Whilst the English bulldog (commonly known as just 'Bulldog' in the UK) is of course the most instantly recognisable of the various bulldog breeds and also one of the most popular, one of the English bulldog’s continental cousins is actually even more popular among British dog owners as a whole – the French bulldog.
For the last two years running, the French bulldog has held the number one spot in the rankings of the UK’s most popular dog breeds, holding sway over all of our own native dog breeds as well as other dogs from further afield too.
This is especially surprising when you take into account the fact that the French bulldog only really started to gain traction in the UK over the last ten years or so, and as recently as five years back, French bulldogs weren’t a particularly common sight in the UK at all.
In this article, we will look at some of the factors that contribute to the French bulldog’s popularity, and why they are in such high demand among dog owners and potential puppy buyers. Read on to learn more.
The French bulldog is a small pedigree dog breed that is classed in the utility grouping for showing purposes, despite the fact that many people think of them as being more of a toy dog breed. The top three spots in terms of popularity among dog breeds in the UK tend to be filled with small dogs – with the second and third ranked dogs at the time of writing being the Chihuahua and the Pug.
The French bulldog originated from France, as the name indicates – but their distant ancestors include terriers and bulldogs from the UK, which were imported to France in the 1800’s when lace workers from Nottingham migrated to Normandy and Brittany. There is also a school of thought that says another of the French bulldog’s ancestors was the Chincha bulldog, a Peruvian dog breed that is no longer extant.
So, why is the French bulldog so popular in the UK today? Well, there are several reasons!
First up, it would be impossible to talk about what makes the French bulldog so popular without paying homage to their quirky and unique good looks! The French bulldog’s flat, brachycephalic face, large ears and fine limbs certainly don’t appeal to everyone, but much like the Pug, these cute, comical features all help to ensure the breed’s strong following of enthusiasts.
As we mentioned, the top three dog breeds in the UK generally tend to be small dogs – with the smallest breed of all, the Chihuahua, coming in second place. The Chihuahua was actually the first place dog before the French bulldog stole their crown, and this trend for small dog breeds itself goes some way towards explaining the little Frenchie’s popularity.
Small dogs are of course a good fit for smaller homes, and whilst people with larger houses pretty much have their pick of all of the dog breeds, those who live in an apartment or smaller house or within an urban area will generally find a smaller breed a better fit.
Their small size also makes them easy to handle – they can be carried if needs be, and even if the dog really pulls on the lead, they are unlikely to pull a child or frailer owner off their feet, or be physically strong enough to become seriously unmanageable.
Good looks don’t mean a thing if they’re not backed up with a great personality – and the French bulldog has that in spades! They are very affectionate little dogs that are loving and sociable, forming strong bonds with their owners and generally, being friendly with other people that they meet too whilst still remaining loyal.
They are also usually very good with other dogs too, assuming that they are properly socialised, and whilst the French bulldog enjoys the odd spot of mischief as much as the next dog, they are unlikely to be the main troublemaker in the dog park.
The French bulldog is generally considered to be a good choice of breeds for the first-time dog owner, which all helps to contribute to their popularity. This is because their exercise needs are moderate and not too onerous, and they are right in the middle of the pack in terms of intelligence and ease of training, which means that they don’t have complex training and management needs that requires a very experienced owner to get to grips with.
Even someone who has never owned a dog before stands a good chance of training their first French bulldog from scratch on their own providing that they do their research, and they are also a short-coated breed that doesn’t require masses of grooming either.
Many high-profile celebrities own French bulldogs and they are also widely used in advertising, film, and TV, which helps to spread the word about the breed and boost their popularity.
Additionally, there are masses of different types of accessories and other goods aimed at French bulldogs, in terms of dog clothing, furniture, and more or less anything else you can think of, which adds to their appeal for people who want a small dog breed that they can pamper and buy pretty things for!
Exactly what attracts any individual French bulldog owner to the breed in the first place is of course likely to be very different from person to person – but their widespread appeal and versatility have all helped to make the French bulldog the UK’s most popular dog breed.
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