Also known as Frenchies, French Bulldogs are small, affectionate dogs with distinctive ‘bat ears’ and a playful attitude. While these dogs have their own look, they’re descendants of English Bulldogs, terriers, and pugs and were bred to be the toy version of the English Bulldogs. Lace workers in England loved the breed and eventually took them to France when there were better opportunities, where the breed thrived. Eventually, French Bulldogs made their way to the US and the breed gained AKC recognition in 1898.
Care for these playful dogs is relatively easy, as they usually only require a walk a day and shed a moderate amount year-round. As a brachycephalic dog, Frenchies can get overheated fairly quickly so you’ll have to keep strenuous exercise like jogging to a minimum and offer plenty of shade and water during the summer. Grooming is fairly easy with French Bulldogs, as they have a short, smooth coat that will need weekly brushing. If your Frenchie is having skin issues, regular bathing and ear cleaning might be able to help. But these dogs will need to be thoroughly dried off, especially any and all folds.
While Frenchies don’t need long and intense exercise, they do well with training, tricks, and games like fetch! They are an intelligent but emotional and stubborn breed so a calm but firm owner that uses positive reinforcement can really help. While Frenchies are enthusiastic and playful, they are not great swimmers (most can’t even swim!) because of their squat build, heavy head, and flat nose. Be careful around pools and bodies of water with this breed. A life vest or other floatation device can allow a Frenchie to be in deep water and a kiddie pool can help them cool down without requiring them to swim. Even so, you’ll always need to keep a close eye on this breed around water.
As far as living conditions go, these dogs are small and adaptable so they can do well in homes or apartments. Unfortunately, they can be difficult to housetrain and have a tendency to snore, slobber, and snort. If you prefer having a clean living space, a Frenchie may not be a good fit for you. They can also develop Small Dog Syndrome without a calm authority presence.
There are some common health problems with the breed, like respiratory issues, joint diseases, and eye problems. Hip dysplasia and patellar luxation are both joint issues that Frenchies might develop and can cause lameness in limbs or even arthritis. As far as spinal problems, Frenchies have been known to develop hemivertebrae, a malformation of vertebrae, and Intervertebral Disc Disease, a ruptured or herniated disc in the spinal cord. If you do have a Frenchie, regular vet visits can help keep an eye on the health of your dog but that does mean this breed is a bit high maintenance and expensive.
Walter Geoffery the Frenchie
One of the most internet-famous Frenchies might be Walter Geoffrey, a seven-year-old French Bulldog from Texas who went viral in 2018 for his tendency to having singing ‘meltdowns’. French Bulldogs are generally known for not barking that much but Walter is different, to say the least. His website even jokingly states that “if you’re looking for WG, you can find him on the corner of emotionally unstable and overdramatic”.
Ultimately, French Bulldogs are great companion dogs for families and folks looking for a lapdog. They can be stubborn and are prone to certain health issues, which makes them a bit high maintenance. But as long as you’re not looking for a jogging partner and are willing to invest the time into positive reinforcement training, a Frenchie might be a perfect fit for you.