A black and white French Bulldog poses in the sun.

What Is the French Bulldog Temperament Like?

Adaptable, playful and smart, French Bulldogs love their families, and their families love them. With a friendly, lively personality and cute appearance, this gentle breed has become one of the most popular dogs in the nation, earning a spot near the top of the American Kennel Club’s popularity rankings.

French Bulldog Appearance

The French Bulldog is built like a tank. Its build is small, but very substantial, with a powerful, muscular body. Weighing up to 25 pounds and standing approximately 12 inches tall on average, the breed is stocky and short.

The adorable features of the French Bulldog include large bat-like ears and a flat, scrunched up face with a very short nose. The breed’s face is wrinkled in such a way that the top lip hangs over the bottom one to create that signature Bulldog pout.

French Bulldogs come in a variety of colors, including brindle, fawn, white, and black. Their coat is short, smooth and easy to care for. Typically, maintaining this coat only requires weekly brushing. Allergy sufferers should note that the French Bulldog is a minimal to moderate shedder at worst.

The History of French Bulldogs

Despite their name, French Bulldogs actually hail from the other side of the English Channel. In the mid-19th century, lacemakers in the English city of Nottingham (then the world capital for lacemaking) developed the breed from larger Bulldogs to serve as a companion. The adorable breed soon became a kind of mascot for the city’s lacemaking professionals.

When the Industrial Revolution forced many of England’s lacemakers to relocate, they brought their Bulldogs with them to Northern France. The breed made an immediate impression. Over several generations of breeding, the French Bulldog’s trademark ears grew even bigger and the breed grew more popular.

French Bulldogs were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1898 and joined the Kennel Club of London a little under a decade later, in 1906.

French Bulldog Temperament

The French Bulldog’s easygoing, lovable temperament makes this breed one of the best and most popular companion dogs in the world. They were bred to be lap dogs, so they are very friendly to their family and very willing to please. Your “Frenchie” will gladly curl up on your lap and doze off while you pet them. While the breed loves to play, they’re always content to lounge around and lavish their owners with plenty of love. The breed’s personality is often comical and mischievous. This personality endears them to dog lovers everywhere.

French Bulldogs possess a high degree of intelligence. The breed requires considerable mental stimulation and benefits from structured positive reinforcement training beginning at a young age. Bored French Bulldogs can quickly become destructive, so make sure to provide adequate mental and physical stimulation.

Though the breed is regarded as kind and gentle, they can also display guarding behaviors toward strangers. That’s why it is so important to socialize a young Frenchie puppy. Owners should always make sure that their French Bulldog is introduced to as wide a variety of people, places, and experiences as possible.

French Bulldog Life Expectancy

The French Bulldog has an average life expectancy of about 10 to 13 years.

Due largely to the structure of their skulls, French Bulldogs are susceptible to a number of health conditions. That familiar scrunched-up look often means breathing problems for Frenchies and could mean pet owners need to familiarize themselves with conditions like brachycephalic airway syndrome and elongated soft palate.

Pet parents are advised to take caution in hot weather and ensure they do not allow French Bulldogs to become over-exerted. The breed’s features can make it difficult to take in adequate oxygen, particularly during periods of exertion and intense exercise. Light sleepers should note that even healthy French Bulldogs tend to snore and snort in their sleep.

French Bulldogs are also prone to conditions of the gastrointestinal tract like ulcerative colitis, eye conditions like corneal ulcers, and joint issues like luxating patella.

Living With a French Bulldog

Frenchies are loving companions who thrive on human contact. The breed enjoys giving love to their human companions and enjoys receiving the same treatment in return. They get along with people, children, and other pets, but keep in mind that they can often become territorial or possessive. That’s another reason to prioritize safe and effective socialization when a French Bulldog is young. The breed does not do well when left home alone for long periods of time.

French Bulldogs generally require very little exercise. In fact, a short 10 to 15-minute walk each day is often enough to keep these pups happy and healthy. They don’t require a lot of space either, making them a favorite choice of pet parents living in apartments and small homes.

Training a French Bulldog

French Bulldogs can be stubborn. This quality can often deter would-be trainers. The breed is intelligent enough, however, that training can prove easy with the right measures. The French Bulldog does well with training when it is done in a positive manner with lots of food rewards, praise, and play.

French Bulldogs can be standoffish towards people they don’t know. Frenchies are also known to occasionally show aggression toward other dogs. These characteristics can be controlled with training from an early age. Owners should start by introducing their French Bulldog puppy to different types of people and other dogs. For the socialization period to work most effectively, experts recommend socializing puppies by the time they reach 14 weeks of age.

Stay positive. French Bulldog puppies can learn quickly, but their stubbornness often gets in the way early on. In general, punishment and other forms of negative reinforcement only serve to reinforce unwanted behaviors and can even undo progress made through training. Positive reinforcement in the form of praise and a steady reward system can help build a strong, long-lasting bond.

Learn more about owning a French Bulldog.