I have wanted to own a French bulldog since seeing them on some TV show about dogs when I was a kid. I remember seeing the huge bat ears and short faces and thinking how awesome that dog must be. My interests in them only grew as I saw Frenchies around town or in other TV shows. French bulldog are nicknamed “clown dog” for a reason. They are always doing goofy things and making hilarious noises.
Once I was out of grad school and finally making money, my wife and I decided to purchase a dog. It took me a while to convince her that a Frenchie puppy would be perfect, but after a few YouTube videos and online searches I had her convinced. Her only requirement was that she wanted a smaller dog that could fit in her lap (she initially wanted a tea cup Chihuahua).
Once we decided the breed of dog we wanted, we began researching the breed and breeders. Here is a short list of 5 things that you should know before purchasing a Frenchie.
1. French bulldogs are found from 20-30 pounds on average.
Through our research we found out that there are two bloodlines of Frenchies sold in the US. A bigger European bloodline that averages in the high 20 to low 30 pounds, and a smaller American line that averages from 19-25 pounds. If you are looking for a smaller dog like we were, you will not find a Tea Cup or “mini” French bulldog. They do not exist. We were almost duped by an online puppy mill into purchasing a Tea Cup Frenchie.
Find a reputable breeder with AKC registration and pictures of the dam and sire. They should be able to tell you the average size of their dogs. Our breeder happened to have a smaller line that averaged 20-22 pounds, with the occasional 13-18 pound runt. We got or 17 pound “runt” and could not be happier.
2. Frenchies can have significant health concerns.
Be prepared to have a dog with special needs when you purchase a Frenchie. Many have allergies to foods and pollens, as well as, breathing issues due to the brachiocephalic skull (smashed face). Finding a good diet and a good vet will be critical. You can’t take a Frenchie to a cheap retail store vet and expect to have a vet that knows what your bully needs.
We started off at my family vet of 20+ years, but later switched to a holistic vet that practiced eastern medicine because of a difference in treatment philosophy. I recommend reading up on the health disadvantages of owning a Frenchie, or any bully breed, before you lay out thousands of dollars.
Also, don’t buy from breeders that sell “rare” colored Frenchies. These unfortunate pups are at severe risk for genetic and other health concerns due to the lack of biodiversity in their bloodline. The “rare” colored pups will not be AKC registered.
3. French bulldogs as well as English bulldogs can easily over heat.
I know you want to take your new bulldog out to the park festival, but if you live in a warm climate or it’s the middle of the summer you are putting your dog at risk. It will only take a few minutes, even less than 10, on a hot day for your dog to start over heating. The shape of the Frenchie skull decreases their ability to cool themselves off. I recommend you look up the signs of heat stress in dogs if you purchased, or are thinking about purchasing a Frenchie.
4. French bulldogs can be very stubborn.
If you want a dog that will bow to your every command and be potty trained over nit, you are looking into the wrong breed. To say Frenchies are stubborn is putting it mildly. I constantly get the “I don’t give a crap look” from my Frenchie all the time. It took basically 2 years for her to finally be potty trained and she still leaves me presents every once in a while.
You may think that it is just because I am an inpatient owner, and you will have your Frenchie trained in a few weeks. I say that is exactly the same thing I said 2 years ago. The best way to train a Frenchie is to make them think it was their idea and provide lots of treats. There are plenty of books online about training Frenchies so please pick one up.
5. Frenchies pass a lot of gas.
I kid you not. My Frenchie can clear out a room in a heartbeat. We always warn are guest to expect some unpleasant odor or noises after she eats. Diet can help to some degree, but there is no getting around their anatomy. The shape of the skull again plays a role in their gassy nature. I have found Tripe and a probiotic supplement to really help. Worst food to give would be an apple or a pineapple. I nearly died after she ate a pineapple snack.
Hopefully this short list provided some insight into French bulldogs. It is by no means exhaustive, and there is plenty of information online so please be informed before making this expensive purchase. Did I mention that Frenchies like to sit like humans? See below.