Is The French Bulldog Right for Me?


With so many dog breeds available it’s a very difficult decision to find the right one for you and your family. You will be sharing your lives with this little bundle of naughtiness for the next 10 years or so and you need to be sure that you’re making the right choice.

Make the wrong one and you could be faced with the heartbreaking moment when you realize you have to send her back to the breeder. The French Bulldog has become very popular in recent years, for very good reason, but she’s not for everyone. 

Is the French Bulldog right for you? The French Bulldog is right for you if you are a person who is willing to share their lives with them. This increasingly popular breed is compatible with someone who adopts this methodology. They are the perfect pet for a family who wants to have an inquisitive, playful, intelligent dog that doesn’t require much exercise. They are a very popular breed also for those people who live in apartments.

What Is the French Bulldog?​

Is The French Bulldog Right for Me?
“What are you looking at?”

The French Bulldog is a relatively small breed of dog that came about after a cross between two Bulldog ancestors from England and France a couple of hundred years ago.

They have become a very popular breed of dog in recent years, particularly in Europe and the United States.  They are a pedigree breed, defined within the Kennel Club utility breed.

 Some historians believe that in the middle of the 19th Century,  English artisans (a worker in a skilled trade) were displaced by the many factories popping up as the Industrial Revolution took hold. Some of these people found work in France and a few of these people brought with them their miniature Bulldogs (a popular breed at the same time).

These dogs were well-received due to their skill at catching vermin and making a very good companion. The French didn’t take long to fall for them and craved for more.

English breeders would happily sell the French their dogs as they were then more popular over in France than they were in England. if the ears stuck straight up they were even more popular (this was a trait that for whatever reason the English didn’t like) and by the 1860s, there were only a few miniatures left in England. 

The breeders in France at the time weren’t of the same quality as those in England and so little is known as to what happened next, although there were probably crosses with pugs and terriers which would have made rounder eyes (compared with the original English breed) and taller ears.

Of course, how much of the above is true is a point of contention with many historians. I mean, did someone actually witness that first cross between a French and English bulldog?  Of course not, so take it all with a pinch of salt but really, what does it matter?

The end product is the French Bulldog we all know and love and how it quite got to where it is today isn’t really relevant.

What Personality Does The French Bulldog Have?

The French Bulldog’s personality is arguably the main reason why people are attracted to them. More on this later in the article but they are a very playful, inquisitive and loving breed.

According to the AKC (American Kennel Club), they are now the fourth most popular dog breed in the United States. If you look at the dogs ahead of them, the two retrieves (Labrador and Golden) along with the German Shepherd, it is in good company indeed.

In fact, the French Bulldog has moved from 11th position back in 2013 to 4th, in only 5 years. There is no other dog breed in the top 190 that has made such a significant rise during this period.

Why are they all of a sudden so popular with people in the US and Europe? You’re going to find out below…

Are they good with children?​

Is The French Bulldog Right for Me?
I’m not sure who is more happy here…

French Bulldogs are very good with children. Personally, I think this is one of the main reasons why so many families are choosing the Frenchie over other breeds right now. The word gets around.

If a family is looking for a dog then the very first requirement is whether they will interact in a favorable way with their children. The French Bulldog ticks that box and it’s a very big tick indeed 🙂 

But what makes the French Bulldog so good with children? I often wonder if it’s because they’ve got comparable mental ages 🙂 The Frenchie is an extremely mischievous dog breed though that likes to be involved in absolutely everything.

They will be a companion for your child as they grow up and your child (or children) will be a companion to the dog.

You see, this is what the Frenchie is all about really. Companionship. They ask for nothing more than your time. Actually, I take that back, they don’t ask – they take your time and as much as they can get.

Having children around the house just means that when you’re worn out, someone else can take over from you 🙂

Although there can be exceptions, the French Bulldog is not aggressive by nature. Your children still need to be careful though and the advice is for them to sill be supervised when playing.

The French Bulldog, as loving and caring as they most definitely are, is still an animal and if pushed too far will revert to its natural instincts.

Kids need to know how to interact with animals, they are not toys and should most definitely not be man-handled. If the Frenchie thinks that she is in danger or perceives a threat of some kind, she may give a little nip as a warning.

Heed that warning and make sure the children are educated properly as to how to play with this little creature. 

