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The French Bulldog: What you need to know as an owner!

Golden French Bulldog sitting still for a photo with a gray background

Who can resist those smushed up faces, and a personality that absolutely oozes appeal – when we see a French Bulldog puppy, we just want to buy one, and of course it stays cute right into adulthood, ranking as the fourth most popular dog breed in the US. That’s according to the American Kennel Club dog ranking. People ask if the French bulldog and the Pug are related but the Frenchie originated in France way back in the 1850s, from English ancestry, whilst the Pug comes from Chinese origins. Initially, the French bulldog was produced from crossing toy English bulldogs with the local ratting terriers – that’s the breed we recognize today.

Those cute ears! And other characteristics

French Bulldog Puppy Sitting On A Bed With A Santa Hat

Around 1860, the lace workers from Nottingham were forced out by the Industrial Revolution. They moved to France, taking along one such dog, the miniature bulldog. The French grew to love the miniatures, and soon they were called Bouledogue Français.

Americans also started importing French Bulldogs for a breeding program in 1885. At a dog show, Mr. George Raper chose winners who had "rose ears". Rose ears were folded at the tip, as with the standard type Bulldogs. All the controversy around the ears sparked off the French Bulldog Club of America.

The Frenchie doesn’t bark a whole lot. This can be a huge relief for some dog owners, who don’t have to sacrifice too much quietness when bringing a little pup home. But as he gets bigger, he is not afraid to alert his owners to danger.

They are spunky too, cute the way they communicate with yips, gargles, howls, and yawning to get your attention. This all means that the Frenchie loves to be affectionate and playful.

He doesn’t like yelling and loud people around; he enjoys harmony in the home and positive environments. So don’t shout at him when you are training him or when he makes mistakes – treat him kindly and with patience and you will get your rewards from this intelligent little dog.

They are stressful little dogs, so CBD is a very good option for these cute little dogs.

Their life expectancy is around 10-12 years.

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Black French Bulldog Standing in the grass with a stick in its mouth

Even though they are a small breed, they have a stubborn streak in them, making them a bit more difficult to train than other dog breeds. The main types of training for a French bulldog would be socialization training and also potty training. 

They are inclined to be a bit standoffish when it comes to meeting new people and they can even get a bit aggressive towards other dogs. That’s why it’s good to socialize your doggie right from when he or she is a pup; introducing him or her to different people and other dogs – some experts say you should have socialized the pup by the time it’s 14 weeks old already. Check out these training tips for your French bulldog.

Don’t force your pup to go to someone or introduce it to something new; just let him be around new people and see what he does. If he walks to the new person and seems happy and confident, give him treats, and also allow the new person to give him a treat. If your dog is fearful of a new person, allow him to calm down without any force – dogs know people far better than humans do!

Sometimes the little Frenchie can be a bit destructive as they enjoy chewing. Be aware of this before you buy a Frenchie. They can get bored, using chewing as their way of exploration. If you want this type of dog, you need to know that all your personal belongings must be out of the way. Being small, they can get onto tables and reach things like your phone and remote controls, etc. or your kids’ toys. 

Be warned. If this does happen though, don’t scold, it is not his fault – just interrupt his chewing, gently, offering an item that he is allowed to chew. Provide him with his own toys, keeping the ones with squeakers away, because Frenchies can choke on those.

A lovable attention seeker

Brown French Bulldog With Black Accents in a brown stripped sweater on a cold day

The ‘Frenchie’ as it is fondly called, makes a wonderful companion for both young and old – he has a wonderful temperament. People with smaller homes enjoy having them because they don’t require all that much exercise to keep trim - as long as they are not overfed with all the wrong foods.


  • They are not into huge amounts of exercise so if you were looking for a running companion this little dog isn’t the one for you; brisk walks are what will keep him in shape. When out walking, bear in mind that a harness is best for this dog instead of a collar as the collar can crush the pup’s trachea and even cause his neck to strain. The harness offers more support too and does not strain as much as a collar does.
  • Swimming is not really for this little doggie. Take caution with the Frenchie near water because due to their short-snout respiratory issues and their thin, short little legs, they are more at risk of drowning. 


Startled French Bulldog running on the beach
  • Fortunately, as short-haired dogs, they don’t need a whole ton of grooming. They do shed hair seasonally but don’t require all that much more than the occasional grooming.
  • A Frenchie needs to have his toenails trimmed every couple of weeks or so. If you can hear your dog’s nails on the floor, it means they are too long already.
  • Remember to brush his teeth to keep them healthy and breath fresh.
  • His ears need to be clean too, remembering the delicate wrinkles on his face. They can be pretty deep, these folds, and can be a breeding ground for bacteria- they will need cleaning around twice a week. Just use a damp cloth to wipe the folds out, making sure they are perfectly dry.
  • Some people believe short-haired dogs needn’t be washed as their natural oils are disturbed. Otherwise, though, generally washing once a month should be enough.

Health issues

Golden French Bulldog Running On A Boardwalk on a beach

Digestive issues 

Digestive issues can cause Frenchies to be constipated. That means you need to provide your dog with top quality foods. Holistic foods will be recommended by holistic vets and you should always discuss with your vet any health issues and changes in your dog’s diet and his general health.

The spine 

The spine requires special attention. This breed often has abnormally developed vertebrae of the discs of the back and even IVDD. This can cause this special little dog to become disabled. Surgery and repair can cost thousands of dollars – also x-rays will need to be taken.

Cleft palate 

Look at this when buying your Frenchie – it happens when the tissues between the dog’s sinuses and his mouth don’t develop fully, then you get this birth defect. It is common in thebrachycephalic breeds such as a French bulldog.

Eye problems

A Frenchie can experience common eye problems and it is not uncommon for them to suffer from eye allergies that irritate their eyes.

Why are they so expensive?

Black And White French Bulldog Laying On A Shaggy Carpet In the Sunlight

Well, to begin with, these little dogs need to be artificially inseminated in most cases, and the little females usually have a C-section at birth as it is rather dangerous to give birth naturally. All these things cost a lot of money.

If you do choose a French bulldog, remember don’t buy from any ol breeder, make sure it is a registered breeder - you will want a dog that does not come with a whole lot of genetic health issues such as in-breeding and so on. Remember there will be vet bills too that can and probably will occur – it is essential if you want a Frenchie in your home that you take 100% care of him – he deserves nothing less because he gives his all!

Meet The Author 

Grant Withers

Canine Specialist & Writer

Grant is an award-winning writer for SitStay with a passion for pets and especially dogs! Grant loves writing about furry little goofballs and aims to educate pet parents about anything and everything regarding their dogs.

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