10 Things You Should Know Before Owning a French Bulldog
Kindhearted, affectionate, fascinating and funny are just a few of the words that you can use to describe a French bulldog. Though these dogs are adorable and thousands of people around the world gravitate to these dogs, as with any breed, these dogs are not right for every owner.
All bulldogs are cute, but English bulldogs can get quite large, so in the 19th century, breeders, who were also lace-makers in Nottingham, started to breed bulldogs with smaller dogs in order to create a mini version of the popular English bulldog to keep rats out of their workrooms. After the industrial revolution, however, much of the lacemaking was done by machine, and many of these laceworkers lost their jobs. In France, however, where lacemaking was still done by hand, jobs were available, so many of these lacemakers moved south, and they took their dogs with them.
The French loved these little dogs, and by the early 20th century, the dogs became popular with the bohemian class, which often included artists and writers, along with wealthy Americans who came to Paris. The Frenchie was soon taken across the pond, and was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1898.
Today, the French bulldog is ranked as the 6th most popular dog breed, according to the AKC. These dogs are recognized by their bat ears and scrunched up faces, and it comes in a range of nine different colors. Are you thinking about buying or adopting a French bulldog? Here are the 10 things you should know before owning one:
10. French Bulldogs Are Not Cheap
Due to the popularity of these dogs, one might believe that they are an affordable purchase, but to most people, a Frenchie puppy is more of an investment than a purchase.
The average cost of a French bulldog ranges from about $1400 all the way to $8000, depending on the breeder, color and the pedigree of the dog. You may see other Frenchies out there for a cheaper price, but it is extremely important that you only buy from a reputable breeder, and someone who sells their Frenchies for a couple hundred dollars is not considered to be a reputable breeder. You may also see rescue French bulldogs for less money, perhaps in the $300 to $500 range, but rescues often require a lot of extra care, which often equates to very pricy vet bills, so you will likely end up paying the same in the long run either way.
Why are Frenchies so expensive? Because it takes a lot of hard work for a breeder to care for the dog from the time it is born until it is time to go to its new home. A breeder who cares about the quality of their puppies will give them the best of everything, including care. Frenchies must be artificially inseminated in most cases, and because of their size and shape, most French bulldog females have a C-section to birth her puppies, as it can be very dangerous for her to give birth naturally. All of this costs a lot of money, and that cost is passed on to the consumer.
9. It Can Be Difficult To Socialize French Bulldogs
Though Frenchies are small, when compared to many other breeds, they have a big stubborn streak, and this makes them a bit more difficult to train than other dogs. There are two main types of training you will have to do with your French bulldog: socialization training and potty training, but socialization is more difficult in most cases.
Frenchies are quite loveable, but they also may be a bit standoffish towards people they do not know. They are also known to be aggressive towards other dogs, but you can control this is you begin socializing your Frenchie when he or she is a puppy. You should introduce the puppy to all different types of people and other dogs. Experts recommend that this socialization must be done by the time he or she is 14 weeks old, or it may never work.
When introducing the dog to someone new, do not force anything. Instead, take him or her to meet new people and watch what the dog does. If the dog walks to the new person and seems confident, give the dog treats and then allow the new person to give the dog treats. If the dog seems fearful of the new person, give the dog a chance to calm down, and when the dog approaches the new person, reward him or her with a treat or praise. Do not allow the new person to pet or touch the dog until it becomes more relaxed. It’s best to take cues from the dog when introducing him or her to someone new.
8. French Bulldogs are A Bit Destructive
You should also know that French bulldogs can be a bit destructive before you go out and get one. One of the reasons these pups get destructive is because they get bored easily, and they use chewing to explore their world. Chewing is also a common behavior for puppies, and it helps them to get rid of their baby teeth, so that their adult teeth can move in.
If you choose a French bulldog, you will have to be sure that you are keeping all of your personal belongings and valuables out of his or her reach. Frenchies are small, but they are big enough to get on tables to reach remote controls, and they will easily find shoes, socks, cell phones and even your kid’s toys.
If you have a Frenchie and you notice that the dog is chewing items in your home that he or she shouldn’t, make sure to interrupt the behavior and offer an item that the dog is allowed to chew, such as a bone or chew toy. Remember, chewing is a natural behavior of a dog, so scolding the dog for this behavior is not something you should do. Instead, make sure to provide a number of toys for the dog, and choose toys that they will not destroy. Frenchies are well known for destroying those plush dog toys with a squeaker, but they can choke on the squeaker if swallowed, so its best to keep those toys to a minimum. If you do choose to give your dog a toy with a squeaker, make sure to watch him or her closely.
