Photo: RSchönbrodt-Rühl | Pixabay

Want a dog that's affectionate? How about one that's both amusing and playful? Or one that's highly sociable? Now imagine all that wrapped up in one feisty little package affectionately known as the French Bulldog. 

Frenchies are easygoing, charming and have an excellent sense of humour, despite looking anything but. A lovable, good-natured breed, these pups make great companions and have fast become the city-dwellers dog of choice. 

Frenchies, while a reasonably quiet dog, however, snorting, wheezing, flatulence and natural noises are a part of the breed's normal physiology.

If you love your apartment and love a Frenchie, the French Bulldog will fit perfectly. It does not need a great deal of exercise, and they will be delighted to spend most of their time at home, lapping up your attention. However, do note that the French Bulldog is not allowed as a pet in a Singapore HDB flat.

Rise To Fame

According to the American Kennel Club, the French Bulldog took the number two spot in the 2020 breed rankings.
 Photo: Pexels | Pixabay

Contrary to its name, the French Bulldog does not have its roots in France. They, in fact, first originated in England in the late 18th century. 

Due to their temperament, they became popular among many English workers, particularly so among lace workers in the city of Nottingham. When the lace industry moved to France, many workers brought their dogs with them. 

Over in France, it is believed that they were bred with local terriers, giving us the very first bouledogues français, or French bulldogs. According to the French Bulldog Club of America, the French "developed a more uniform breed – a dog with a compact body, straight legs, but without the extreme underjaw of the English Bulldog. Some had the erect "bat ears' while others had "rose" ears." 

It is little wonder that the Americans who travelled to France at this time fell in love with the breed, bringing them back with them to the USA. In 1896, the French Bulldog appeared at the Westminster Kennel Club's show in New York, and it was there that they became known as "Frenchie", a name that has stuck with them till this very day. 

The Americans preferred the erect ears. With the formation of the French Bulldog Club of America, a standard of this endearing breed was adopted – a standard that remains unchanged today.

Today, these charming canines remain one of the most sought after breeds in America. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the French Bulldog took the number two spot in the 2020 breed rankings, putting them above the German Shepherd Dog and Golden Retriever for the first time. 

Constant Companion

A lovable, good-natured breed, these pups make great companions and have fast become the city-dwellers dog of choice. 
 Photo: Pikist

Being bred for centuries as a companion, the French Bulldog loves people, and yes, including children. They love to show their affection (and expect the same in return) and make perfect playmates for your little ones. 

One thing you must know about your Frenchie is that he will want to spend every minute of every day right by your side. Preparing a meal in the kitchen? They'll be right next to you. Feel like you could use a shower? Well, be prepared to have an audience. 

So whether you love to lounge on the couch or wander the outdoors, your Frenchie would love to be with you and he is going to follow you everywhere. 

While your pup may not want to head outside, that doesn't mean they don't need to exercise. Short daily strolls should be enough to keep their weight in check. When taking your pooch out for a stroll, do remember that because Frenchies are a flat-faced breed, they have difficulty regulating their body temperature and can overheat rather quickly in sunny Singapore.  

A short coat that's easy to care for means that they don't shed as much as other breeds. However, be sure to set aside some time for hands-on cleaning of your Frenchie's skinfolds. With a warm, damp washcloth or mild baby wipe, thoroughly clean the wrinkles in your dog's skin and follow up with a dry towel, ensuring any excess moisture is removed.

French Bulldogs don't make perfect companions for just us humans. They typically get along well with other animals too. But do keep in mind that, like people, dogs are individuals too, and while most Frenchies get along with everyone, yours might be the exception. 

Health Issues

Short daily strolls should be enough to keep their weight in check.
Photo: R Schönbrodt Rüh l Pixabay

As perfect as Frenchies are, they do come with some challenges, the main one being their long list of genetic health issues due to cross-breeding over the decades.

A study conducted by the UK's Royal Veterinary College (RVC), published in 2018, found that French Bulldogs are predisposed to a range of health conditions, including breathing problems, skin fold dermatitis, and cherry eye, eye ulcers, patellar luxation and demodectic mange. 

Males also appeared to be prone to these health issues than females. Dr Dan O'Neill, RVC Senior Lecturer and the main author of the study, says: "Males were more likely to get eight of the 26 most common health problems while there were no issues that females were more likely to get than males."

When choosing a Frenchie, it's important to look out for any existing health issues. While there is no way to ensure your pet has a life free of health problems, don't forget to book your pup for all his necessary screenings regularly.

FAST FACTS

Temperament   Adaptable, playful, smart
Height  25 – 30cm
Weight Under 12kg
Life Expectancy 11 - 14 years
Health

 Common health concerns include breathing problems, skin fold dermatitis, trick knee, allergies and spinal conditions.

 

By Melissa Especkerman
*This article was first published in the June 2021 issue of Pets Magazine

 


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