The French bulldog is the UK’s most popular dog breed, and the breed has gone through a sharp increase in popularity year on year for almost a decade now, and Frenchies are in huge demand as pets among dog lovers of all types.
The breed’s popularity has come about for many good reasons, and French bulldogs have a lot going for them in terms of their suitability as pets, including a cute appearance, small size, fantastic temperament and moderate need for exercise. However, the level of demand for French bulldogs today means that many people who might not otherwise have considered doing so breed from their dogs or set up as French bulldog breeders in order to meet the demand in what is a very lucrative seller’s market, and the breed is not without its problems.
The Frenchie’s popularity among celebrities, the breed’s high public profile and widespread use in advertising and the media all serve to increase interest in and demand for dogs of the breed – and this is not necessarily a good thing.
All too many people who set their hearts on French bulldog ownership don’t do enough research into the breed or the general demands of dog ownership, and this can lead to rushed purchases of dogs that turn out to be unhealthy or a poor fit for their future owners.
If you’re thinking about buying or adopting a French bulldog, you must think about this very carefully and find out everything you need to know about the breed first. Realising that a certain breed of dog isn’t the right fit for you can be disappointing, but this is better than realising further down the line when you have already bought a dog and are responsible for its care.
It isn’t hard to find out the good things about the Frenchie breed as a whole, but much harder to find out their potential problems and downsides – and this is what we will cover within this article.
Read on to find out some of the main potential downsides of French bulldog ownership.
First of all, something that takes many first-time French bulldog buyers aback is the amount of money that dogs of the breed commonly change hands for. The average price of a Kennel Club registered pedigree French bulldog is £1,447, and for a non-pedigree or unregistered dog the prices aren’t much lower, coming in at £1,301. However, this is only the average – seeing French bulldogs for sale at over £2,000, £3,000 or even more is common, and this represents a significant financial commitment for the initial purchase price of your dog.
Hereditary health issues are common across the French bulldog breed as a whole. This doesn’t mean by any means that all dogs of the breed will be unhealthy, and there are many robust, thriving and perfectly healthy French bulldogs within the UK that are great examples of the breed.
However, if you don’t know about some of the breed’s most common hereditary health issues like hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy and others, you won’t be able to check out any litter you are considering buying from effectively.
All prospective French bulldog buyers are advised to learn about the breed’s known common hereditary health issues, the testing protocols that can be used for some of them, and how to make an informed choice on the purchase of a healthy dog.
The sheer level of demand for French bulldogs in the UK has led to a large number of irresponsible breeders entering the market, producing dogs for profit with little care for their health and wellness. In some cases, deliberate breeding for exaggerated physical traits like an overly flattened face and prominent eyes produces dogs with a highly unusual look that is in great demand among buyers, but that has an acute and serious impact on the dog’s health.
Conformation defects and exaggerations can lead to a range of serious problems that affect the dog’s quality of life, care, and even lifespan – like brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome, which is a fairly common problem across the breed as a whole.
Often, the very worst and most exaggerated examples of the breed are used in media adverts for their cute-appeal, which gives many first-time buyers a misleading impression of what Frenchies should actually look like.
Normalising the appearance of unhealthy conformation traits in the French bulldog is something that the media as a whole has a lot to answer for – and something that prospective buyers should be aware of.
Frenchies tend to be quite sensitive to the heat, and will often struggle to keep cool enough in hot weather. This is particularly acute in French bulldogs with exaggerated conformations and very flat faces, but the breed as a whole is brachycephalic, which means that they need a little extra care and vigilance in hot weather and when exercising.
Insuring a French bulldog can be costly, because the breed is a complex one that contains a significant number of dogs with health or conformation problems that require veterinary care. This means that the risks for the breed as a whole is heightened for an insurer, because any given dog of the breed might potentially need very expensive treatments.
Even if your Frenchie is an excellent example of the breed and is really healthy, you will probably find that it costs more to insure them than an alternative breed of a similar size.
Some of the most popular French bulldog colours, and those that attract the highest prices and greatest level of interest from buyers are actually colours that aren’t recognised within the Frenchie breed standard. You can read more about this here.
This means that if you buy a Frenchie of a non-standard colour, their colour won’t be recognised by the Kennel Club, and some colours are actually ineligible for pedigree registration.
French bulldogs are very loving and personable dogs, but they do need a lot of attention. They don’t thrive if left alone for long periods of time and can be prone to suffering from separation anxiety. When you first get a Frenchie puppy, it is important to train them to tolerate being left alone for a reasonable timeframe, and ensure that you don’t encourage overly clingy behaviour.
French bulldogs have short, single-layered coats that don’t require a lot of brushing, but there are other things to think about when it comes to taking care of a Frenchie’s skin and coat.
You will need to clean their facial folds and tail pocket, if present, ensuring that you dry them thoroughly and keep an eye out for rubbing or chafing. This means that you will need to dedicate time to caring for your dog’s skin and coat regularly, in order to keep them happy and healthy.
Because Frenchies are short little dogs too, they are also prone to getting quite mucky when out on walks as well!