French bulldogs are a friendly, small dog that was bred for companionship. While their origin story is a little unexpected, it did not take long for their popularity to spread across Europe and the United States. Frenchies come in all different colors and are generally easy to care for. They have just enough wrinkles to give them character but are still very easy to distinguish from their close relative, the English Bulldog. These dogs are a good fit for a small home or apartment and do not require a large backyard space.
Technically, Frenchies are considered a small breed. Females usually weigh anywhere from 16 to 24 pounds while males can weigh as much as 28 pounds. Their coats are short, fine, and smooth with loose wrinkles around the head and shoulders. Their wrinkles are prominent but nowhere near as large as, say, an English Bulldog. Coat patterns vary quite a bit and include cream and fawn as well as a large variety of brindle shades.
Believe it or not, the Frenchie was first bred in England, not France, in an attempt to make a toy-sized English Bulldog. They became very popular, especially among lace workers, a lot of whom emigrated to France and took their canine companions with them. Soon, their popularity spread throughout Europe and onto America. It was first shown at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in 1896.
French Bulldogs are friendly dogs who love giving and receiving affection. They are so connected to their owners that they can get territorial when other dogs are around. Socialization at a young age can help avoid this. Frenchies are funny and love to make trouble. They make good watchdogs because they care so much for their people that they will defend them no matter what.
Because they have short, smooth coats, are pretty low maintenance when it comes to grooming. They should be brushed occasionally and bathed every two months or as needed. Frenchies can be bathed daily if necessary to keep their skin healthy. Pay special attention to the wrinkles on and around the face. These folds are an ideal place for bacteria to hide and should be inspected regularly between baths and cleaned if necessary.
When brushing a Frenchie, it is important to check the skin for any dry areas, scabs, or signs of infection. Check the ears, teeth, and eyes for any discharge or foul odors. If anything is found, contact your veterinarian for guidance. Clean the outer ears with a damp washcloth and use a cotton swab around the ear canal if needed but never stick anything inside. Apply a little bit of mineral or baby oil to dry skin if needed. Frenchies do not wear their nails down like some breeds, so regular nail trimming is necessary.
Most Frenchies are pretty low energy, so they do not need a lot of exercise. A short walk or some time playing in the yard will help them maintain a healthy weight. Frenchies do not have a lot of stamina and get tired quickly. They do like to play but do not require a large yard or frequent trips to the dog park to run around. They are prone to overheat, so it is important not to push them too hard in hot weather and make sure they stay hydrated.
This is a pretty healthy breed, but there are a few issues that French Bulldogs are prone to, including hip dysplasia that may lead to arthritis in old age, multiple types of allergies, and ear infections. Frenchies may also develop patellar luxation which is essentially the dog's knee cap slipping out of place. Note that this is also a brachycephalic breed with a short head, long soft palate, and narrow nostrils. They can experience labored breathing and snorting.
Because these dogs are so family-oriented, they are a great choice for a house with young children. Frenchies are a nice size, too. Not so small that parents have to worry about young children hurting the dog but no so big that they can knock a child over easily. Always remember never to leave children unattended with any dog to make sure everyone stays safe.
Remember that French Bulldogs can be possessive of their owners when other pets are around and may get jealous. That said, if they are socialized as puppies, they can get along well with other dogs and cats. Keep in mind that they are small, so any large breeds may intimidate them.
Frenchie puppies are playful and friendly. Be sure yours comes from a reputable breeder for the best chance at avoiding some of the breed's more serious health issues. Puppies can be trained to stay still for grooming and should be crated when left alone. They are mischevious and can get themselves into trouble. Socializing at a young age is good, too, especially if you have other pets or plan to add another one in the future.
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