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There's Nothing Quite Like a French Bulldog

Updated on February 1, 2012

French Bulldogs are a Good Choice

Related to both the American bulldog and the English bulldog, the French bulldog is a small domestic dog breed. Nicknamed "Frenchie," this breed is a great dog for companionship.

Originally, the breed of French Bulldogs directly descends from Molossian dogs, which is a tribe from ancient Greece. These dogs had been spread out by traders from Phoenicia throughout the old world. Molossian British dogs went through development to become Mastiffs.

One type of Mastiff sub-family was named Bullenbeissers and these are dogs utilized for baiting bulls. Bull baiting and other blood sports were banned in the year eighteen thirty five in England which left these 'bull dogs' useless. Eventually, their breed was developed more for companionship than sporting.

Some were interbred with terrier breeds and others went through breeding for size reduction. By the year eighteen fifty, Toy Bulldogs were seen in England quite commonly and even took part in shows of conformation until around eighteen sixty. These dogs weighed between sixteen to twenty five pounds and there were also types for those weighing under twelve pounds.

Simultaneously, Nottingham lace workers who went through displacement in the industrial revolution started to settle in Normandy, France. These workers took many dogs with them including Bulldogs that were miniature.

Their popularity in France resulted in trading and importation of Bulldogs with English breeders sending Bulldogs to France which they thought were too tiny or with flaws such as erect ears. By nineteen sixty, very few English mini Bulldogs remained.

Tiny Bulldogs thus became considered to be a breed and were called Bouledogue Francais. These were dogs of high fashion and were in demand by both Parisian prostitutes and society ladies at the same time. Creative types also sought after this breed including fashion designers, writers and artists.

French Bulldogs should look muscular, intelligent and active. They should have a small or medium structure, a built that is compact and a smooth coat. There also needs to have well distributed points with no one feature being prominent from either lack of quality or excess in such a way that the animal looks badly proportioned or deformed.

Colors that are acceptable under the standard of the breed include various brindle shades, white or 'pied' fawn, which means 'patches.' Their skin should be loose, soft and forming wrinkles especially at the shoulders and head. The coat is smooth, short, brilliant and moderately fine.

The French Bulldog has a head that is square and large. The skull top needs to be slightly rounded but flat. The stop needs to be defined well, causing a groove or hollow between the eyes. Muzzles need to be well laid-back, deep and broad with well-developed cheek muscles.

The nostrils should be broad with a line that is well-defined between them and a short nose. Flews and noses need to be black except in dogs which are colored lighter over the sides and the low end of the jaws. The under jaw should be well turned-up, undershot, broad, square and deep.

The eyes need to be neither bulging nor sunken, dark in color, round, set in the skull low and wide apart. When looking forward, there should be no white of the eye and no haw showing. French Bulldog necks should be well-arched, thick and with skin that is loose at their throat.

There should be wide-set forelegs that are muscular, straight, stout and short. Their body needs to be well-rounded and short and their back should be a roach back which falls slightly at the back of the shoulders. The back should also narrow at the loins, be broad at the shoulders and be short and strong.

Just like other companion breeds of dogs, French Bulldogs need to be in close touch with human beings.

They need at least a daily walk although they have fairly minimum needs for exercise. As a breed with a flat face, they cannot live outdoors because they are unable to do temperature regulation due to the compromised system of breathing.

Besides this, Frenchies, as they are sometimes called, are heavy on top and thus have a hard time when they swim. When you exercise your French Bulldog in humid or hot weather, you need to take extra precautions that your dog does not overheat.

Excellent as companions, Frenchies are sweet and bark rarely, and only when he or she truly need something. Affectionate and patient with children and with their owner, this breed can live easily with other dogs when introductions are made properly.

Ranking fifty-eighth in The Intelligence of Dogs by Stanley Coren, there are some exceptions to their presumed level of intelligence. One example is Princess Jacqueline, a French Bulldog who passed away in the year nineteen thirty four with reportedly a 20-word vocabulary, using each phrase or word the correct way.


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