With their short snouts, wrinkled faces, and 'bat ears,' these mini-clowns evoke smiles wherever they go. French Bulldogs—or Frenchies—are smart, sweet-natured dogs who have plenty of energy for brisk walks as long as they are followed by ample lap time at home. Though usually very quiet, they are attentive watchdogs who will bark with gusto when someone's at the door. They have a stubborn streak but are also eager to please, which makes them utterly charming companions when given lots of patient training and love.
French Bulldogs are also known as Frenchies and Bouledogue Français.
French Bulldog Mixes
French Bulldog mixes are widely available from shelters and rescues. This mix may share traits with multiple other breeds, but will likely resemble Frenchies in some physical and personality traits. Most shelters do not do DNA testing on their mixed breeds, however, so breed heritage is usually the best guess based on characteristics and any information shared when the dog is surrendered.
If you want to ensure your dog has some French Bulldog, locate a shelter that does genetic testing on mixed breeds, or let local shelters know you are interested in AKC-registered French Bulldog surrenders. Keep in mind, even with proof of French Bulldog ancestry, each dog's personality can differ from the breed standard based on its unique genetics, experiences, training, and socialization.
Common French Bulldog mixes include Pug, Poodle, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Chihuahua, and American Staffordshire Terrier, often called the Pit Bull.
French Bulldogs have a short, fine, smooth coat. The breed's colors are brindle, white, cream, and fawn, or various combinations of those colors.
Average Height: 11-13 inches
Male: 20-28 pounds
Female: 16-24 pounds
Breed Standard & History
The French Bulldog has a compact, heavy-boned, muscular build with a broad chest and stout forelegs set wide apart. He has a thick neck and short, well-rounded body. When he sets off at a walk or run, his gait is energetic and free flowing. The top of a Frenchie's head is flat between the ears, while his forehead just over his eyes is slightly rounded. His ears stand up tall and face forward, much like bat ears. The nose of a French Bulldog is pushed back, making him a flat-faced (brachycephalic) dog breed. The loose skin around his muzzle, cheeks, nose, and forehead creates his wrinkled visage.
The breed originated in England, but was popularized in France in the late 1800s. The story goes that small bulldogs were beloved by lacemakers in Nottingham. After the Industrial Revolution, these lacemakers moved to France where their skills were still in demand. The little bulldogs quickly became popular in France and they were dubbed 'Boule-Dog Français' after their adopted country. In the early years of the breed, some of the dogs had rose ears similar to English Bulldogs, while some had the distinctive bat ears of today's French Bulldog. A European trend to breed out the bat ears was resisted by American enthusiasts of the breed, who preferred the stand-up ears and went on to establish the first formal organization for the breed. In 1898, the breed—bat ears and all—was officially recognized by the AKC.
AKC Breed Category
Non-Sporting Group | Companion Dog
French Bulldogs are amiable, curious dogs with playful spirits. They have strong personalities, but with consistent training, encouragement (i.e. dog treats), and patience they will learn and abide by the household rules. They enjoy playing and going for walks, but are just as happy hanging out on the couch for a few hours if given the chance.
Are French Bulldogs Good with Kids? Affectionate and social, French Bulldogs love spending time with people of any age, including kids. They are such easygoing dogs, that screaming, stomping tykes don't usually phase them. And though they are small, Frenchies are rugged enough to handle a few overzealous hugs.
(Note: Every dog has a unique personality and distinct life experiences that affect his disposition. As a rule, adults should always supervise playdates between kids and their four-legged friends.)
Are French Bulldogs Good with Other Pets? The breed's gregarious nature usually extends to other dogs and family pets as well. However, French Bulldogs have a territorial side, so always closely monitor introductions until it's clear he's meeting a friend, not a foe. As with all breeds, early and consistent socialization will help ensure your French Bulldog plays nice with others.
Are French Bulldogs Good Guard Dogs? Frenchies keep a keen eye and ear out for visitors, and will bark when anyone approaches the homestead. They make wonderful watchdogs, because you'll always know when there's a mail delivery or a friend arrives. However, being small in stature and sweet in nature, they can't be depended upon for protection.
French Bulldogs have low to moderate energy levels. They can be frisky and playful one minute, and an utter couch potato the next.
- Can be protective and territorial about their space, their food, and their humans.
