The French bulldog is the UK’s most popular dog breed bar none, both in terms of the number of dogs of the breed advertised for sale at any given time on Pets4Homes, and in terms of the number of Kennel Club registrations each year for new puppies of the breed.
As a result of the high level of demand for French bulldogs, there are a huge number of dog breeders producing French bulldog for sale in the UK to meet this demand, and despite the fact that it is not hard to find a number of Frenchie breeders offering puppies for sale in most areas, dogs of the breed still reliably command a very high sale price.
There can of course be quite a lot of variation between the prices of individual dogs for sale, even within the same breed – and Frenchies that are fully health tested, have a show-winning ancestry or that are particularly good examples of the breed often cost a lot more than the norm.
However, there are some other traits that individual French bulldogs may exhibit that can also result in higher than normal demand and so, a higher sale price per dog – and one of these is blue French bulldogs, or Frenchies that exhibit what is known as a blue coat colour.
Blue French bulldogs are undeniably handsome, and it is no surprise that such a distinctive and attractive colour is in demand with puppy buyers. However, there is a reasonable amount of debate and controversy surrounding blue French bulldogs too, and many experts and enthusiasts of the French bulldog breed take a strong stance against people who breed or buy blue French bulldogs, for various reasons.
Making the decision to breed a dog or buy a new puppy of any type is not one to enter into lightly, and whatever your plans, you should do a significant amount of research before you make your final decision on what to do. If you are thinking about breeding blue French bulldogs or buying one as a pet, it is really important to learn all of the pros and cons first, and to understand the objections to the presence of this colour within the breed and what it means for blue French bulldogs, and their breeders and owners.
In this article we will provide a detailed introduction to blue French bulldogs, and tell you what you need to know about blue French bulldogs before you buy or breed. Read on to learn more.
A blue French bulldog is a regular French bulldog – short, stocky, pointed ears, flat face – that displays a blue-coloured coat. The exact shade of the coat itself may vary from a pale, silvery blue-grey through to a darker, steel grey with a bluish hue, but regardless of how the colour itself is expressed, the term “blue” refers to coat colour, and a blue French bulldog is simply a French bulldog whose coat exhibits this particular shade.
The first thing you need to know about blue French bulldogs is that blue is not one of the recognised or accepted colours found within dogs of the breed, and it does not fall within the breed standard. Blue is one of several coat colours that are unrecognised (by the Kennel Club and most French bulldog breed organisations and advocacy clubs in the UK and further afield), and the others are black, black and white, black and tan, grey-blue, lilac, mouse, and liver or chocolate.
You can find out more about unrecognised colours in the French bulldog by reading this Pets4Homes article.
When we say that a dog’s colour is not recognised, we mean that it is not considered to be an acceptable colour for French bulldogs to display, and we will get into the reasons behind this later on.
The acceptable colours that French bulldogs can be seen in and that fall within the breed standard (and so, that can be registered specifically by colour with the UK Kennel Club) are as follows:
A French bulldog of any other colour (like a blue French bulldog) cannot be registered by colour with the Kennel Club, but this does not necessarily mean that they cannot be registered with the Kennel Club at all.
As mentioned, you cannot register a blue French bulldog puppy with the Kennel Club as being blue coloured, because this is not a formally recognised or accepted colour within the breed. However, blue French bulldogs that have a full recorded pedigree and so, that are eligible for Kennel Club registration can still be formally recorded within the breed registry, which reflects their pedigree status despite their non-standard colour.
This is covered by a final option on the Kennel Club list of colours a breeder can pick when registering a puppy – “colour not recognised by the Kennel Club.” To register a blue French bulldog with the Kennel Club, this is the only colour option that can be selected with honesty, although blue French bulldogs are sometimes registered under other colours incorrectly, or even fraudulently, to bypass the restriction.
