct other potential anatomical abnormalities of BOAS) to improve their dog’s ability to breathe and decrease their risks of suffering from heatstroke.

Mental Enrichment Needs

Mental enrichment is important for Frenchies, not only to keep them entertained but also to help prevent separation anxiety. Stimulate their brains by teaching new tricks, attending obedience classes, joining a dog sport, and providing dog puzzles and interactive toys. These activities are a great way to provide an outlet for all that French Bulldog puppy energy.

Common Behavioral Issues

Frenchie puppies are known to take to house training slower than other breeds, though most get the hang of it by 6 to 9 months of age. Because Frenchies love their humans so much, they are prone to separation anxiety if they aren’t taught at a young age that being away from their human is nothing to worry about. Spending some time on this potential problem early on will save you and your Frenchie many anxious days.

TRAINER TIP

Any time you leave your Frenchie alone, pull out a frozen stuffed Kong or another yummy treat toy. When you return (even if only after thirty seconds), put it away until next time. This will help your Frenchie learn that when you’re gone.

Fun Activities the French Bulldog Enjoys

Trupanion Dog Breed Guide - French Bulldog Illustration

French Bulldogs enjoy activities that keep them close to their humans, including:

  • Rally Obedience

  • Conformation (dog shows)

  • Trick Training

  • Scent Work

French Bulldog Coat Type

Frenchies sport a short, smooth coat and come in a variety of colors, from white to cream to brindle (often referred to as tiger stripe) or piebald (a specific dappled coat). You’ll also see fawn-colored Frenchies (a light tan coat with a black mask). And while there are other “specialty” colors for French Bulldogs, such as blue, solid black, black and white, or merle, these are disqualifying colors according to the breed’s AKC standards.

Shedding Level

dog shedding level - 4 of 5 piles of fur

2 out of 5 piles of fur

Grooming Requirements

  • Low Maintenance
  • Regular Bathing

French Bulldogs need weekly brushing, which helps evenly distribute the natural oils in their coat and remove any dirt and shedding fur. Regular bathing is recommended for this breed as well, with special care to keep their face wrinkles clean and dry, to keep the yeast and bacterial populations in check and prevent uncomfortable and recurrent infections. Introduce your Frenchie puppy to the grooming experience from a young age to create a positive association that will make lifelong grooming easy.

Best Brush for French Bulldogs: Bristle brush

Famous Owners of the French Bulldog

  • Simone Biles (Gymnast)

  • Chrissy Teigan and John Legend (Model/Actress and Musician)

  • Carrie Fisher (Actress)

  • Jonah Hill (Actor)

  • The Rock (Actor)

  • Vernon Davis (Football player)

  • Juju Smith-Schuster (Football player)

  • Eva Longoria (Actress)

  • Martha Stewart (Lifestyle expert)

  • Michael Phelps (Swimmer)

Famous French Bulldogs

French Bulldogs in Books, Movies and TV

Non-Endorsement Statement: The social media posts displayed here do not imply any endorsement of these people or products, nor does it imply they endorse Trupanion or our product.

Common Health Conditions for the French Bulldog Breed

Use the chart of Trupanion claims data below to find out what health conditions happen most frequently for French Bulldogs. Every French Bulldog is unique, but understanding what health conditions are likelier to occur can help you be a more prepared pet owner.

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Trupanion member Kelly

Kelly

Groton, CT

Condition: Sarcoma

The Trupanion policy paid: $18,522.39

"My golden Kelly was young when I found a softball-sized lump on Kelly’s left hind leg. Four weeks straight of radiation, six rounds of chemo and checkups every three months, including x-rays and full blood panel were needed. Because of Trupanion, I didn’t have to address the biggest deciding factor that most people face—can I afford this? I can honestly say Kelly is alive today because of the financial support Trupanion provided."

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Axl

Ontario, Canada

Condition: Pneumonia, Hip Dysplasia, Lameness

The Trupanion policy paid: $2,084.01

"At two, our German shepherd Axl was diagnosed with pneumonia. Trupanion took care of all our financial concerns. At four, his hip issues led to pain medications, rehabilitation and rest, which all resulted in improved pain-free movement. I’m so grateful that we chose a plan that not only covers the cost of his treatment but also any physical therapy or rehabilitation he may need."

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Bella

Ellijay, GA

Condition: Cushing’s disease, tumor, cruciate rupture

The Trupanion policy paid: $15,283.83

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