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Grey French Bulldog: setting the facts straight

Standard French Bulldogs are white, cream, fawn, or a combination of these colors. Colors other than these are classed as anomalous, including the blue French Bulldog more commonly referred to as grey (or gray).

The grey French Bulldog is a standard French Bulldog with a non-standard coat color. Grey fur is simply a diluted version of black which only develops when a French Bulldog inherits the dilution gene from each of its parents. Grey coats are linked to health problems that are often misunderstood.

A grey French Bulldog puppy in his owner's hands.

Health problems in grey French Bulldogs

Though many believe they have many issues, there is just one health condition associated specifically with grey French Bulldogs: Color Dilution Alopecia (CDA). It often doesn’t manifest until blue French Bulldog puppies reach about 6 months of age.

CDA is a recessive genetic condition associated with Frenchies who have two copies of the recessive dilution gene which causes their grey coats. Symptoms include:

  • hair thinning
  • hair loss
  • itchy, flaky, sore skin
  • mangy, dull coat

Although it can’t be cured, CDA is not a fatal condition. It can be managed with prescribed products from your vets such as shampoo and skin lotion.

Grey French Bulldogs can also develop any health conditions that other color Frenchies are prone to, including:

  • Allergies. These are often skin allergies and can be triggered by food or environmental factors
  • Brachycephalic-related problems. Dogs with short muzzles often suffer from these problems which include breathing difficulties.
  • Cherry Eye. This is related to the third eyelid that can move out of position. It’s possible to massage it back into place but it can sometimes require surgery.
  • Cleft Palate. This is usually genetic and manifests as a problem with the opening in the roof of the mouth.
  • Deafness. This is a genetic condition and is more common in the white French Bulldog.
  • Degenerative Myelopathy. This is a serious problem that affects the spine and tends to affect older dogs.
  • Distichiasis. A genetic problem related to the eyelid, affecting how it grows.
  • Entropion. Another hereditary problem affecting the eyelids.
  • Heat Exhaustion. The French Bulldog cannot regulate its temperature easily which can lead to serious health problems if not addressed quickly.
  • Hemivertebrae. This causes deformity of the spine and is present at birth.
  • Hip Dysplasia. A hip condition that causes mobility problems and can require surgery.
  • Patellar Luxation. This is a painful condition where the kneecap dislocates or develops in an abnormal position.
  • Stenotic Nares. This is a narrowing of the nostrils.
  • Tracheal Collapse. A respiratory disease related to the windpipe.
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease. A bleeding disorder, similar to Hemophilia.

Do grey French Bulldogs shed?

All dogs shed, even the short-haired French Bulldog and because grey Frenchies develop CDA, they can lose more hair than other colors.

Regular grooming removes loose hair that would otherwise be lost around your home. Correct treatment of CDA can also help to prevent excess shedding.

What makes a French Bulldog grey (or gray or blue)?

In order for a French Bulldog to have a grey coat, it must carry two copies of a recessive gene known as the dilution gene.

This gene is termed recessive because its effects are only visible when a puppy inherits two copies: one from its mother and one from its father.

Grey coloring is, in effect, a dilute version of black and is sometimes referred to as blue because it has a bluish tint in certain lights.

There are many different shades of grey Frenchie, ranging from very pale to dark slate. There are also several patterns that include a blue color.

Grey coat variations in Frenchies

Grey (gray) or blue Frenchies have 5 distinct coat patterns:

Solid blue

When a French Bulldog’s coat consists of one single shade of blue or grey, it is known as solid blue. The color ranges from light silvery grey to almost black slate grey.

This Frenchie coat has no other markings at all and the dog usually has matching blue or grey eyes.

A solid grey or blue French Bulldog standing in grass.

Blue Brindle

Brindle is a term used to describe irregular stripes of a darker color through a dog’s base color.

A Blue Brindle French Bulldog has blue or grey fur with brindle striping. This pattern is sometimes referred to as tiger-striped.

In blue Frenchies, these darker brindle patterns often only become apparent once puppies reach 4 weeks of age.

A Blue Brindle French Bulldog sitting on grass with its tongue showing.

Blue pied (or piebald)

Pied or piebald is a term used to describe a dog’s coat with blotches of two colors.

For a French Bulldog to be officially classed as pied or piebald, it must be at least 50% white or cream with large patches of blue or grey fur across its face, head, neck, and body.

You will see a blue pied Frenchie with a slightly lower percentage of white background at times.

A closeup of a blue pied French Bulldog's face with its mouth open.

Blue Fawn

A French Bulldog with mostly fawn fur and a mask of blue fur around its muzzle, eyes, and ears is referred to as Blue Fawn.

Blue Fawn French Bulldogs are very sought after and difficult to come by because they are relatively rare.

The dilution gene is responsible for grey coloring and a brindle gene causes the patchy appearance of the grey mask across this dog’s face.

A blue fawn French Bulldog sitting down.

Blue Merle

The attractive Blue Merle French Bulldog is a relatively new addition to the Frenchie lines. It is rare because merle dogs are difficult to breed.

This pretty Frenchie has what is known as a merle gene which removes pigment from random patches of their blue coats. The result is a random patched pattern of white fur among what otherwise would have been a solid blue coat color.

The merle gene also affects a French Bulldog’s eyes, nose, and paw pads.

A blue Merle French Bulldog puppy lying down outside.

Are Blue French Bulldogs rare?