When an unrecognised colour like a blue French bulldog is registered with the Kennel Club, they receive their formal breed paperwork as normal which means that their own offspring can also be registered in their turn, and also that they can be sold as pedigree dogs.
However, unrecognised colours like blue French bulldogs aren’t a good choice of pet for people who are interested in either showing the dog itself, or using them to breed show-standard dogs.
This is because dogs in the show ring are compared to their breed standard, and a dog displaying the blue coat colouration automatically diverges from the breed standard in a large and very obvious way.
The Kennel Club’s own statement on unrecognised or undesirable colours in the French bulldog clearly states that “undesirable colours should not be rewarded in the show ring,” and so while you could technically enter your blue Frenchie in a formal Kennel Club dog show, your dog will not be placed or rewarded in the ring – and you may even face some level of hostility from the other attendees of the show too.
The recognised French bulldog colours are the accepted colours that occur naturally within the breed, and that do not come accompanied by any specific risks or other factors to bear in mind for dogs that possess them.
Blue is not a recognised colour within the French bulldog breed first of all because it is not a colour that usually occurs naturally in Frenchies, and is in fact one that has probably been introduced to some breed lines by outcrossing with other dog breeds that carry the genes for a blue colour.
Unusual and non-standard colour variants can and sometimes do occur in the French bulldog (and other dog breeds) naturally as the result of a genetic anomaly or mutation, and so it is entirely possible that some blue Frenchies originate from ancestors for which this was the case.
In fact, up until around a century ago, the blue colour (along with a few others including grey and mouse) was one that could be found and that was accepted within dogs of the breed. However, due to concerns over hereditary health issues presenting more commonly in dogs of these colours, these colours were dropped from the breed standard and have been out of favour with most responsible French bulldog clubs ever since.
Because it has been so long since blue was an acceptable colour in French bulldogs and the genes that produce the blue shade have since been largely bred out, the vast majority of blue French bulldogs today are generally considered to have been produced from dogs with a mixed ancestry that somewhere back in the breed line, involved input from another breed, or dogs that have been selectively bred to reproduce the colour trait in subsequent generations.
If you are looking to buy a blue French bulldog as a pet or to use as the foundation of breeding stock to produce a litter of your own, you might not know for sure how the blue shade was introduced into the breed line of the dog you are considering buying.
However, if the dog’s known ancestry includes genetic input from another breed to introduce the blue shade, you may find that this means that the dog in question is not Kennel Club registered as they are technically a cross-breed, and you should proceed with even more caution than you would otherwise.
According to information published by French bulldog breed clubs in the UK, a significant number of blue French bulldogs offered for sale in the UK are produced outside of the UK and then imported, which comes with the risk of a range of unknowns in terms of ancestry and the veracity of any claims made by their sellers too.
First of all, it is well worth pointing out that the French bulldog breed as a whole is one that tends to suffer from more than its fair share of health problems, regardless of the coat colour of the dog in question.
The flattened, brachycephalic face of French bulldogs results in a shorter than normal muzzle and often, narrow nostrils, which can have a huge range of implications for dogs whose faces are very flat or overexaggerated. BOAS or brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome is perhaps the best-known of these, and a wide range of issues relating to respiration, exercise, moderating body temperature, and even eating and drinking normally can result from an overly flattened face in the Frenchie.
Dogs with very prominent eyes too are more likely to suffer from damage to the lens of the eye, or problems with tear drainage and lubrication.
These are just a few of the most common hereditary health issues that can be found in the French bulldog breed, but they are no means the only ones; others include cleft palate, hemivertebrae, degenerative myelopathy and back/spinal problems, to name just a few.
Quite a few of the most common French bulldog health issues can be identified in parent stock prior to breeding by means of either DNA testing or various types of screening schemes, and all responsible French bulldog breeders (regardless of the colour of their dogs) undertake all of the recommended health testing protocols on their dogs prior to mating.
