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French bulldog, a playful companion for apartments

French bulldog

A playful little clown and a real emotional sponge, the French bulldog is a small, easygoing breed that suits most people. Rarely a barker, lover of naps, with only a moderate need for exercise, it’s the perfect companion for apartment living.

Here are the main characteristics and essential needs of the French bulldog.

Origin of the French bulldog

This small breed appeared in the middle of the 19th century in Paris. It’s a cross between two dog breeds:

  • The bulldog, imported from England. Butchers, coachmen, traders, and workers used it for dog fights in infamous neighborhoods of Paris.
  • The terrier, with its straight ears, which was also favored by coachmen. They used it to rid the stables of rats.

The first French bulldog breed club was founded in Paris in 1880 and the first breed standard was established in 1898.

Main physical characteristics

French bulldog sizeThis dog has a compact, short-legged body that’s stout, powerful and very muscular. It’s easily recognized with its flat-faced brachycephalic face, straight ears with rounded tips, and asymmetric folds on the head and neck.

  • Height at the withers: 12 to 14 inches for the male (30 to 35 cm). 11 to 13 inches for the female (29 to 34 cm).
  • Weight: 18 to 31 lbs for the male (8 to 14 kilos). 15 to 26 lbs for the female (7 to 12 kilos).
  • Fur: short, tight, and shiny. No undercoat.
  • Color: black, white, brindle, fawn, cream, pied (black and white). Blue color is not accepted in the French bulldog standard.
  • Life expectancy: between 10 and 12 years.

Temperament and behavior

French bulldog behaviorAn easy-going companion:

Cheerful, friendly, and affectionate, the French bulldog adapts to its owner’s lifestyle. Calm and peaceful, it waits patiently to be pampered and become the center of attention.

This small-size dog is perfect for apartment living, as it’s not made for long exercise sessions. A 30-minute walk per day is enough, so not a good partner for canicross. Moreover, it seldom barks.

Stubborn, it will try to test its owner. Therefore, a hierarchy needs to be established so as not to be dominated and overtaken. Positive education yields very good results with this sensitive companion.

A great playmate for children:

Non-aggressive, always in a good mood and very playful, it loves children with whom it knows how to behave safely.

Difficult cohabitation with other dogs:

While very accommodating with humans, it does not always tolerate its peers. Males have a strong tendency to fight among themselves. Neutering at an early age is recommended.

French bulldog health and feeding

Health, delicate as a flower:

French bulldog healthThis friendly and low-maintenance breed can have a fragile health.

  • Disc herniation
  • Dermatitis and eczema
  • Heart issues
  • Leaning toward obesity
  • Corneal ulcer
  • Respiratory difficulties
  • Not a fan of heat
  • Epilepsy
  • Brain tumors (glioma)
  • Snores like a freight train

Maintenance, perhaps the easiest breed of all:

A weekly brush with a rubber glove keeps that short coat looking sharp. But if it rains? Dry this little guy, especially between skin folds, to avoid skin reactions. Keep an eye on their ears, eyes, and teeth. Dry nose? A dab of petroleum jelly will do the trick.

Feeding, not your ordinary kibble:

French bulldog feedFeed your French bulldog high-end, easily digestible food. Preferably rich in protein and low in starch. Why? Because, like all brachycephalic breeds, it suffers from aerophagia, flatulence, and sometimes vomiting and regurgitations.

Try kibble with fish protein to limit frequent allergies in this breed (skin problems, recurring otitis).

Pet stores carry special French bulldog kibble, shaped to suit their teeth, and formulated to help with their digestive issues.

Price of a French bulldog

Between 900 and 2000 dollars/euros.

Average minimum monthly budget: 50 dollars/euros.

→ Good to know: Due to its sometimes fragile health, it’s advised to subscribe to a pet health insurance when adopting a French bulldog puppy.

Smart tip

During periods of intense heat, don’t hesitate to wet your French bulldog regularly. You can use a watering can, a spray bottle or just a damp towel. But beware if you have a pool! This dog can’t swim!

Images: CC BY-SA 2.0: Cliff Judson, Thorsten, Tony Harrison; Pixabay: Myléne

Written by Lydie Dronet | With over 20 years in the field of animal care, Lydie shares her paws-on expertise and experience. Other topics she loves delving into are nutrition and the medicinal uses of plants.
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