The French Bulldog is a breed licensed by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as a non-sporting breed. Descended from English Bulldogs, the “Frenchies” were brought to France in the 19th century by English lace makers working in Normandy, France. These Englishmen prized the smaller bulldogs for their companionship more than the fighting skills of the bigger English Bulldogs. The breed was first introduced to the United States in 1896 at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, and has remained a popular breed for its playful, affectionate, easygoing demeanor.
French Bulldogs are much like other types of bulldogs in that they have a heavy, muscular and compact build. They are short and stocky, small to medium in stature, and typically weighing 16 to 28 pounds (7-12 kg). Their heads are large and square, and are flat between their signature “bat ears.” Their eyes are wide and low on their head. French bulldogs should be stout, and have hind legs that are slightly longer in length than their front legs. Their coats are short and their skin is slightly looser around their shoulders, neck and face, resulting in wrinkles.
Although the French Bulldog can come in a variety of colors and markings, the AKC only allows Frenchies with brindled, white, fawn coats, or a mixture of the three. Their tails are short, and straight or “screwed.”
Temperamentally, the French bulldog is an excellent companion dog that is playful, loyal and easygoing. Their overall good temperament makes them an excellent choice as a family dog, but they should be trained, and kept inside. Their shortened snout and face makes it difficult for them to regulate their body temperature, so exercise should be less vigorous, and temperature should be carefully moderated.
Like many purebred dogs, the French bulldog suffers from many congenital diseases or conditions. They include bleeding disorders, cherry eye, elongated soft and cleft palates (which result in breathing issues), esophageal disorders, and spinal and back problems. Their body type requires that French bulldogs be delivered by cesarean.
The diminutive French Bulldog has an interesting history, and was a symbol of status and even alternative lifestyle. French prostitutes took an interest in the little Bouledognes Francais, making them an edgier choice for the European elite. “Celebrity” owners of French Bulldogs include the eccentric artist Toulouse Lautrec, and King Edward VII.