This enables unhealthy dogs or those that might pass on hereditary health issues to their offspring to be withdrawn from breeding programmes, and offers puppy buyers an added layer of security that they have the best possible chance of buying a healthy pup.
As well as the broader spectrum of health issues that can affect French bulldogs of any colour, there is one health condition that is considered to be a risk to blue French bulldogs specifically. This is called colour dilution alopecia, and this is a skin condition that can be inherited alongside of the genes for a blue coat colouration.
Whilst this is not a terminal condition nor one that is usually very painful or disabling for affected dogs, it is a chronic condition that the dog will possess for the duration of their life, and which can have a significant impact on their coat and skin.
Colour dilution alopecia can result in large swathes of fur being lost (which is painless) but also, which can lead to infections of the hair follicles and a general propensity to having sensitive or delicate skin that is prone to flare-ups, soreness and cracking, which can be both painful and hard to resolve.
Understandably, this means that blue French bulldogs with colour dilution alopecia require special care and management – but it also means that their coats are apt to look poor and unkempt too, which is naturally not what someone who chooses a dog based on a distinctive and appealing-looking coat is hoping to achieve.
There are quite a number of different arguments made against blue French bulldogs, and anyone who is trying to learn more with a view to breeding or buying one is advised to learn about the objections against them and why they are made.
We will outline the main causes of controversy surrounding blue French bulldogs below.
Perhaps the most polarising argument about blue French bulldogs is the one surrounding health issues that are specifically associated with the blue colour. The blue colour specifically is one that can lead to hereditary health issues within many dog breeds, and this is something that French bulldog advocates lobby against very strongly.
Because blue French bulldogs cannot be registered by colour with the Kennel Club, there are no formal statistics on whether or not blue Frenchies suffer from more health issues than those of standard colours, as there is no reporting and recording protocol in place to collate such information.
The main problem that is associated with a blue coat colour is a health condition called colour dilution alopecia or blue dog alopecia, and this is a type of chronic, lifelong skin condition that results in hair loss across much of the coat, inflammation of the skin, and a heightened risk of developing follicular infections and skin infections, which may be recurrent and difficult to manage.
Colour dilution alopecia in blue dogs can also lead to a range of more acute issues in some dogs, including skin that is prone to soreness and cracking, which again, greatly heightens the risk of developing skin infections.
In rare cases, the blue colour genes can also cause congenital health defects in puppies, generally immune-mediated conditions that become evident early in life, and that may even prove fatal in affected dogs at an early age.
Many fans (and particularly, breeders) of blue French bulldogs will argue strongly against the presence of colour-dependent health issues in their own breed lines or in blue French bulldogs as a whole, and of course, by no means all or even most blue Frenchies will be affected.
However, it is important to bear in mind that breeders who are trying to sell a dog of a controversial colour (particularly as they often command high prices) will of course defend their breeding decisions and work hard to secure a sale, so always do your own independent research using authority sources, and do not take any claims made at face value.
The French bulldog breed is a fairly high-profile one in terms of breed health, and Frenchies of all colours attract a lot of attention due to the high level of prevalence of a wide range of different health conditions that can be found across the breed as a whole.
French bulldog breeders who wish to work to improve the breed’s overall health, educate prospective puppy buyers and ensure the continued survival of the breed in perpetuity subscribe to a code of ethics, which outlines their responsibilities when it comes to breeding Frenchies.
The vast majority of widely recognised French bulldog breed organisations that prioritise health and breed improvement (including the French Bulldog Club of England) require their member breeders to subscribe to a code of ethics, which dictates that Frenchie breeders should only breed dogs to the breed standard and for the improvement of their own breed lines and the breed as a whole, and not to make a profit.
Deliberately breeding blue French bulldogs sets those that choose to do so outside of this code of ethics, as introducing or deliberately maintaining a blue colour line does not constitute breeding to the breed standard, or breeding for improvement.
