The French Bulldog, or Frenchie, first appeared in Paris in the mid-nineteenth century. This brand new breed, the Bouledogue Francais, resulted from breeding English Toy Bulldogs with local Parisian “ratters” (a breed developed to catch rats and other vermin, as the name suggests). First recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1898, the French Bulldog quickly gained notoriety worldwide and now ranks as one of the world’s most popular small breed dogs.
Due to their easy-going nature, French Bulldogs have earned the fandom of regular people and celebrities as well. Reese Witherspoon, Hugh Jackman, Hilary Duff, Chrissy Teigan and John Legend, and Lady Gaga are just a few famous faces who share their mansions with Frenchies.
Fully grown, an adult Frenchie will measure 11-13 inches at the shoulder and weigh under 28 pounds. Their lifespan usually lasts between 10 and 12 years. Frenchies have a long history of breeding (and over-breeding) and have some endemic health problems you should be aware of when considering adding one to your household.
First, no water sports because Frenchies can’t swim. Due to their top-heavy build, you should never leave your Frenchie alone near a pool or any body of water since they can so easily drown. Second, Frenchies are prone to breathing problems and do very poorly in hot or humid weather because of their flat faces. There are other health issues you should watch for as well, such as sensitivity to anesthesia, and eye, skin, and autoimmune disorders.
If you’re lucky enough to get a robust Frenchie who remains healthy, you can look forward to a wonderful companion who gets along with all types of people and animals. These bat-eared charmers are friendly, playful, and adaptable, and although they’re not overly vocal, their loyalty and alertness make them fine watchdogs. Since they don’t require much exercise, they are great as apartment dwellers, and their low-maintenance personality also makes them a great choice for first-time dog owners.
Are you considering welcoming a Frenchie into your home? Consider going to a breed rescue first. Due to the increase in “backyard” amateur, unskilled breeders producing litters of French Bulldog puppies to make a quick profit, many puppies are born sick and surrendered to rescues because the breeder doesn’t want to invest the money on expensive medical care. Rescues who take in the puppies then get them the vet care they need, including vaccinations and spay/neuter surgery. Adopting from a reputable rescue ensures the puppies have every advantage to grow up to be healthy adults.