Is The French Bulldog Good With Other Pets?

The French Bulldog is above average when dealing with other pets. They are typically quite tolerant and non-aggressive. In fact, another pet can be a good thing – especially if you need to leave the Frenchie by herself for more time than originally expected.

It’s not always possible but early introductions (i.e. when they are puppies) make the whole process so much easier and give it a greater chance of success.

So, although the Frenchie is a far better option than most dog breeds when trying to stick two dogs together, you still need to be careful about the initial introductions and first few weeks and months.

This isn’t, of course, an article on how to introduce two dogs together but in summary, the process will be:

  • The initial introduction should be very slow and controlled. Forcing them together and trying to make them ‘just get on with it’ is not the right course of action.​
  • They should meet with both dogs on a leash and neither being given any advantage. For instance, the introduction should be on neutral territory, not in one of their houses. Walk with them, still keeping them apart by a few feet – just let them see each other.​
  • The next meeting will still be on leashes but this time you’ll have a lot more slack in them, allowing them to give each other a sniff. If they want to play, let them. ​
  • After a few sessions of the above, assuming all is going well, have the next meeting at your home. Keep it controlled and keep an eye on them.​
  • Assuming the above has gone well, the meetings can take up more time each session until they are both comfortable with each other! I make it sound so easy, right?​

So, the French Bulldog, we know, is tolerant of other dogs (and cats also actually whilst we’re on the subject) but another dog shouldn’t (and couldn’t) be used to replace you. The Frenchie is not a dog that likes to be left alone. Not for half a day, not for an hour and not for a minute.

They need and crave your attention. For this reason, they’re not for everyone. If you know that there’s not going to be anyone around for a good chunk of the day, then this breed is most definitely not for you. Actually, and I really don’t want to get on my high-horse here but if you know that there’s not going to be anyone around for long periods, arguably, a dog is not the right choice of pets for you.

Do they need much exercise?

Is The French Bulldog Right for Me?

The French Bulldog does not need much exercise. In fact, on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 includes a dog that needs at least two, very long walks every day, a French Bulldog will be somewhere around the 1 level.

This makes them a great pet for people who live in apartments and don’t have gardens. The French Bulldog’s physical attributes aren’t really compatible with running, you see. Short legs and a small nose, combined with breathing difficulties and an inability to regulate its temperature means they are not well suited for long walks in the park. 

This doesn’t mean that they won’t run though. Your Frenchie will want to run around for ages if you’re playing with her. She’ll sprint around your house (or outside) chasing a ball around (or chasing you around) until you get bored. And it is likely that you’ll get bored before her.

This is lovely to see but can also present a bit of a problem. She will want to see you happy, it makes her happy and whilst you’re enjoying yourself giving her all the attention she so dearly craves, she’ll keep going.

However, if you notice her struggling for breath, you really need to stop. The French Bulldog can overheat very quickly, especially on warm days. It is unable to regulate its temperature so will struggle to cool down.

If you don’t address this it can cause some serious problems. Some airlines have actually banned the French Bulldog from flying as unfortunately a few have lost their lives due to the high temperatures in the cargo hold prior to take-off.

The best location for the Frenchie to run around in is actually inside, assuming there’s the room of course. A temperature-controlled environment and having a place where she can go if too hot (perhaps with a cool floor) will really help to reduce that temperature if it gets too hot. So, anyway, no – they do not need much exercise but they will run around playing with you all day!

Can The French Bulldog Be Trained?

A French Bulldog can be trained, yes. However, like all dog breeds, the earlier you start this the easier it will be for everyone (and cheaper!). The Frenchie is an intelligent breed, which can make training easier. However, they are also known to be quite stubborn, which certainly won’t help!

No matter how well you think your Bully is behaving, professional training is always recommended, especially if you have children and take her outside. Yes, you can train them yourselves, and many do. However, if you go down this route you need to show confidence and authority in your actions, they need to look up to you. 

Don’t think that just because they’re mature and have never had any real, formal training that it’s just too late to start. Remember, it’s never too late and starting today is always better than starting tomorrow.

Why do you need to though? Well, firstly – dogs like to know that someone is in control and can actually show signs of anxiety if they don’t have that kind of leadership role present somewhere in there lives.

