French Bulldog Breed History

French Bulldogs - Read about the History of the Breed

Claire Wins:

Claire wins at Ontario Breeders!

February 20, 2011

French Bulldog wins at Ontario Breeders  Kelben Claire de Lune wins her class  at Ontario Breeders Show.

Claire Wins!

Claire wins at Markham

February 18, 2011

French Bulldog wins  Kelben Claire de Lune wins Best of Winners and Best of Opposite at Markham show.

Bruno Wins!

Bruno wins CKC Championship


French Bulldog wins Championship  Bruno wins Best of Breed and Best Puppy in Show and finishes his Canadian Championship.

Gracie Wins!

Grace wins at Brantford


French Bulldog wins at Brantford  Gracie wins at Brantford Show.

Claire  Wins!

Claire  wins at Orangeville


French Bulldog wins  Claire wins Best of Winners and Best of Opposite at Orangeville.

History of the French Bulldog

Copyright © 2011. All Rights Reserved. Excerpts from: AKC, CKC, Wikipedia, FBDCA, BCF.

The Early Years in England

In the middle of the nineteenth century, the textile and clothing industries in England were faring poorly. Many of the lace workers of Nottingham moved to France to seek work and they took their smaller Bulldogs with them. These small Bulldogs were perfectly suited to the cramped living conditions in the small apartments and houses that the workers lived in. They were excellent "ratters" - rats were the scourge of that century. The Nottingham lace makers were welcomed by the French in the coastal towns of Normandy where traditional lacemaking continued. It is not very clear why these smaller Bulldogs became very popular amongst the workers in the Nottingham lace industry but some have speculated these little Bulldogs were from established English Bulldog Breeders who were more than happy to sell these undersized Bulldogs. This was especially true of the "tulip" eared puppies that cropped up from time to time in Bulldog litters. The smaller sized Bulldogs were convenient because they were easier to smuggle aboard ship and keep out of sight during the voyage to France.

The Early Years in Europe

In the farming communities to the north of France, the little Bulldogs became very popular as ratters and loyal family companions and soon their population grew. In the 1860s the export of miniature or toy Bulldogs from England to France was so great that they nearly became extinct in England. The small Bulldog might have been crossed with the French "terrier boule" ( not to be confused with the Bull Terrier, also called "ratier" because it was used to chase rats). These "new" dogs were owned by butchers and other meat trade workers in the abbatoirs of Paris. They looked like a small Bulldog and eventually give rise to the French Bulldog Breed.

Some breed historians claim these bulldogs were crossed with the Pug but the lack of records has so far frustrated researchers' efforts to establish the breed's exact genealogy. The coach drivers, shoemakers, street traders and even the police became fans of the "Petite Boule". It soon became the star of working class Parisians. Its small size, peculiar physique and engaging personality made it the darling of the fanciers of these flat faced dogs. As the smaller Bulldogs gained popularity in France, they became favorites of the Parisian "Belles de Nuit" who kept them for their unique appearance. During this period, the upper classes, through the coachmen and the bordellos, began to discover the charm of this small Bulldog. Soon it became fashionable for these well to do people to show how daring they could be by owning a small Bulldog. They also became favorites of the artistic set in Europe. They were often depicted in brothels by artists of that day such Degas and Toulouse Lautrec. Photos dating from this time show the Russian Royal family posing with their French Bulldogs. The Romanovs were said to have imported several of the little dogs from France. In Austria, Germany and North America the breed began to gain more popularity.

The small Bulldogs were admired by seafaring men all over the world. They became popular due to their reputation for strength and tenacity which were prized qualities in those days of wind and sail. In the 1880's a group of Parisian French Bulldog Breeders began to organize weekly meetings. In 1885 the first Register of the breed was established. The French Bulldog was entered in a show under its own breed name for the first time in 1887.

The French Bulldog is one of the few breeds that owes its existence to the efforts of breeders in different countries - France, America, England and Germany. It wasn't until 1908 that the French Canine Society began to take the breed seriously. The Central French Canine Society suggested that a society be formed through union with the French Bulldog Lovers' Club. Both groups saw advantages to this union and the "Bouledogue Club de France" was formed.

The Early Years in America

The French Bulldog first appeared at the Westminster Kennel Club Show in 1896. They soon became known as "Frenchies" and that nickname has stuck with them since. The insistence upon the unique bat ears was largely due to the Americans. Even though they looked like a miniature Bulldog at first sight, with their "bat-like" ears held erect and a flat skull between the ears, their small size and amiable temperament set them apart from the Bulldog. The French Bulldog has a lively expression and a fun loving disposition. They have been referred to as "clowns in the cloak of a philosopher".

American fanciers of the French Bulldog insisted on the fact that the "bat" ears associated with the breed should be the correct breed characteristic. Before that, French Bulldogs were shown with either the "bat"ear or the "rose" ear. In 1897, American exhibitors were  disappointed because an English judge picked a "Frenchie" with "rose" ears for Best of Breed. They called a meeting and formed the French Bull Dog Club of America (the first American club for French Bulldogs). In 1898 they adopted the French Bulldog Breed Standard which remains largely unchanged today.

The French Bulldog Today

The French Bulldog loves to snore! If you have this little Bulldog in bed with you there would be snoring and snorting as the Frenchie falls into dreamland. They are also capable of making the most bizarre sounds when they ask for something. More than one person has said they can make noises like a cat deep down in their throat. The French Bulldog can make a number of sounds that are beyond description. Their bark can be high pitched, but not shrill, because they are small. If they get really excited it may become a screech. Frenchies have a range of barks, squeaks, screams and snorts. Some of them will "talk" to you using a variety of sounds that make you understand exactly what they are saying.

French Bulldogs will defend their pack and territory if they feel threatened. Frenchies have a big dog mentality in a small package. Squirrels and rodents drive them "bonkers". They will bark and jump into protective mode at the sound of the door bell.