published December 2019
This month’s breed - The French Bulldog
The French Bulldog or as the French say - Le Bouledogue Français - is one of the world’s favourite dog breeds. Australia saw the French Bulldog rank in the top 10 for the first time in 2013 - it has become the 8th most popular breed here in Australia. Over a six-year period from 2010-16, the ‘Frenchie’ had a 349 per cent increase in registrations with the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC). French Bulldogs are compact in size, with iconic, upright “bat ears,” infectious personalities, and easygoing (but occasionally stubborn) natures. Frenchies are intelligent, adaptable, and adorable dogs that are well-suited for city life and companionship.
These strong, compact dogs come in a variety of colours. Their bat ears and screw tails are among their most distinguishing features. Frenchies are a brachycephalic (literally meaning ‘short-headed’) breed, and their short snouts can place them at risk of developing breathing problems, especially in hot or humid weather.
French Bulldogs evolved from their English cousins around the time of the first Industrial Revolution. Lacemakers in the city of Nottingham were emigrating to France, where traditional manufacturing methods had yet to be replaced by machine-based production. They took their English Bulldogs, whose size and ratting ability made them convenient travelmates, along with them. Over time, they were crossed with terriers and pugs, creating a new, distinct bulldog breed.
While French Bulldogs soon became status symbols among the French societal elite, they were remarkably democratic in their appeal, equally beloved by everyone from ladies of the night to royalty. Wealthy Americans on visits abroad were also charmed by the adorable breed and began returning home with their own French Bulldogs. It is American breeders who are credited with cementing the iconic bat ear – rather than the rose ear inherent to their English counterparts – as a defining trait of French Bulldogs. The breed’s popularity grew steadily across Europe and America throughout the end of the 19th century and continues to expand to this day.
French Bulldogs are intelligent, curious, and cute dogs with very stable and predictable temperaments. Their easygoing personalities are adaptable to a variety of living situations: they can coexist peacefully with other breeds but are just as happy to live alone; they are capable of assimilating to life on acreage or living in an apartment.
French Bulldogs are not barkers, though their alertness and intelligence make them natural watchdogs. They are extremely loyal, but their natural curiosity and propensity towards stubbornness necessitates early, consistent training to avoid future behavioural issues.
Frenchies require minimal (but necessary) grooming maintenance. Due to their stubborn nature, it is best to introduce them to grooming early in their life and maintain a consistent schedule. It is recommended their coats be brushed weekly, they have regular nail trimmings, and get routine cleaning and drying of their facial folds and ears.
Who can resist Frenchies? Their adorable bat ears, big eyes, and friendly, inquisitive nature towards both people and animals make them practically irresistible. While not typically problematic, French Bulldogs can be headstrong, and like all dogs, they do require leadership, education, and consistency to avoid behavioural issues.
Take Chloe, a three-year-old Frenchie. Chloe was very sweet and loving in most circumstances, but she had one unignorable behavioural problem – she was extremely possessive of her owner, Sarah’s shoes quickly turning into a growling, biting Cujo if Sarah tried to get them back. It didn’t take long for Sarah to reach her wit’s end, to the point she was (very reluctantly) considering finding another home for Chloe if the issued could not be resolved.
We spent some time getting to know Sarah and Chloe’s relationship and history. We discovered Sarah had gotten Chloe as a 10-week-old puppy and had even taken her to puppy classes, where Chloe did well. She learned all her commands and would mostly respond to them, but Sarah would occasionally resort to using treats to get Chloe to obey.
Sarah loved Chloe, and it became apparent she would give in to Chloe’s every request. If Sarah sat on the couch, so did Chloe, who would immediately ask for (and receive) attention and affection. When Chloe was hungry, she would claw at where her food was kept and Sarah would feed her; when Chloe wanted out, Sarah would drop what she was doing to take her for a walk, with Chloe leading the way.
Chloe had become the authority figure in their relationship, and felt it was her responsibility to “take care” of Sarah. We explained this dynamic to Sarah and introduced her to some simple exercises and communication methods to correct the imbalance.
Chloe responded immediately, offering zero pushback when corrected. To gauge her progress, we decided to test Chloe with a pair of Sarah’s shoes. We asked Sarah to correct Chloe as soon as she noticed them and were pleased to find that Chloe walked away and laid down near Sarah when commanded. When Sarah approached the shoes and put them on, Chloe didn’t move or make a sound! We left Sarah with instructions on how to continue the process over the next couple of weeks and told her to contact us immediately with any questions or issues.
Sarah called us a week later with an update – things were going great! The new, consistent approach was paying off, and Chloe continued to respond to the exercises. She seemed happier and more relaxed and, much to Sarah’s delight, had even stopped some of her other demanding behaviours. We congratulated Sarah and encouraged her to keep up the great work.
French Bulldogs are not usually troublesome, but inconsistency and lack of training can lead to behavioural concerns. Your local Bark Busters® trainer can help establish a pattern of consistency, resolve any and all issues, and help you nurture a relationship with your Frenchie built on mutual understanding, trust, respect, and love.
We are standing by to help you develop a consistent, compassionate approach to good behaviour for your French Bulldog. Learn more about our services and schedule an appointment with one of our trainers today!
If you have ever lost your dog, you know that heart-pounding adrenaline of panic. The WaggTagg™ pet identification tag is unique in that it works from a QR code. Free to all Bark Busters® clients. The pet parent enters important dog information plus a picture. Whoever finds the dog can simply scan the tag using a mobile phone and the owner gets a text message to say someone has found your dog. This service is available 24/7. No waiting to get to the vet office to scan a microchip and no renewal fees or any extra charges!
Microchips are important and you should always have your dog microchipped as that is a great tool to identify legal owners etc.
The WaggTagg™ is an extra piece of security for your dog and provides peace of mind, that if your dog goes missing, you can get reunited quickly.
WaggTagg ™ is a free service for all dog owners when you become a Bark Busters® client.
In addition to physical exercise, your Frenchie will benefit from some brain work. Our dogs need mental stimulation as part of their daily routine. A great interactive toy is the GameChanger® by Bark Busters®. Not only is this toy safe (made of FlexaPure - durable non-toxic PBA-free polyurethane material), but it stimulates a dog’s natural desire to chew. You fill the toy with some small treats, and your Frenchie must decide how to get the treats out through the small holes. It will keep them entertained for hours!