It’s what they expect and it’s what they need, so don’t think you’re being cruel as you’re not. Secondly, if they go outside you want them to be able to recognize and obey simple instructions, like ‘Stop’. Imagine the scene where they run off after a little dog in the direction of a busy road and you have absolutely no control over them.

A well-trained dog will respond, even if excited to your instructions so you never know, this training could one day save their lives!

Do they have any health concerns?

The French Bulldog has plenty of health problems, unfortunately, yes. However, despite these well-known problems they will still live for an above-average amount of time. Firstly and foremost – the French Bulldog cannot typically reproduce naturally and require artificial insemination alongside a cesarean section to actually give birth.

This is due to their physical properties, their hips are very slim which makes it almost impossible for the male to mount the female and mate naturally.

The Frenchie is known for several issues though, here are a few:

  •  Eyes – there are many problems related to the Frenchie’s eyes than can cause issues – for instance, there is something quite common called ‘Cherry Eye’ which is related to an inverted third eyelid.  I have an article purely related to this actually if you’d like to take a look. 
  • Spine and Back – They are known to have different types of spinal disorders and diseases, directly related to their physical size and properties. 
  • Deafness – Hereditary hearing problems seem to be more common with the French Bulldog than other breeds.
  • Hip Dysplasia – This condition occurs when the ball becomes detached from the pelvis socket, causing the hip to no longer function as it should. 
  • Breathing Problems – The French Bulldog is what’s known as a Brachycephalic dog, which means basically it has a short nose. All dogs of this type can suffer from breathing difficulties.
  • Temperature Regulation – As I mentioned above, the Frenchie is unable to regulate its temperature. This can lead to heat-related stress problems and can be very serious. 

The above is just an example of a few of the problems seen with the French Bulldog. Should this put you off buying one? Absolutely not! I went round another owner’s house last weekend actually, just to take some other photos and I spoke to her about these known problems and her reaction was similar to mine when I first read about them.

An expression of, ‘Really?’. Her little thing is a couple of years old and she’s not had a single problem. And this is certainly more of the ‘norm’ than finding someone who’s been a little unlucky.

Is The French Bulldog Expensive to Buy and Own?

Is The French Bulldog Right for Me?

The French Bulldog is quite an expensive breed to buy and can be expensive to maintain. If we think about just the purchase cost for a second, you can be looking at something like $2,200 for a French Bulldog puppy. However, the price does seem to vary and can be as low as $1,000 and as high as $3,000. If they have a very good breeding history you may pay up to $10,000! Well, I did tell you they were expensive. 

It doesn’t end there though of course, does it? With insurance costs and special diets, the French Bulldog cannot be for everyone. Don’t be surprised to be paying more for your Frenchie than you do for your car sitting out on your yard!

How long does the French Bulldog live for?

The French Bulldog will live for around 10 to 12 years. There are a number of things that can impact this though, for instance, does it come from a line which had a varied DNA? If there was a lot of inbreeding in its past you may find this shortens that life expectancy.

Did her mother take good care of her during those first few weeks? Before you were able to get hold of her, the mother was in charge of diet – this was an important time in her development and if it didn’t get all the nutrients it should have, there could be an impact in the future.

I have an article that goes into detail on how to possibly improve the life of your French Bulldog and what things can affect it, take a look here if you’re interested (opens in a new tab).

How Big Will The French Bulldog Get?

On average, your French Bulldog will weigh about 20 lbs at maturity, Some can be a little less and some can weigh up to 30 lbs in extreme cases! As far as height goes, you’ll find they can grow up to about 12 inches. So, considering these rather small numbers, I have no idea where they get all their energy from. 

Summary

So, is the French Bulldog right for you? I hope so but remember it’s not just a case of understanding whether the little Frenchie is right for you but whether you are right for them! It is, without doubt a lovely breed of dog and can bring enjoyment to your family for many years.

Jane

I'm Jane Pettitt, co-owner of Pets Knowledge Base with my husband, Matt. I have a grand total of 50 years’ experience as a pet owner. It all started with a guinea pig called Percy when I was 5 years old and since then I’ve lived with two more guinea pigs, a hamster, mice, a rabbit, a tortoise, a dog, and 11 cats. I’ve learned so much about pet care during this time and many of my articles are based on my personal experiences plus those of my family and friends.

Recent Content