The French Bulldog is a sturdy, compact, stocky little dog, with a large square head that has a rounded forehead. The muzzle is broad and deep with a well-defined stop. The nose is black, but may be lighter in lighter colored dogs. The upper lips hang down over the lower lips. The teeth meet in an underbite and the lower jaw is square and deep. The round, prominent eyes are set wide apart and are dark in color. The bat ears stand erect, are broad at the base narrowing in a triangular shape and rounded at the tips. The height at the withers to the ground should be approximately the same as the length from withers to the base of the tail. The tail is either straight or corkscrew. The chest is broad and deep with the front of the dog being wider than the back end, forming a pear shape. The dewclaws may be removed. The medium-fine coat is short and smooth. The skin is loose, forming wrinkles around the head and shoulders. Coat colors include brindle, brindle and white, cream, cream and white, fawn, fawn and white, fawn brindle, white, white and brindle, white and fawn, black, black and fawn, black and white, fawn and black, fawn brindle and white. It can have a black mask, brindle markings, be piebald, spotted and/or have white markings. {Chocolate and mouse are disqualifying colors in the ring. Some people are deliberately breeding for these colors and charging extraordinary prices for these puppies. }


The French Bulldog is a pleasant, easy-care companion who is playful, alert and affectionate. It is enthusiastic and lively, without being yappy and loud. Curious, sweet and absolutely hilarious, it has a very comical personality and loves to clown around. It is bright and easygoing. The Frenchie gets along fairly well with strangers and other animals and enjoys being with its owner. It plays well with other dogs. Those Frenchies that are allowed to believe they are alpha may become dog aggressive. This breed needs leadership and will not thrive without it. The Frenchie cannot be owned and ignored. When it senses an owner is not in control or not the leader of the human-canine team, it can become stubborn. They can be trained if the owner is calm, firm and consistent. They respond well to positive reinforcement training as they are eager to please.  Proper human to canine communication is essential. Do not give them affection or sweet talk them if they are displaying any type of unwanted behaviors; instead correct them firmly with an air of calm authority. French Bulldogs are clean, and most will try to avoid puddles. Most cannot swim so take caution around water. This breed can do well with children who are careful and considerate.  Children should not be encouraged to carry the puppy around as they tend to be heavy in the front end and can easily fall out of a child's arms and be seriously injured. They do have a tendency to chase small creatures and hunt mice. Puppy kindergarten and obedience classes are essential in order that the Frenchie learns the basic manners and skills of everyday life in the world of his human.  

Height, Weight

Height: 12 inches (30 cm)
The French Bulldog Standard calls for 18-28 pounds. Over 28 pounds is a disqualification for the show ring.

Health Problems

French Bulldogs are prone to joint diseases, spinal disorders, heart defects and eye problems. Dams usually have to deliver pups by cesarean section, because pups have relatively large heads. They often have respiratory problems. They tend to wheeze and snore and have trouble in hot weather. Prone to heatstroke. An overweight Frenchie may have trouble breathing, because of a swollen abdomen. Do not overfeed this breed. Putting them under anesthesia is risky because of their breathing issues. French Bulldogs are high maintenance and potential owners need to be aware that their vet bills may be high. Take this into consideration before choosing a Frenchie puppy.  Consider pet insurance once you have decided to bring a Frenchie into your life.

Living Conditions

Frenchies are good for apartment life. They can be fairly active indoors and will do okay without a yard. They do not do well in temperature extremes.  They are NOT an outdoor dog - they must live indoors with their owner to thrive.  They are a companion dog, above all.


The French Bulldog needs to be taken on a daily walk except in very hot weather,  Take care in hot weather as the breed is prone to heat stroke. They love to run and play and will play for hours if you let them. Some have higher energy levels than others. Provide a good variety of toys and a Frenchie will amuse himself for a good amount of time.

Life Expectancy

About 10-12 years.


Very little grooming is needed. Regular brushings will do. This breed is an average shedder.  Bathe as needed.  Due to its short, chubby body the Frenchie has a difficult time grooming itself and will occaisionally need a baby wipe taken to his rear end to help keep him clean.  They get used to this quite quickly and will readily lift a leg to help you with the task!


