Kristen Curette & Daemaine Hines / Stocksy
This year, for the first time ever, the French Bulldog, commonly known as a “Frenchie,” was named America’s most popular dog breed. After 31 years of Labrador Retrievers reigning supreme, some may be surprised by this dethroning — but those who know and love their Frenchies certainly aren’t.
Why are French Bulldogs so popular?
The first thing most people notice (and love) about Frenchies is their one-of-a-kind appearance. The combination of their large, bat-like ears, flat, wrinkly faces, blocky heads, and large eyes is irresistible to many. Their stout, muscular bodies are rivaled by few other breeds and they have distinct, human-like voices, made widely known by Internet celebrity Frenchies like Walter Geoffrey and Nerf. Their distinct yowls bring their vibrant personalities and need for plentiful attention to life.
What makes French Bulldogs so special?
Frenchie are special because of their playful, clown-like personalities that they love to share with their humans. They enjoy being around people and are incredibly affectionate with children, adults, and other dogs alike. They’re very adaptable to new living conditions, daily schedules, and mild weather. This breed can also be a variety of beautiful colors, including brindle, fawn, and black.
Are French Bulldogs easy to train?
French Bulldogs’ friendly and affectionate personalities lend themselves well to training, as does their intelligence. Frenchies are known people pleasers and respond well to motivation, like food. Consistency is also important: Frenchies who are given a schedule (and whose parents stick to it) will fare better in training than those who aren’t. Frenchies can, however, be stubborn, so it’s best to start training as early in their lives — or your time with them — as possible.
Are French Bulldogs good for apartment living?
French Bulldogs are relatively low-maintenance dogs who bark very little, which makes them a good choice for people who live in apartments or small homes, especially those living under noise restrictions. Though this breed can be hyperactive as puppies, adults generally have low to moderate energy levels compared to other breeds. Originally bred as city dogs, Frenchies do well in smaller spaces and are homebodies; they prefer the comfort of their own home to traveling or exploring.
Are French Bulldogs easy to care for?
French Bulldogs have short, smooth coats that are easy to groom — and they benefit from regular grooming since they shed year-round. Regular brushing and bathing can help Frenchies keep their coats healthy and clean.
Though they can live in a variety of climates, Frenchies are sensitive to extreme temperatures. Their bodies lose heat quicker than it can be replaced in the cold, and their short coats don’t offer much warmth or protection, so they are prone to hypothermia and frostbite. The heat, however, also causes breathing issues due to restricted airflow in their snouts. Frenchie parents should be aware of signs of overheating, including excessive panting, mouth foaming, lethargy, heaving, drooling, and a discolored and/or floppy tongue.
What is the most common health problem with French Bulldogs?
The hard truth is that French Bulldogs — as well as other brachycephalic (or flat-faced) breeds — face many health problems. In fact, there is a growing movement to discourage breeding of dogs with extreme brachycephaly. But those considering adopting a Frenchie should be aware that though this breed has a lifespan of 10 to 12 years, Frenchies face a number of health problems that can be both financially and emotionally draining to treat, including the following:
Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)
BOAS occurs in flat-faced dogs due to the cramming of the nose, tongue, soft palate, and teeth into a relatively small space, reducing their airway size. Dogs suffering from BOAS may experience increased effort and difficulty breathing, trouble exercising, gagging, blue gums, overheating, fainting, and increased respiratory noise.
BOAS can be exacerbated by both hot and cold weather, and French Bulldogs are susceptible to experiencing symptoms of heat stress, or when a dog overheats for a short period of time but can efficiently cool off and has symptoms no more severe than dehydration or lethargy. Frenchies are also susceptible to the more serious heat stroke; signs of heat stroke include vomiting and diarrhea, which can progress to bloody vomiting and diarrhea. To avoid both, do not let your pet outside for more than 10 or 20 minutes when the temperature is over 90 degrees, and be careful and monitor your pup when the temperature is over 70 degrees.
Frenchies can experience eye problems, including dry eye, which is characterized by chronic inflammation in the eye.
Entropion, a hereditary disorder in which the eyelid rolls inward, causing a dog’s eyelashes to rub against their cornea, is also found in Frenchies; the condition can result in eye irritation and, if not treated, corneal ulceration.
Corneal ulcers, or the erosion of the epithelium (the outermost layer of the cornea) and into the stroma (the level below the epithelium), also occur in French Bulldogs. This condition causes fluid to accumulate in the stroma, which gives the eye a cloudy appearance.
Skin Fold Dermatitis
As cute as Frenchies’ many wrinkles and folds are, they can often cause discomfort via skin fold dermatitis, which results from inflammation and/or microbial overgrowth when moisture and bacteria are trapped in a dog’s skin folds. Treatment normally involves cleaning the affected area with an antiseptic solution and/or applying antibiotic ointment. To avoid skin fold dermatitis, it’s important to regularly clean and dry your dog’s wrinkles.
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Hip and elbow dysplasia occur when the ball and socket of a dog’s hip or elbow joint do not fit or develop properly and rub against each other. Over time, the joint deteriorates and can even lose function. The condition is hereditary, though factors like improper weight and unbalanced nutrition can contribute to the condition. Symptoms can include decreased activity and range of motion, difficulty rising, jumping, running, or climbing stairs, lameness in the hind end, loss of thigh muscle mass, and stiffness or limping.
Patella luxation occurs when the patella (or kneecap) is dislocated and moves out of its normal location. Dogs experiencing this may have a skip in their step or even briefly run on three legs. There are four grades of severity of patella luxation, and the more severe the grade, the more likely a dog is to develop long-term problems. Surgery can be performed to address the issue.
A cleft palate is a birth defect that appears as an opening between a dog’s mouth and nose that occurs when the tissues separating these cavities don’t grow together properly. Purebred dogs generally have a higher incidence of cleft palates, and brachycephalic breeds, including Frenchies, are most commonly affected.
Frenchies can inherit thyroid issues, including congenital hypothyroidism French Bulldog type, an enlargement of the thyroid gland that can cause decreased secretion of the thyroid hormone. The thyroid controls a dog’s metabolism and can cause slow physical and mental development.
Though French Bulldogs face their fair share of health problems, many Frenchie parents would be quick to say that they more than make up for those trials with their loyalty, affection, and charming personalities. Their intelligence and adaptability are laudable, as is their ability to get along with just about anyone. Whether in an apartment or home, a Frenchie doesn’t care — they’re just happy to be wherever you are.
FAQ About French Bulldogs:
What Makes French Bulldogs So Special?
Frenchies are special because they have unique, adorable appearances and are incredibly affectionate with big personalities.
Are French Bulldogs Easy to Train?
Though they can be stubborn, French Bulldogs’ intelligence and eagerness to please make them easily trainable.
What Are French Bulldogs’ Favorite Things to Do?
French Bulldogs love being with their humans 24/7 and enjoy playing with children, adults, and other dogs alike.
Are French Bulldogs Easy to Care for?
French Bulldogs have low-maintenance grooming needs but can experience a number of health problems that may require extra care.
Are French Bulldogs Good Dogs for Beginners?
French Bulldogs’ low to moderate energy and devotion to their humans make them good dogs for beginners.
Are French Bulldogs Good for Apartment Living?
French Bulldogs’ lack of barking and comfort in smaller spaces make them good for apartment living.
What Is the Most Common Health Problem of French Bulldogs?
French Bulldogs commonly experience health issues, including brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), heat stress, eye problems, skin fold dermatitis, and more.