Bulldog, Purebred 6 month-old puppy from AKC Champion bloodlines
Example of 4 year old French Bulldog of champion bloodline, side view. Notice the “rope” over the nose, and pronounced underbite.
The Bulldog is a breed with characteristically wide shoulders and a matching head. There are generally thick folds of skin on a Bulldog’s brow, followed by round, black, wide-set eyes, a short muzzle with characteristic folds called “rope” above the nose, with hanging skin under the neck, drooping lips, and pointed teeth. The coat is short, flat and sleek, with colors of red, fawn, white, brindle (mixed colors, often in waves or irregular stripes), and piebald.
In the US, the size of a typical mature male is about 55-60 pounds and that for mature females is about 45 pounds for a Standard English Bulldog. In the United Kingdom, the breed standard is 55 pounds for a male and 50 pounds for a female.
While some canine breeds have their tails cut or docked soon after birth, Bulldogs are one of very few breeds whose tail is naturally short and curled.
The French Bulldog, like many other companion dog breeds, requires close contact with humans. They have fairly minimal exercise needs, but do require at least daily short walks. The French Bulldog is sometimes called ‘Frog dog’ or a ‘Clown dog.’ Frog dog is in reference to the way they sit with hind legs spread out. Clown dog is because they are known to be fun loving vivacious ‘clowns of the dog world.” Most French Bulldogs enjoy water.
French Bulldogs are considered to make excellent companions. They rarely bark, and are patient and affectionate with their owners, especially with children, who are especially protected by the females. French Bulldogs can easily live with other breeds.
They are ranked 58th in Stanley Coren’s The intelligence of dogs. There are certain exceptions to this average level of canine intelligence; a French Bulldog named Princess Jacqueline which died in 1934 was claimed to understand 20 words, reacting correctly.
Birth and Reproduction
French bulldogs frequently require artificail insemination to conceive and caesarean section to give birth, with over 80% of litters delivered this way. In addition, many French bulldog stud dogs are incapable of naturally breeding. This is because French Bulldogs have very slim hips, making the male unable to mount the female to reproduce naturally. Typically, breeders must undertake artificial insemination of female dogs. Female French bulldogs can also suffer from erratic or “silent” heats, which may be a side effect of thyroid disease or impaired thyroid function.
Back and Spine
French bulldogs can also suffer from an assortment of back, disk and spinal diseases and disorders, most of which are probably related to the fact that they were selectively chosen from the dwarf examples of the bulldog breed. This condition is also referred to as chondrodysplasia. French bulldogs are prone to having congenital hemivertebrae Some breeders feel that only dogs that have been x-rayed and checked for spinal anomalies should be bred.
In October 2010, the UK French Bulldog Health Scheme was launched. The scheme consists of three levels, the basic vet check corresponding to the Bronze level, this covers all the Kennel Club Breed Watch points of concern for the breed. The next level, Silver, requires a DNA test for hereditary cataracts, a simple cardiology test, and patella grading. The Gold level requires a hip score and a spine evaluation. The European and UK French Bulldog fanciers and Kennel Clubs are ahead of the Americans and the AKC in moving away from the screw, cork-screw or ‘tight’ tail (which is an inbreed spinal defect), and returning to the short drop tail which the breed originally had. The UK breed standard now reads: “Tail Undocked, [delete ‘very’] short, set low, thick at root, tapering quickly towards tip, preferably [delete ‘either’] straight, [delete ‘or kinked’] and long enough to cover anus. Never curling over back nor carried gaily.”
French bulldogs are susceptible to allergic skin disease. This includes the possibility of allergies to proteins or carbohydrates (food allergies), atopy (seasonal allergies) and allergies to fleas (flea allergy dermatitis).
French bulldogs have a tendency towards eye issues. Allergic blepharitis and conjunctivitis are common. Cherry eye, or an everted third eyelid, has been known to occur, although it is more common in English Bulldogs and Pugs. Glaucoma, retinal fold dysplasia, corneal ulcers and juvenile cataracts are also conditions which have been known to afflict French bulldogs. Screening of prospective breeding candidates through the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) can help eliminate instances of these diseases in offspring. The skin folds under the eyes of the French bulldog should be cleaned regularly and kept dry. Tear stains are common on lighter-colored dogs.
The modern French Bulldog breed descends directly from the dogs of the Molossians, an ancient Greek tribe. The dogs were spread throughout the ancient worldby Phoenician traders. British Molossian dogs were developed into the Mastiff. A sub-family of the Mastiff were the Bullenbeisser, a type of dog used for bull-baiting.
Blood sports such as bull-baiting were outlawed in England in 1835, leaving these “bulldogs” unemployed. However, they had been bred for non-sporting reasons since at least 1800, and so their use changed from a sporting breed to a companion breed. To reduce their size, some bulldogs were crossed with terriers, while others were crossed with pugs. By 1850 the Toy Bulldog had become common in England, and appeared in conformation shows when they began around 1860. These dogs weighed around 16–25 pounds (7.3–11.3 kg), although classes were also available at dog shows for those that weighed under 12 pounds (5.4 kg).
At the same time, lace workers from Nottingham, displaced by the industrial revolution, began to settle in Normandy, France. They brought a variety of dogs with them, including miniature Bulldogs.The dogs became popular in France and a trade in imported small Bulldogs was created, with breeders in England sending over Bulldogs that they considered to be too small, or with faults such as ears that stood up. By 1860, there were few miniature Bulldogs left in England, such was their popularity in France and due to the exploits of specialist dog exporters.
The small bulldog type gradually became thought of as a breed, and received a name, the Bouledogue Francais. This Francization of the English name is also a contraction of the words “boule” (ball) and “dogue” (mastiff or molosser). The dogs were highly fashionable and were sought after by society ladies and Parisian prostitutes alike, as well as creatives such as artists, writers and fashion designers. However, records were not kept of the breed’s development as it diverged further away from its original bulldog roots. As it changed, terrier and pug stock may have been brought in to develop traits such as the breed’s long straight ears, and the roundness of their eyes.