The French bulldog is one of the most popular small dog breeds in the UK, and these cute, loving and highly entertaining little dogs make for great companions that can really enrich your life. The number of French bulldogs in the UK is on the rise year on year too, as more and more people start seeing them out and about, get to know them, and really come to appreciate their personalities.
Most French bulldog owners will of course know a lot about the breed as a whole, often learned as part of the research involved in deciding what breed to buy, or simply out of interest because it can be very rewarding to find out as much as you can about your own dog.
However, the French bulldog is an interesting and unique breed with a reasonably long and well recorded history as a companion to people, and so there is always something new to learn and find out!
In this article, we will share five interesting facts about French bulldogs that you may not already be aware of. How many of these do you already know? Did we get something wrong? Tell us in the comments!
French bulldogs have a historical connection to England
While the French bulldog breed was established in France, the breed would not exist at all were it not for their English ancestors-the breed was originally created from the crossing of old-style English bulldogs with French terriers and local small dog breeds in the Normandy region of France.
Normandy was historically the centre of the lace-working industry in France, and when the British lace industry began to fall into decline during the industrial revolution, a great many lace workers from England (largely Nottingham, which was the historical seat of the British lace industry) moved to France, where they stood a better chance of finding employment.
These British workers took their pets with them, including a large number of old-style English bulldogs-and it was these lace workers and their dogs that are largely responsible for the origins of the breed as we know it today, which has come full circle and can now be found in large numbers back here in the UK!
Breeding Frenchies can be complicated and challenging
When it comes to breeding dogs, most people assume that you simply pick a good matched pair, put the two dogs in a room together (maybe with some candlelight and soft music!) and leave them to get on with what comes naturally.
However, breeding Frenchies is rather more complicated than this-because dogs of the breed have particularly narrow hips, meaning that the males cannot always mount the females in order to “do the business” on their own, and so they may need help to mate, or might have to be artificially inseminated.
When it comes to birthing pups too, Frenchies often have to be delivered by caesarean section because the narrow hips combined with the proportionately large heads of dogs of the breed mean that they may get stuck on the way out!
Both of these factors means that breeding Frenchies can be not only complicated but also potentially expensive, once you factor in the assistance of your vet to help to move things along.
Breeding for good health is really important too, and so picking the right mating match and covering the cost of the necessary pre-breeding health tests that might be needed in order to ensure a healthy litter can all add up too!
Many French bulldogs cannot swim well
We talked in more detail about the fact that certain breeds of dog cannot swim well-if at all-in this previous article, which is well worth a read for all dog owners, but particularly for Frenchie-parents, as these are one of the breeds that often cannot swim and so need special care to be taken of them when around water.
This is due to a combination of their brachycephalic faces, proportionately large heads, and narrow hips.
They need special care in hot weather
The expressive and distinctive squished-up Frenchie face is one of their most appealing features, and most fans of the breed can remember that moment when they first came face to face with an adorable Frenchie, and everything clicked! But this same flat-face trait (known as a brachycephalic face) can also cause problems for the breed if the degree of flattening is too extreme, leading to shortened airways and problems staying cool in hot weather.
It is important to take special care of your Frenchie when the weather is really hot and give them plenty of opportunities to cool down, and also when you’re picking your next Frenchie, steer clear of those whose faces are overly exaggerated, and support breeders that breed for a healthy conformation with the best interests of the dogs in mind.
They’re on the no-fly list for some airlines!
Finally, did you know that the French bulldog is on the no-fly list for certain airlines? Whilst most airlines (other than budget ones) will carry pets like cats and dogs, certain airlines will not carry dogs of the French bulldog breed, including American Airlines and British Airways, despite carrying most other breeds!
Why? Well, the brachycephalic faces of French bulldogs comes accompanied by additional risks when flying, such as maintaining a stable body temperature when it is too hot, and getting enough air when stressed out. This means that a great many commercial carriers will not carry any dogs of brachycephalic types-and this means that the Frenchie ends up on the no-fly list too!