The French Bulldog
When considering bringing home a new pet, it's really important to do your homework. These are not temporary "pets". They will be members of your family for the next 10+ years. They will be involved in years of "the daily routine" and countless family holidays, celebrations, vacations & more. They will watch your kids grow up and be there for all their milestones. So it's important to choose a breed that will best fit your lifestyle.
The French Bulldog, also referred to as "Frenchies", are a wonderful, compact breed with personality for DAYS! These little pint-sized bullies have a ton to offer but also come with their own breed-specific challenges. As someone who's been owned by a Frenchie for several years now, here's my experience on the pros and cons of the breed.
For me, the pros can vastly outweigh any con but you can be the judge of that
1. Love to Play and have fun!
Now, while I say this, the Frenchie's level of energy and playtime NEEDS are quite short. A good 15 minute play session will promptly lead into a 2 hour nap to restore and refuel themselves for the next 15 minute play session. Our Frenchies enjoy a lot of toy options and will frequently play together with these toys. A common game our girls enjoy playing with each other is "keep away". Piper will tease Stella with her favorite toy and just as Stella goes in to take it, Piper runs away with it. Stella chases and the game is on! This isn't just awesome fun for them but provides a ton of laughter for the whole family. Likewise, the pups love the thrill of their humans joining in with playtime as well which makes for another great way to bond with your puppers.
2. Don't Need a Ton of Exercise
In fact, too much exercise can be downright dangerous. Being a brachycephalic (smooshy faced) dog breed, Frenchies don't often handle strenuous exercise very well. In the several years we've been owned by Frenchies, I've never taken them out for a walk... well, unless it's in their stroller. With that said, while I don't walk them around the neighborhood, they spend a lot of time playing around our farm. I do keep a very close eye on them during the hotter days of the year since the heat can exasperate any breathing issues, much like with humans.
Walking your pup and playing with him is a great way to bond. By all means, the Frenchie can enjoy an easy to moderate walk. Watch for heavy breathing and signs of fatigue. If you're wanting a pup to run next to you as you bike, climb to the top of Mt. Washington or join you for some 5K training, the Frenchie may not be for you; unless you don't mind investing in a stroller or doggy backpack!
3. Are as Loyal as the come!
If doing things solo is your style, the Frenchie probably isn't the best breed for you. One of the biggest requirements for the French Bulldog is companionship. While most dog lovers get pups for the companionship, loyalty and companionship are huge parts of the breed's genetic make-up. They are the ultimate 4-legged assistant manager you'll ever have. Our Stella just isn't her happiest unless she's touching you in some way. When working at the computer, Piper is in the lap. Going to the bathroom? Yup, they are going with you to make sure everything is ok.
While this can be a great quality... because, who wants a dog who doesn't want anything to do with us? It can also be a negative.
The separation anxiety can be a real struggle in the breed. Running a home business has been great because it allows us to be with our dogs all day. Spending extended periods of time alone is simply not ideal for this breed who thrives in togetherness.
4. Pretty easy going and adaptable
For the most part, Frenchies are pretty easy-going and adaptable to your lifestyle. We are a pretty busy family who runs a business from our home with customers coming and going all weekend long. Our pups are a huge part of our customer's experience and love to be adorn over. At the same time, when it's a quieter day on the farm, they enjoy catching up on their beauty sleep in one of their big fluffy beds. They equally enjoy going on car rides and short day trips. Seeing the sights and sounds that happen off the farm gives them a huge fill of enrichment that they really seem to enjoy.
5. can have some Health Issues
Sadly, French Bulldogs are notorious for a long list of genetic health issues. This is mainly due to bad breeding practices that breed dogs for their looks but who have underlying poor genetics. Vet bills can add up quickly which is the main reason many poorly bred Frenchies are surrendered. With that said, the French Bulldog is actually the healthiest of all the "bully" breeds.
Buying a puppy from a reputable breeder who practices selective breeding and thoroughly completes health and genetic tests can ensure a lifetime of health and happiness for you and your future puppy. In addition, purchasing pet insurance can really help minimize the stress at the vet if/when issues do arise.
Some of the most common issues for Frenchies include breathing difficulties due to their smooshy faces, hip dysplasia, allergies and spinal disorders.
