Breed Spotlight: the French Bulldog

Toy Bulldogs emerged in England during the first half of the nineteenth century. Far lighter than the original Bulldog, some weighed as little as 12 pounds. Toy-sized Bulldogs fit better with city life than their larger counterparts. Since toy Bulldogs were smaller and lighter, they were easier to carry, and many male and female workers of the British Industrial Revolution chose toy Bulldogs as their pets. Workers who left Britain to find jobs as lace workers in France popularized the breed in their host country. The now iconic, bat-like ears of the breed became a desired trait that distinguished the French Bulldog from the toy Bulldog, and French Bulldog owners began expressing more interest in the dog’s unique looks and tranquil demeanor than his useful ratting abilities. 

French socialites, especially women, grew particularly fond of the peculiar looking dog, and many chose the French Bulldog specifically for his exceeding patience during gossip sessions. The French Bulldog became an accessory to fashionable women, since the dog's appearance (with his art nouveau ears) drew the attention of onlookers and passersby during walks. Artists, elites, and other eccentric personalities embraced the exotic breed, and many saw the Bouledogue Français as both a companion and haute couture. Miniature Bulldogs became so popular in France that, by the year 1860, French demand had nearly outstripped the supply of pups being exported by British breeders.

Want to learn more about the French Bulldog? Click here for the full breed standard.

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