French Bulldog

The French Bulldog is a small companion dog breeds. The name indicates that France is the country of origin, but the Americans and British may have played a larger part in development of the breed. The breed is commonly called the Frenchie. Also known as "clowns" and frog dogs.

French Bulldog Physical description

French bulldogs are a compact companion dog, active but not sporty, muscular dog with a smooth coat, snub nose and solid bone structure. Their physical appearance is characterized by naturally occurring 'bat ears' that are wide at the base and rounded at the top. Their tails are naturally short, not cropped, straight or screwed but not curly.

Under the American Kennel Club and Canadian Kennel Club standards, weight is not to exceed 28 pounds (13 kg). In general, "Frenchies" range in weight between 20 and 28 pounds. The FCI does not set a hard and fast weight limit, simply stating 'The weight must not be below 8 kg nor over 14 kg for a bulldog in good condition, size being in proportion with the weight'.

French Bulldog Temperament

The French Bulldog is a gentle dog breeds that typically has a happy-go-lucky attitude. Like many other companion dog breeds they require close contact with humans. They have fairly minimal exercise needs, but do require at least daily walks. Their calm nature makes them excellent choices for apartment dwellers, as does their usually sensible attitude towards barking. As a flat faced breed, it is essential that owners understand that French Bulldogs cannot live outdoors. Their bulk and their compromised breathing system makes it impossible for them to regulate their temperature efficiently. In addition, Frenchies are top heavy and therefore have a difficult time swimming. Precautions must be taken when exercising a Frenchie during hot or humid weather, as well.

French Bulldogs can play too roughly for some smaller children, and should be monitored at all times during play. As well, children should be cautioned not to pick French Bulldogs up, as the dogs' small size can mask how heavy they are.

French Bulldogs are essentially a bull and terrier breed, and as such, it is not surprising to learn that canine aggression can sometimes occur. Generally, this takes the form of same sex aggression, with the bitches being the most culpable in this respect. Owners considering adding a second dog to their household are usually cautioned to choose one of the opposite sex. Spaying or neutering can do much to curb aggressive tendencies before they begin. The French Bulldog energy level can range from hyperactive and energetic to relaxed and laid back.

French Bulldog Health

There are several congenital diseases and conditions to which French bulldogs are susceptible, although they are still considered among the healthiest of the bull breeds. Frenchies can suffer from Von Willebrand's disease (VWD), a bleeding disorder that is also found in humans and is similar to hemophilia, which can impede their clotting. In conjunction to this, French bulldogs may also suffer from thyroid condition. Many breeders follow a program of testing younger dogs for VWD, and only testing for thyroid at that time if the VWD factor is low. In this program, the breeder tests thyroid again just prior to using the dog for breeding. Other breeders test both VWD and thyroid at the same time.

French bulldogs suffer from Brachycephalic syndrome, which is what creates the flat faced appearance of the Frenchie. As a result, one of the most common defects in French bulldogs is elongated soft palate or cleft palate. Puppies affected with Cleft palate are generally put down at birth, as it is generally considered to be an almost impossible condition to correct. Elongated soft palate can manifest as anything from a mild condition causing labored breathing to severe condition that can cause the affected dog to pass out from moderate exercise.

Frenchies may also have a tendency towards eye issues. Cherry eye, or everted third eyelid, has been known to occur, although it is more common in (English) bulldogs and pug dogs. 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 CERF - the Canine Eye Registration Foundation - can help to eliminate instances of these diseases in offpsring. The skin folds under the eyes of the French bulldog must be cleaned regularly and kept dry in order to avoid fold infections. In extremely severe cases of persistent fold infections, some veterinarians have performed fold removal surgeries.

French bulldogs can also suffer from a condition called megaesophagus, a term which collectively describes several esophageal disorders and malformations in any combination from single-to-double or multiple. One of the more serious complications in a dog affected with megaesophagus is passive regurgitation, in which the affected dog vomits up food or phlegm after eating or exercise. Passive regurgitation can frequently result in aspiration pneumonia.

Another result of the compacted airway of the French bulldog is their inability to effectively regulate temperature. While a regular canine may suffer to some degree from the heat, to a Frenchie it may be lethal. It is imperative that they be protected from temperature extremes at all times, and that they always have access to fresh water and shade.

French bulldogs can also suffer from an assortment of back and spinal diseases, 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. Some breeders feel that only dogs that have been x-rayed and checked for spinal anomalies should be bred from, but this is a difficult position to take sides on. While it is true that no dog affected with a spinal disease should be bred from , there is a great deal of variance in the appearance of a French Bulldog's spine as compared to, for example, a labrador retriever. If possible, such decisions should be left to either a veterinarian or breeder who has seen quite a few bulldog breed spinal x-rays, to avoid eliminating dogs unnecessarily.

French bulldogs frequently require caesarean section to give birth. As well, many French bulldog stud dogs are incapable of naturally breeding, requiring breeders to undertake artificial insemination of bitches (female dogs). French bitches can also suffer from erratic or 'silent' heats, which may be a side effect of thyroid disease or impaired thyroid function.

Thyroid disease may also be responsible for some of the skin conditions which afflict some Frenchies. Skin allergies, obsessive foot licking, and interdigital cysts have been known to affect some French Bulldogs.

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