French Bulldogs–or Frenchies to their friends and fans–are truly a dog designed for the 21st century. They’re perfectly suited to apartment living, look great in funny outfits, and hold the title of “most photographed dog breed on social media”. That’s right, take THAT pugs! (Just kidding pugs, we love you, all dogs are perfect).
With their outgoing personalities, adorably weird faces, nugget bodies, and huge ears their astronomical rise to the top of the online food chain is understandable. But sadly, those signature features are also tied to health issues resulting from irresponsible breeding practices. So before you take one home (and set up an Instagram account for them), let’s get to know them a bit better.
Ok, first bombshell. French Bulldogs aren’t French! They started out in England when English Bulldogs were bred with smaller ratters in the 1800s. The aim was to create a sweet companion/lap dog (fair to say it was a success). Their French connotation came from their popularity in Paris. As wild as it sounds, considering their huge popularity now, they were nearly extinct by the end of WWI. Luckily American soldiers stationed in France met and fell in love with them and took them back to the USA.
Now French Bulldogs are solidly among the most popular (and expensive) breeds in Australia and around the world. The high demand for them has led many breeders to turn to artificial insemination and C-section deliveries to keep up with customers. As we’ll see later, this rush on Frenchies has a lot of downsides.
Colour: The can be a wide range of colours, but the four main colourways are: brindle, white, fawn and pied.
Life Expectancy: 12-13 years
What You’ll Love about French Bulldogs
- Chilled out (mostly): As mentioned, these couch/apartment friendly dogs generally have low activity levels, broken up with bursts of high energy. A couple of short walks and some ball chasing per day are usually enough exercise. Although they don’t like being alone for long periods.
- Big personality in a small package: They love human attention, get on well with kids and dogs, and generally just want to be part of the action–no wonder you see so many at cafes.
- Low key: Not only are they funny, patient, and a little lazy, their coat is also very easy to care for.
What You Might Find “Challenging”
- Breathing issues: Their smooshed faces are cute but can cause issues with breathing. As a result lots of exercise or excitement may lead to overheating quickly.
- Noisy: While they’re not big barkers, their breathing issues mean they snore and snuffle a lot.
- Stubborn: They are very much masters of their own domain, and lose interest quickly in repetitive training.
- Non-athletic: those nugget bodies are not built for sport. Most can’t swim.
Common Health Issues for French Bulldogs
- Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome: The fancy name for their breathing issues. It leads to overheating and heat stroke. Many Frenchies end up having operations to try to improve their breathing.
- Allergies: Many struggle with certain foods, insects, grass, and hay fever.
- Spine problems and luxating patellas: Keep an eye out for joint and ligament issues.
Due to the high likelihood of health conditions, they have some of the highest pet insurance rates of any breed. RSPCA and the Australian Veterinary Association are currently running a campaign to make sure people are aware of the common health issues of breeds like Frenchies, Pugs, Bulldogs and Boston Terriers.
There is a French Bulldog Rescue in Victoria that you should check out if you think this is the right type of dog for you.
Instafamous Aussie Frenchies
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