The French bulldog, or "Frenchie," is a popular dog breed in both Europe and North America. They are good dogs for apartment dwellers since they require less exercise than more boisterous small dog breeds like the Jack Russell terrier. They also have short coats that require little grooming, but they do have health problems that potential owners need to be aware of.
Small or "toy" English bulldogs weighing only 11.3 Kilogram were popular around Nottinghamshire in England during the early 1800s. This region was noted for having the best lace-makers in the country. France hired some of these lace-makers, who moved to France with their toy bulldogs. The French adored the dogs, but they preferred their dogs with batlike ears, so they crossed the English bulldogs with a now-unknown French terrier breed that had batlike ears. The first dog show only for French bulldogs in the United States occurred in 1898, according to "Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds."
The average French bulldog weighs from 9.07 to 12.7 Kilogram, but larger Frenchies do occur, although they cannot be shown. French bulldogs average 11 to 13 inches tall from the ground to the highest point of their shoulders. Unlike some other dog breeds such as the German short-haired pointer, both males and female French bulldogs are about the same size and weight.
French bulldogs have the low, squat build of an English bulldog and the same short or screw-shaped tail. They also have the same flat or brachycephalic faces. This flatness of the face is often not taken to the extreme as seen in champion English bulldogs. French bulldogs are smaller than the English variety and have large, naturally triangle-shaped ears. Frenchies come in many colours, but their noses are almost always black, according to "Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds."
French bulldogs were bred primarily to be pets and companions to people. Most Frenchies are very friendly and affectionate to people unless they were abused or kept in isolation as a puppy. Frenchies like to please people and have a good reputation for being easily trained. They do not bark as much as other small dogs, according to DogBreedsInfo.com. But they can overeat, which is not good for their overall health.
The main health problems in French bulldogs result from their flat faces. They cannot clean their faces properly, which can lead to bacterial skin infections, so owners need to wipe the dog's faces clean every day. French bulldogs snore, breathe nosily and can easily overheat in hot weather because it is harder for them to breathe, according to DogandKennel.com. Overweight Frenchies are prone to knee problems. Because of the narrow waist of a female French bulldog, puppies need to be delivered by Cesarean section because they are too large to fit through the mother's birth canal.