Everything you need to know about the French bulldog

A French bulldog is a real companion for many people, or even an extra member of the family. These cheerful yet sensitive dogs with their strong, stocky bodies have been officially recognized since 1880, when the first Parisian Breed Club was founded. Yet the roots of this breed do not only lie in France, and the real ancestry of the French bulldog is still a matter of debate to this day.

From bullfighter to friendly family dog

The ancestors of the French bulldog were probably brought to France by English migrant workers. These dogs are said to be descendants of the English bulldog, which was often used as fighting dogs in the eighteenth century. Groups of bulldogs were used against a bull: bull in English, which directly explains the name. When these fights fell out of fashion a century later, factory workers started crossing bulldogs with smaller breeds such as terriers so that they would fit better in their cramped homes. These little bulldogs were called 'toy bulldogs' in reference to their toy size.

Unemployment drove the workers with their bulldogs to France. There the funny and characteristic appearance of the little bulldog was appreciated by wealthy ladies and gentlemen. The theory is that this has resulted in increased breeding, with crosses further enhancing the fun appearance. This is probably how the French bulldog was created, which was used to catch rats, but was mainly kept as a companion animal by those who could afford it. For example, the 'Boule', or the 'ball' as the French affectionately called their bulldog, slowly became more and more popular among the entire population through the nobility and the rich bourgeoisie.

Perfectly tailored

Today, the Frenchie can be found far beyond France. Many owners fall in love with the large eyes, funny facial expression and the dog's distinctive wide, short shape. The friendly and idiosyncratic nature of the French bulldog is also attractive to many people. The breed's small size, once conceived for tiny workers' houses, is another important reason for apartment dwellers to choose the French bulldog.

Recognizable appearance

Once you know what to look for, you will recognize a French bulldog out of thousands by its striking physique and head. From the bulldog bloodline, the French bulldog has retained its sturdy, broad build, just like the striking wide jaws. The lower jaw protrudes further than the upper jaw. This was once specially intended to strengthen the fighting dog character: these so-called 'undershot biters' had to be able to bite long and firmly in large prey such as a bull.

A characteristic head

The typical face of a French bulldog, with the characteristic 'grin', is also caused by this position of the jaws. The short, black 'flip-up nose' sticks up a bit. The breed has a broad, square head with large dark eyes and erect, relatively large ears, also known as 'bat ears'.

Color and dimensions

The French bulldog comes in three officially recognized colors: brindle, fur and fawn. The coat is short, dense and smooth. Although it is often thought that the tail of French bulldogs is docked, it is just short of itself and lies against the abdomen. The breed's stature is powerful, sturdy and compact. An adult French bulldog male weighs between 9 and 14 pounds by breed standard. Females weigh 8 to 13 pounds. Interestingly, it seems that dogs can easily gain weight these days, up to over 18 pounds. For its modest weight, the French bulldog is a relatively strong dog, with good muscle build and solid bones. The height at the withers is in malesat about 27-35 cm. In bitches this varies between 24 and 32 cm, but here too the impression is that the average height at the withers increases, as does the weight.


In addition to the striking roguish appearance, the French bulldog's character is an important reason for its popularity. This is a very friendly and very happy breed. When there is something to play, the French bulldog prefers to be the center of the action and the attention. His enthusiasm can easily spill over into exuberant behavior, so it is important for owners to maintain the balance between a happy, interested dog and a bouncing ball that is unstoppable when something fun happens. Being consistent in upbringing is therefore very important for owners of French bulldogs.

Companion dog

French bulldogs love to be around. This makes them very suitable as family dogs, but on the other hand, they don't like to be left alone often or for long. This breed is therefore less suitable for single people or double earners with a busy life than for families where there is almost always someone at home. French bulldogs are often good with children, but keep in mind that you should never leave small children alone with a dog: young children can also go wrong around a small happy dog. When visiting, a French bulldog usually responds enthusiastically and interested. If there are people around, a French bulldog will usually pay close attention to all voices and attitudes in the environment. The breed appears to be very sensitive to moods, emotions and tensions.

About the ASPCA: Fighting for animals is a 24/7 job, but your commitment makes it possible for our life-saving programs to create happy endings for those innocent lives touched by cruelty. Every single day of the year, we are rescuing animals from neglect and suffering. With your support, we are able to rescue animals from dog fighting, cockfighting, and puppy mills, work to end animal homelessness and farm animal cruelty, and provide medical care for countless pets in need. Please help us save even more animals and donate to this Team ASPCA campaign today.

Personal campaign progress

$ 0.00 raised to date
Personal Fundraising Goal
$ 100.00
Suggested Donation

Search for a Team ASPCA Campaign

Select any filter and click on Apply to see results

Start Your Own Campaign

Want to start your own Team ASPCA campaign? Choose a Team ASPCA Campaign

Campaign Donors: