French Bulldog Health

There are several congenital diseases and conditions to which French bulldogs are susceptible, although they are still considered among the healthiest of the bull breeds. Frenchies can suffer from Von Willebrand's disease (VWD), a bleeding disorder that is also found in humans and is similar to hemophilia, which can impede their clotting. In conjunction to this, French bulldogs may also suffer from thyroid condition. Many breeders follow a program of testing younger dogs for VWD, and only testing for thyroid at that time if the VWD factor is low. In this program, the breeder tests thyroid again just prior to using the dog for breeding. Other breeders test both VWD and thyroid at the same time.

French bulldogs suffer from Brachycephalic syndrome, which is what creates the flat faced appearance of the Frenchie. As a result, one of the most common defects in French bulldogs is elongated soft palate or cleft palate. Puppies affected with Cleft palate are generally put down at birth, as it is generally considered to be an almost impossible condition to correct. Elongated soft palate can manifest as anything from a mild condition causing labored breathing to severe condition that can cause the affected dog to pass out from moderate exercise.

Frenchies may also have a tendency towards eye issues. Cherry eye, or everted third eyelid, has been known to occur, although it is more common in (English) bulldogs and pug dogs. Glaucoma, retinal fold dysplasia, corneal ulcers and juvenile cataracts are also conditions which have been known to afflict French bulldogs. Screening of prospective breeding candidates through CERF - the Canine Eye Registration Foundation - can help to eliminate instances of these diseases in offpsring. The skin folds under the eyes of the French bulldog must be cleaned regularly and kept dry in order to avoid fold infections. In extremely severe cases of persistent fold infections, some veterinarians have performed fold removal surgeries.

French bulldogs can also suffer from a condition called megaesophagus, a term which collectively describes several esophageal disorders and malformations in any combination from single-to-double or multiple. One of the more serious complications in a dog affected with megaesophagus is passive regurgitation, in which the affected dog vomits up food or phlegm after eating or exercise. Passive regurgitation can frequently result in aspiration pneumonia.

Another result of the compacted airway of the French bulldog is their inability to effectively regulate temperature. While a regular canine may suffer to some degree from the heat, to a Frenchie it may be lethal. It is imperative that they be protected from temperature extremes at all times, and that they always have access to fresh water and shade.

French bulldogs can also suffer from an assortment of back and spinal diseases, most of which are probably related to the fact that they were selectively chosen from the dwarf examples of the bulldog breed. This condition is also referred to as chondrodysplasia. Some breeders feel that only dogs that have been x-rayed and checked for spinal anomalies should be bred from, but this is a difficult position to take sides on. While it is true that no dog affected with a spinal disease should be bred from , there is a great deal of variance in the appearance of a French Bulldog's spine as compared to, for example, a labrador retriever. If possible, such decisions should be left to either a veterinarian or breeder who has seen quite a few bulldog breed spinal x-rays, to avoid eliminating dogs unnecessarily.

French bulldogs frequently require caesarean section to give birth. As well, many French bulldog stud dogs are incapable of naturally breeding, requiring breeders to undertake artificial insemination of bitches (female dogs). French bitches can also suffer from erratic or 'silent' heats, which may be a side effect of thyroid disease or impaired thyroid function.

Thyroid disease may also be responsible for some of the skin conditions which afflict some Frenchies. Skin allergies, obsessive foot licking, and interdigital cysts have been known to affect some French Bulldogs.

French Bulldog Temperament

The French Bulldog is a gentle breed that typically has a happy-go-lucky attitude. Like many other companion dog breeds they require close contact with humans. They have fairly minimal exercise needs, but do require at least daily walks. Their calm nature makes them excellent choices for apartment dwellers, as does their usually sensible attitude towards barking. As a flat faced breed, it is essential that owners understand that French Bulldogs cannot live outdoors. Their bulk and their compromised breathing system makes it impossible for them to regulate their temperature efficiently. In addition, Frenchies are top heavy and therefore have a difficult time swimming. Precautions must be taken when exercising a Frenchie during hot or humid weather, as well.

French Bulldogs can play too roughly for some smaller children, and should be monitored at all times during play. As well, children should be cautioned not to pick French Bulldogs up, as the dogs' small size can mask how heavy they are.

