SO YOU JUST BOUGHT
you’ve had have no experience with French
Bulldogs, you are in for a wonderful surprise.
For one thing, they aren’t like other dogs.
These few guidelines may help you and your new
Frenchie adjust to living together with a
minimum of difficulty.
Historically, they have been the companions of
factory workers and harlots, they have been the
favored pets of royalty (King Edward VII of
England, and the Romanovs of Russia), they have
been the rage of Paris, and the status symbol of
wealthy Americans. A prized French Bulldog even
went down on the Titanic. Today they are a rare
breed, but are gaining in popularity. Their
distinctive look and winning personality are
gaining them attention everywhere.They are small
without being hyperactive, intelligent without
being overbearing, loving without being
demanding. They are good indoor/outdoor
companions. They require relatively little space
and relatively little exercise. They aren’t
without their special needs, however.
Overheating: All flat-faced (brachycephalic)
breeds have this in common, that they don’t
tolerate a lot of heat. Dogs regulate their body
temperatures by panting, and flat-faced breeds
have less surface area for heat loss in their
nasal cavities (and in their lungs). Rule of
thumb: if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for
them. If your Frenchie is panting and rasping,
it should be cooled down. Take it someplace
cooler, give it water. If necessary, wet the dog
down. They aren’t yard dogs to be left out in
the sun in summer. Never leave one unattended in
a car, even on a mild day. Make sure there is
water available for them to drink, especially
Cold weather: The same rule applies: if it’s too
cold for you, it’s too cold for them. They
aren’t going to be yard dogs in winter, either.
A respiratory virus can be devastating. Better
for them to be indoors and protected, especially
on winter nights.
Grooming: Frenchies require little regular care.
Bathe a Frenchie when you feel it is necessary
using warm water and a quality dog shampoo.
Towel dry. Clean their ears regularly with a
moist q-tip. This helps avoid infection. Watch
for ear mites, which will require special
treatment. (If you get a lot of red-brown waxy
gunk out of the ears, chances are it’s ear
mites. See your vet.) Nails should be kept
short, either clipped or ground down.Shedding
may occur in spring or fall. There is little to
do but brush them frequently, or bathe them
regularly to remove the old hair. If your
Frenchie sheds continually, consult your vet to
make sure it isn’t a hormonal or dietary
Diet: Frenchies can be little chow hounds, and
are exceptional at begging human food. While a
treat every now and then may not do any harm,
don’t make a habit of it. They will quickly
become overweight, which can tax their
circulatory systems, and create additional
overheating problems. A quality dry dog food
will do them just fine, with a splash of water
Puppies should have 2 meals a day, each being
about 2/3 cup of small-bite kibble. At least
once a day, add a heaping tablespoon of cottage
cheese to the kibble, for Calcium and fats
(keeps the coat shiny). Until 6 months of age,
puppies should have a minimum of people food.
Stick to dog food until their bodies are
Adults depending on activity level, they should
get one meal a day, consisting of 1 to 1 2/3
cups of dry food, moistened with water. Watch
their weight. They should not be fat or flabby.
These are muscular dogs.If your dog is
constantly begging, but is growing fat, try
giving it a piece of carrot or celery. Dogs are
omnivorous, and will usually enjoy the treat.
For summer, frozen baby carrots make a nice
treat. Canned food or meat added to a meal can
be a treat for Frenchies. Watch their weight if
you do it often. Also, beef (or any sudden dose
of protein) may give an unaccustomed dog a mild
case of diarrhea. Daily vitamin supplements are
debatable. If you are using a premium quality
dog food, you probably won’t need any. If you
use the cheap stuff, vitamins are probably a
good idea. If your Frenchie won’t eat, check
with your vet to rule out health problems. If
you still can’t get it to eat, try boiled white
rice, with pieces of boiled chicken (no bones!).
Or try adding garlic to the food. Sometimes the
problem is emotional, and will correct itself if
the dog is given a little extra attention and
Quarters: A dog crate can be a wonderful thing
to have around. Filled with bedding, it provides
a secure environment for the Frenchie at night.
It becomes their little home, someplace where
they feel safe. With the door closed, you don’t
have to worry about the Frenchie getting into
mischief while unsupervised, or when you don’t
want your Frenchie jumping on house guests. Once
established, their sleeping area should not be
moved around unreasonably. Constant change will
make the dog insecure, and will result in
undesirable behaviors. Make sure their sleeping
environment is not too cold in winter. (On the
back porch won’t work!) And make sure that if
they are going to spend time during the day in
the crate, that it isn’t sitting in the sun.
Also, give them water, especially in summer.
There are little dishes that hook directly onto
the door of the crate.
and Treats: All dogs love toys and treats. Be
watchful for any toys the dogs might splinter or
tear up into small pieces that could lodge in
the throat. Discard toys that become worn from
use. Don’t give them rawhide items or those
“chicken sticks” available insome stores. They
splinter up badly and can inflame a Frenchie’s
throat and cause choking.
Training: French Bulldogs will do anything you
want them to do, as long as they want to do it,
too. They are intelligent and easy to train. But
they can be stubborn. They understand fairness,
and overly harsh or unjust punishment will bring
out resentment. No matter what it is you want
them to learn, be encouraging. Treats work
wonders. Correct bad habits early; once
established, bad habits are hard to erase.
Housebreaking is not difficult, as long as the
dog is encouraged to go where you want it to
from the start. Especially with puppies, take
them to use the bathroom right after they eat.
You will find that they are creatures of habit;
they will quickly find their favorite spot, and
will go there every time. Understand that bad
behaviors (soiling, tearing things up, excessive
barking) are usually a result of our not being
in harmony with them. Figure out what is
bothering them, and approach the problem from a
standpoint of making things right for them as
well as for you. Take away the cause of their
frustration, and you will erase the behavior.
Depending on the age and condition of your
Frenchie, a modest walk in mild weather should
do it good (and you, too). But be alert to
overheating. Anything over a 10-15 minute walk
will probably require that you carry the
Frenchie back. For a collar and lead, use one
that is comfortable for your dog. It doesn’t
need to be massive. (This isn’t an unruly
rottweiler!) Make sure you can get two fingers
under the collar when it’s on.
The Vet: You need to take your Frenchie to your
vet as soon as possible after purchase. Your vet
will check the dog over for any problems, and
assure you that you have a quality Frenchie. (Is
your vet familiar with the special needs of
brachycephalic breeds?) Show your vet the
inoculation history, and set up a schedule for
future inoculations. You shouldn’t have recourse
to visit your vet frequently, but remember that
you have a valuable animal. A little preventive
maintenance can go a long way. It pays to have a
regular vet who is familiar with your animal.
Find out where the closest Animal Emergency
Clinic is, in case of an after-hours emergency.
Breeding: This is why breeders call them the
“heartbreak breed”. If you intend to breed your
Frenchie, read up before you do anything. Talk
to breeders. Remember: the females usually can’t
freewhelp. They will require cesarean sections.
Don’t assume otherwise, or you stand to lose the
mother as well as the puppies! The first month
the puppies are on the ground is critical, as
well. Learn the pitfalls before you even
consider a breeding.
You will get out of your Frenchie a thousand
percent of what you put in. But that means if
you neglect the dog, or do things half-way, what
you get back may not be satisfactory. Again, a
little patience goes a long way. Frenchies are
anxious to please, but sometimes it is hard for
them to understand what it is that pleases us.
If you follow these basic guidelines, you and
your French Bulldog should have a long and happy