Blue French bulldogs are widely advertised for sale as being rare, unique, highly desirable, or otherwise with the implication that the dog is something special or more valuable than the norm. This in turn results in higher sale prices for blue French bulldogs than for standard colours, and French bulldog buyers will often pay several thousands of pounds to get the particular dog that they want, particularly if it is an apparently “rare” colour.
This in itself is a large bone of contention among people who frown upon the existence of the blue colour within the French bulldog breed at all, and something that is widely viewed as misleading and inappropriate by French bulldog breed clubs and advocates.
French bulldogs of all types are very popular and much in demand with puppy buyers, but in a way the breed has become a victim of its own success in this regard, as this has led to the spread of many French bulldog health problems across the wider breed population, as unscrupulous breeders that simply wish to make money are not overly concerned with the health or quality of their dogs.
This in turn means that French bulldog buyers who don’t do plenty of research into the breed prior to making a purchase end up inadvertently buying dogs with hereditary health issues or conformation problems, and don’t even realise that this is the case until later on.
Fad colours and those that are described as rare or unusual all contribute to demand for French bulldogs as a whole and those who prize unusual colours specifically, and many people who buy dogs of this type simply don’t do enough research, and many don’t even realise that blue is not a recognised French bulldog colour, and that it can actually cause problems for the dog too.
Considering that blue French bulldogs are widely advertised as rare, unusual or uncommon, you might be surprised to learn that they are not at all hard to find offered for sale in the UK, and most people who like French bulldogs and so, that tend to keep an eye out for them will have seen several out and about.
In terms of facts and figures, at the time of writing (January 2019) there were a total of 1,457 French bulldogs offered for sale on Pets4Homes, and 283 of these are described as being blue.
This means that of our sampling based on real-time adverts, just under 20% of all of the French bulldogs currently advertised on Pets4Homes are blue – which hardly bears out claims of the colour’s relative rarity and indicates that the blue colour is actually even more common than some of the formally accepted French bulldog colours within the breed standard.
This is something that all prospective blue French bulldog buyers should take into account, because the often highly inflated sale price of blue French bulldogs is usually based on the perceived rarity of the colour – something that the statistics simply don’t bear out.
French bulldogs of all colours tend to command high purchase prices, because the breed is so popular and much in demand. A huge number of new French bulldog breeders have entered the market over the course of the last decade or so to meet this demand and cash in on the highly lucrative market for Frenchies, but as demand for the breed is at an all-time high, this has done little to bring down the prices.
The average advertised price of French bulldogs in the UK at the time of writing is £1,447 for a pedigree dog, and for unregistered or non-pedigree Frenchies, the average is £1,301. As you can see, there isn’t a lot of difference in the sale prices of pedigree versus non-pedigree dogs of the breed, and French bulldogs of all types are objectively rather expensive compared to other breeds and types of a similar size and temperament.
These figures are just averages based on the wider picture of asking prices within adverts – but there can of course be a lot of variation in terms of the price of individual dogs, and those with show-winning ancestors, which are particularly good quality or that are excellent healthy (and health tested dogs) often cost a lot more than the average.
Blue French bulldogs too tend to change hands for higher amounts of money than those of standard colours too – at the time of writing, the most expensive blue French bulldogs advertised here were offered for sale at just under the £10,000 mark, and blue Frenchies costing anything from £2,500up to around £5,000-6,000 are not uncommon either.
This is of course a huge amount of money for any dog, particularly when you consider the potential downsides and problems that can accompany French bulldogs of all types, and specifically blue ones.
French bulldogs of all types are one of the dog breeds that are most commonly targeted for theft, and a significant number of dogs of the breed are reported as stolen every year. The reasons for this are numerous, with the main one being that French bulldogs are much in demand with buyers and are generally easy to sell on to an unsuspecting victim, and also, dogs that are stolen may instead be used for breeding rather than being sold on.
