French Bulldog – a companion dog
A look full of sweetness and charming, protruding ears effectively mask the origin of the French Bulldog. In fact, before it became a toy dog, it fought with bulls during bloody bull-baiting that constituted entertainment for 19th century Englishmen. Wrinkled muzzle and disproportionately fat body are what appear to be left after its powerful ancestors.
- Group 9: Companion and Toy dogs
- Section 11: Small Molossian dogs
- Without working trial
The history of the breed
Modern French Bulldog originated directly from the dogs of the Molossian tribe living in Epir (North-West Greece). The dogs spread around the world thanks to Phoenician traders. From British Molossian dogs originated English Mastiff and one of the Mastiff’s subgroup were Bullenbeissers – the dogs, which were used in the bloody sports. In England, this „competition” was forbidden in 1835. As a result, the dogs were „unemployed”. However, they were still bred and their new job was to accompany people.
In order to decrease their size, some Bulldogs were crossbred with Terriers and Pugs. As a result, since 1850 small Bulldogs have become more and more popular in England and ince1860 they have begun to appear on the purebred dog shows.
Meanwhile, because of an industrial revolution, the lace workers from Nottingham began to move to Normandy in France, where they took small bulldogs with themselves. French fell in love with this breed and started to import the dogs from England, where their size and erect eyes considered faulty. In 1860 there were few specimens in Great Britain, the rest were imported to France.
They begin to be considered a separate breed with time. Finally, the breed gained its name – Bouledog Francais. The name comes from French words boule, which stands for „ball” and dogue that is „Mastiff” or „Molosser”. Small bulldogs were particularly popular among rich women, prostitutes from Paris, fashion designers, artists, and writers.
The first breed’s club was founded in 1880 in Paris, and the breed was registered in 1885. The first breed’s standard was set in 1898 when Societé Centrale Canine accepted the new breed. French Bulldog appeared on the purebred dog show in 1887. Since ever the standard was modified several times. The present standard was set in 1994.
It has a strong, muscular body and a soft, smooth coat that adheres to the body. There are several varieties including tabby, fawn or white with brindle patches. There are not any other color variations. Kennel clubs do not accept any other colors and patterns besides the aforementioned fawn or tabby with small white accents. Its skin is soft and loose – on the head and shoulders, there are many wrinkles.
Its head is big and square. The top of the skull should be flattened, but slightly rounded. Its muzzle is wide, wrinkled and flattened. The cheeks muscles are well developed. Its nose is short, nostrils are broad and there is a well-defined line between them. Nose, as well as lips, should be black, with an exception of lighter-colored specimens.
Its eyes should be wide apart, set low down the skull and remote from the ears, of moderate size, neither sunken nor bulging, and dark. Its ears should be in „bat” shape – broad at the base and rounded at the tips, set high in the head, not too close to each other, with the orifice to the front.
Its neck should be thick and arched. The forelimbs should be short, straight, stout and wide apart. The whole body should be short and rounded with a belly well tucked up. The hind limbs should be muscular, longer than the fore ones. The loins should be higher than the shoulders. Its tail is straight or slightly screwed, short and placed low.
It is a companion dog, therefore it requires to be constantly in the company of people. It does not require any special activity, however, it is recommended at least one walk a day. It can leave outside due to a thin fur. It is prone to damages of the air passage because it cannot regulate its body temperature due to its big body mass and a flattened nose. It weighs quite a lot for such a small dog, therefore it has difficulties with swimming and when it is hot and there is a lot of humidity in the air it may suffer from hot flushes.
French Bulldogs are perfect companions for calm people. They rarely bark and when they do, it is because they want to focus people’s attention or that they need something. They are very patient and loving towards their owners, especially to children. Females tend to treat children like their own. They are friendly towards other breeds, however under the condition that the other dogs are well socialized.
Due to the flattened air passage, French Bulldogs may have problems with thermoregulation, therefore they should be protected against high temperatures. They should be provided with water and protected from the sun.
French Bulldog is a brachycephalic breed what means that the flattened head is almost as long as it is broad. Moreover, their snub nose makes it difficult to breathe, especially when it is hot. Therefore, some airlines banned the bulldogs from flights due to many cases of death during flight as the temperature during start may reach 30 Celsius degrees (86 F), which causes huge stress.
French Bulldogs suffer from spine diseases, which are caused by selective breeding that lead to an unnatural size. Patellar luxation is as well common among them.
Eye diseases constitute another health issue. They are particularly prone to a cherry eye or inverted third eyelid. English Bulldogs and Pugs also suffer from this disease. They may have a cataract, retinal dysplasia, and corneal ulcers. It is important that the skin under the eyes was cleaned and dried on the regular basis. Tear stains are also common, but rather in the light-colored dogs.
Detailed information / size
- Height at shoulders: approximately 30 cm (11.8”)
- Weight: 8 (18 lbs) to 14 kg (31 lbs)
- Lifespan: 10 to 12 years.
French Bulldog – curiosities
- Exhibition dogs may weigh from 7.3 (16 lbs ) to 11 kg (24 lbs). In the past, there were French Bulldogs that weighed less than 5.4 kg (12 lbs).
- Apart from typical coloration and patterns, there are as well white, black, tanned black, liver or gray Bulldogs.
- Bulldogs are ranked 58th in the ranking of the most intelligent dogs in the world created by Stanley Coren, however, there are Bulldogs that are much more intelligent, for example, a female Princess Jacqueline, which died in 1934 that could understand 20 words and react properly to them.
- French Bulldogs are usually born through the cesarean section – about 80% of litters are delivered this way. What is more, males are unable to mount the female to reproduce naturally due to very slim hips. As a result, females are usually artificially inseminated. Moreover, female French Bulldogs can also suffer from erratic or ‘silent’ heats, which may be a side effect of thyroid disease or impaired thyroid function.