A French Bulldog only develops a blue or grey coat if it inherits two copies of the rare dilution gene. Of the five blue coat patterns, the rarest is the blue merle.

Dog coat genetics are complex and it takes a lot of selective breeding to attempt to breed-specific colors and still the outcome cannot be guaranteed.

Reputable breeders concentrate on producing healthy Frenchies as opposed to specific colors, so coats such as blue or grey will always remain rarer than others.

What is a grey French Bulldog officially called?

Grey is not a breed standard French Bulldog color but when this color is present as a solid coat or within a pattern it is referred to as blue. This is the same for grey in any other dog breed.

A certain shade of grey does have a blue tint, but many are much paler with more of a silver appearance.

A grey French Bulldog under a grey fleece blanket.

How much is a grey French Bulldog?

It is difficult to predict an exact price for a French Bulldog because it depends on variables such as availability, color, bloodlines, and demand.

The French Bulldog is growing in popularity and on average, United States breeders charge $2,800. But prices can vary from $1,700 to $5,000.

In the UK, a French Bulldog puppy costs an average of £3,000.

Why are grey French bulldogs so expensive?

French Bulldogs are not straightforward to breed and this makes them expensive to produce. The fact that grey Frenchies are rare and in high demand means French Bulldog breeders can charge more for them.

People whose hearts are set on owning a blue Frenchie are willing to pay extra and so breeders are able to command high prices.

If a grey French Bulldog has blue eyes it is often one of the most expensive. Such a Frenchie usually has a blue merle coat which is one of the rarest to find. Such a dog is likely to cost up to $5,000.

A blue pied Frenchie with blue eyes sitting in a paper cup.

Do grey French Bulldogs have blue eyes?

When they are born, grey French Bulldogs always have blue eyes. This is actually an optical illusion caused by the absence of melanin (the color pigment) at birth. Though their eyes look blue, they really have no color.

French Bulldog puppies will not open their eyes until they are about 1 or 2 weeks old and this is when you’ll first notice the blue non-color. From this point, melanin will start to develop, and over the coming weeks, the dog’s adult eye color will develop.

Many French Bulldogs develop brown eyes but some of those with grey coats may have pale blue or green eyes.

In this breed, the dogs most likely to have bright blue eyes are Blue Merle Frenchies and this is related to their specific genetics.

Other useful Grey French Bulldog facts

Lifespan

The life expectancy of a grey French bulldog is 10 to 12 years, the same as any other color. However, Frenchie owners need to look out keep a close watch for health problems.

Annual vaccinations and health checks are essential as is a healthy diet and the right level of exercise.

Air travel is not recommended for dogs with short muzzles because of associated breathing difficulties.

Also, grey Frenchies (and any other color) cannot swim for very long because of their large head and short muzzle, so should be kept away from water or always wear a doggie life jacket.

A grey French Bulldog sitting near water.

Size

Like other colors, grey French Bulldogs can weigh up to 28 lbs and reach a height of 11 to 13 inches.

Frenchies can become overweight quite easily so ensure you feed one the right amount to prevent it from developing weight-related illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.

Characteristics

A grey French Bulldog has a square head, a short muzzle, wrinkly face, and trademark bat ears. Its body is compact and muscular.

In general, Frenchies have smooth, short coats that are easy to care for and require minimum grooming.

Unlike other colors, grey French Bulldogs are prone to suffer from Color Dilution Alopecia (CDA). Their coats tend to have thinned or bald patches and can appear quite dull and mangy. Their skin may also have dry flaky patches.

Because of its short muzzle, this breed tends to be a mouth breather and consequently drools more than the average dog!

Frenchies can also be a bit smelly but there are ways to manage this.

A grey French Bulldog surrounded by yellow tennis balls.

Temperament

A grey French bulldog possesses the same gentle, friendly temperament as those with other coat colors. They are great dogs to have around children because of their playful, outgoing natures.

Being a sociable breed, the Frenchie prefers someone to be around most of the time and does not like to be left alone.

Some find Frenchies quite stubborn and wilful but if one chooses not to go where you want, you can simply pick it up and carry it!

Ideal for

A grey Frenchie can fit into many lifestyles. It’s robust enough to live with boisterous children and gentle enough to live with a senior owner.

Because it’s a small dog, a Frenchie doesn’t require a great deal of exercise which makes it ideal for someone with low fitness levels.

It’s fine to have a French bulldog if you live in an apartment as long as you have access to a secure outside space or are able to take it for a couple of short walks a day.

A white and grey French Bulldog.

Grey French Bulldog: in summary

Grey French Bulldogs, sometimes written as Gray French Bulldogs, do exist but are sometimes referred to as blue – this is just the name for the grey fur preferred by governing bodies such as the American Kennel Club (AKC).

There are five grey French Bulldog patterns of which Blue Merle is the rarest.

Contrary to popular belief, grey coats are not especially prone to poor health but they can develop Color Dilution Alopecia (CDA), a manageable condition under the advice of a vet.

You may find grey French Bulldogs are more expensive at times when there are not that many available. This tends to happen when demand outstrips supply.

The grey French Bulldog is a stunning dog but when you are buying one, its overall health should be your top priority. Reputable breeders should always put breeding healthy dogs above producing specific rare colors.

Bear this in mind when searching for a grey dog. After all, there’s no point in owning a Frenchie with the color of your dreams if it has an unhappy, short life blighted by health issues.

My advice is to always choose a reputable breeder, and always compromise on color in return for a healthy, happy French Bulldog.