Meet Bernie, our 5 year old French Bulldog.
Back when we got Bernie, the breed wasn’t as well known and there weren’t as many French Bulldog breeders around. We began our search in late 2010 and found a breeder we loved – and then we waited 11 months for Bernie to come along. He finally joined our family in April 2013.
And he was absolutely worth the wait!
I could easily make this a lighthearted, funny post but do a quick google search and you’ll discover many. This post will instead delve into the more serious side of owning a French Bulldog – as year by year, the number ending up in rescues increases.
“While the French Bulldog is a lovely breed, it is very unwise for anyone to buy one simply because they think it looks cute or is a fashionable choice. Anyone doing so could inadvertently be contributing to an impending welfare crisis.” – Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary.
Let’s start with the serious stuff…
Do not buy on a whim
Kennel Club issues welfare warning as people buying French Bulldogs on a whim cause numbers to soar. French Bulldogs are set to overtake the Labrador Retrievers as the UK’s most popular dog breed by the end of 2018 – the first time the Labrador will have been knocked off the top spot in 27 years. The French Bulldog saw a 47 per cent increase in the last year alone, a 368 per cent rise in the past five years and has increased by more than a staggering 3,000 per cent in the past ten years.
Find a reputable breeder
With Frenchie pups being bred left, right and center, reputable breeders are now few and far between. Puppies should cost roughly £1,000-£2,000 – anything less and you could be buying from a puppy farm, anything more, and you could be buying from a “Greeder” (Greeders are known for producing “rare” colours and are quick to put looks before health). You should be able to meet both the sire and dam and both should have the required health tests and be registered with the Kennel Club.
Know your colours
Only Fawn, Brindle and Pied are classed as “recognised colours” with the Kennel Club.
Blue and Lilacs are thought to bring with them allergies (although all frenchies can get allergies, these colours are thought to be more at risk), White can suffer with deafness and Merles can be born without eyes! I wish I was joking. These are known as “unrecognised colours” – but Greeders will try and sell them for big bucks as “rare”.
Consider a rescue
French Bulldogs are now popping up in rescues everywhere, both adults and puppies.You can avoid some negative traits by choosing an ADULT dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. With an adult dog, you can easily see what you’re getting, and plenty of adult French Bulldogs have already proven themselves not to have negative characteristics.
If you want a puppy;
you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy. Unfortunately, you usually can’t tell whether a puppy has inherited temperament or health problems until he grows up.French Bulldog Saviours Rescue and Phoenix French Bulldog Rescue are both UK based registered charities that specify in rescuing and rehoming the French Bulldog breed.
They’re not cheap
I previously covered that you’re looking at a couple thousand just for the initial purchase. As the Frenchie population has grown, so has the cost in Pet Insurance. Expect anything between £50-£100 per month for top level cover (which you will need). The breed can also suffer from digestive problems so you will need to ensure that you can afford a good quality food to feed them.
French Bulldogs suffer from a number of health problems. Here’s just some of the more common:
– Hip Dysplasia
– Cherry Eye
– Brachycephalic Respiratory Syndrome
– Stenotic Nares
– Tracheal Stenosis
– Heat Stress
– Elongated Soft Palate
– Laryngeal Collapse
– Patellar Luxation
Our Bernie has had one lot of surgery on his nares (to widen his nostrils) and two lots of soft palette removal surgery to help him breathe better. The veterinary costs were in the thousands – this was covered by his insurance luckily.In spite of all health conditions, French Bulldogs are still considered to be the healthiest of the Bull Breeds. When selecting a French bulldog for the first time, always ask the breeder to produce certification that the pup’s parents have been screened for these common hereditary health problems.
Other breeds aren’t that keen on them
With their lack of tail and permanent grumpy, scrunched-up looking facial features, other breeds can struggle to read the Frenchie’s body language. Their snorting and grunting can also give off the wrong vibe.Bernie is the least *aggressive dog I’ve ever come across, in fact I’ve never heard him growl. He loves to meet other dogs and will instigate play with every dog in his path. He got attacked once, resulting in his face being bitten and he still wanted to play with said dog! Idiot.*Like any breed, not all dogs are this social – Aggressiveness is common in the breed.(Bernie with his best friend Wilf – RIP big guy x)
They don’t require much exercise
A quick 15 minute walk per day is more than enough for the breed. Failing that – they’re happy with a quick bit of indoor rough-housing. Frenchies will spend the majority of their day sleeping (and snoring… loudly!)
They’re tripping hazards
Frenchies are always underfoot. They love you so much that they can’t bare to be more than a meter away. They’re also pretty solid so if you’re not watching where you’re going, they will take you out.
They get separation anxiety
Like any breed, they shouldn’t be left home alone for more than four hours at a time. If you work long hours, look at getting a pet snake instead.
The breed take longer to toilet train than most. They’re very food motivated so any training should come well equipped with tasty cheese.
If you’ve reached the end of this post and you’re still set on a French Bulldog then I wish you the best of luck in your hunt for your new family addition. They do make the best family pets (and babysitters!)
(all photos in this post are of my Bernie – isn’t he just gorgeous?)