The UKs Most Popular Dog Breed - The French bulldog

The UKs Most Popular Dog Breed - The French bulldog

Breed Facts

Up until around a decade ago, the French bulldog was not quite unheard of in the UK, but they certainly were neither as common nor as popular as they are today. The few French bulldog owners that did live in the UK likely spent a lot of time explaining the breed to people that they met out and about, and as any French bulldog owner past or present will tell you, the most common question asked by the uninitiated is whether or not the breed is a type of pug!

The answer to this is of course a resounding no, but the questions continue!

Over the last ten years, the French bulldog has become one of the most in-demand dog breeds in the UK, and today, is the most popular breed of all in terms of the number of adverts for them on Pets4Homes, which we feel reflects the wider pattern in the UK, as Pets4Homes is the UK’s most popular pet classifieds website.

Additionally, the French bulldog is one of the UK’s most expensive dog breeds to buy, falling firmly within the top three by average cost in the country.

In this article, we will look at the rising popularity of the French bulldog in more detail, talking about some of the breeds it has overtaken-and why-and why the breed is currently so popular, despite their high purchase price. Read on to learn more.

A short recent history of the French bulldog in the UK

While the French bulldog has been a popular pet in the USA and of course, France for longer than it has in the UK, within the last decade the UK has certainly caught up! Small, cute toy dogs and so-called handbag dogs (which the French bulldog is slightly too large to really fit the bill for!) have always had a strong, keen following, but during the early 2000’s when celebrities of the day such as Paris Hilton were rarely seen without a small dog in tow, often riding in a designer handbag and wearing expensive outfits, interest really took off.

This served to increase interest in dog ownership by young adults, particularly women, and the wide market of accessories and bling designed to fit all of the popular small breeds certainly helped! No dog should be seen as a fashion accessory, a fact that many people who rushed into ownership of small dogs when it first became fashionable will tell you. A significant number of smaller pedigree dogs such as Chihuahuas have been surrendered to shelters over the last decade, as inexperienced owners found that they had bitten off more than they could chew.

That said, picking a dog that matches your lifestyle and interests is a key part of picking the right breed, and for many people, this means the French bulldog, whose endearing personality is just as popular as their looks and small size!

Why are they so popular?

The Chihuahua is of course the most popular so-called handbag dog breed, and their popularity remains high-but for those that wish to own a slightly larger and more robust small breed that is as famous for their wonderful personality and entertaining temperament, the French bulldog is the next in line.

The French bulldog’s unique appearance is all part of their appeal, but the real clincher for these small, comical dogs is their personality. They are very loving, friendly and social as well as often highly entertaining, and they certainly do fit the bill of once met, never forgotten!

As dog lovers started to see French bulldogs appearing with more regularity in dog parks and out walking in the UK, interest in and awareness of the breed naturally grew quickly, and demand for dogs of the breed soon increased. This led to more and more French bulldog owners making the decision to breed from their dogs, knowing that homes were waiting keenly for their own new addition.

However, it takes time to increase the population of any given dog breed, and this does not happen overnight; the relative scarcity of the breed only increased demand for and interest in the breed, due to their relative scarcity.

What breeds have they overtaken?

Up until six months ago, the little Chihuahua was the most popular dog breed advertised here on Pets4Homes, in terms of the number of dogs of the breed offered for sale. However, during the last six months the French bulldog has overtaken the Chihuahua’s lead, having sat firmly in second place for some time.

As of February 2017, the top five breeds as advertised on Pets4Homes in descending order are:

  • French bulldog
  • Chihuahua
  • Pug
  • Cocker spaniel
  • Labrador retriever

This means that the top three most popular breeds are all from the small or toy dog category, demonstrating the enduring appeal of smaller dog breeds across the UK as a whole.

Why do French bulldogs command such a high price?

The French bulldog’s popularity certainly hasn’t happened because they are at the lower end of the price scale, particularly compared to other popular small breeds-they actually fall in the top three ranking of the most expensive dog breeds in the UK.

The average price paid for a Kennel Club registered French bulldog is £1,642, while the average for a non-KC registered Frenchie is £1,371, which is still several hundreds of pounds higher than the average for a registered pedigree dog of most of the other popular breeds. So, why is the French bulldog so expensive to buy? The answer to this question is multi-faceted.

First of all, the high demand for the breed will of course mean that breeders can charge a premium price, knowing that there will be no shortage of potential buyers for the breed. However, breeding any pedigree dog is actually a fairly costly undertaking, when you take into account the value of the dam, stud fees, veterinary fees and all of the various costs involved in raising a litter, including food, microchipping, vaccinations etc.

However, the French bulldog incurs additional breeding costs too, which are not found in many other breeds. French bulldogs are often unable to mate naturally, due to the narrowness of their hips; this means that dogs of the breed commonly require assistance to breed, or even artificial insemination. Additionally, all of the bull breeds tend to have slightly smaller litters than most other breeds, meaning that a mating might only produce two of three puppies, making the cost of viably producing a litter higher like for like.

Also, due to the size of the French bulldog’s head and the narrowness of their hips, more Frenchies are delivered by caesarean section than are able to deliver naturally, which is again a costly procedure, just to bring a litter into the world.

However, the high cost of dogs of the breed has done little to deter potential owners, and all told, the French bulldog is now the most popular breed advertised in the UK!



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