"The Lacemaker's Dog"
The French Bulldog's beginnings were not in France, but in England. During the nineteenth century, lacemakers in England found that small bulldogs had no problem snoozing on the lacemakers' laps while they worked. This affinity for the lacemaker's lap benefited the lacemaker in two ways: the dog's warmer body drew fleas away from the human being and the dog provided comfortable, undemanding companionship. The Industrial Revolution's arrival in England meant that the lacemakers there were unemployed. In hopes of finding new work, many lacemakers decamped to France, taking their little bulldogs with them. Within a few years, the dogs began to be sighted in Paris, where they became great favorites of the city's streetwalkers. Soon, however, the dog's clownish appearance became as appealing to the upper classes as it was to the ladies of the night. The French adopted the Bouledogues Francais as their own, although the dog is popular both inside and outside French borders today. Among the 155 breeds registered by the American Kennel Club in 2006, the French Bulldog ranked 38th.
The Frenchie is a quiet but sociable dog who continues to love snoozing on human laps and otherwise cuddle at every opportunity. Some of these dogs do have a more energetic side – but the breed's small size makes a small yard, or even the inside of an apartment, sufficiently large spaces in which to expend that energy. And while the dog is not much of a barker, he does make some noise – during naps and after bedtime. Yup, the French Bulldog snores.
The Frenchie's blocky little body, flat face, enormous eyes, big bat-like ears, and perpetual grin give the dog a clownish appearance. Owners should be prepared for lots of attention from strangers. The breed's short, easy-care coat comes in several color varieties, including cream, fawn, and various shades of brindle. The fawn-colored dog may have a black mask on the face. In the words of many a Frenchie owner, “That dog is so ugly it's cute!“
Frenchies can learn the basics of good house manners, but may have little use for more advanced or precise obedience work. In addition, strenuous athletics such as jumping over hurdles or tearing around an agility course don't appeal to most representatives of this breed. However, the breed has the sociability and quiet demeanor needed to be a fine therapy dog.
Grooming & Care
The French Bulldog needs relatively little grooming. A weekly brushing with a soft brush, a weekly ear cleaning, a weekly nail trim and occasional wiping of the dog's skin wrinkles are all that's needed.
The French Bulldog's flat face and snub nose cause the dog to be very sensitive to temperature extremes – and what's moderate to a person may be extreme heat to a Frenchie. A Frenchie owner needs to be very careful of his dog during hot or even warm weather, and make sure the dog keeps his cool. The breed's very large head means that female Frenchies often have difficulty giving birth. Veterinarians often must perform Caesarian sections to ensure the safety of both the dam and her pups. The parents of any Frenchie should be screened for hip dysplasia (OFA), eye problems (CERF) and von Willebrand's disease (a canine bleeding disease that's similar to human hemophilia).
Famous French Bulldog
Toulouse-Latrec, artist Colette, King Edward VII of England, and Martha Stewart all had Frencies.
|Challenges||They snore and snort. Sensitive to warm temperatures. Don't like to be left alone.|
|Height||11 to 14 inches|
|Weight||20 to 28 pounds|
|Life||9 to 11 years|
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