French Bulldogs are essentially a bull and terrier breed, and as such, it is not surprising to learn that canine aggression can sometimes occur. Generally, this takes the form of same sex aggression, with the bitches being the most culpable in this respect. Owners considering adding a second dog to their household are usually cautioned to choose one of the opposite sex. Spaying or neutering can do much to curb aggressive tendencies before they begin. The French Bulldog energy level can range from hyperactive and energetic to relaxed and laid back.

All about French Bulldog

Physical Description

French bulldogs are a compact companion dog, active but not sporty, muscular dog with a smooth coat, snub nose and solid bone structure. Their physical appearance is characterized by naturally occurring 'bat ears' that are wide at the base and rounded at the top. Their tails are naturally short, not cropped, straight or screwed but not curly.

Under the American Kennel Club and Canadian Kennel Club standards, weight is not to exceed 28 pounds (13 kg). In general, "Frenchies" range in weight between 20 and 28 pounds. The FCI does not set a hard and fast weight limit, simply stating 'The weight must not be below 8 kg nor over 14 kg for a bulldog in good condition, size being in proportion with the weight'.

Coat colors in French Bulldogs

French bulldogs come in a variety of colors and coat patterns.

The FCI standard for French Bulldogs is shown at, and the standard is disqualifying the colors brown, black and tan, mouse gray

Here is what the American Kennel Club|AKC standard has to say about color:

"Acceptable colors - All brindle, fawn, white, brindle and white, and any color except those which constitute disqualification. All colors are acceptable with the exception of solid black, mouse, liver, black and tan, black and white, and white with black, which are disqualifications. Black means black without a trace of brindle."

But for both FCI and US:

In its most simple forms, French bulldog coat color can be simply be described as the original pied, brindle or fawn, with a variety of possible marking patterns. The differences in appearance are all due to variants in marking patterns, which range from brindle to pied and to fawn.

Examples shown from the American Kennel Club:

Here are a few examples of common - and not so common - coat patterns and colors within French Bulldogs. All terms should be taken subjectively, as there is a great deal of difference of opinion within the Frenchie community as to which term defines which color.


While theories abound about the exact origin of the French Bulldog, the most prevalent opinion is that around the mid-1800s Normandy lace workers from England took smaller bulldogs with them when they sought work in France. In the farming communities north of France that the lace workers settled in, the little bulldogs became very popular as ratters and loyal family companions and their population began to swell. These little bulldogs were in fact "culls" of the established bulldog breeders in England, who were generally more than happy to sell these undersized examples of their breed to fanciers of the "new" breed in England. This was especially true of the "tulip" eared puppies that cropped up at times in bulldog litters. French bulldogs were originally bred as ratters, but are now bred as lap dogs and companions. The magazine "Country Life", in the 29 April 1899 takes up the story: "Some five-and-thirty years ago in fact, [i.e. about 1865], the small-sized or light-weight Bulldog was common in this country; so much so that dogs of the breed that scaled over 28 lbs were not encouraged at such shows as Birmingham, which was at that period the most important exhibition of its kind in England. Then by some freak of fashion the Toy Bulldog became all the rage in Paris, with the result that the celebrated Bill George, of Canine Castle, Kensal New Town, the most eminent dog dealer of his or any other day, received carte blanche commissions from French customers to procure them light-weight Bulldogs, and by this means England was denuded of all the best specimens".

As the new, smaller bulldogs gained popularity in France, they became favorites of the Parisian "Belles De Nuit" - the street walkers. One reason for this is that when strolled, the exotic looking dogs brought attention to their owner, and gave potential customers a legitimate reason to chat with her. Another is that the docile breed was content to nap for short stretches when brought to hotel rooms, without making a fuss. Breed historians can still sometimes turn up notorious "French Postcards" bearing images of scantily clad French prostitutes posing with their little "Bouledogues Fran├žais". The aura of notoriety that ownership of the little dogs conveyed made them a fashionable way for the well-to-do classes to show off how daring they could be, and they soon became favorites of the "artistic" set across Europe.

Photos dating to around this time show the Russian royal family posing alongside their French bulldogs, and they imported several of the little dogs from France. Other famous fanciers included Toulouse-Lautrec, the author Colette and King Edward VII. A French bulldog, insured for the, at that time, astronomical sum of $750, was on board the ill-fated Titanic.

It is inarguable that without the influence of dedicated, turn-of-the-century American fanciers the breed would not be what it is today. It is they that organized the very first French bulldog club in the world, and it was they who insisted that the "bat" ear so associated with the breed today was correct. Until that time, French bulldogs were shown with either the "bat" or "rose" ear.

