French Bulldog Breed Information
In just four years the French Bulldog has risen the ranks from Australia's 11th most popular breed in 2013 to their fourth most popular breed in 2017.
Their popularity isn’t limited to the southern hemisphere either, with the Frenchie reigning supreme as the most popular small breed in the US last year.
French Bulldog-inspired designs are even cropping up in prominent apparel and home decor lines, with J Crew, Skechers, and even Wal-Mart slapping their adorable faces on everything from sweaters to mugs!
The popularity of the French Bulldog is not a new fad, in fact; they have been prized companions for much longer than you might think!
French Bull Dog History
The mid-19th century saw a rise in the popularity of smaller Bulldogs, particularly in Nottingham, England, where they were the favourite companion of lace makers since they kept down rats.
Over time the demand for handmade lace lessened due to the rise of the Industrial Revolution. Lacemakers in fear of being replaced by machines, relocated to Northern France where the craft was still in full swing, taking their beloved pets along for the move.
These toy bulldogs became a favourite pet of French prostitutes who nicknamed them “Bouledogues Francais” which translates to “French Bulldog”, needless to say, the moniker stuck, spreading with them on their journey across the ocean to America in the early 1900s where they were readily accepted.
The “rose-ear” feature that was preferred by the French was deemed unacceptable by Americans and were further bred down with pugs and other terriers to achieve the upright “bat ear” appearance of modern-day Frenchies.
Who are French Bulldogs Best for?
People who live in apartments or condos
Families with older children
Due to their facial structure, French Bulldogs are very susceptible to Brachiocephalic Airway Syndrome (also known as Congenital Obstructive Upper Airway Disease).
This disorder is caused by one or more anatomical misformations including small nostrils, narrow trachea, everted laryngeal saccules (air sacs), and an elongated soft palate that partially obstructs the airway.
These abnormalities can cause a number of issues that range in severity including noisy breathing, fatigue, gagging/vomiting, fainting, and heart problems.
This disorder often gets worse during hot weather and makes Frenchies much more susceptible to heat stroke.
Reproductive problems are more common than not in this breed. Breeding after five years of age is severely discouraged.
Genetic Spinal Deformities
Frenchies are prone to genetic spinal deformities such as hemivertebrae, a painful condition where the spinal cord is constricted by misformed vertebrae. Surgery to correct these deformities is expensive, forcing some owners to euthanize. Untreated hemivertebrae can result in paralysis, incontinence, and excruciating pain for the canine.
Inter-vertebral Disc Disease
Inter-vertebral Disc Disease (IDD) is another common skeletal problem with this breed and is characterised by slipped spinal discs that can constrict the spinal cord causing paralysis and even death.
Pulmonic Stenosis or narrowing of the pulmonary artery is somewhat common with this breed and can lead to fatigue or collapse during vigorous exercise or in severe cases Congestive Heart Failure.
Hip Dysplasia is common in active Frenchies and can cause limping, pain, and immobility of the back legs. This disorder can be corrected with periacetabular osteotomy surgery or made more manageable with medication
Retinal Dysplasia is a hereditary condition characterised by the malformation of the retina. This disorder causes vision impairment, though it is not progressive or life-threatening.
Hypothyroidism (also known as under-active thyroid) usually presents itself in affected dogs around four years of age. This is usually not life-threatening but it can cause hair loss, weight gain, dull coats, and may require medication.
Atopic Dermatitis (also known as eczema) is prevalent in this breed. Using hypoallergenic shampoos and bathing less frequently can help control the symptoms.
Heat stroke is extremely common with this breed, because of this French Bulldogs should never be left outside for extended periods during hot or humid weather.
This breed sometimes has problems absorbing nutrients from food and may require a special diet or supplements.
French Bulldog Price Range
The average cost for a French Bulldog in Australia ranges from $3,500 to $4,000 but can be more (or less) depending on colour, lineage, paperwork, and breeder preference.
Male pups (not spaded) from show dog parents go for around $6,000-$7,000.
The steep prices are due to reproductive difficulties in the breed, causing most breeders to resort to artificial insemination.
Natural birth is extremely dangerous for Frenchies, so C-sections are required, which makes breeding quite costly.
Furthermore, there is a very small window of opportunity for the females, since it is unsafe for them to give birth after five years of age.
Tips from French Bulldog Show Breeders
French Bulldogs sometimes develop dry, cracked skin on their noses, a soothing balm like Natural Dog Company’s award-winning Snout Soother. This balm uses natural botanicals including organic grapeseed oil, hemp-seed oil, jojoba oil, and Vitamin E to ease the pain and moisturise affected areas.
Often French Bulldogs will develop tear stains; a gentle sodium hydroxide-based stain remover product will work to diminish discoloration, while not agitating the skin. We like the Petpost Tear-Stain Remover products, just make sure you rinse any remaining product with water after cleansing.
Breeders of brachiocephalic breeds swear Natural Dog Company’s “Organic Wrinkle Balm” which helps to eliminate odour and prevent skin infections and chafing caused by moisture trapped in the facial wrinkles.
Frenchies require shampoos with a super-gentle formula to so as to not trigger skin issues, Earthbath Ultra Mild Puppy Shampoo is a top pick for breeders (plus it smells like cherries)!
Vets and breeders alike recommend adding omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E supplements to keep French Bulldog’s skin moisturised and itch-free.
What do owners have to say about their Cavapoo?
Service animals should have a moderate energy level, high enough to give them the desire to work but not so high that they are bouncing around and uncontrollable.
Lisa Eger owner of Darla
“Advice I would give is don't take the cheap way out. This breed can be pricey.
Do not look for the cheapest Frenchie to buy. It will more than likely be poorly bred with the many issues listed above.
Also, you cannot go cheap on their dog food.”
Roxie Covell owner of Teagan
“Tegan is everyone's best friend, and she has so much heart to go around for all, but she is not one for camping, hiking or even walking an art festival. She grows tired super quick when out and about, sadly.
Tegan loves coming across other dogs, but other dogs look at her sideways since she makes some weird dog noises.
We have a tortoise, Goldie, that she likes to follow and protect (too closely) with her giant paws”
The Wrap Up
Although they are quite expensive in comparison to other popular purebreds, French Bulldogs make extraordinary companions with a fun personality and cheerful disposition.
Those thinking of buying or adopting a Frenchie should make sure they can accommodate their physical limitations and are prepared to deal with the health risks associated with this breed.
You won’t find a high-impact adventurer in this breed, but you will find a loyal companion who will love you until the end.
Emily Reardon is a mother of two tiny humans, Layla and Oli, and a sassy beagle named Trixie. Emily attended Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina and began her career in freelance writing as a contributor for Wag!Walking.com. Emily advocates for safe sleep practices and animal rights. Her mission is to bring reliable and highly-qualified content to the pet community.