Loving, adorable and full of character, the French bulldog makes a wonderful companion for the right owner. Unfortunately, the Frenchie can be prone to a number of health problems and is no stranger to mischief, so you might find yourself making a few unexpected trips to the vet.
What do you want to learn about?
French Bulldogs have experienced a rich and varied evolution, but it’s no stretch to say they were ultimately bred as a fashion accessory or a “designer dog.”
They are descendants of a bulldog-like breed that had previously been used in dogfights in England. When dogfighting fell out of favour, the breed slowly transformed into a companion dog as people selected for and introduced traits like a smaller size and friendlier disposition.
Their standardisation as a designer dog took off shortly after the French got their hands on them in the late 19th century. These small bulldogs were so popular in France that a rich trade arose and people continued to select for smaller-sized dogs.
Over time we were left with the French Bulldog we know and love today.
The French bulldog is famous for its distinctive good looks, headlined with its unique bat-like ears. Its flat face puts it in a class of breeds called brachycephalic breeds. It boasts a cute little face and a curious expression that show off its personality.
Behind that adorable face, the Frenchie sports a surprisingly muscular physique. Though small in stature, this is a sturdy dog with a compact, stout physique. It also has a bow-legged gait and a short, low-maintenance coat.
Do french bulldogs shed? French Bulldogs do not shed often, but they do lose their undercoat twice a year. Give them a good brush during the spring and the fall when they are prone to losing this undercoat.
What colours do French Bulldogs come in?
French bulldogs come in a variety of colours, and these colours can be classified into two categories:
- Breed-standard colours. These are colours that occur naturally in Frenchies and are accepted by industry breeding bodies for show. These colours include brindle, fawn, white, cream, pied and various combinations of these colours.
- Rare colours. These are colours that also occur naturally in Frenchies, but less often. Most breeding bodies prohibit these colours from show and discourage breeders from actively breeding for them. These include black, chocolate, tan, blue, lilac and various combinations of these colours.
The rare-coloured Frenchies can command a premium, although there is a lot of contention among breeders as to whether it is ethical to breed specifically for these special colours (some say this can lead to health problems).
If you decide you want a rare-coloured pup, make sure you do your research and vet the breeder to make sure you are getting a healthy specimen. You’re paying enough as it is; you don’t want to end up with an unhealthy pup or contribute to an unethical breeding program.
Good looks aside, it’s this dog’s loving and cheeky personality that makes it such a popular pet in Australia and around the world. Commonly referred to as “a clown in the cloak of a philosopher”, this magnificent breed is fun-loving, affectionate and always on the lookout for any sort of mischief.
Intelligent and charming, Frenchies are legendary for their ability to make their owners laugh. They love being around people and can become very attached to their owners, so they thrive in an environment where they are considered one of the family and involved in daily activities.
Some French Bulldogs do sport something of a stubborn streak, but training is well worth the effort, even if the process tests your patience. Remember, these are clever dogs and will learn quickly if you adopt a consistent training approach based on positive reinforcement.
Frenchies are particularly popular with apartment dwellers as their compact size, minimal exercise needs and people-loving temperament mean they make great roommates. Any owner of a Frenchie can attest that they're great partners for coffee dates, trips to the park or just hanging out at home.
If given the right diet, exercise, training and plenty of TLC, these lovable canines make perfect companions for around 10 to 12 years.
Are French Bulldogs good with kids?
If you want a dog that is good with kids, look no further than the French Bulldog. The Frenchie is highly affectionate toward people and forms a strong bond with its owners.
Its small size and playful disposition make the Frenchie a perfect playtime companion for children. They also love a cuddle, so after the kids and the Frenchie wear themselves out playing in the yard, they’ll all settle quite well in the evening for a cuddle on the couch.
|Tolerates Being Alone|
|Amount of Shedding|
|Easy to Train|
|Tendency to Bark|
Can French Bulldogs swim?
No! You must supervise your French Bulldog near any body of water more than a few inches deep. They cannot swim and will sink like a stone if you are not careful.
Believe it or not, you can buy life jackets specifically made for French Bulldogs, which will allow you to take them into the water. Before you do this, make sure you only buy your life jacket from a reputable brand, ensure you get the right size and supervise your Frenchie at all times when in or around water.