Because French bulldogs are quite small and portable, they are also quite easy to steal and so are somewhat easier targets for both impulse thieves and those that identify and target specific dogs to steal to order.
When it comes to blue French bulldogs specifically, all of the factors that contribute to demand for them among puppy buyers serve as incentives to dog thieves too – a lot of buyers specifically want blue Frenchies, and are prepared to pay higher than usual prices to get one.
Few people would knowingly buy a stolen dog of course, but dog thieves are often very good at disguising stolen dogs and their origins, even going as far as to remove microchips in some cases in order to sell on their stolen stock.
If you plan to buy or breed blue French bulldogs, you should remain vigilant to the threat of theft and take steps to protect your dog from becoming targeted. Never leave your dog outside or in your garden unsupervised, and keep an eye out for people who seem to be watching your home or dog, or asking too many questions about your dog specifically that fall outside of the normal questions you might expect from a genuine enthusiast.
Blue French bulldog breeders should also be vigilant about checking out people who wish to view litters, and the type of questions they ask and behaviours they exhibit when they call or visit. If the person in question seems more interested in your security arrangements or looking around than they are about the pups themselves, take this as a warning and take extra care.
Make sure that your blue French bulldog can be traced back to you with their microchip and that you have plenty of clear, distinctive pictures of them in case you ever need to spread the word that they are missing, and be vigilant about the possibility of theft.
If you are considering breeding blue French bulldogs specifically, you need to think about this very carefully. Not only do you need to make an informed decision about the downsides of blue Frenchies – such as the fact they cannot be registered as blue and that they may inherit colour dilution alopecia – but also, take into account the wider views of others connected to the French bulldog community and how this might affect you.
As we mentioned earlier on, the Kennel Club does not allow blue French bulldogs to be registered by colour nor rewarded in shows, and all of the responsible French bulldog breed clubs in the UK have taken a stand against the breeding of blue Frenchies and the people that choose to do so.
Even if you intend to tick all of the boxes concerning responsible dog breeding (such as performing health tests, breeding for improvement and putting the welfare of the dogs above financial gain) breeding a non-standard colour like blue falls outside of the Frenchie breed standard and so, is not considered to contribute to the improvement and development of the breed.
From a financial perspective, the high purchase price commanded by blue French bulldogs often serves as a huge incentive for would-be breeders to set up shop, but even this does not mean that breeding blue Frenchies is automatically profitable.
Breeding French bulldogs is expensive for a multitude of reasons – the high purchase price of breeding stock, the cost of health tests (and the secondary cost of removing dogs with health issues from the breeding programme) the cost of caring for the dogs, the fact that most Frenchies need to be delivered by caesarean, and the general propensity of French bulldogs to have relatively small litters.
Breeding French bulldogs of any type is not the licence to print money that many think it is, and many breeders barely break even, or even operate at a huge loss.
When it comes to blue French bulldogs specifically, currently they tend to attract higher prices than Frenchies of other colours, which might seem like a good incentive to specialise in blue Frenchies. However, as we demonstrated earlier on, blue Frenchies are by no means as rare or uncommon as many people believe – and this is apt to mean that the currently high blue French bulldog sale prices probably won’t sustain themselves at this level for much longer.
Choosing to buy a blue French bulldog is almost as contentious an issue as choosing to breed blue Frenchies, and many buyers don’t even realise that there are additional factors to consider when doing so.
Whether or not buying a blue French bulldog is the right decision for any given individual is something that only you can decide, but it is worth reiterating the main factors that prospective blue French bulldog puppy buyers should consider before making their choice.
Ultimately, buying a blue French bulldog or deciding against doing so is something that only you can decide – and whilst there is a significant amount of negativity surrounding this colour within the breed, there are also a lot of fans of it, as is borne out by the colour’s popularity.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you’re going into your decision with your eyes open, and check and verify any claims that a blue French bulldog breeder makes about the blue colour within their stock, and the individual dogs too.