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Published: Mar 11, 2024 6 min read

French bulldogs, or Frenchies, have become one of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S. in recent years. Find out where they came from, what makes them stand out, what their needs are and which health conditions may afflict them in our French bulldog guide.

Origins of French bulldogs

French bulldogs made their official debut in nineteenth-century France. They were bred by crossing small bulldogs with different types of small dogs native to France to be lap and companion dogs. According to historians, the French bulldog quickly became a symbol of Paris and the lifestyle of its inhabitants.

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General appearance and standout features

Reputable breeders will always make sure French bulldog puppies follow the established breed standard to avoid health problems associated with bad breeding. Some general guidelines for how a healthy Frenchie should look like include:

  • Eyes: Should be rounded, wide apart and dark, preferably brown or black.
  • Head: Must be large and square-shaped.
  • Ears: The breed’s most notable feature, its ears, should be broad and elongated. These are called “bat ears.”
  • Snout: Its nose should be black and short, with big enough nostrils to allow for comfortable breathing, and have wrinkles forming on top.
  • Front and rear leg build: The front legs should be short and set apart, while the hind legs should be longer so that the loin is above the shoulders.
  • Coat: Should have short and smooth coats with colors like white, cream, fawn, brindle and any combination of them.

These standards are established by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and have been in force since 2018.

Personality traits

French bulldogs are a medium-energy breed, which means that, for the most part, they’ll be happy spending a lot of time laying down and sleeping as long as they’ve gotten their daily exercise in.

Frenchies are highly affectionate and have great socialization skills. They are very likely to get along with all family members and other pets in the household. The breed is very playful and has a high tolerance for children. They are also more easily trainable than other dogs.

The breed also has a low barking level, which makes them suitable for apartment living.

Health issues to look out for

As with any other breed, Frenchies are susceptible to different breed-specific health issues, such as:

  • Brachycephalic airway syndrome: This condition is characterized by breathing difficulty and affects dog breeds with flatter facial structures (short snouts), such as the English bulldog, pugs, Boston terriers, and others.
  • Eye problems: Some French bulldogs may develop conditions like cherry eyes, cataracts at the juvenile stage, eye infections, etc.
  • Sensitive skin: Frenchies are prone to skin allergies. These can lead to skin infections if not treated promptly. This sensitivity can be managed with medicated shampoos and similar products.
  • Back issues: This breed is prone to back injuries, which can be exacerbated if the dog is overweight.
  • Patellar luxation: With this condition, the patella or kneecap slides out of its groove and becomes dislocated.

According to the AKC, the French Bulldog Club of America recommends having your Frenchie get hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, eye, autoimmune thyroiditis, congenital heart disease and juvenile cataract examinations.

Some of the treatments and exams for medical issues common for French Bulldogs may be covered by pet insurance. If you don’t have one yet for your pet, check our our picks for best pet insurance in 2024.

Grooming, nutritional and exercise needs

In terms of grooming, French bulldogs are relatively low-maintenance. Because they have short coats, their shedding is minimal. Brushing their fur at least once a week should help both remove shed hair and equally distribute the oil through their coat. Owners also must maintain their Frenchie’s skin folds and ears clean to avoid skin and ear infections.

Like all dogs, Frenchies need playtime and exercise to avoid obesity and other health issues. However, their short snouts and energy levels require them to have a different amount of physical activity than other dogs. Daily short walks will help them get in the exercise they need without overexerting themselves or overheating.

A good diet is essential to maintaining a French bulldog’s health. High-quality dog foods can offer your dog their necessary daily calorie and nutrient intake. With proper care, French bulldogs can have an average lifespan of ten to twelve years.

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Summary of Money’s French Bulldogs Guide

  • The French bulldog breed comes from a mix of toy bulldogs and other breeds from France.
  • The breed’s most standout feature are its bat-like ears, which are a requirement according to breed standards.
  • There are certain health concerns French bulldog owners need to be on the lookout for, such as breathing problems, skin allergies, and more.
  • French bulldogs make for great family pets, as they are likely to be very social and good with kids.
  • A French bulldog’s well being relies on receiving adequate levels of exercise and interaction, well-rounded grooming and a balanced diet.