French Bulldogs: What You Need To Know Before You Adopt
The French Bulldog is now #2 on the AKC list of most popular breeds. Why have they become so popular and what are the pitfalls of owning one?
What do Lady Gaga, Martha Stewart and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson all have in common? If you guessed a love affair with the French Bulldog, you’d be right. Yes, the affectionately dubbed “Frenchie” has taken the celebrity world by storm and shares living quarters (and likely sleeping space) with many of the world’s rich and famous. But this pint-sized bat-eared pooch has also stolen the hearts of middle America where big bucks are being dropped to share the sidewalk with this popular pup. In fact, he’s landed the #2 spot on the American Kennel Club’s coveted list of the most popular dog breeds in America.
So, what’s all the fuss about? Well, let’s start with the fact that this French import is incredibly cute and that makes them extremely popular. Which in turn drives demand, attention, then more demand… and a lengthy waitlist before you can even think about adding this little guy to your family.
But beyond the must-have factor, there are a number of pluses to sharing space with this sturdy pooch. Such as the low-energy factor which means you’re not having to devote hours each day to get in walks. And because this pup is so adaptable, he’s as happy in a mid-town apartment as he would be in a country home with acres to roam. Frenchies live a good long life (between 10 and 14 years), are relatively easy to train and don’t require a lot of grooming to keep them looking their best and your home, fur-free. They also do well with kids and other pets, so none of that “breaking in” period you can experience with some breeds.
Personality-wise, they’re fun, they love to be the center of attention and are highly devoted to their owners… which is the segue into some of the challenges to owning a French Bulldog. They don’t do well when left on their own for long periods and can be prone to separation anxiety. This can translate into destructive behaviors such as urinating, defecating, chewing and, while this isn’t a yappy breed, incessant barking while you’re away.
And that adorable flat face is down to his being a brachycephalic breed of dog. As a result, he can be prone to respiratory issues and shouldn’t be over-exerted during playtime or walked in extreme heat because he simply doesn’t have the ability to exhale enough warm air to cool down. This type of facial structure also means that his nose presses down into his food as he eats so he has to breathe by gulping air in through his mouth. That’s why French Bulldogs (and other brachycephalic breeds such as Pugs and Bulldogs) are renowned for their flatulence. And while specially angled food and water bowls can help, they won’t entirely resolve the issue.
Additionally, those distinctive wrinkles around his face are a breeding ground for bacteria picked up while noshing down on his favorite grub or when nosing around while out on a walk. These folds can get smelly so, plan to clean them daily (or at least three to four times a week) using a dog-specific shampoo or even a gentle baby shampoo. Tackle each wrinkle separately followed by a thorough towel-dry to prevent moisture and bacterial growth that can lead to painful infections such as pyoderma.
There’s more because this breed can also have a tail pocket that needs similar treatment. Just like it sounds, it’s a small pocket of skin directly under his tail that can collect dead skin and moisture. Once a month, give it a good clean with a baby wipe or damp washcloth, then dry thoroughly.
And last, but not least are those massive ears. French Bulldogs have a thin coat which makes them susceptible to sunburn and when you have oversized ears, it’s easy to see how they can become both sunburned and frost-bitten. Check out some of the sun-screen lotions specifically designed for dogs or opt for a human variety that offers a minimum 30 SPF, is non-scented, hypo-allergenic and does not contain zinc oxide or para-aminobenzoic acid which can be toxic to a dog if they decide to lick it off. And in winter, there are a number of jackets specifically designed to accommodate those large bat ears and protect them from the chill.
If you’re still on board, this delightful little breed is an ideal companion who wants nothing more than to sit on your lap and cuddle up to sleep by your side… oh, did we mention that in addition to farting, he also snores?