All in all, French bulldogs are an international breed, with breeders of many nations being responsible for the creation of the dogs we know today.

The Dogs Evolution

The history of our canine companions is a quite lengthy one. In fact, researchers and scientists have found that their appearance predates that of humans by a wide margin. While theories of just how man and dog came together may differ, as do theories concerning the specific ancestors of the domesticated dog that we are so familiar with, the fact remains that the evolution of the dog, as well as that of its relationship to humans, stretches back deep into time and history. Here are 5 critical steps in dog evolution:

The split between dog-like creatures and cat-like creatures came early. During the time period, approximately 42 million years ago, in which the prehistoric mammal group Miacidae gave rise toCarnivora - meat-eating mammals - differentiation between the prototypes of the dogs and cats we know today began to occur. While the evolution of the Carnivora-marking carnassial teeth, which allow for the eating of meat with their powerful scissor-like action, took place in the prehistoric mammal group Miacidae, it was just into the rise of the meat-eating mammals that the inner ear differences, skull shape and size, and other factors began to separate those animals into caniforms and feliforms.

The Dogs Evolution
The evolution of longer legs increased prey options. Not only did these longer legs allow for the running down of prey, but they also allowed the prehistoric canid-type mammal to become differentiated sufficiently from the other meat-eating mammals that arose out of the Miacidae, from the sub-family called Miacis, to form the first and oldest group of the Carnivora. This most ancient form of the canid, the ancestor of the Canidae family, is known as theHesperocyon gregarius and has been dated by scientists to about 37 million years ago. These canids were small creatures, similar in size to a small fox. Gradually these longer legs, an improvement over the smaller legs of the past that placed the body much closer to the ground, elongated further. This expanded the range of prey they could successfully hunt. and moving slowly towards another level of dog-like development.
The development of bone crushing teeth came with an increase in size and muscle. The evolution of the jaw and teeth in this manner, allowing for the crushing of bones to get at the nutrients of the marrow, was another major step in the development of the dog as a separate species significantly different from other meat-eating mammals. This particular bit of evolution is most notable in the Borophaginae, the second stage, in a sense, of the canid. These canids were bigger and burlier than their Hesperocyon predecessors, and had the muscular development and size to put those bone-crushing teeth to work on the larger prey. They could bring down such prey on the run, using pure power to muscle that prey down to the ground for the kill.

Caninae was the last of the ancients. Of the three subgroups within the lineage descending from that first canid-type mammal, only the Caninae survived. The last of the Hesperocyon and Borophaginae canids are thought to have faded away about 2 ½ to 3 million years ago, leaving just the Caninae - a canid type that had evolved to such a degree that it would easily be recognized as a dog. It is from this line of prehistoric dogs that the Canidae line that we see today evolved. From this comparatively modern line of canid came wolves, coyotes, foxes, and dogs.

Man and dog come together. While there is academic dispute over whether or notthe domesticated dog of today is descended from the wolf or from a species of Canidae all its own, the general scenario of how man and dog came together is fairly well-agreed upon –- aside from a bit of theoretical disagreement on exactly who domesticated whom -- as well as the the variety of effects that this coming together had upon theevolution of the dog. Dogs probably started their interactions with humans as scavengers, hanging around camps, eating leftovers and leavings. Puppy captures most likely set the stage for real domestication. One of the most notable changes that came about from this union – a feature that is not seen in wolves today – is the ability of dogs to understand, or read, human signs and behaviors, such as changes in tone or voice or pointing. Another highly significant evolutionary change is the broad range of dog breeds that have arisen from human breeding efforts to create dogs for specific purposes, resulting in tiny dogs that can sit in the palm of a man's hand, to dogs well over 200 pounds in weight.

The evolution of the dog has been a process that has taken many millions of years. Yet, in light of the many tasks and the continuing creation of specific breeds, it seems as though the evolution of this magnificent creature still continues. Although in many countries, domesticated dogs still do labor at an assortment of primarily physical tasks, the number of tasks that working dogs perform that rely on intellectual ability, as opposed to simple strength and endurance, has increased. Service dogs, for example, are amazing in their abilities, both in what they can do and in how well they can read the needs of those that they serve. However, working dogs are, in most nations, in the minority, with the average dog breeders.