7 . French Bulldogs Do Not Require A Lot of Exercise
Some people prefer a dog that they do not have to exercise, and if this is the case for you, the French bulldog may be a good choice. This dog has a lot of energy, but they are intolerant to a lot of exercise because of how their body is made up. Like English bulldogs, pugs and other dogs with short noses, it can be difficult for them to breathe when they have a lot of exercise. However, French bulldogs are prone to weight gain, so they do require some exercise and play.
A good exercise for a French bulldog is a walk around the block once or twice a day. If the weather is too hot or too cold, however, it’s best to skip the walk for a day, as these dogs are very sensitive to cold and hot weather. If this is the case, playing indoors is the best option. You will get some of that pent up energy out of the dog, something that Frenchies have a lot of, plus have a little fun yourself. These dogs are quite comical and they love to have fun with their owners.
Keep in mind, if you take your Frenchie on a walk that a harness is best, instead of a collar. A collar can crush the trachea of your pup, and even cause straining of his or her neck. A harness, however, can provide great support for the dog, and if he or she starts running and pulling on the leash, the strain is not as great.
6. French Bulldogs Can and Do Shed
One of the requirements of some people looking for a new dog is that the dog does not shed. If this is the case for you, a French bulldog is not a good choice. The coat of a French bulldog is smooth, short and fine, which makes it easy to care for with a simple soft bristle brush or a rubber brushing glove. These dogs are moderate shedders, and tend to shed heavily two times a year, in the fall and spring, when they lose their undercoat. During this time, you will have to use a special stripping comb to remove the extra hair.
You should make sure that you bathe your French once a month unless you notice that he or she is developing dry skin. If this is the case, change the bathing to once every two months. You will need to trim their toenails every couple of weeks, and if they are so long that you can hear them on a hard floor, they are too long. Brush your dog’s teeth, too, as this will keep your dog’s teeth healthy and their breath fresh.
The ears of your French bulldog will also have to be clean, and you will have to clean their wrinkles. These are deep skin folds that can be a breeding ground for bacteria, and you will need to clean them out from daily to once or twice a week. Use a damp cloth or baby wipe to wipe out the wrinkles, and then make sure the wrinkles are dry by using talcum powder.
5 . French Bulldogs are Heavy, Loud Breathers
If you have visions of snuggling with your sweet pup and having a great night’s sleep, you might want to choose another breed, because a Frenchie is a heavy, loud, breather. Most of them snore, too, so if you are a light sleeper and still want a Frenchie,
Many owners will become concerned when they hear their French bulldog breathing heavily, and this may or may not be normal. This might be due to the general make up of the airway of the dog, or it can be a sign of brachycephalic airway syndrome. This is a condition that is common in Frenchies, as well as in other dogs with short airways and scrunched faces. Brachycephalic airway syndrome can range from mild to serious, with the most serious cases requiring surgery to the soft palate of the dog.
Managing mild cases of heavy breathing can be done by keeping the dog at a normal weight and controlling the level of exercise that the dog gets. If it is hot, you should keep your French bulldog inside in the cool air, and stress should be kept to a minimum. For mild to moderate symptoms of brachycephalic airway syndrome, vets may recommend medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications or corticosteroids. Oxygen therapy may also be used to offer a short term treatment option for dogs who are in respiratory distress.
4. French Bulldogs Have Digestive Issues
You should also know that French bulldogs have digestive issues. These dogs are notorious for their noxious gas, and they can easily become constipated. Because of this, owners should make sure that they are providing their dog with a high-quality food, and not rely on grocery store brands as the main food source for their Frenchie.
Brands such as Iams, Pedigree, Alpo or other affordable brands are not good for French bulldogs, as they contain too much grain and corn, which many Frenchies are allergic to. These are also empty calories for a French bulldog, and since these dogs already have the tendency to be overweight, this inexpensive, low-quality food should not be used.