6. Sleep A Lot
You can't have such beauty without a ton of beauty sleep. Short, intense bursts of playtime require quite a lot of battery recharging. Some may see this as a negative, however I see it very much as a positive. Getting any kind of work done with a dog who wants your constant attention, constant involvement or who actively seeks out mischief when not supervised is frustrating and does not make for a productive nor enjoyable day. I can get a lot of work done while enjoying a relaxed, sleeping pup who will be ready for cuddles as soon as I'm done working.
They will have missed you while their eyes were shut and they'll want to smother you in love and attention until their eyelids feel heavy again... which won't be too long.
Frenchies make great work companions because of their napping schedule!
7. cannot swim!
I cannot stress this enough... Frenchies CANNOT swim! In fact, they'll sink right to the bottom if they fall into water deeper than their legs. If you have a pool, pond, lake or any body of water more than a few inches deep near your home, you need to have a plan on how to keep your frenchie safe. For example, we have a fenced-in, inground pool and never, ever allow the frenchies out there unsupervised. We currently have a puppy play pen that encloses our gazebo so we can all enjoy our time out in the pool area without worrying about their safety. However, when the pen was not installed, the girls were required to wear lifejackets specifically designed for dogs.
8. Super Affectionate
Be prepared to be loved like you've never been loved before! And while this may sound a bit extreme, I'm serious. We've been owned by a couple other dog breeds over that last 20 years. I've had cats for more than half my life. But the unconditional love and cuddles I get from my frenchies is far superior than any other animal or species I've had. It stems deeply from generations of breeding. They were originally bred to be companion animals and they take this job very serious. But you need to reciprocate the love and cuddles for true happiness. If you aren't doing it right, they will let you know. They can be quite demanding of their love and affection
9. Great Family dogs
For the most part, Frenchies make exceptional family dogs. Frenchies are great, compact pups for all ages. Their size is really ideal for older people who have a harder time managing the shear size and exercise requirements a large dog needs. They are also wonderfully small, but not fragile, for baby's first puppy (with proper dog etiquette and supervision, of course). They are also known for their therapeutic qualities. Studies have shown, being owned by a dog helps reduce stress and pumps out endorphins, aka the happy hormones! All leading to happier, longer, more fulfilled lives.
10. Not big barkers
From my experience, our girls are not big barkers. Now, there are a few things that get them going. For one, our Great Dane. If she seems the invisible nothing outside and barks at it, that'll get the little girls going. But they aren't excessive about it. One good, "that's enough!" and they all look around like, "Do you know what we were yelling at?", "Yeah, me either!" The only other time they'll bark is if one sees their reflection in something. Like somehow we unexpectedly invited Piper's long, lost identical twin sister over for a playdate? Low - to - No barking is a big pro for many because very few people tolerate barking dogs very well. And this could really cause issues if you have close neighbors.
11. The smells & sounds, oh my!
You know the phrase, Silence but Deadly? There is nothing silent about this breed. They are frequently referred to as little piggies and it's not for their appetite. They will snort while they run, snore while sleeping and their farts could be used as war time weapons. While I sit here writing, Piper just farted and I had to open a window. And Stella snored so loud she startled herself. The sounds this breed makes only adds to the laughter they spread day in and day out. The farts are something we live with because the breed is so undeniably amazing. But they should all come with a warning label!
12. frenchies come with community
With so many other Frenchie parents around the world, you are now apart of a community of people who know the deep love and funny moments this breed is known for. Whether you are out on a walk with your pup or you see someone else at the store with a Frenchie, you have fellow Frenchie parents who you'll spark conversation with easily and share those Frenchie moments with. They are eye-catchingly adorable with their soulfull eyes and big ears, you'll even have Frenchie wanna-be parents stop for some cuddles and gushing. Our Frenchies are known by people all over the world. We can't go anywhere with the girls without being stopped. A simple run into the pet store turns into 30 minutes of Stella and Piper pets by customers and employee alike. We call it "The Frenchie Effect". This can be both a pro and a con. But we love sharing our girls and educating people about the breed. But it's definitely something to be aware of with this breed.
There are so many more details about the breed than could ever be written about here. And while no breed comes without unique challenges, if the French Bulldog sounds like a great fit for you and your family, please feel free to reach out to us. We'd gladly go over anything covered here in more detail or answer any questions we didn't touch upon.