What's the difference between a French Bulldog and a Pug?
It is easy to get French Bulldogs and Pugs confused. They are both small, stout and share the unmistakable flat facial structure common to all brachycephalic breeds.
Despite how closely they resemble one another, they couldn’t have evolved farther apart geographically. While the Frenchie originated in Europe and came into its own in 19th century France, the Pug is a product of ancient China.
Amazingly, the breeds have similar dispositions, making it even more difficult to tell them apart and adding to the mystery of how two separate breeds could have evolved to become so similar.
Nobody knows the answer, but there are some distinct differences between the Frenchie and the Pug.
One thing in particular? The cost.
|Shedding||Light shedders||Heavy shedders|
|Skin||Tight skin||Wrinkly skin|
|Ears||Typically erect (bat ears)||Typically folded|
|Barking||Medium tendency to bark||Low tendency to bark|
|Temperament||Playful, affectionate and stubborn||Playful, affectionate and stubborn|
|Life expectancy||10-12 years||10-12 years|
How much do French Bulldogs cost?
French Bulldogs sell for a whopping $3,500-$4,000 per pup, a figure that can catch some hopeful owners off-guard. But there is a perfectly good reason this breed is so expensive.
It basically boils down to supply and demand, and the ever-popular Frenchie is certainly in high demand. Unfortunately, they are difficult to breed, thereby limiting the supply and putting financial burden the breeder.
There are several factors that make them difficult and costly to breed:
- Due to insemination difficulties, most breeding programs require the costly procedure of artificial insemination.
- Most pups need to be delivered via C-section because they can’t fit properly through the birth canal. This is also quite costly.
- Like other small breeds, Frenchie litters are relatively small compared to bigger breeds.
- Newborn Frenchies are especially needy and require a lot of the breeder’s attention in the early days
For these reasons, breeders need to charge a premium just to stay afloat.
Hopefully your Frenchie will live a long, happy and healthy life free of any major medical issues. However, like many other breeds, French bulldogs are predisposed to a number of health problems, including:
- Breathing problems
- Heat stroke
- Hip dysplasia
- Allergies and skin problems
- Spine kinks and distortions
- Entropion (eyelids fold inward)
- Patellar luxation
- Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)
Some of these problems, for example IVDD, can be extremely expensive to treat, potentially leading to vet bills of several thousand dollars.
The good news is that responsible breeders test for some of the above conditions, for example hip dysplasia, and then never breed from an affected dog. If you want a little Frenchie in your life, it pays to do the research on your breeder.
How much does treatment cost?
Treating some of the health problems French bulldogs are prone to can be an expensive exercise. The table below is a rough guide to the treatment costs you can expect for a range of common conditions:
|Health problem||Average total claim|
|Epilepsy and seizures||$1,079|
Source: The Hollard Insurance Company (2016/2017)
Pet insurance just makes sense
According to our research, the average annual cost of a comprehensive pet insurance policy for a French bulldog is around $25 per week. Would you rather have a fancy pub feed each week or have little Charlie in your life? We know what we’d choose.
Although the cost of insuring a Frenchie is well above average when compared to other breeds, they can potentially suffer from a range of expensive health problems, making pet insurance a sensible investment for both you and your pup.
As you can see, there are several illnesses and injuries that could potentially cause pain, discomfort and even more serious complications for your Frenchie. Throw in the risk of unexpected accidents, such as being hit by a car or bitten by a snake, and it becomes clear that you could potentially face thousands of dollars in unexpected vet bills to ensure that your pet is kept in the best of health.
This is where comprehensive pet insurance can help. Designed to cover up to 80% of vet bills when your pet suffers an illness or accidental injury, it provides the peace of mind of knowing you’ll have financial support if your Frenchie is struck down by an unexpected ailment. This means you won’t be faced with any heartbreaking decisions because you can’t afford the cost of treatment.
For example, pet insurance can pay a benefit to help cover your Frenchie’s vet bills for:
- Heat stroke treatment
- Tick paralysis
- Hip dysplasia
- Patellar luxation
When you are selecting an insurance plan, check the product disclosure statement, or contact your insurer directly, to find out which potential French bulldog health problems the policy does and doesn’t cover.