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".
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.