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French Bulldog Info: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 11, 2024 by Dogster Team

french bulldog standing on grass

French Bulldog Info: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

French Bulldogs (affectionately nicknamed “Frenchies”) are beloved companion dogs with massive bat ears, a playful personality, and the adaptability to live anywhere from an urban apartment to a sprawling country home.

Though there’s a lot to love about the Frenchie, owning one comes with some important considerations and responsibilities. Here’s everything you need to know about owning French Bulldogs.

Breed Overview

Height:

11–13 inches

Weight:

Under 28 pounds

Lifespan:

10–12 years

Colors:

White, black, brindle, fawn, cream, white and fawn, white and brindle, fawn and white, fawn brindle, brindle and white, and fawn, brindle, and white

Suitable for:

Low-key owners, singles, couples, families

Temperament:

Friendly, affectionate, fun-loving, silly

The Bouledogue Francais, or French Bulldog, is a French companion dog breed that appeared in Paris in the mid-century. They were created by crossing English Toy Bulldogs and local Parisian ratters. These dogs were fashionable and popular with everyone, from Parisian society women to sex workers. Famous artists, including Edgar Degas and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, have dogs resembling French Bulldogs as subjects in their paintings. Over the generations, Frenchies were increasingly mixed with terriers to develop more of those traits, losing more and more of the original Bulldog features.

French Bulldog Characteristics

Energy
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High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Trainability
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Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Health
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Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Lifespan
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Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Sociability
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Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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French Bulldog Puppies

french bulldog puppies lying next to each other in a wool basket
Image Credit: Natalie Shuttleworth, Shutterstock

French Bulldogs recently dethroned the Labrador Retriever as the most popular dog in America. People all over the country want Frenchies, so there’s no shortage of breeders to get show-quality or pet-quality puppies in a range of colors. If you want a Frenchie from a breeder, make sure to work with reputable breeders who perform health testing to limit the conditions these dogs are prone to.

Frenchies also end up in shelters and rescues often, mostly due to developing expensive health problems, behavioral issues, or because the novelty wore off. As of 2023, French Bulldogs and other bulldog breeds are being surrendered to shelters at an alarming rate. In addition to general animal shelters and rescues, French Bulldogs may be found in breed-specific rescues.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the French Bulldog

black french bulldog standing on grass at the park
Image Credit: Tanya Consaul Photography, Shutterstock

French Bulldogs are typical of a companion breed in that they are “Velcro dogs” and want to be close to their owners at all times. They are patient, affectionate, agreeable, and social, but they can have a stubborn streak. In a multi-person or multi-pet household, the Frenchie may feel competitive and jealous over attention.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

French Bulldogs are ideal for families. They’re patient and agreeable for children, but it’s important that children learn to play appropriately with the dog. Frenchies are small and may have back or hip issues, so injuries from rough play can be devastating. You should also supervise interactions, especially with young children, to avoid any conflict.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

Frenchies were developed to be a best friend, not a hunting or sporting dog. They don’t have a high prey drive and can get along well with other dogs, cats, and even some small animals. However, it’s crucial to introduce pets carefully and supervise playtime to ensure play doesn’t escalate to aggression.

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Things to Know When Owning a French Bulldog

If you want to bring home a French Bulldog, here are some things you need to know:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Frenchies don’t have high energy needs, but they need a high-quality diet that’s appropriate for their life stage. These dogs are not very active, so overeating can quickly lead to obesity. Maintaining a healthy weight is vital to prevent not only associated health conditions, but some of the specific health conditions Frenchies are prone to. Treats should be given in moderation, and no table scraps should be given at all. Check with your vet if you have concerns about your dog’s weight or body condition.

french bulldog eating or drinking from a bowl
Image Credit: Elayne Massaini, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐕

French Bulldogs do not require a lot of exercise or space. Short walks and play sessions are often enough to keep the Frenchie in good condition. They can compete in canine sports like agility and rally, but some individuals may be limited by breathing difficulties associated with their brachycephalic (short skull) head shape. Be careful exercising your Frenchie on hot or humid days, as it can be more difficult for them to breathe properly.

Training 🎾

Frenchies have a desire to please and are generally easy to train, but they can be stubborn. It’s best to start socialization and obedience training early to develop good habits and limit reactivity. These dogs have huge personalities and can be excitable, which can turn into problem behaviors without appropriate outlets. Frenchies are food motivated, but be mindful of how many treats you feed to avoid obesity.

Grooming ✂️

The Frenchie has a short coat that doesn’t shed much. They only need to be brushed on a weekly basis to remove loose hair and maintain their healthy oils. It’s important to clean Frenchie’s facial folds to avoid dermatitis and other skin conditions that can develop. You should also trim your dog’s nails, brush their teeth, and clean their ears regularly.

woman brushing her french bulldog at home
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Health and Conditions 🏥

Frenchies are front-heavy and have a flat face that can contribute to breathing and joint or back problems. They’re prone to brachycephalic airway obstructive syndrome, which means they struggle to get enough air with light exercise. Some dogs need surgery to remove part of their soft palate and create a smoother airway to the lungs.

These dogs are not good swimmers and shouldn’t be in a tub, pool, or natural body of water unsupervised. Avoid exercising Frenchies in hot or humid conditions that worsen their breathing issues. They’re also banned by some commercial airlines because of the number of French Bulldogs that have died during the flight.

These dogs are also sensitive to anesthesia and require special considerations from vets during surgery. If you want to breed your Frenchie, they usually require artificial insemination, and puppies are delivered via C-section. Other conditions that affect Frenchies include cherry eye, juvenile cataracts, entropion, skin allergies, and autoimmune skin disorders.

Minor Conditions
  • Entropion
  • Cherry eye
  • Juvenile cataracts
  • Skin allergies
  • Autoimmune skin disorders
Serious Conditions
  • Brachycephalic airway obstructive syndrome
  • Breathing issues
  • Anesthesia concerns
  • High-risk breeding

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Male vs Female

There’s little difference in size and personality between male and female French Bulldogs, so choosing the right one is a matter of personal preference. Spaying or neutering your French Bulldog is important to prevent a lot of behavioral problems, such as roaming and some types of aggression, and reproductive health problems. Breeding French Bulldogs is not recommended because of the challenges and risks involved in breeding and whelping, as well as the abundance of Frenchies that are already in the pet trade.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the French Bulldog

1. Frenchies Snore a Lot

Aside from the health problems associated with brachycephaly, the flat face of the Frenchie creates a lot of noise, including panting and snoring. Be prepared to listen to a loud sleeper!


2. They Have Powerful Jaws

Frenchies may be a pint-sized Bully with a small jaw, but they’re still a Bully. French Bulldogs have incredible jaw power relative to their size, so they need durable toys that they can’t tear apart easily.


3. They’re Great Watchdogs

Frenchies aren’t yappy dogs, but they are good alert dogs. They’ll let you know if someone’s at the door, in the backyard, or roaming around the neighborhood. They won’t do anything else to guard or protect you, but an alert is all you need.

french bulldog sitting by the door
Image Credit: Amam ka, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

French Bulldogs are the most popular breed in America for good reason. These highly adaptable pups can fit in with virtually any type of owner, family, or lifestyle. If you want to bring home a French Bulldog, however, it’s crucial to do your due diligence and find a reputable breeder that performs health testing to limit the Frenchie’s health issues.


Featured Image Credit: Olga Aniven, Shutterstock

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