Smushy faces, bat-like ears, and absolutely irresistible personalities. Yes, we’re talking about the beloved little French bulldog. Whether you’ve owned one yourself or have admired them from afar, there’s no denying the cuteness overload these pint-size pups provide. There are probably some things, though, that may surprise you; facts that go beyond their adorable little faces. But wonder no more — here are 15 things you never knew about French Bulldogs.
1. The French bulldog is the sixth most popular dog breed
That’s right, the small but mighty Frenchie claims the No. 6 spot of most popular dog breeds, according to the American Kennel Club dog ranking. Naturally, this proves just how coveted the breed has become, with its popularity rising over the past few years.
Next: Where do they actually come from?
2. They’re not actually from France
At least one of the French bulldog’s ancestors is considered to be the English bulldog, the AKC says. In fact, the breed was originally called the Boule-Dog Francais. The English, of course, thought that calling an English dog by a French name was pretty comical, and they weren’t too pleased.
Next: Their signature trait almost got phased out.
3. The bat ear was almost bred out of the French Bulldog
On the subject of the breed’s history, it may surprise you that these little guys almost lost their distinctive bat ears. According to the AKC, “Had it not been for the objections of American fanciers, the bat ear of the French bulldog would have been bred out of the breed and replaced with a rose ear, resulting in a miniaturized version of the English bulldog.”
We, for one, can say we’re very happy the folks trying to weed out those cute little ears weren’t successful. Furthermore, this controversy sparked the creation of the French Bull Dog Club of America.
Next: Is a Frenchie right for your family?
4. They’re good with kids
Frenchies make great companions for single pet-owners and families with young kiddos alike. Not only is their appearance absolutely irresistible, but their demeanor with children is fantastic. If you’re considering getting a dog for your young family, a French bulldog is a great option.
Next: See how they fare with other dogs.
5. They’re moderately good with other dogs
According to the AKC, these little guys do need supervision when in the company of other canines. It’s not out of the question that they’ll make lots of other pup friends, but they do require a little extra attention in such situations. At least at first, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Next: Love to run? See if a Frenchie is for you.
6. They don’t need much exercise to keep trim
If you’re the super active type, a French bulldog probably isn’t for you. While they make great snugglers, they’re hardly the running mate variety. The AKC says they’re not terribly active, and exercise as simple as a brisk walk will keep them in shape.
Next: Short-haired pups are sometimes the best.
7. They don’t require a ton of grooming
Simply put, dogs get themselves dirty, along with everything else in your house. One false step and suddenly you’re sitting on a couch cushion full of dog hair. Luckily, that’s not the case with a French bulldog. Not only do they shed seasonally, but they don’t require much more than the occasional grooming.
Next: How peaceful do you like to keep your home?
8. They don’t bark much
This is music to some people’s ears, as most folks are well-aware of just how annoying incessant barking can get. Luckily, that’s not much of a worry when it comes to Frenchies. Their barking level is quiet, meaning you won’t have to sacrifice peace when you bring one of these little guys home. But they will alert their owners to danger.
Next: Your next car-singing mate.
9. But they are talkers
So, we’ve established Frenchies aren’t barkers, but that doesn’t mean they don’t communicate in other ways. “Using a complex system of yawns, yips, and gargles, the dogs can convey the illusion of their own language,” Mental Floss writes. “Sometimes they will even sing along with you in the car.”
Next: Frenchies are super affectionate.
10. They’re very affectionate and super playful
Frenchies love to play, and are super affectionate with their human companions. If you’re the type who digs a lazy day on the couch crushing Netflix — with the occasional play break, this dog just might be your new best friend. Additionally, Frenchies are often super sensitive. They don’t respond well to yelling, as that will just cause them to mope around. So, you’re better off sticking to positive reinforcement.
Next: How they do when it comes to training.
11. They’re stubborn, but intelligent
While French bulldogs are smart cookies, they take some time to learn during their training period, meaning their humans require patience. As long as you provide them with enough of it, though, they’ll be eager to please you, showing off just how intelligent they really are.
Next: All dogs love water, right?
12. Most Frenchies aren’t good swimmers
A dog who’s not good at swimming? It must be a joke! Although you may assume all canines love to dip their paws in the water, it’s not so. According to Veterinary Pet Insurance, “In the French bulldog’s case, take caution when near water. Due to their short-snout respiratory issues and skinny, short legs, they are at higher risk of drowning.”
Next: Love to travel? Frenchies may not be for you.
13. They’re not good flyers, either
This breed’s short-snout isn’t only causing issues in the water. On the flip side, this lovable, yet sometimes problematic feature also causes issues way up in the sky. Thanks to respiratory issues, certain circumstances, including stress or change in temperature, can result in a collapse of the airway. So, if you absolutely must bring your Frenchie on a flight, be sure to discuss preparation care, preventative measures, and in-flight needs with your vet before the trip.
Next: Their stress is a serious issue.
14. Most need artificial insemination and c-sections
Because of how Frenchies are built, artificial insemination is often performed to breed a litter. According to RockSolidBulldogs.com, the male is often unable to reach the female in order to, ya know. Furthermore, almost all Frenchies need to have c-sections, partially due to their small bodies, along with normal stressors that come with delivering a litter of pups. Because this breed is easily stressed, it’s best to spare the mama pup from a potentially fatal birth.
Next: If you do choose to get a Frenchie, you need to know how long he’ll be around.
15. Their life expectancy is 10 to 12 years
This is a very, very important aspect of choosing the dog that’s right for you. While some breeds are known to live longer, others have a shorter lifespan, and knowing which one best suits your family is key. The French bulldog has been known to typically live for about 10 to 12 years — which will obviously be the best 10 to 12 years of your life (until you get another one, that is).
Read more: The 21 Easiest Dog Breeds to Own