Instead, it’s best to choose foods that come with more than two protein sources, carbs from vegetables such as sweet potatoes, and contains omega fatty acids. The perfect combination is 30 percent protein, 30 percent healthy fats and 20 percent carbohydrates. Grain-free food is preferred, as grains can lead to more gas and digestive issues, and lean proteins such as venison, bison, chicken and game birds. Simple is best when it comes to feeding your French bulldog, and some owners may attempt to make their dogs food at home. However, if you choose to do this, make sure to work with your vet, as most owners who do this often fail to add valuable nutrients that their Frenchie requires.
3. French Bulldogs are Extremely Affectionate
If you are considering a French bulldog, you should also know that these dogs are extremely affectionate, and they want nothing more than to give love to their owners. Though this might sound great at the moment, keep in mind that this means a French bulldog will always be underfoot.
These are very loving dogs, and also playful, so they constantly require attention, and some people simply do not have time to give a dog the attention that they need. These dogs do not do well when left alone, and they often require the companionship of their family to be happy. A Frenchie is excellent for children; though small children may not be able to tolerate the enthusiastic nature of this breed. The French bulldog generally gets along well with other pets, as long as they are just as playful. Because of this, many people have two Frenchies, as they get along great together, and love to play with each other.
French bulldogs do not often bark to excess, but they will do their best to protect their home from strangers. The Frenchie does not have a vicious bark, but it is deep, and can be scary if not prepared for it. Fortunately, these dogs are happy to take a back seat to dogs that are know barkers, and are more clownish than aggressive.
Remember, these dogs are happiest when they have affection from their owners, and they are true lapdogs that are not often fond of being alone.
2. French Bulldogs Are Prone To A Number of Health Problems
Though it was already mentioned that Frenchies are prone to brachycephalic airway syndrome, they also are known to have a multitude of other health problems. These issues are mostly non-life threatening, but they can be quite expensive when the vet bills come pouring in.
The first way to keep your Frenchie as healthy as possible is to make sure that you are buying the dog from a reputable breeder. Always ask about the pedigree of the parents, as well as any health problems that these dogs have.
Anytime you notice that a French bulldog is having trouble breathing, consult with a vet and have the doctor evaluate the soft palate and nostrils of the dog. If your dog has to have surgery, you should know that they are more at risk of complications due to their short-faces, so it is also important that you go to a vet who is experienced with breeds that have short-faces.
French bulldogs also require special attention when it comes to the spine. Though the Frenchie is a small breed, it is also a stocky breed that often has an abnormally developed vertebrae or premature degeneration of the discs of the back. This can cause the dog to become disabled, and though surgery can often repair these back issues, the surgery usually costs thousands of dollars, and it can cost hundreds of dollars to diagnose the condition due to the medications and X-rays that are necessary.
1. You Can Have French Bulldogs in Apartments
Finally, many people seek out a dog that can live in the city in an apartment, and the Frenchie is the perfect choice. Since these dogs do not require a lot of exercise, they don’t need a yard to run around in. Many owners of French bull dogs choose to train their dogs on puppy pads, too, so going on walks is reserved for exercise, only. Though you should make sure to set aside time each day for a short walk with your Frenchie, you will find that they are quite at home and very content simply staying in the apartment. Even people who have a lot of property find that their French bulldogs stay close to home and don’t wander away.
Choosing a smaller dog for apartment living is important, especially if you often find yourself getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of work and your personal life. Keep in mind, your Frenchie will miss you when you are gone, but if properly crate training the dog, there is no reason you have to be at home with your pup 24/7. This is especially the case if he or she has a companion, and if adequate toys and other enrichment items are available to the dog.
The French bulldog is a small dog, and even the largest ones are less than 30 pounds on average, and this makes them the perfect size for cuddling. You will also find that these dogs were bred as companions, and will often want to be at your side at all times. Though these dogs are notorious for their heavy breathing and snoring, this is all part of their charm.
If you are going to bring a French bulldog into your home, make sure to only go to a reputable breeder. Do not buy these dogs from online classified ads, such as Craigslist, and make sure to meet the breeder, if possible, before buying the dog. Remember, these dogs are quite expensive to purchase, and you must make sure that you are getting a dog that does not have genetic health issues. When talking to a breeder, ask a lot of questions, do a lot of research, and make sure that they are providing a high quality dog. Also, make sure that you can afford the vet bills that could occur. Remember, this is in addition to the vet bills to keep your Frenchie healthy.
You will love your Frenchie just as much as he or she loves you, and you will find that you will have a trustworthy companion for many years to come.