The French Bulldog originated in 19th Century Nottingham, England, where lace makers decided to make a smaller, miniature, lap version of the English Bulldog that was referred to as a "toy" bulldog. In the 1860s, when the Industrial Revolution drove the craftsmen to France, they took their dogs with them. The toy bulldogs became popular in France and were given the name the "French Bulldog." The breed eventually made its way back to England for dog shows. The British were not happy with the name "French" given to a dog that was originally from England, however the name "French Bulldog" stuck.


AKC Non-Sporting



Excerpt from Dr. Jan Grebe's book Healthy Frenchies: An Owner’s Manual.  An excellent summation of the problems that afflict the French Bulldog breed. 

A Letter To My Vet

Hi! I'm a French Bulldog, and unless you are extremely lucky, you may not have any other patients of my rather rare breed. If that is the case, please let me alert you to some special health needs of Frenchies, as our friends call us. Though our Minimum Daily Requirement for human companionship and love is high, our day-to-day needs are simple. Petting keeps our coat shiny; praise keeps us happy. The best medicine for a Frenchie is TLC. But we do have a higher incidence of certain structural problems that go along with our flat-faced, dwarf status than do other breeds (the ones we think of as spindly and pointy-nosed).

As with other brachycephalic breeds, we have airways that are easily compromised. We overheat very easily, often have an elongated soft palate that may need to be shortened, and anything that causes swelling in the mouth or pharynx (trauma, insect stings, tonsillitis, etc.) can cause a respiratory emergency. Sometimes our nares are rather stenotic; this does, however, give us the most endearing snore. Cleft lip/palate, of course, is more frequent in short-faced breeds. And it has been suggested that we are more likely to have oddly-formed thyroids and anterior pituitaries, since the pharynx, from which these structures develop as outpocketings, is so abbreviated. Whether these glandular abnormalities cause any functional problem is uncertain, but it's worth considering if any problems are seen that could have an endocrine basis.

Anesthesia, of course, is a constant worry. Thanks to our laid-back attitude, many procedures requiring a general anesthetic in other, more excitable breeds can often be done without it in Frenchies. When a general anesthetic is required, we are very hard to intubate; even more so than Bostons, we're told. First, please note that our necks tend to be rather squatty (no way to put it delicately). The endotracheal tube may have to be shorter than in a longer-necked dog of comparable size; if it is too long, it will end up in a bronchus and we'll only be half-ventilated. Also, we must be left lying on our bellies and watched closely after extubation, until we are up and walking around, becuase our large tongues and/or floppy soft palates can easily relax and obstruct the airway. And any swelling in the pharynx or larynx, which is an every present danger with intubation, is doubly serious in our breed. With our generally calm nature, we may also require less anesthesia than other dogs of comparable size, as anesthetic depression can occur more easily in us than in, say, a Fox Terrier.

Probably our most important and serious built-in anatomical problems (other than the airway) are back problems caused by the chondrodystrophic dwarfism that gives us our distinctive shape. Like the other dwarf breeds, we suffer from a high incidence of hemivertebrae and premature disc degeneration. The exact incidence of hemivertebrae in our breed is unknown, since most dogs that have these malformed vertebrae never have problems related to them, so that they are only detected incidentally on a radiograph done for some other reason. If they do occur, they are most often seen at T9 - T11; a single vertebra may be involved, or several. Depending on which part of the vertebra is malformed, they may cause scoliosis or kyphosis; and this can produce secondary changes in the rib cage. Premature intervertebral disc degeneration most often is seen in 3- to 5-year old dogs and generally affects the discs between C2 - C4 and T11 - L2; disc degeneration seen as a consequence of age is more likely in the cervical region. If you should note any hemivertebrae, calcified discs, or narrowing of discs spaces on an x-ray, or palpate any bony deformities, please instruct my owner about how best to protect my back, and what neurological signs to watch for in case problems should develop. Many Frenchies are frisking happily about today after extensive spinal surgery, because their owners quickly sought help at the first sign of trouble, before the spinal cord was permanently damaged.

