England, France and America are the three most important countries that were instrumental in the uniformity and standardization of our modern French bulldogs or “frenchies” as they are lovingly called now.
England provided the foundation of our modern day frenchies: the old bulldog. Breeders in France developed the smaller bulldogs into the distinctly “French” type and the breed standard was set by America wherein it prescribed the all-important “bat ears”.
After decades of cross breeding, the small French bulldog emerged and gained popularity in France as the “Bouboule”. The Yanks preferred small dogs with erect ears with which the French and their British counterparts had no issues at all. The first French dog was exhibited in 1896 at Westminster Show and the same breed was featured in the cover of the 1897 Westminster catalogue.
The French bulldog is a companion dog and needs to be in close contact with humans. These dogs are extremely good in their temperamental disposition and make great companions. They need minimal exercise and cannot live outdoors. Frenchies are perfect apartment dogs. These cuties are great with children and are ranked 58th in Stanley Coren’s “The intelligence of dogs”.
However, owners need to be acutely aware of their physical disposition and not expose them to hot or humid climate as well as extreme cold owing to their single coat. These dogs have difficulty in breathing because of their flat face and are not good swimmers as they are top heavy. They are also prone to heat strokes.
Frenchies are small dogs and are included in group 9 under section 11 as small Molossian type dogs as per Kennel Club of India (KCI) along with pugs. These adorable guys generally don’t grow beyond one foot in height and not more than 13 kg in weight.
Three striking difference between the pug and the French bulldog are: frenchies have erect bat like ears whereas pug’s ears are flapped down. They have little (not exceeding one inch) or no tail whereas the pug has a curled tail set. The third and the most beautiful difference is in their color. The pug comes in only two bold colors (black and cream), whereas the French bulldog comes in a multitude of colors.
The French bulldog essentially comes from the typical English bulldog and can be stubborn if not trained from an early age. But, they make great family pets and are amazing stress busters. Owing to their friendly nature, the frenchies generally do not have issues in accepting other dog or pets in the household.
Prospective French bulldog owners should be extremely careful while selecting a puppy or a breeder. This canine breed should be got only from reputed breeders in the country who are aware of the breed standard and strive to produce the best of the breed with special emphasis on health and temperament. There are very few ethical breeders in India, so one should be extra careful while shortlisting top notch kennels.
(The author is an expert on dogs)