- You won't see it in most of the cute pictures of Frenchies online, but they drool—a lot—meaning a washable dog bed is a good investment.
- Like all flat-faced dogs, they often snore, snuffle and snort.
- Because they're stubborn and independent by nature, training French Bulldogs often requires extra patience and time.
- Housetraining can take longer than usual.
- They have a low tolerance for being alone.
French Bulldogs make exceptional apartment dogs because they are calm, don't require frequent exercise, and are quiet, considerate neighbors. Though they don't bark, you will hear the frequent snoring, snuffling, and snorting common to flat-faced breeds. Be prepared for some wet spots around your house: Frenchies drool—a lot. Finally, like most dogs, if left alone for long periods of time they may resort to destructive behaviors.
French Bulldogs enjoy trots around the backyard, brisk walks, and visits to the dog park. But when their family heads inside, that's where they want to go too. Because of their brachycephalic snouts, Frenchies are susceptible to heat-related illnesses when it's hot and humid outside. They should go for only short walks in the heat, and they should have access to cool water and air-conditioning once inside. Because their coats are short, keep their time outside in very cold temperatures brief, or give them the added protection of a dog jacket.
French Bulldogs don't need a lot of exercise. Several brisk, 15-minute walks per day or a few short play sessions in the yard will keep your French Bulldog in tip-top shape.
French Bulldogs enjoy a nice walk around the neighborhood, but don't have the stamina for long outings. Though they are fine runners in short bouts, they are not athletes and shouldn't be encouraged to exercise for long periods of time. Because of their small, stout stature, they are prone to spinal problems, which can be exacerbated by intense activity.
Activity distance rating
- Running Miles: French Bulldogs are not long-distance runners. A gallop down the block or a sprint across the backyard and they've probably had enough.
- Hiking Miles: A Frenchie should walk with you only on the half-mile trail and you should never be too far from your car and its air conditioning, in case he gets overheated.
French Bulldogs love to eat and will remain attentive during training sessions if they know dog treats are involved. Feed your Frenchie high-quality dog food and keep a watch for weight gain. The amount of food you give your Frenchie depends upon his size, unique energy level, and age. Talk to your veterinarian about an optimal feeding plan based on these factors.
Gregarious French Bulldogs prefer company at all times. They are not dogs who do well left home alone all day while their humans go to work. French Bulldogs are content alone for a few hours at a time. If left alone for longer, they may develop separation anxiety and/or engage in destructive behaviors.
Health and Grooming
The French Bulldog's short, silky coat requires minimal care. Brushing a few days per week will keep it shiny. Frenchies are average shedders. Their teeth should be brushed regularly because they are prone to bad breath. They also need their bat ears and facial folds cleaned frequently. Clip their nails regularly to avoid splitting and overgrowth, especially because they won't wear them down with exercise.
Common Health Issues
The French Bulldog has health issues associated with brachycephalic and dwarf breeds.
- Pinched nostrils
- Elongated palette
- Low tolerance for heat, humidity, and overexertion
- Higher risk for complications under anesthesia
- Spinal malformations
- Herniated disks
- Premature degeneration of disks
It's important to purchase your French Bulldog from a reputable breeder to minimize the risk of serious health issues. These breeders will use responsible breeding practices and screen for diseases and conditions common to the breed.
Highly intelligent, the French Bulldog learns basic commands with ease. Though they are engaged and game for learning, they are also stubborn and independent. Have dog treats on hand for training sessions to ensure your Frenchie's cooperation.
Because of their low athleticism, French Bulldogs are not ideal for advanced training. They would love to play a short game of fetch though.
Sporting Dog Training
Frenchies are bred to be companion animals and not sporting dogs.
Here are a few commonly asked questions about French Bulldogs.
No. Because of their squat bodies, French Bulldogs make poor swimmers. Watch your Frenchie closely whenever he is near a pool, lake, or by the ocean to make sure he doesn't fall or jump into the water.
Many Frenchies enjoy laying down with their back legs stretched out behind them, which gives them an appearance similar to a frog swimming.
The majority of French Bulldogs are unable to breed naturally because of their short stature and narrow hips. Most breeding is done through artificial insemination. Additionally, most French Bulldogs litters are delivered through caesarean section.
French Bulldogs are not hypoallergenic. They shed moderately and will create pet dander in your home. Grooming your dog regularly will help minimize issues.