French Bulldog

Clown Dog a Long-Time Favorite

The French bulldog is known to be a charmer. It is perhaps one of the main reasons this dog breed has been so internationally popular for the past 200 years.

Clever and entertaining, the Frenchie, as it is affectionately called, is an ideal breed for city dwellers with limited space or for those who do not have time to take a dog out for ample exercise. The French bulldog also does best with a companion who is home often.

French bulldog

Would it surprise you to learn that French bulldogs can trace their ancestry back to the mastiff? The bullenbeisser, a now-extinct breed also known as the German bulldog, was bred from the mastiff during the early 1800s and used for bull baiting.

When bull baiting became an outlawed sporting event during the mid-1800s, the bullenbeisser was cross-bred with both the terrier and pug breeds to create a smaller, more domesticated dog breed that was then called the toy (or miniature) bulldog.

The toy bulldog became so popular in France that England began exporting the remaining bulldogs there, and eventually French dog breed enthusiasts renamed the breed Bouledogue Francais.

In the late 1800s, as the Bouledogue Francais made its way into the hearts of Americans, breeding standards were initiated. From there, the French Bull Dog Club of America was created to help regulate those standards. In 1912, the breed was renamed French bulldog in the U.S.

Just as in France, the French bulldog was a favorite among the elite, drawing upwards of $3,000 a dog during the early 1900s.

In 2016, the American Kennel Club announced the top-ranking dog breeds of 2015. The French bulldog was listed as the 6th most popular dog breed in the U.S.

French bulldogs are sometimes referred to as the “clown dog” due to their fun-loving personality. They enjoy constant companionship and thrive on attention. People pleasers, Frenchies will follow you from room to room and seek out affection and lap time.

This breed is known to be an infrequent barker, so if your Frenchie barks, find the reason because it must be important enough to bring it to your attention.

French bulldogs can also be pretty stubborn. House training requires persistence and repetition. Destructive behavior with toys, pillows and other soft objects can be the target of a bored, left-home-for-too-long French bulldog. On that note, it’s advised that you begin socialization and obedience training for your Frenchie during the first couple of months of his life.  

French bulldog

Those bat ears! The expressive eyes. Two features that have long captured the attention of Frenchie fans.

The French bulldog is a small, compact, muscular dog (weighing, on average, between 20 and 28 pounds) with upright ears, wide-set eyes and a snub nose.

Possible colors of the French bulldog include white, white and brindle, white and fawn, fawn, brindle, cream, black, black and white, blue, black and tan, although any combination with black is not considered an “acceptable” color by AKC standards (black and blue are the result of a recessive gene).

The French bulldog tail is usually short, with a kink or a “corkscrew” appearance. Often breeders will dock French bulldog tails even shorter if not told to do otherwise by a potential owner.

French bulldog

While these are common health conditions for French bulldogs, it doesn’t mean your Frenchie will necessarily develop them. One of the best things a pet owner can do for his dog is to visit a veterinarian regularly to monitor his health and take preventive measures to ensure his well being.

Breathing issues. Due to the brachycelphalic features of the French bulldog, it’s very important to note that this short-nosed breed does not tolerate heat well at all and should not be exercised during peak temperatures or left outdoors or in a garage when it’s warm outside.

Cataracts are an opacity of the lens of the eye and may cause blindness if not treated surgically. Symptoms can include discoloring of the pupil, and treatment may include surgery to remove the cataract.

Cherry eye is when the gland of the dog’s third eyelid slips out of place. Unlike people, dogs have a 'third eyelid' that contains a tear gland and is located in the corner of each eye. Under normal circumstances, this gland is not visible and aids in the production of tears. When the gland of the third eyelid prolapses or comes out of its normal position, it swells creating the condition known as cherry eye.

Intervertebral disc syndrome (IVDD) is a fairly common condition of dachshunds. IVDD occurs due to premature degeneration (aging) of the intervertebral discs of the back in this breed. An extremely long spinal column, short rib cage and obesity make your pet more susceptible to IVDD. Limited activity and surgery is often necessary to treat this condition.

von Willebrand's Disease is a common inherited blood disorder, characterized by a deficiency in clotting factor VIII. The main symptom of vWD is excessive bleeding following injury or surgical procedures.