Facts that even owners of French Bulldogs might not know

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French Bulldogs are not from France

The name might fool you, but French bulldogs didn’t originate from France but England. The ancestral type was not what they are today. They were strong and athletic, high on legs and used for bull baiting (a sport that was finally outlawed in the early nineteenth century due to public nuisance and concerns about animal cruelty).

法國鬥牛犬 Left: “Crib and Rosa” is an 1817 painting by Abraham Cooper, revealing how extinct Old English Bulldog breed looks like.| Right: A bull-baiting scene painted by James Wards (1769-1859).

Frenchies were first bred in Nottingham in 1800s by lace workers who wanted to create a miniature version of English Bulldog and were brought to France during the Industrial Revolution. Since then this smaller breed has become popular in France, and eventually bred with local Parisian ratters (Terriers were the most common ratters).

The result of the cross was a completely new breed that was called the Bouledogue Francais, which literally translates to French Bulldog. The Frenchies obviously took to the body of Bulldogs, but they definitely retained some Terrier qualities such as playfulness, energetic, and of course, the erect ears.

They are “frog dogs”

These adorable dogs have earned themselves the nickname “Frog Dogs,” due to the strange way they will lay on their tummies and splay their legs back behind them like a frog. So strange, and yet so cute!

法國鬥牛犬Illustration by Chee Sim

Expect no natural swimmer

French bulldogs are horrible at swimming —horrible enough that if they were in the water for a long time, they would possibly drown. Why? Because of their short muzzles, French bulldogs have to tilt their heads far back in order to prevent water from going up their nose and to keep their mouths out of water altogether. This causes them to tilt their bodies completely backwards at times. In addition, their disproportionately large heads and short legs prevent French bulldogs from being able to float. Now we know better, we shall take close supervision to keep them safe when we do decide to let our Frenchies take a dip. 法國鬥牛犬

A tail pocket?

They require a lot less grooming than long-coated breed and don’t shed as much as others. While not much haircut is necessary, we do need to keep them clean and as healthy as possible. Grooming needs include brushing regularly, nail trimming (once every one to two month), teeth brushing, ear cleaning and occasional baths (once a month).

Wrinkly dogs like French bulldogs usually have a tail pocket, which is an indentation or dimple that’s either below or above the dog’s tail. It’s often so hard to spot that many dog owners don’t even realize its very existence. French bulldogs don’t usually get their tail pocket until they’re about 6 months old. The tail pocket is a great hiding space for dirt, debris, and moisture, so it’s very important that this area gets cleaned to avoid bad odor and possible infections.法國鬥牛犬

Most French bulldogs are born through artificial insemination

Due to their unusual proportions, they have a little trouble copulating. Males have a hard time reaching the females, and they often get overheated and exhausted when trying to get things going. As a result, a large majority of French bulldogs are created through artificial insemination, and many must undergo a C-section to ensure the dogs will not have to weather too much stress and prevent health complications.法國鬥牛犬

Related reading: 9 facts about poodles that you might not know
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