As is the case with Bostons and Bulldogs, we often have whelping difficulties. Though some Frenchies are free whelpers, the combination of the big head and narrow pelvis plus the uterine inertia that seems common in the breed, often necessitates cesarean delivery. (Considering the anesthesia risk, this helps explain why there are so few of us around.) We also seem to be plagued by pyometra more often than other breeds; some believe that our odd construction tilts the female reproductive tract in such a way that it doesn't drain properly. Whatever the cause, this is a problem to watch for. Impacted anal glands may also afflict us (especially if the screw tail torques sharply to one side and compresses a duct). We may suffer from most of the other usual canine ills. Frenchies with lighter coat colors tend to have more skin problems than do the darker ones. This is particularly true in hot, damp climates, where every variety of fungus and bacterium tends to flourish. Though hip dysplasia is not known to be a major problem, it has been reported in the breed; whether it's inheritable or due to a random defect in Frenchies is not yet known.

Our breeders are constantly trying to produce sounder pups, and the French Bulldog Club of America has a Genetics Committee to gather information about health problems in the breed that might be inheritable, serve as a liason with the AKC Canine Health Foundation, and to help educate breeders about potential inheritable problems. We would appreciate your help in this regard. If you should detect any problem in a Frenchie patient that you believe is genetic, please discuss this with the owner and/or breeder of the dog so that we might avoid the spreading of harmful genes through the breed. Our gene pool is so small that a recessive gene in a popular sire could spread like wildfire; and early detection requires the help of our vets. Though there have been cases of clotting disorders in Frenchies, we have not yet had problems like juvenile cataracts and copper toxicosis that have devastated other breeds, and we want to keep it that way.

We Frenchies are a proud lot, and are increasing in popularity. We would appreciate any new observations or information that you might give us about our breed to help our breeders and owners keep us sound and happy, both as a breed and as individuals. And, finally, should the time come when...because of age, injury, or life should become more burden to me than blessing, please help my owner/friend make and accept the most loving and kind decision. Tell him to "Sing no sad songs for me," but to know that my life, however short or long, was an enviable one. I was a French Bulldog.


Anesthesia Protocol For Frenchies

Ace Promazine
Pentobarbital aka Pentathol (injectable anesthesia)
Metofane (inhalant gas)
Halothane (gas anesthesia)

Dormitor (reversible anesthesia/sedative)

Ketamine (usually used in combo with valium as an injectable anesthesia/sedative)
Valium (see above)
Torbutrol (analgesia)

Propofol (injectable)
with either of the following 2 gas anesthetics as a maintenance:
Isoflurane(aka IsoFlo) OR Sevoflurane (aka SevoFlo)

(These would be in addition to the Optimum anesthetic protocol listed above, and are highly recommended for c-sections or longer procedures)
Atropine given at induction
IV catheter & fluids
Famotidine (Pepcid) injection (helps cut down on nausea and post-op vomiting, hence aspiration)
Dexmethasone injection (may be given if palate if very long or irritated from ET tube; this can reduce post-op swelling and make recovery easier)


EVERY brachycephalic dog that goes under anesthesia should have an endotracheal tube (ET) placed in his or her trachea! Always! That airway must be protected at all times. The tube should be left in until they are VERY awake and trying to chew it out. Use the intravenous propofol to induce anesthesia (which puts them under) and allows sufficient time to place the ET tube. From then on, anesthesia is maintained with sevo or iso.

Be Careful when masking a frenchie down. Masking can be harder on brachycephalic dogs because they struggle to hold their breath, which can irritate the airways and deplete their oxygen levels (which you do not want before surgery). It is my opinion that using injectable and then tubing them gives them the optimum oxygen supply that is ideal for frenchies.

Lori Hunt, DVM

 We have been extremely fortunate with our French Bulldogs, to date.  The only health issues we have encountered have been minor and include ear infections, an occasional food intolerance, rarely a hot spot or two. 

We sent each of them to Doggie Day Care during their first years for socialization and to provide playtime when we were working.  We did experience an occaisional bout of Kennel cough and intestinal upset during that time frame.  Dogs are very willing to share their germs!

Overall, the dogs have generally been extremely healthy.  I chalk it up to good genetics, preventative health care and a raw food diet.